Philosopher Eric Hoffer once said, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

My own thought on this is that being a curious life-long learner is probably the best way to deal with this ever-changing world.


The following rambling TEDx lecture by Lord Stephen Carter was given at St. Paul’s School, a boys’ independent school that is one of the original nine British public schools.  The school has been in existence since 1509 and is located on the banks of the River Thames that runs past Barnes in London.

Carter is a Scottish businessman in the technology industry as well as a politician.   At one point (in 2008 and 2009) he served as a member of the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government.

Because Carter wasn’t a Member of Parliament at the time, they had to appoint him to the House of Lords.  He was created Baron Carter of Barnes.  “Barnes is in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames”…it says here.

In his talk, Carter explains the difference between formal education and life-long learning to a group of very bright high school kids. He expands on how expectations – your own and other people’s — influence the decision-making processes that help you build your life.

I like it because the audience is such a young group that the speaker has to break it down into small, easily understood bits….

The man has seen some changes in his own life and has been thrown into situations where he had to learn a lot very fast.  He does know what he’s talking about.




It’s a confusing thing to be trying to walk your own walk when there is only you hoping you’ll be able to figure out where you’re supposed to go.  It never stops being confusing either because the world keeps changing willy-nilly.

Everybody all around you has got some sort of advice or other.  Everybody’s got a guaran-TEED plan of action.  The only problem is that none of the pre-packaged, ready-to-go plans ever really feel quite right for you.  (They’re sort of like frozen TV dinners that way.)

All the pathways you have ever been shown or taught or told by all of the learned and experienced people in your life will still have to be filtered through your own head and your own heart.

Very likely once you’ve done that filtering you’ll go off on some other tangent all your own, on a path where no one can really advise you because nobody’s ever gone there before in quite the way you want to go.

Maybe somebody or other did try the path you’re taking and maybe they flew high and far and fast or maybe they crashed and burned.  This means your new (or at least different) path can get a bit scary.

On the other hand, choosing to follow your own path can also be a relief.  All those learned guys won’t be standing around nattering at you.  Mostly they’ll stand there either scratching their heads or shaking them.

Ah, well…here’s another poem , a reaction to the injunction to think “outside the box.”  Really, people…what DOES that mean?


I am my own niche,

I am my own box.

This wise guy here says so.



Here’s an exercise. 


I am supposed to measure out

The dimensions of this box that is me

(So I can think inside it, I suppose),

And explore all the fascinating nooks and

Extraordinary crannies, the mysteriously

Mystical hidden places and super-special

Mazes of this box that is me.



The thing of it is (according to this wise guy),

 I’m really supposed to want to

Step outside this box that

(According to this worthy expert) is me….

See, it says that right there.



If I want to step outside this box

(That is really me in disguise)

I still have to pull out the measuring tape

And I still have to count all the beans (or whatever)

in this box that, it says here, is me.









Stray thoughts arise:

What if the box that is me is a sandbox?

Or, heaven forfend, a kitty-litter box?

Or a big old empty box?

Or an illusionary delusion of a box?

Or maybe not a box at all….



And where does all of that leave me?

In or out?  Out or in?


Maybe it’s just me,

But, really, being a box is not

Particularly inspirational….

by Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  (Maui School Bus) DOWN HALEAKALA HIGHWAY by Armin Rodler via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.


  1. Gomer Magtibay says:

    I’ve also embarked in a journey of learning. Learning online entrepreneurship. I agree with you when you said here that sometimes it can be a bit scary. But to live in a thinking that’s governed by what others are trying to script on me, that’s a bit more scary. So, I’ve got no choice but to face my fear and live my dream. As Stephen Covey has taught us, that completeness of life boils in four things: To live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy.

    Thanks for your empowering thoughts. I enjoy reading it.

    1. Thanks for the visit and your comments, Gomer. Good fortune on your journey. And come visit again!

  2. angelicamaney says:

    This is beautifully written. My dad has told me my whole life that you can never be to smart. And that has set me up to never want to stop learning. Even know that I’m several years out of college I can’t stop my urge to learn. Learning can help us achieve so much in life. I think that is just such a beautiful thing.

    1. Good on ya, Angelica! Your dad’s a really wise man. Thanks for the visit and the comments. Please come again!

  3. Anh Nguyen says:


    I just want to start out by saying that I love your blog design and image… Stunning!

    I fully agree with on the importance of life-long learning. The world keep evolving everyday and as I grow up, I come to realise that it’s your adaptability to the situation that really determines your success.

    Also thanks for sharing the TED talk, very interesting topic. I’ve added it to my watch later playlist. 😉

    Keep up the great work!


    1. Hey Ahn: Thank you for the visit and your comments. I’m glad you found it helpful. Please come again….

  4. Firstly I would like to say this is a very motivating article. I am also of the school of thought that we never ever stop learning in this world. We keep learning and learning everyday. Considering the this age we are in, the technology age, there is alot of advancement in almost everything so much that you have to learn to be able to keep up with most of the things happening around you. It’s only when we have truly learn that we can think outside the box. Thanks

    1. Seyi, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it.  

      Please do come again.

  5. Learning is a fundamental aspect within our lives. We learn something new everyday whether its small or big, we still learn something. This post has actually encouraged me to read more educational books to help develop my knowledge. If we didn’t learn, then we wouldn’t be where we are today. Thanks for this article. 

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Hbee.  

      Please do come again.

  6. Beautiful piece of poetry. I always believe in life, there can never be an end to learning, and we subconsciously have to bear what we learn everyday. Everyday, I learn, even from the little kids, you can learn a thing or two about humility and forgiveness.

    The truth is everyone has an opinion of what everyone should do, however no one knows what’s right for anyone. I believe we should just move with our passion and let love lead us!

    1. Louis, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I especially like your thought about learning humility and forgiveness from little kids.   That is a real truth!

      Please do come again.

  7. Jason Mick Brody says:

    Wow thank you for the amazing poem about our way of thinking outside the box. Outside the box is a funny saying but it makes a lot of sense too. 

    I mean if we are unique in our own way, think differently (outside the box) we can reinvent the wheel. Our own success lays in our own hands. We can learn from others, (gurus), but in the end we need to learn by our own uniqueness to be successful. 

    In saying that we can never stop learning and applying every day.

    1. Jason, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  8. Misty Outdoors says:

    Wow!  I could definitely relate to this article. I do agree that it’s important to be a lifelong learner. It can also be a bit overwhelming because there is so much information. 

    What stood out to me initially were your comments on the fact that everyone always has advice.  I have wasted many, many hours taking the advice of others without questioning whether it really worked for me. 

    With social media and millions of websites on every topic imaginable, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of information.

    I like the poem.  I interpret this as what I just mentioned — all the endless possibilities out there and the many different paths our lives can take.  

    1. I do agree that it really can be a trip trying to sort through all the information that’s available.  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Misty Outdoors.

      Please do come again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)