Learning for Life
Malcolm X’s Alma Mater – And How Choosing Between ‘Dead Time’ and ‘Alive Time’ Can Change Your Life.
Malcolm X was a criminal. He wasn’t Malcolm X at the time – they called him Detroit Red and he was a criminal opportunist who did a little bit of everything. He ran numbers. He sold drugs. He worked as a pimp. Then he moved up to armed robbery. He had his own burglary gang, which he ruled over with a combination of intimidation and boldness – exploiting the fact that he did not seem afraid to kill or die.
Then, finally, he was arrested trying to fence an expensive watch he’d stolen. He was carrying a gun at the time, though to his credit he made no move to fight the officers who had trapped him. In his apartment, they found jewelry, furs, an arsenal of guns, and all his burglary tools.
He got ten years. It was February 1946. He was barely twenty-one years old.
“Too often, convinced of our own intelligence, we stay in a comfort zone that ensures that we never feel stupid (and are never challenged to learn or reconsider what we know). It obscures from view various weakness in our understanding, until eventually it’s too late to change course. This is where the silent toll is taken.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Success is intoxicating, yet to sustain it requires sobriety. We can’t keep learning if we think we already know everything. We cannot buy into myths we make ourselves, or the noise and chatter of the outside world. We must understand that we are a small part of an interconnected universe. On top of all this, we have to build an organization and a system around what we do – one that is about the work and not about us.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Why is success so ephemeral? Ego shortens it. Whether a collapse is dramatic or a slow erosion, it’s always possible and often unnecessary. We stop learning, we stop listening, and we lose our grasp on what matters. We become victims of ourselves and the competition. Sobriety, open-mindedness, organization, and purpose – these are the great stabilizers. They balance out the ego and pride that comes with achievement and recognition.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Today, books are cheaper than ever. Courses are free. Access to teachers is no longer a barrier – technology has done away with that. There is no excuse for not getting your education, and because the information we have before us is so vast, there is no excuse for ever ending that process either.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“You can’t learn if you think you already know. You will not find the answers if you’re too conceited and self-assured to ask the questions. You cannot get better if you’re convinced you are the best.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“The enemy is the necessary condition for practicing patience. Without an enemy’s action, there is no possibility for patience or tolerance to arise. Our friends do not ordinarily test us and provide the opportunity to cultivate patience, only our enemies do this. So, from this standpoint we can consider our enemy as a great teacher, and revere them for giving us this precious opportunity to practice patience.” ~ Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
“It is sometimes said that when the student is ready the teacher appears. It seems more likely that we are always in the presence of teachers, and at different stages in our development we become open to their teachings.” ~ Robert Kull, Solitude
“If you could gain any one ability or quality you admire in someone else, what would you choose? Do you think you could develop that ability or quality just by working at it?” ~ Gregory Stock, The Book of Questions