Jordan Reeves

TED-Ed Community Manager, TED Conferences

This conversation is closed.

What is the most important thing you've learned on your own?

In three sentences, explain something that you've learned without being told by another person -- something you've figured out all by yourself. Here's an example:

"I learned how to paint with water colors by reading a book and searching for YouTube videos. It took me a while, but I figured out some techniques that really work for me. I'm not an expert yet, but I have discovered a real joy in painting."

It can be anything -- a practical skill (like painting) or a knowledge set (like how to use mathematics).

  • Mar 18 2013: I have learned that letting go is one of the toughest thing you can ever do because you literally are making yourself vulnerable. It takes a lot of courage, strength and faith to believe in yourself, trusting your judgement.

    I have learned that a healthy state of mind not only affects your physical well being but also your relationship with others.

    I have learned that one needs to cherish and treasure what one has, because sometimes life don't give you a second chance.
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    Mar 1 2013: Do to my poor memory and &%#*% public education I had to learn almost everything on my own, on the positive side it made me a great problem solver and it is easy to think outside the box when you don’t recall its edges.
    With so many I have to say it depends on the subject:

    For health:
    *The best diet is one you create for yourself, for we all have unique health needs and taste.
    Do an web search for “health-issue diet” with each health-issue, and combine the results and adjust to taste.
    *Trust that you know your body/health better than any doctor.

    For home projects:
    *always consider the maintenance that will be required after it’s built.
    *Table saws will cut fingers; I learned that the hard way, luckily only to the bone and not through it.

    For work:
    *read two articles on your profession every week, and you will become tops in your field.
    *never trust HR.

    For stress management:
    *Take a deep breath, and consider if you will even remember the stressful event in a few months.
    *Semi-denial is a powerful tool for the short term. AI: with a major health issue still take your meds, and put it out of your thoughts until your next med time.

    In the grand scheme of things:
    *Live by the Nine Noble Virtues.
    *Death from old age is beautiful, and only looks ugly from our view point.
    Try seeing it from their view point and you will realize that they are letting go of all earthly desires and on path to enlightenment.
  • Mar 2 2013: I guess one of the most important things I've learned on my own is to be careful about letting other people decide who I am for me. Way too often people will try to tell me I'm this kind of person or that kind of person. Who I am should not be affected by how other people choose to see me.
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    Feb 25 2013: I am what I want to be and not what other people think of me. When i was 3 years old, my mother and I were in a car accident; I survived, she didn't. I am now 18 years old.
    As devastating as it was, I'm thankful (in a weird, hindsight-led way) that my mom died when I was young. After she died, there was an outpouring of love that came onto out household. It seemed like everyone my mom and dad had ever known was calling us, the phone was constantly off the hook, and they were offering love. In a way, my mother's passing led to me being raised by the community we lived in.
    Now, here I stand 15 years later and I'm very active in activist circles campaigning for social justice, I slam poetry, and all the local business owners know me on a first name basis.
    The most important thing I've learned on my own is that from every loss, every devastating blow, there is good. Although it may not be obvious, or it may not reveal itself until decades later, it is there. I am a child of the streets, even though I have a loving father, and I consider everyone in my community a member of my extended family.
  • Mar 11 2013: How to no longer fear the uncomfortable. It's always a work in progress, but I've learned how to muster courage where I wouldn't have before.
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    Mar 4 2013: I've learned that you will not be happy if you live your life trying to satisfy "the crowd". It is when you find that special thing you want to do, and do it regardless of what anyone says, that you can truly be happy. And I se it every day, people taking major choices about their future, based not on their will or interrest, but on what "the crowd" (friends, parents, the norm) does.

    I've also learned that insight is the most powerfull tool that one can posess.
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    Mar 3 2013: I've learned to appreciate my struggles in life because I believe there's something beautiful in struggle. If I didn't have challenges in life I might never have learned to appreciate the small things in life that I think most Americans take for granted such as being able to shower regularly, having a home to come back to and not having to worry about where you're going to sleep at night, or knowing that you have a healthy body complete with two arms and legs to get you to places you need to be.There's beauty in struggle because at that point where we feel weak and helpless some inner part of us that we never knew we had emerges from the depths of our soul and pushes us to grow.
  • Feb 27 2013: I have learned that the most difficult moments in life--the experiences that cause you to hit rock bottom and lose faith in the world and yourself-- are the opportunities that build appreciation for tenacious character and strength. We learn early in life that the world isn't fair but when you learn to accept that shit happens and sometimes justice cannot be guaranteed, you lose the need to worry or get anxious. This is when you start to re-focus your energy on how to better prepare yourself for the next hurdle.

    There are a lot of self-motivation books, websites and blogs, but until you experience the need to talk yourself through life's simple tasks like getting out of bed, eating a meal or attempting to make appointments for things you used to enjoy, those words just go in one ear and out the other. Don't wait to build yourself mentally or physically because one day you'll appreciate the strength you've built over time.
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      Feb 27 2013: Wise words April....don't wait until we hit rock bottom to start building our emotional and physical strength. I am grateful for the fact that I started building, way before hitting rock bottom, so I had some resources to draw from.
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    Feb 27 2013: I have learned that I am who I am, and that no one else, no matter how well intentioned can know what I must do to be true to myself. It is easy to say, but not so easy to live. Being true to yourself is not necessarily being selfish either, it is doing things that I know to be most important for personal growth and integrity. It is often not easy, and may seem contrary to others.
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    Feb 24 2013: As a teacher, the most amazing thing that I have learned, and continue to learn every year, is that the mind of a child is more amazing than the entire night sky full of stars. On the heels of that, I also have learned/will keep learning that I wouldn't trade the teacher's life for all the money on Wall Street.
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    Feb 24 2013: The most important thing I learned on my own was that I can learn on my own.
    Today, more than every we need to be resigned to being "life long learners."
    This does not mean that we can be content to merely learn through imitating others. We need to commit to knowing what we are passionate about and pursuing at with vigor, and also remaining open to other interesting and engaging ideas. We can learn on our own and must continue to do so. Saying "I can't" or "I don't know how" is a "learned disability" we need to overcome.
  • Feb 24 2013: I've learned that quitting something can be just as satisfying as accomplishing something.
  • Feb 24 2013: I learn to calm down myself peacefully in meditation.I have done it everyday for three years .I learn to love people around me with my heart.I learn to think quietely.I learn to see things in facts.I learn to reflect myself everyday.
  • Mar 19 2013: Good question.....
    1. Most of the things we do, say, or believe are culturally programmed into us....they are not original thoughts
    2. The Ego settles too quickly & easily for simplistic explanations.
    3. If we understand a problem, we do not need the solution, the answer will come out of it, for they are not separate.
    (J.K.)

    -Learn from that which has no thing to gain...........nature is a good start
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    Mar 17 2013: I learned how to cure my husband of the horrible effects of type 2 diabetes by reading books, watching you tube. After 20 years of suffering with the complications of diabetes, In 2003, on my program he came off of 43 units of insulin a day, eliminated severe, debilitating neuropathy in both his feet that limited his walking to 75 feet, eliminated diuretics, eliminated statin drugs, eliminated Naproxen and Nuerontin for pain and lost 100 pounds - 80 in the first 9 months of the program and 20 more a few years ago. We were at Disney World last May and he walked from 8:30 a.m. until 11:45 p.m. with only a short break in the afternoon which we all needed - best part of that trip was seeing the smile on his face at 11:45 p.m. as he came off the monorail at Disney.

    A Cleveland Clinic doctor who saw us recently looked at my husband and said, "do you know you would be dead by now if it wasn't for Mary's program?" He was so impressed, he made arrangements for us to tell our story to the local NBC channel.

    Dr. Marsh of The Ohio State School of Medicine heard our story and asked us to give the opening remarks to a lecture by Gary Taubes (one of my heroes) author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat. Mr. Taubes was at The Ohio State University at the request of Dr. Marsh.

    I have created a Keynote (Apple for Powerpoint) presentation and go everywhere delivering hope and help to other diabetics. They need to know that through the right knowledge, they can become an empowered patient and a proactive partner with their doctor in their own healthcare.
    • Mar 19 2013: Mary, this is an awesome share. Well done..........It goes to show us it's often not WHAT we know, but WHO we know. Your husband is fortunate to know you. :-)
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        Mar 20 2013: Thanks so much, Scott! I appreciate your kind words. I am blessed to have such a wonderful husband for the past 52 years and I look forward to the next 25 or so together.

        The 20 years when my husband was so very ill from diabetes were not so much fun for either of us but he has been back being himself for the past ten years. We're grateful for all we've been given especially in terms of his good health.
        Mary
  • Mar 17 2013: I learned the Theories and Principals of the Philosophy of Philosophy (PHoPH). It required me to erase all previous education (except math) and acquire 100% thought control. Knowledge is NOT Power, the PHoPH is.
    • Mar 19 2013: If you can share a primary source for PHoPH, I'd mucho appreciate it.....I'm interested
      • Mar 20 2013: The "primary source" is an unfinished book I'm writing. Half history of Men of Letters/Half PHoPH. It all started with "Knowledge, itself, is Power" (which Bacon never said) and has expanded way past knowledge and progressing towards Wisdom and even now Abstract (or Theory). Not new, possibly the first was Leucippus, mostly through Democritus and every prolific Philosopher/Physicist/Inventor that followed. Other definitions exist for the Philosophy of Philosophy (i.e. Meta Philosophy) but I believe mine is quite simplistic. Unfortunately, Philosophy today is franchised to the elite, has missed its only goal, and I have trouble understanding when I have to research EVERY sentence of the "academic" Philosophy of today. I will tell you the 3 Principles I have narrowed down are: Conscious Conscience, Common Unity, and the Wisdom of Wisdom (or Theory of Theories). Knowledge, itself, is Empowering. Wisdom itself is Powerful. Wisdom, within itself, is Power. Philosophy has 3 goals:Peace and I forget the other two.
        It is not complicated, the ancients were pretty close, we have only complicated or misunderstood the gifts. I take a wide, but not deep, swath looking for what is profound whether it is Epicurus, Jesus (of Philosophy), Lord Kames, Dr. Franklin, Samuel Clemens, (non Physics) Albert Einstein, or Dr. King. Newer discoveries like Dalai Lama and Paulo Coelho or "obscure" ones like John Lennon or Al McGwire.
        This book, 'Theorum Philosophiae Principia Philosophia: Conscia Consciencia Commenum Unitatem' is not likely a "TED book", but I have others that may fit like 'Analogica Transferum', 'Paradoxes and Pandoras Boxes' and "Chain of Conscious Series": Reason beyond Perception, Logic beyond Reason, Wisdom beyond Logic, Theory beyond Wisdom, and Faith beyond Wisdom. Any guidance for newer member of TED would be appreciated. I will be fighting an uphill battle due to my lack of high school diploma, but the future is how you see it. I see a challenge.
  • Mar 13 2013: The most important thing I've learned on my own is that the most effective teaching is self-teaching.
  • Mar 8 2013: The most important thing I've learned on my own and that I think everyone needs to learn on their own is how to learn. Learning how to learn, allows you to remain flexible. Problem-solving, and learning are the most important things in life.
    • Mar 20 2013: Read to Read, Read to Live, Read to Learn, Live to Read, Live to Live, Live to Learn, Learn to Read, Learn to Live, Learn (how) to Learn. This is how I originally summarized the Philosophy of Philosophy. To learn is to know and knowledge is power, was the thought process. Knowledge of Knowledge, or Knowledge, within itself, is Power. But beyond Knowledge/Logic is Wisdom. Philosophy defined is "love of wisdom" and therefor the Wisdom of Wisdom is more pure. Beyond Wisdom is Abstract and Faith. Abstract (or Theory) is imagining things that are not known to us and can be verified in truth or falsified, anything else is Faith. The true power is in the Theory of Theory, but this is not possible if you do not first Learn how to Learn.
  • Mar 8 2013: The important thing I learned on my own was that I could make things happen for myself and that I could trust in my decision making process.
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    Mar 6 2013: I learned Spanish online. I searched the youtube videos and some other web sites to learn. Also some friends helped me. i'm not very good yet, but i'm doing my best.
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    Mar 5 2013: "Learning by my own" is the most important thing I've learn by my own. When you learn that, you can learn anything else.
  • Feb 26 2013: When I was young my mother wanted a small landing and set of stairs built from the back of the house. Growing up without a father sometimes can prove to be cruel. Of course I didn't have a clue as to how to begin. I was ridiculed very harshly. Much later in life I built a large deck by myself complete with two sets of stairs onto the back of my home after reading a book from the library. Stairs are fairly complicated if you are to create the most comfortable (safe) ratio of rise and run while making them level too. I'd like to hug the man that wrote that book. God bless him.
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    Feb 25 2013: I taught myself about the basic fundamentals of herbalism and integrative nutrition by reading online resources, talking with various practitioners, and experimenting with my own self-care treatments. It is crucial for me to be an active participant in my own health care. I feel empowered because I have knowledge and a lifestyle that enables me to feel better, manage stress, and heal without solely depending on doctors and medicines with side-effects and sometimes toxic ingredients.
  • Feb 25 2013: 1. After experiencing racism from people who did not know any better, I learnt to stop being racist and start treating people the way I wanted to be treated.

    2. I've become more forgiving and learnt that not holding on to past feelings is the best way to heal ones self. Everyone's bound to their own circumstances, those that act 'wrongly' do so cause they know no better (karma).

    3. After experiencing healing through the angels, I have become a strong supporter of helping others heal too. We all do need external help as science is limited to the evolution of the human mind.
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    Feb 24 2013: I've learned to play the bass guitar with printouts from the internet and cd's. I have no formal education on the matter and have and am still grooming my own style.
  • Feb 23 2013: I've learnt that intelligence is not determined by what you know, but how much you are willing to learn.
  • Feb 23 2013: That people are remarkably similar the only real thing that 'seperates you from me' are your experiences in life.

    This train of thought leads to many many other ideas.
  • Mar 18 2013: 1) The value of a good coach to guide you 2) The value of being Nice to others - if you want the world to be nice to you 3) If you are to be a good at swimming, you have to get in the pool and swim (regularly and with focus)
  • Mar 17 2013: I learned I have always had the answers to every one of my life's greatest questions. I only needed to be still long enough to listen to myself. I shouldn't be afraid to hear my inner voice. Its the idle chatter which fills the void I must muddle through.
  • Mar 17 2013: Starting a life on my own at quite a young age made me go through experiences which were not always positive and easy to get through but I believe are very valuable lessons, because they somehow build up an 'immune system' against potential obstacles and events I might face with fear in future, or end up getting out of them hurt and demoralized. All these social, intellectual and spiritual experiences go in parallel with the increase in the number of responsibilities one person gains with a life on his/her own. So basically, the most important thing I have learnt is that although living on my own fills me with happiness, pride and the feeling of self-gratitude and self-sufficiency, it also keeps the parameters of responsibility of my actions very high, putting my moral values and future at stake - because only my actions determine the flow and shape of my life.
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    Mar 13 2013: What is the most important thing you've learned on your own?

    I have learned that...who I am..
  • Mar 11 2013: I learned the value of education by dropping out of college. After years of working I discovered how much I wanted to think and learn, how empty I felt without using my mind. I decided to go back and study education. Had I not dropped out, I don't think I would have found what makes me happy.
  • Mar 10 2013: The value of self expression as a TED member has been an interesting learning experience. Posting on TED was not easy for me. I had to work at it because it required that I would say what I thought publicly at least to the TED community. It was a new challenge and required making observations about things, taking a position, or another focus on the importance of something, etc., but it soon it became unexpectedly rewarding via a credit, or interesting reply, thumbs up, etc.

    Most of us do not push ourselves enough to learn and be all that we can be. TED tends to attract individuals who have studied specific fields of knowledge, and/or are engaged professionally. They provide TED TALKS as well as contribute to the reexamination and/or accounting for certain presumptions, claims, etc., which characterizes the posted comments and discussion in response to a given TALK. So these Talks and Responses have expanded my world by becoming more involved in what's going on all around me.

    The value of expressing myself is not without a few scars, but these scars have been instructive for the most part motivating and challenging me to measure up.
  • Mar 10 2013: To be my Self ( capital S here )
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    Mar 10 2013: I learned Italian on my own, by watching (/listening to) Italian TV shows (or dubbed films) for a limited amount of time 5 days a week for a number of years (about 5). Gradually I started reading books and newspapers and eventually added Italian as one of the official languages I use as a conference interpreter (C language). Eventually, I also participated in the relevant language exam of the Greek Ministry of Education, which I passed (highest level available).
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    Mar 10 2013: I have learned Adobe Illustrator by trying, failing and looking at tutorials. I am studying to become a copywriter and no one in my class got why I put so much time into learning it. But now I can present my work in the best possible way, and I'm getting better as I go.
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    Mar 7 2013: I learned (from an Anthony Robbins self-help book, no less) to identify my core values and to hold myself to them. Guiding myself by those values made working through the most difficult problems so much easier - not necessarily easy, but easier. When I look back on my history of decision making, the only regrets I've had are when I didn't stick to those values.
  • Mar 6 2013: After a childhood of knowing soup only came from cans, I learned how to cook on my own, from scratch, when I lived in Russia. There was minimal processed food, so if I wanted chicken soup, I need to buy a chicken, finish plucking it, and figure out how to make soup using only a pot and a heating element. From this experience, I gained a love of cooking, experimenting with cooking, and attempting to figure out how to make food "the hard way" (or the fun way!).
  • Mar 6 2013: i learned that everybody is bias on some level and the only way to have true empathy is to understand (at least somewhat) where these people are coming from and if more people had this idea the would would be a much kinder place
  • Mar 5 2013: 1. I started an NGO by myself, and this was something that happened by just thinking about it.
    2. I learnt that rather than talking about how others became successful, I should just do what I am capable of doing.
    3. I learnt that most successful people are college dropouts. No point in studying books. I think one should study Life.
    • Mar 10 2013: "3. I learnt that most successful people are college dropouts. No point in studying books. I think one should study Life."

      How are you defining "successful?" If it's monetarily, then I think your statistics are off. While there are certainly a notable few who have found monetary success without completing (or attending college), the lions share of successful people do in fact have college degrees.
  • Mar 4 2013: I've developed an effective leadership style that centers on the value of intrinsic rewards by making all of the members of my work group and their contributions feel appreciated, which makes them want to do everything well.

    No one teaches you how to deal with disappointment. ...Figured that one out all by myself.

    I've learned to be my own harshest critic.
  • Mar 3 2013: I learned to understand the rate at which I remember things. In school some things "come easy", and others do not. The things that "came easy' were formulas and things which I no longer study. When I raised my tolerance for learning, I became willing and patient to learn things I may not be 100% enthusiastic about, but say 80%, which is still just as great a reason to take the time to learn
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    Mar 3 2013: Let's see... 'learning' is a big meaningful word for me since I'm a mother and a teacher . So far (because I never stop learning) I've learned that 'learning' something means getting entirely involved, it means doing it, it means getting into the roles of an investigator, an artist, a listener, a chef, a therapist.... into whatever role that may help you to explore all you need to know about something or someone. I've learned as much from children as from adults, age is not a condition, it's their different views of life that teach you different things, It can be bad experiences or good ones, but you always learn from both.
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    Mar 3 2013: That most important things are learnt always on my own.
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    Mar 2 2013: My education is mainly based on me locking myself in a room with the thing I want to learn for hours on end, day after day. Easily, the most important thing I taught myself was, and will always be, philosophy. Nearly everything in one's life boils down to philosophy. With a clear view and an understanding mind, one is able to make the best choices.
  • Feb 27 2013: There are four primary guides in my life

    1 Make family a priority

    2 Identify your windows: These are things that as part of your life, put you "en-joy". E.g. windows are my windows, sailing is my window, hiking is a window, gardening is a window, engaging in meaningful dialogue is my Window (btw I Love TED these conversation speak for themselves, not sure why I waited so long to engage here) etc.

    3 Commit to being happy: Identify 10 things that make you happy; promise yourself each day you will do at least one of them; you will spend the rest of your life being happy

    4 my daily affirmation: Give me the Determination to Persevere and the Perseverance to Endure

    So for me there is on "most important thing" We are too complex to assume (obviously I speak for myself) that only one thing deserves that designation as "the" most important. That would also preclude that in life as my journey continues, nothing else will be more important.
  • Feb 27 2013: Following my intuition, I learnt to listen to my soul and that took me to learn more physical things, like taking photos!
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    Feb 26 2013: well, when i think about learning something..there are many things that we learn in our life,... the most important thing i have learned on my own is how to live ! Life is so beautiful and it would be the way u want if you learn how to live!
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    Feb 26 2013: I created an "impossible to be" image of the perfect moral self and I try to be like this person, which is how most religions appear to pitch their god(s), so, in essence, a God is in all of us and we are all Gods. Just my opinion, but I allow myself to be called wrong, which would be the human part of me, I think.
  • Feb 25 2013: The most important thing that I have learned on my own is to 'do' rather than contemplate.

    Set a goal..the smaller the better..And just from the moment I decide it,I should start thinking and working on it. It can be anything-making sure that the dress I have to wear for a party is ready on time,that I take prescribed medicines regularly,that the dance skit I am preparing should be done well,schedule and do my studies in an organised fashion..I must really highlight these things in my mind and say to myself-it is important I respect it and try to do it well.

    The MOST important thing underlying all these different activities is the fact that all of them should be seen as a part of my 'Karma'-things that I am supposed to do. I shouldn't feel a huge sense of achievement after doing them. Doing the things I do properly should become a routine. Like I eat,I bathe daily,they should be taken as chores that are part of my daily life.

    Also,I must clearly see the end goal and form a connection with it. For ex-while preparing the dance,I must really visualise the entire thing on stage and want from the deepest bottom for it to go well.
  • Feb 24 2013: I really appreciate your thought of 'learning things by your own''......3 things which I would like to share are :
    * I learned to work hard towards society ......to get noticed by god......
    * Face it.....don't fear it.........is a live example to explore urself
    * Today is a gift.......that's y it is present....!!!!!.......believe in self and become creator....
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    Feb 23 2013: I've learned that the inner self is far more important than the outer. The outer is just a protective shell which although sometimes necessary and case hardened, needs to be opened up occasionally to reveal genuine truths about me, about others and our correct place in the greater scheme of things.
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    Feb 23 2013: I've learned that life is a journey... it can never be copied or planned. It comes and shocks you to death; it may twist your arm til you scream but in the end, it's all up to you if you're going to sob and cry because of the pain or wipe the tears away and move on with your injured self :')
  • Feb 23 2013: I've learned that living with a injured spine which is getting worse by the month, and could put me in a wheelchair within 5 years, the list of things to do grows daily.

    Ive learned that if i can imagine, assemble, devise it in my head, then its most likely possible to do if planned correctly.

    I've learned that you only fail when you give up on trying
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    Feb 22 2013: Jordan,
    One important thing I've learned on my own, and figured out all by myself, is how to live alone and be content:>)

    I had never lived alone in my life.....going from home of origin, to cohabitating with room-mates...to marriage and children. When I divorced after 24 years of marriage, the kids were in college and not living at home, I was diagnosed with cancer, and a month later sustained a near fatal head injury.....my mother and father died within that time frame as well. I felt very alone, which did not feel comfortable at first, and I learned to like it a LOT!
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      Gail .

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      Feb 23 2013: Wow! Impressive. I admire you.
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        Feb 23 2013: I admire you too TED Lover! What doesn't kill us makes us stronger? I've read LOTS of your comments, so I know that you have faced and continue to face challenges:>)
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      Mar 8 2013: Hey Colleen.
      As always ausum really really ausum.
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        Mar 8 2013: Hey Chetan...always nice to connect with you:>)

        Life is life, and we can make it "ausum"......or not. I learned when I was young, to let go of frustration and discontent, and do my best to move through challenges. I may feel emotionally and/ or physically hurt, confused, frustrated, and have a "poor me" attitude for a minute, then I move on. Holding onto those feelings simply uses energy that I can use in a more productive way.....learning. It's good to experience all the feelings, determine what we CAN and CANNOT do about it, and move on....learning, growing and evolving with all of the life adventures:>)
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    Feb 22 2013: As an artist I've spent most my life in discovery and RnD. I didn't go to college, having a natural "talent", but did study on my own the techniques of other artists and spent hours, if not years, observing the world around me to figure out how things work and to emulate and apply aspects of what I observed to my work. I would often take on projects that required knowledge I didn't yet possess in order to learn more.

    But the most important thing I learned on my own was to except nothing I was told on face value and to learn the truth of things myself. I have always questioned everything….well, ever since finding out the truth of Santa Claus...
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    Mar 22 2013: And that the truth will not necessarily set you free. Sometimes it may put others in jail.
  • Mar 22 2013: give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. teach a man to fish and he'll become dependent on your instruction.

    i learned this a long time ago but wasn't completely aware of it until recently. the best teachers never taught me anything (and especially never told me anything) but rather created situations and set tasks and restrictions where i could not but learn and increase my skills and potential in order to achieve them.
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      Mar 22 2013: "Tell me - and I'll forget
      Show me - and I'll remember
      Let me act - and I'll understand"

      Confucius

      Funny thing being that I actually remembered that quote when being told...
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    Mar 22 2013: that you need to come to your own conclusions.

    that you need to make up your own mind.

    disregard any advice that does not agree with what you are aiming for.
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    Mar 22 2013: You can't have everything.

    If you work hard and make sacrifices, you can earn the chance to have one thing.

    But that one thing can be anything.
  • Mar 22 2013: On 19th Oct 1994, I experienced God and God's love, which made anything of this world unimportant. I learned that
    there is no hell but only Love, which is God's permanent state. Furthermore, it is arrogant of us to think we are
    that important in the whole universe to be able to effect the perfection that is God.
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    Mar 21 2013: I have learned to Seek first to understand and then be understood.

    I have learned to be patient, it will be okay.

    Miracles happen.
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    Mar 20 2013: I have learned how to unlearn and quiet the mind. I have also learned that I am perfect and am in the process of unlearning all the information and reasons given to me of why I am imperfect.
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    Mar 20 2013: That life doesn't turn out as perfect as one idealizes it would in ones youth. Though imperfect, embracing both one's and other's mistakes, misunderstandings and missteps with grace fosters an often surprising and full life. Gratefulness for this full life mixed with a bit of vulnerability toward others invites further opportunities to be surprised and experience more fullness in life.
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    Mar 19 2013: I have learned to heal naturally without using any of the drugs we are told to use. It made no sense to heal with a drug when nothing in the drug solves a problem. Those lessons, have now been used to help others. It all started with one hypothesis: others are doing, but does it make sense? Michael .
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    Mar 17 2013: that I possess ( we all do) an intrinsic and unique authenticity and that living from, speaking from that in a way that is turned outward to the world , to serving life, to serving humanity) is what brings me the best vibes
  • Mar 17 2013: I learned to take care of my own shit when I worked for Doctors without Borders in Rwanda in 1996 as a 'professional guest'. The core teams provide the structure but are not staff or servants and I had to work that out for myself and deal with little food sources when I went ahead on a project and was on my own. I wanted to complain and remind the organization of the promises made to me - driver, photocopier, printer, accommodation etc. but I worked out that I shouldn't. I lived in a desecrated monestry in a monk's cell until the 'team' caught me up. I drove my own landrover. I used two nightwatchmen (one with a degree in philosophy and the with one in economics) to translate my psychosocial course into French during the night in exchange for the use of my computer during the day when I was teaching the course. I got some out of date sardines from Kigali, lived on wonderful avocados and the priests cooked me bread I was allowed to eat chinese food in the chinese hotel for the road builders every four days so, all in all, I survived and gained some self esteem.
  • Mar 17 2013: I can change.
  • Mar 17 2013: I'd say I learned about what Jiddu Krisnamurti would probably call a "profoundly sick society," and thus found a better path than the one I was on.
    (So, 'thank you,' Messrs. Constantine, Martinson, Adams; and 'danke schön' Dr. Baurmann, et al. for opening some important windows for me!)
    Hopefully I will find much much more valuable lessons & truths within, for me and many others; as I have no doubt that much damage has been glossed-over and concealed.
    • Mar 19 2013: Gmorning Steve. Enjoyed reading your reply. I wanted to share this Krishnamurti resource online....It's all of his books in PDF form. You may already know about it. Who have you been reading lately....if you do not mind me asking?
      http://www.messagefrommasters.com/Ebooks/Jiddu-Krishnamurti-Books.htm
      • Mar 20 2013: Thank you for the link! That's a lot more than I guessed there'd be.
        Right now I'm trying to read Marietta McCarty's "Little Big Minds" - about how to teach children how to philosophize.
        And I'm always trying to keep an eye on Stan Tenen's work.
        (And what/who are you reading, if not Krishnamurti?)
  • Mar 16 2013: I've learned that no one would be charge of developing my potentials.

    Family, friends, colleagues, and teachers......

    They tell you what to do or what you ought to be,

    but they can never know what your real potential is unless they are "you".

    Ultimately, I'm on my own.

    If I miss an opportunity, then I literally miss a chance no matter how many times others say to you that it's okay. Sometimes they don’t realize how crucial it is to take a chance because it happens to be your chance, not their chance.

    If you are to ignore one of your precious potentials because your parents tell you not to pursue your career in accordance with that kind of talent, then you just ignore it no matter what your parents think about your choice to be “reasonable”.

    I've also realized it's really important to be aware of this "truth(I'd like to call it that way)".

    No one's ever told me this, but I feel lucky to know now that I can no longer be passive toward my future.

    That’s what healthy tension all about(between you and others’ expectation)
  • Mar 14 2013: The most important piece of knowledge I gained without being told about it was reading the Wikipedia page on "Post hoc ergo propter hoc". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc
    I don't remeber exactly how I got to the page, I just kept opening things I found interesting in new tabs and all of a sudden I read the explanation for that particular fallacy. I clearly remember the feeling of understanding everything so much better, feeling like my mind had just opened up. That lead me to read about fallacies, to learn how to debate people and not fall into traps and finding scientific skepticism.
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    Mar 14 2013: 1. Walk your own journy
    2. Never stop, keep moving
    3. Don't give up
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    Mar 14 2013: How to survive in a paradox of an opened mind! You can't get that on Wiki!
    • Mar 19 2013: Im interested in an elaboration of the paradox......if you've got time. Thankee. S
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        Mar 19 2013: The understanding between what is logic and what is common sense and trying to accept both points of view as creditable argument. The survival of the human debate within oneself of good and evil, pro and con, for and against, right and wrong, win and lose, etc, and keeping your sanity, if you can explain sane. It's such an enigma! It's fun to debate on subject matter with others, but defining yourself from the debate within is a great achievement. It is what makes you, you! The greatest thing I ever learned is to be myself!
  • Mar 14 2013: It took 60 years but what I have learned is not to sweat the small things. Pick your battles. Not everything is worth getting upset/angry about.
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    Mar 14 2013: Awful things happen in a beautiful world. One does not negate the other. It is so.
  • Mar 12 2013: The most important thing Ive learned by myself is how to raise my children. Its like building a plane whilst you fly it. Offcourse I havent done it all by myself, Ive had lots of helt and support from relatives and spouse and most of all by my children themselves. I dont belive in solitare learning. It all happens in a social environment. AND Ive learnt how to play a Banjo with the support of YouTube and all the exellent teachers there ! :)
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    Mar 11 2013: My faith and what makes me human.
  • Mar 10 2013: photography, music,writing....my highest skills
  • Mar 10 2013: I have learned to make vehicle prototypes on my own at the age of 7. I initially started with mud / clay from near by water stream then from Notebook 's thick Covers and gradually from Wood and Sheet Metal.
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    Mar 8 2013: you can search for spanish song of Enrique Iglesias
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LlFnLls6T0
    you are welcome :)
  • Mar 6 2013: Playing guitar. I picked a song and I don't stop until I learned all the chords-positions and played it from start to end. Then I realize I could use the same chords positions to play others songs. It was great. I even recorded my original music. :)
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    Mar 5 2013: To believe in the goodness of humanity. By considering the motives, I could see how no one is really motivated by pure evilness, there is always a reason for our actions... a good reason! This has given me so much patience, peace of mind and helped me make peace with myself. I am a good person yo! hahahaha
  • Mar 5 2013: 1. I learned that "everything lies within and not outside" .So act according to your instincts
    2.There is only one Love which is eternal and that is love for yourself.
    3.Nothing is invincible and everything has an end if it started.
  • Mar 5 2013: 1. I used to watch my grandma crochet when I was really small. When I was pregnant I finally took up crocheting by watching youtube videos and reading books. Strangely enough some images of my grandma holding her thread and her work came back to me to help me learn the craft.
    2. I count this as one of my biggest successes - I learnt to write a whole program to convert images to different file formats - and I didn't know the programming language to begin with. Based on conversations I heard in class and borrowing from my experience programming in other languages, I was able to write the whole program. Took the whole class by surprise!
    3. But I feel like the most learning I have done on my own is on the emotional side. I have learnt by observing people around me, through my experiences and sometimes through books a number of important lessons like learning to get up after a big fall, the importance of empathy in life, realizing how blessed I really am and not complaining about the little things I don't get....the list goes on!
  • Mar 4 2013: I've learned that I have a lot to learn.
  • Mar 4 2013: I've taught myself how to use most forms of technology through trial and error. Actually, just a lot of error - ha! In fact, the most difficult way to learn had always been by trying to read the manuals (who writes those, anyway?!). By paying attention to the general characteristics of most, you can pretty much figure them all out.
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    Mar 3 2013: i learned how to respect my parents and never raise my voice in-front of them and always seek for there acceptance
    second i learned everything in the area of maintenance of computer by my own , i just try
    finally , i learned to take responsibility bout my own action , and try to always tell the truth
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    Mar 3 2013: To be tolerant. To be patient. To listen. To help. To be optimist. To make a fair use of time. Not to be afraid. Not to be negative. Not to be dangerous.. . To be human.
  • Mar 3 2013: I'm cheating (I've learned you don't have to follow rules just because they are "rules"...heh) so i'm giving another example of what important things I've learned... and that is
    You* have the power to be happy. To stop worrying. To not be depressed.
    That power is a magical switch you possess that you either haven't realized yet or you FORGET when you are stressed or anxious or depressed.

    It is related to another thing i firmly believe: you make your own destiny.

    If you KNOW you can flip that switch and DECIDE to not be depressed, REALIZE you don't have to be, and MAKE IT SO (for me, it's being creative - making something, or helping someone else, etc) you can become that which you wish to be.

    As for worry - i make it a point never to waste time worrying about something i can't change by worrying. If the situation requires action, ACT. If the situation requires patience and waiting for something else to occur, then for godsakes don't fret. Get on with your happy busy life!


    *unless you're chemically or clinically depressed or something, which i honestly don't have the answers for, but I would at least attempt "my" solution because it couldn't do you any harm, right?
  • Mar 3 2013: It doesn't matter if someone tells me something or not... i usually have to find things out on my own.

    I guess the most valuable lesson is to RTFM

    I can't believe I used to write and edit software manuals - including some of the first Microsoft Word manuals, the manual for the precursor to Apple's Final Cut, the Photoshop 4 manual, etc. and never actually *read* a manual to learn something —really learn something— until deciding to drop the engine out of one of my motorcycles and put it into another. THAT was an experience I still treasure.
  • Mar 3 2013: I've learned that money doesn't always equal happiness. Cheesy, I know, but it's really changed me as a person. When I started college, I had every intention of going to law school because, hey, if I make a lot of money I'll have the means to get to do what will make me happy, right? Nope. Hell no. As I went through my first semester, I realized that the med school/law/engineering kids really didn't like what they were doing at all, but were doing it to be able to make lots of money after graduation. They were some of the saddest people I'd met. Coming hot off the heels of a nasty parental divorce and a fight with my dad on Christmas Day, plus a terrible first semester, I knew that I couldn't keep living like that. My dad had given me this mindset that if I didn't make lots of money, I would be miserable and homeless forever. Well, f*** him. F*** him, f*** that awful mindset, and f*** what everyone else thought. I was going to be happy come hell or high water, and I can say that since that fight last Christmas, I've never been happier. I've switched majors to Journalism (which I also love, but for a different reason) as a sort of fallback while I work on developing my renewed interest in making and writing music. The worst moments really are the most important ones after all.
    Reading this over, I guess that's actually what I learned out of all this....strange.
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    Mar 3 2013: I learned to make friends and spread love and care so that i will make every one happy
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    Mar 3 2013: Connection is the most important thing in the universe. Be it art or love or philosophy or science or nature or friendship or literature or conversation or music or tea or meditation or compassion or understanding or industry or...well it hardly matters which, and what these mean for each person I can hardly say; discovering who and what to connect with, and how and why, and to what degree and to what end is different for each person. It is, however, the one certain thing we all share, the path we voyage, and that which gives meaning and context to the lives we lead.
  • Mar 2 2013: Human interaction.
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    Mar 1 2013: I learned how to survive. I don't believe anyone can teach you how to survive until you are placed in a position to tap into it. I learned this by going to jail.
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    Feb 26 2013: I don't know which is most important as a number of things fit together

    but two things - to question naked assertions, especially when made by those in authority, and to realize that much of what we believe is arbitrary and shaped by the circumstances of where and when we were born and is often not supportable upon examination.

    One result was dropping of religion around the age of 12 or 13. No sophisticated philosophical musings or deep understanding of science was needed.

    I doubt I came to this totally on my own...
  • Feb 25 2013: Three words, not three sentences: From my mistakes.
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    Feb 24 2013: How to think critically and solve technical problems is probably the most important skill set I've acquired on my own, and this was primarily enabled by my having a personal computer when I was in elementary school (late 1970's) with which I could write programs in the BASIC language. Self-learning requires a feedback loop where the learner can evaulate the effectiveness of what they've learned and make corrections based on the results, and computer programming offers this in spades (e.g. if there's a mistake anywhere, the program won't run the way you intend).

    There are more profound lessons in life I've learned by way of personal experiences, but I cannot truly say I learned them "on my own" because in most cases the lessons were offered to me by others and it just took me a long time to recognize the wisdom of what they were trying to teach me.
  • Feb 24 2013: I have learned that time and death are the only things that really belong to us, everything else can be taken away.
    There is no point in fearing death because our soul was never really alive (it's good!!)
    I learned that what you fake, you become!
  • Feb 24 2013: Enduring meaningful perspectives don't have a voice . Hell is on Earth, I should know. I have been there for sure. Heaven is when you can say 'I have enough' . To have a family , true friends, food, money, good health and live freely without fear.. That is a blessing..
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    Feb 24 2013: 1. There's no "Justice" in this world. This statement almost always satisfies my soul.

    2. 2 arguments won't go to results, "Political" and "Religious", due to dogma.

    3. The U.S. Government does not care about Iranian people, no matter how many times they say so, because obviously their sanctions are hurting "Iraninan people" , not the governmet. I just wonder why they repeatedly say " We support Iranian people.".
    ------------------------------ Edit ---------------------------------------
    By the way, it seems that my post is getting longer than the conversation itself :D. I didn't know my post will bring this much reaction!!! Thank you all!
    • Feb 24 2013: You must've had a hard time growing up... and the world is truelly sorry for that... It was never our intent to harm other people... We're just trying to fix it such that there is "Justice" again.
      But it's hard to do :(

      I hope you will (soon) find that there is more love in the world than hate.
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        Feb 24 2013: Look Richard, I don't exacly get it which one of my 3 sentences you are talking about.

        Yes, I've had a hard time growing up seeing a 15-year-old Iranian boy who had a special disease DIED due to lack of "medicine", due to sanctions of a country which has used atomic bomb ALREADY ( in Japan during the WW2 ). P.S. ( Don't think of me as a supporter of this regime, read my profile and you'll understand! ).

        I've got a lot to say, but don't want to mind you. Good luck.
        • Feb 24 2013: Thank you for not wanting to trouble me...
          You seem to be a truelly beautiful person. (not because you don't want to trouble me but as a general feeling I get when I read your posts)

          As to which of the sentences I replied: "none of them".
          I replied to the pain/frustration and love that I can read in them.

          I wish you all the best and I hope that someday you can wake up untroubled by all these things... and that you can find the beauty that is within you (although possibly it is covered with a few layers of pain and frustration).
      • Feb 24 2013: Hi Richard

        "It was never our intent to harm other people" ... I agree with this statement based on Individually thinking and completely disagree based on collective thinking.

        Ernesto Che Guevara was trying to fix that injustice, what was happening then?
        What's happened with Marthin Luther King jr? he didnt stood for revolution, he stood for justice and unification, didn't he? (let the world be sorry for the countries who can't fix justice in their own home, before they think of fixing someone else's)

        as he, Che Guevera, believed, that you can't make a revolution without a gunshot, I do believe it too, (because not even Gandhi could avoid 1000s of innocent deaths) ... but I also believe the way Nelson Mandela brought Revolution / UNIFICATION in his own country...

        Iranians have got one of the oldest culture and surely civilisation was born in that area (country). there is something in that country that US wants, and invasion in that country could be the maddest mistake human race ever could commit. Thanks to re-elected President the world will be in "peace" another 4 years.
        • Feb 24 2013: Then perhaps all people should stop collective thinking and individually see that hurting people is a bad thing.
          We should protect those who are being hurt rather than killing the ones that hurt others.
      • Feb 24 2013: today's world is already based on individual thinking...

        every country thinks about itself.
        every organisation think about its benefit
        every company thinks about its profit
        every team thinks about its own winning
        ........
        shall I go on?
        (I have got so many young friends, who spent so many hours by their own in front of computer they don't know how to behave in a group)

        and maybe that is the reason the world is in this shape /state / situation.
        if we could only learn how to communicate with each other through our needs /feelings (not wants) we might have got the greatest planet in universe.

        over 2000 years ago, the Gladiators knew the power of unity, (If they stayed together they would survive, if they fought as individual, they would die)

        Welcome to today's world of INDIVIDUALISM (where we do not gain anything, but destroy many things)
        • Feb 25 2013: you: ""It was never our intent to harm other people" ... I agree with this statement based on Individually thinking and completely disagree based on collective thinking."
          my logical conclusion would be "collective thinking lead to intentionally harm people.
          you: "Welcome to today's world of INDIVIDUALISM (where we do not gain anything, but destroy many things) ".

          So collectively we hurt people... and individually we're assholes.
          Nice world you have there.

          You're right that people should be behind their computers less and interact more... but your conclusions are somewhat one sided it seems (aka "we're doomed!!").
        • Feb 25 2013: 1 I learned many things by my self. For example, I quit school at the age of 14. Then I learned all the high-school and college mathematics by myself. Later on, I got directly into a graduate program and earned a PhD in sort of applied mathematics (i.e. mathematical statistics).in 6 years.
          2. I could mentally work out the answer of a product of two 4 digit numbers without pen and pencil like a demo in a TED talk, after I had learned the solution of the algebraic formula for (a+b). (c+d), after I went through my last middle school class.
          3. I will use this sentence to answer one of Mr. Nazarian's comment. The rude and emotional hostility of the young people in social interaction is precisely THE RESULT OF THEIR LONG EXPOSURE TO THE INTERNET ON THE COMPUTER. So this "new knowledge" , if you treat it as such, is analogous to these youngsters "being told" by the others on the internet they engaged in all day. Therefore I wouldn't treat such new knowledge as learned "without being told by others".
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        Feb 25 2013: Well, we are here to learn something new ( I've already learnt a lot just and just with this conversation ) and get some ideas ;) . There's no point in arguing, it's the discussion that will go to results.

        Thank you very much Richard, thanks for your kind prays ;)
      • Feb 25 2013: hi Richard

        I haven't created this "nice" world, (I was worn in it). it have been growing like this since Industrial revolution. unfortunately this is the only time of the world's history that we (you and me included) are going to leave this world in such a mess for next generation.

        without doubt we are doomed, here I may sound pessimist, but true to be told this is the bitter reality.

        cheers
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      Feb 24 2013: Dear Sajjad,
      As one U.S. citizen... I say....I'm sorry for your experience, and I sincerely hope that with your move from Iran (I read your profile), you may find peace. My thoughts and love are with you.
      Colleen
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        Feb 24 2013: Ms. Steen,

        You definitely do NOT have to and must NOT be sorry, I said the U.S. "government", not the U.S. people. I have a lot of American friends and all of them are so kind and very nice. And you are indeed one of those American people I'm addressing.

        And what a fabulous pray, " I hope you move from Iran.". Thank you very much for such a nice sentence.
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          Feb 24 2013: Thank you Sajjad.
          I am aware that you said the U.S. government, and as U.S citizens, we are all part of our government....our government is a reflection of us to a certain extent.

          I am really glad that you seperate at least some of the people from the government. Many U.S. citizens are NOT in favor of war, and are genuinely trying to change some policies by being more aware of our government and the poor decisions that are sometimes made. I'm happy that you know american people who are kind and nice, and I am grateful you put me in that group:>)

          To clarify....I didn't write "I hope you move from Iran".

          I wrote..."I sincerely hope that WITH your move from Iran....you may find peace."
          Your profile says..."Soon, I will be outta Iran". I got the impression that you are leaving Iran?

          I am sorry about war, destruction, violence, abuse and discontect in our world.
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          Feb 24 2013: That is GREAT Edwin....thanks for posting the link. I'm glad I learned about that, and the importance of TED in our global community continues to be reinforced. What do you think about it Sajjad?
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        Feb 24 2013: Well, I'm planning to go abroad, but there are A LOT OF obstacles for Iranians "nowadays" to overcome.
        From economic CHAOS to visa obstacles... that's a long story. Therefore, you cannot at any time plan something while you're in Iran. There were many people whose visas were REJECTED! just because one day!!!, a group of "special" people!!! decided to hijack the England's embassy!!!

        Years of planning to go abroad were just vanished in a matter of days :D . In fact, the good thing in Iran that we have is that we would never run out of funny things to laugh at :D .

        Anyway, my best wishes and positive thoughts for you.
        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        I don't know how to answer your comment ZX, thank you very much for your advice.
        In fact, I'm planning to go to Finland. I just mentioned the example of England for you to feel how it's like to plan while you're in Iran :D. Good luck.
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          Feb 24 2013: I have confidence that you will navigate the obstacles Sajjad. I don't think/feel your plan to go abroad has "vanished".....maybe put on hold?

          Thank you so much for your wishes and positive thoughts. Laughter is good medicine, and I've always believed that if I can find humor in challenge and chaos, it helps me move through the challenge. That is ANOTHER very important thing I've learned, and sometimes had to practice on my own:>)

          "Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused" LOL:>)

          Best to you too my friend, and I sincerely hope that wherever you are in our world, you stay connected with TED:>)
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        Feb 24 2013: Yes, I was very happy that TEDx was hold a few months ago in Tehran, though I was not able to participate.

        I will definitely keep in touch with TED ;)

        Good luck.
    • Feb 25 2013: Sajjad,

      what stops you from starting a conversation?

      make sure not to get too political ( as it is against TED terms )

      Cheers
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        Feb 25 2013: Well, I don't have a nice idea to start a conversation.

        Even if I, for example, start a conversation about my 3rd sentence, then what? :D

        I'm convinced that the poeple cannot influence the policies or decisions their government make.( Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how it is "here" :D ).

        However, your idea will be appreciated and I will definitely think about it if you have a nice one.
        • Feb 25 2013: Sajjad

          You don't have to be a genius to come up with an idea...

          you ask questions, start debates, and the members who will participate, will share their opinion... TED is a place to learn and share, because in all human interactions there is something Give-Take (in one word - SHARE) and it is one of the ways to LEARN.

          and that may lead you to understand what others think about XYZ , their opinion may affect on your thinking (if you are so opened up to new / different thoughts)

          eventually every one is involved in a topic where SHARING is happening. every one learns, every one wins... we all are learner here.

          Thanks
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        Feb 25 2013: You're indeed right. I will think about it a while to come up with a nice idea and then start a nice conversation. Thanks for broadening my horizons ;).
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      Feb 26 2013: ....

      I agee.

      the following TEDx clip may seem naive and irrelevant to many, but I liked it quite a lot, and recommend it. For me it is a reminder (which I am proud that I don't happen to need) that many people in any given country do not identify with their so-called leaders. I see you made that distinction.

      http://www.ted.com/talks/israel_and_iran_a_love_story.html
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        Feb 26 2013: I've seen that video Peter and had enjoyed watching it ;)

        Thanks for recommending such a nice video ;).
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    Feb 24 2013: respecting other`s point of views is the most important thing I`ve learned till now.But I`ve learnd a sweeeet lesson while i was looking for happiness that i want to share it with u : [ Make people happy then u will find a big source of happiness which never ends ! :)]
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    Feb 22 2013: Reasoning about new situations and applying combinations of tools to new problems tends to be an independent adventure, regardless of the person or field. It is difficult to give accurate credit to those who offered our original formal education and informal education, who steered us to experiences purposely or accidentally, and so forth.

    Do you include reading as not being told or as being told? One area in which I had no formal coursework in my early education was psychology, which I approached only through reading (when I rented a converted garage from a psychiatrist and a therapist who stored all their books in my space). I have learned more also about healthy cities through my own efforts than I have in formal education.

    Teachers and parents almost always learn more about teaching and parenting by doing them than they do from instruction in the requisite skills. I am so pleased with what I have been able to do in both those areas.
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      Feb 23 2013: Fritzie,
      I would say that reading is "being told", because we are getting the information from somewhere outside our "self"?

      I love your story....renting a converted garage from a psychiatrist/therapist who stored all their books in your space. Looks synchronistic to me!

      I always loved, and continue to love, observing human behaviors (including my own).....from the time I was a wee little lass. As I got older, I was drawn to psychology and read/researched/studied a LOT about it on my own. I then applied the information to practical life experiences while volunteering with large populations under different circumstances.

      Although I already contributed my "most important thing you've learned on your own" on this thread, I have to say that learning to observe has been very important in my life adventure as well.....thanks for the reminder:>)
  • Feb 22 2013: One of the most important things I have learned alone, is to depend on myself.
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    Feb 22 2013: Well. hopefully you will not be offended if I point out that reading a book and/or watching youtube to learn something is in fact being told how to by another person….just sayin(giggle)
    • Feb 22 2013: Funny I also thought the same thing.

      I would probably then have to include the many recipes I have invented in my kitchen.
      One of my faves......making expresso, letting it cool, then adding some of it to Ben and Jerry's vanilla ice cream......you have never tasted coffee ice cream like that before...yumm:)
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        Feb 22 2013: Seattle's Best has an Ice Cream and coffee shake thingy that sounds similar to your discovery and is also oh so yummy...
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    Mar 22 2013: Probably the following:
    That it's ok to criticise concepts, ideas and philosophies, that's it's not ok to criticise people because they have them.

    That getting rid of confirmation bias and being open might get you somewhere.

    That combination of logic, rationality and humanism can help everybody as long as those things are not used to hurt anybody.

    That the best book ever written so far is wikipedia because it keeps changing thanks to collective effort and controll.

    That these are really interesting times.
    Isn't there an old Chinese curse? "May you live in interesting times?" It may be a curse or maybe a blessing when you realise that anything's possible.
  • Mar 22 2013: I think the most important thing to success is a good habbit.A good habbit could make me thing out something in an way of myself and only to be myself,I could do my best to do everything .
  • Mar 22 2013: That you should be careful what you wish for!
  • Mar 22 2013: Perhaps not a very important bit of information but an invaluable lesson. I think I was in fifth grade or thereabouts (too many years ago) when building a project for my Mom and using a mathematical ratio, found this unique number, 3.14, or so. Had no idea of its significance or name for several years but did come back and use it again and again.
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    Mar 21 2013: genius is the universe downloading its insights, knowledge and know how to one of us, be you a conduit for a Musical expression, good as welling up from within, while on the other hand , let all the disparaging impute synthesize through the music you make and generally being educated from within, answering your own questions when another's were met with resistance while you are going with the flow , albeit in slow motion and consciously

    to fix without putting another on the spot , be charmingly disarming to where no one would think to harm you

    we are all speaking of one and the same universe, and we are all let see it in our own right and we are all hear to live and share our storyes to enrich one another's sense of creation and life's manifest on earth
  • Mar 21 2013: Technically, it is impossible to "learn something on your own". Everything learned is learned from experience with another person, or something that another person wrote, or something made by another person. Figuring something out, like say a cure for migraine, is not so much of "learning" as more discovering that certain binaural tones work with branches of the trigeminal nerve in the brain in order to essentially turn of the nerve branch that emits migraine pain and auras; or to put it simply, that objects work with other objects in order to produce or inhibit an action.
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    Mar 21 2013: How passing down knowledge without any reserve creates gratitude and admiration between teachers and students, masters and pupils. And this reverberates, the most knowledge you pass down or receive.
  • Mar 21 2013: The ability to research on the internet.

    Most of the time I prefer asking the internet over talking to non experts or discussing a topic that actually has a solution. I've wasted so many time discussing a topic with a simple answer that each of us could have found in a matter of seconds on the web.

    That way I learned that the victor of a discussion is not always right.
  • Mar 20 2013: Since I was a child my mum encouraged me to be whoever I wanted to be and my father has always said I have to search for my own selfhood.

    Parents usally tell you how to live, but it seems they have left that task to me. That is quite a task!!!

    At the beggining I used to blame them for the mistakes in my life, since they never gave me any advice on how to lead my life.

    I am OK with it now and I actually got to do what I wanted to do and to think what I wanted to think. How did I do it? Thanks to the curiosity that has invaded my mind and the goals that I have set to myself!

    My dad now says: "how dull it would be for you to be like me". The amazing thing is that he is a great person, but he encouraged me to be myself.
  • Mar 20 2013: trust everybody and never trust.....
  • Mar 20 2013: I have learned that teaching strengthen my personality.
  • Mar 20 2013: I learned how to use the web and with in, everything is possibile. For English I still working.... ^_^
  • Mar 18 2013: I learned that if you want something bad enough you will always be able to achieve it. There is no excuse for not having what you want in life and if you don't it's because you never tried hard enough. "Grab life before life grabs you."
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    Mar 18 2013: All possible words have been said and written. It's up to us to find them and make them our own.
  • Mar 17 2013: Knowledge could become a liability if it is not practically applied. Work towards gaining knowledge only when we can practically apply the same (and earn some money).

    Carefully handle knowledge as it would make us less adventurous at times.
  • Mar 16 2013: When shit hits the fan, stay calm. Work at a slow, deliberate and smooth pace. That is how you work fast.
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    Mar 16 2013: The world today is crap. Much of music is crap, people are crap, self love is important, what self-respect is, if people had self-respect they wouldn't make some of the stupid choices they make, only you know who you are, pass the message that only you know who you are to my children, less kids would suffer from being bullied if they had loving parents that could help them cope with it, only have kids when you're ready, everybody's different, expect the worse pray for the best, empathy, if people loved themselves they wouldn't let crazy things happen to them, them mind is the most powerful thing, trust no one, so many other places in the world have it worse than many Americans so I shouldn't blow a gasket when little things don't go my way, and life is a beautiful thing but some people try and make it seem as if it isn't.
    Also to think in other people's shoes.
    Some really long sentences.
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    Mar 15 2013: never let anyone stop you
    inspire others this will reflect on your soul and help you to be more and more powerful
    during your work make sure that work is your future so do it to live peacefully
  • Mar 14 2013: One, I reasoned in my teens that all gods are a matter of individual perception and therefore no one prays to any one of them which has any real validity. Secondly, the answer to racism, ethnicism, agism, sexism, prejudice and bias is that every person is both unique and has an individual dynamic capacity to grow neurology to accommodate the challenges they place on their minds.

    And sentence number three: the thing we call cyberspace does not yet exist--technology is sophisticated enough to deliver a cyberspace (or secondary plane of human discourse with adjusted conventionalizations of time) but no one actually works on the civil engineering, much less the political decorum of cyberspace itself (unless I include myself). (addendum, cyberspace is an extremely promising concept, but it is used as a buzzword which has resulted in misperception that we have achieved this metaphor. We are not even close with the "search engine" and "web site" models we have primitively deployed so far. There is room for astonishing and world-changing design in mass communications and if I may be so bold, I personally know where billions are to be made that are lying exposed before eyes and minds untrained to notice.)
  • Mar 14 2013: More relevant to business... But find a very good solicitor and an even better accountant. Never quibble at paying for the best!
  • Mar 14 2013: - One thing I learned to make by myself is vanilla and chocolate pudding. Following the instructions did not help! P.S. I'm not exactly the most passionate cook, which is why this is quite an achievement for me :)
    - One thing I figured out myself in life is the lesson power of failures, as opposed to successes...
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    Mar 14 2013: How to keep myself happy always?
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    Mar 13 2013: Never do shopping without planning...
  • Mar 12 2013: One of the most important things that I have learned myself is that we all see the world differently, but our perception of what we see is the same.
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    Mar 12 2013: The most important thing that I have learnt is that nothing comes easily on your way, you need to practice for all the things. You need to be creative. So this is the biggest and most important thing that I've learnt so far. And it is helping me a lot.
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    Mar 12 2013: The most important thing I have learnt myself is that whatever you do in life you will just synthesise happiness, and as long as you remain a "satisfier" you will always be "content". (Maybe happiness is the wrong word in this case) And that many intuitions about happiness are wrong, and until we start testing them we will never get anywhere. Learnt from reading many books and own experience :)
  • Mar 12 2013: The most important thing I've learned on my own. True, deep fulfillment comes from giving up the desire to be loved and replacing it with the desire to love. To look up and out, not inwards, brings joy. And always, always dream BIGGER than you can ever accomplish on your own.
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    Mar 12 2013: I learned the value of happiness. I learned that no matter how many people are around you, the relationship you have with yourself is more important. I've learned that expressing your feelings can be done in so many creative ways, you don't need words.
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    Mar 12 2013: I learned what my purpose in life is. I understand it as being a very personal journey for which no one can show you the way. I have learned many things about myself and how my mind works only thanks to much, much reflection of my own virtues and faults.
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    Mar 11 2013: Playing chess
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    Mar 10 2013: Trust in your instincts.
    Most often we ignore our first impressions of something or someone only to regret it later.
    When something doesn’t make sense, we should learn not to accept it even if it originated from a trustworthy source.
    In such a case you should endeavor to make it your own by dissecting it in every conceivable way until it makes sense, otherwise discard it.
  • Mar 10 2013: I learned that there was no such thing as God. I learned that human beings are capable of intense intellectual and cognitive dissonance as far as reality goes. I learned that reality is not so easily determined as one might think.
  • Mar 10 2013: When we first learn, all does not seem easy, It takes time, persistence, patience and fighting spirit, as well as favorable conditions. However, that's all, which will result in ease forward. If you wish, can visit http://www.programpsikotes.com/soal-psikotes.php , Maybe there is a little inspiration and motivation. Before and after, thank you for your trust.
  • Mar 9 2013: On my own, I learnt that nothing is ever easy when you first start, it may take time, courage, patience and many other things but it will become easier.
  • Mar 8 2013: Well someone did make those youtube videos.... but math comes pretty natural. Of course I did learn the core concepts from someone else... I guess the most important thing that I learned without being shown is don't trust other people's claims if they have no support behind them
  • Mar 8 2013: Since March 2003, I have been able to discover during daily 12 to 16-hour sessions of consistent integrated high-powered thought, for example:
    (1) Individualism - Indivisible Dualism of "Heaven (Theory, lit. GodCraft) & Earth (Practice) - is the only "ism" in existence.
    (2) People (personified ideas) are like trees, receiving everything they require without "struggle", for they have no instrument to focus on "evil" (error, mistakes, problems) and a UNIQUE cherry tree does not try to give advice to the oak tree on how to bear acorns.
    (3) The point for our physical existence on earth is to OVERCOME (not "endure", but come again with thoughts from above, the highest common denominator) death here & now, while still alive. No one else can overcome our own death for us.

    The basis for these is contained in the world's #1 Mandatory Instruction Manual for timeless 4th-Layer wisdom (lit. white field; error-free realm) and perfect book (Ivan Panin; KJV & ASV only).
  • Mar 8 2013: I've learned how to determine whether or not something (or someone) truly makes me happy. This is trickier than you would expect! Myself included, we love to divulge in self reprimanding, boring existences; break free my friends!
  • Mar 5 2013: I learned how easy it is to say yes to your kids. And how hard it is to say no. And the consequences of never saying no
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    Mar 4 2013: I learned that

    1. nobody can change stuff I want to change but me and that the outcome of things I really want to do once I do them is totally worth the hardship it involved

    2. dont wait for anybody, I can do things on my own or start them on my own. no biggie.

    3. family keeps people down to earth. it s like a mirror to your conscience and people who do not have families of any kind are missing out on an incredible bond and everything beautiful that family represents and offers
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    Mar 4 2013: Anything in life that misunderstands human nature is bound to fail
  • Mar 4 2013: The biggest thing I remember realizing as a young adult that ultimately changed the way I viewed the world around me (as well as myself), was that my parents are people too. I saw them more for the people they were rather than who they were to me. Learning this made me change the way I treated them, and in turn how I treated other people. I became accountable for my actions, my words, and the effects they had on others. I learned that everyone, everywhere has a story that you don't know, and have had a life that you can never understand the details of. So be compassionate; be kind.
  • Mar 4 2013: I've learned that the main reason that I can not learn a foreign language well is not the language itself. It is my thought that prevents me from improving it. So now, I decide to read more books, absorbed in more knowledge.
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    Mar 4 2013: That failure is a big lesson of life which I have to embrace. I discovered on my own that it is not the end of the world when it happens, just the opposite. I have been long dreading the concept of being wrong and failing, but after I failed at a very important task of mine, a couple of days later I felt that HUGE amount of pressure going away. I realized: fear was holding me back to a degree that I wouldnt call that 'life'. I conquered that task of mine since then, but learned a much more important lesson: to be brave, and follow my heart. As... nothing bad could happen. Nothing, I wouldnt be able to deal with.
  • Mar 3 2013: One of the most valuable things I've learned is the ability to control my feelings. That's right- how to control my feelings. I witness countless people seemingly at the mercy of their emotions to the immense hurt and damage to others and to themselves. Many people don't realize that they are in complete control of whether they hate or love; whether they forgive or do not forgive; whether they react explosively or behave in a controlled, purposeful manner.
    I used to expend too much energy feeling hurt by something that happened years ago. Drawing upon the memories of my past painful experiences fueled a sorrow which was embedded in mere selfishness. Ongoing sorrow and bitterness is extremely selfish.
    When I realized that I can choose to feel any way that I want about my past, my present and even my future, I was liberated in a way that felt honest and powerful. In a way, I am no longer at the mercy of other people's intentions or behaviors or at the mercy of my memories.
    I choose to forgive, even when it would seem appropriate to hold a grudge. The greatest example of this is when Jesus Christ (assuming one believes in Him) chose not to rain down horrible wrath upon those who were spitting in His face. He chose silence when He could have thundered terror in their faces and screamed His cause. He chose humility and gentleness in the face of much personal violence done in a very public arena.
    Albeit, He had a bigger picture in mind. A purpose greater than suffering for the sake of suffering alone. For Him, the Salvation of many, was a greater cause than the comfort of One. His suffering was not wasted. And so, I choose to not waste the sufferings of my past. I choose to spend them for a greater purpose than to waste them for sorrow's sake.
    Having been shown much forgiveness, I understand its great value. Having suffered much abuse, so I choose to forgive. The peace that is left in the wake of forgiveness is greater than any injustice of my past.
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    Mar 1 2013: austrian economics. i have two sentences left. this is the last.
  • Mar 1 2013: TOTALLY seconding Chris. And might I suggest Sugata Mitra's Hole in the Wall talk (LIFT 2007), which shows how we are wired to learn together (at least from ages 8-13). We get worse at it after that, despite the fact collaborative learning is a stronger form (otherwise schools probably are superfluous, which Sir Ken Robinson might not be suprised to hear... both his talks are great)
  • Mar 1 2013: Learnt Knowledge is power only you are paid for it; Knowledge is a liability if one is not paid for it
    If I have knowledge but do not have a job where it is respected - then I am at a disadvantage compared to the person who has no knowledge.
    I have found Sitting Still / Idle (keeping mouth shut) is a talent needed as an Employee.
  • Feb 25 2013: You can never learn less
  • Feb 23 2013: that the blame culture exists in every job role no matter where you work or who you are. i learned on my own to collect sea glass from a child right through to my current age and make interesting mirrors for my friends.
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    Feb 23 2013: . Hi, TED lover,
    Thank you very much again!
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    Gail .

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    Feb 23 2013: I have learned much by myself, but it all relates to who and what I am. I learned how to overcome my emotions, how to manifest my reality, how to defrag my belief-set, how to play the piano, how to draw with charcoals, how to love learning, how to decorate beautifully, how to give accurate psychic readings, how to be a great mother and trusted friend to children, how to climb out of a self-made hell, how to read, how to use a computer, and probably much more. I do love learning.
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    Feb 23 2013: I've learnt without being told that there are no guarantees or failure-proof formula in life; there are many principles and rules at work, but there are exception to all rules.

    Life is a personal experience; and you'll only know within you if you've found fufillment.
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    Feb 23 2013: I learned webpage development and blogging applications by just trial and error. I am a slow learner and it took about 3 years but I got it alright. I am not sure if it was the most important thing but I enjoyed the process immensely.
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    Feb 23 2013: .
    I learned the invalid (ineffective) happiness in my retired age.

    It has changed my outlook on life.
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      Gail .

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      Feb 23 2013: May I suggest that you are trying to say:

      I learned (during retirement) what happiness really is.
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    Feb 22 2013: Very tough to think of the most important thing. In truth, it feels like most of my important skills were taught to me with care by someone else, and all the clearest memories that come to mind of figuring it out on my own are pretty mundane -- fixing a broken zipper, getting from point A to point B in a foreign city, assembling a piece of furniture. But what's cool about those memories is that having done it myself is so much more important than what the task actually accomplished.
    • Feb 22 2013: I think the sense of accomplishment in undertaking tasks alone, and then succeeding is so rewarding.
      It is really what we as parents should try to instill in our children. After all, we don't want them to always try to depend on others for every single thing.