A couple years back, just for the fun of it, I picked up Tom Rath’s StrengthsFinder 2.0.
According to the assessment you can take as part of the work, one of my top five strengths is Learner. It’s actually my number two overall strength. (In case you’re interested, the researchers suggest everyone operates from 34 strengths, the top five represent a person’s most prominent strengths.)
So one of the strengths I use, one of the strengths that defines me, is Learner.
Learning for learning’s sake. Not to become an expert. Not to earn letters after my name. Just the drive and desire to know.
I read a fair amount. I love to buy books. I tend to accumulate magazines and articles. I may just skim, but the point is not for me to memorize a text, I am collecting bit and chunks of knowledge. Sometimes a bit or a chunk captures my attention and then I dig in, I explore, I get lost.
But again, the purpose is the simple quest for knowledge. For me, learning is fun. School was/is fun. Discussing ideas is fun. Study and research and the discovery that accompanies them is fun.
Learner is one of my strengths, but I believe those who would follow Christ are called to be learners. Having the attitude of a thirsty for knowledge student is a great way to think about life with Jesus.
My problem is that too often, I fail to do anything with the knowledge I’ve accumulated. Learning for learning’s sake is great, but when do we get to doing for doing’s sake?
Does action follow reflection and/or does reflection follow action? Or are these two forever doomed to lead separate lives?
Knowledge. Knowing. Intellect. Thinking. I’m hopeful these are just my starting points. I’m hopeful they will inform my next steps. I’m hopeful action and doing will follow.
Perhaps the missing link between head (intellect) and hands (service) is the heart (emotion). Perhaps what I most need to learn is compassion and empathy and to identify with the other. Without the emotional pull towards another, I’m in danger of seeing people as projects, needs and statistics, opportunities to love as opportunities to study.
Knowing this is one thing. Learning to practice love is another. Here’s to hoping I can figure out the difference.
Life is better together,
Check out what a few of my friends taking this journey with me think of this word…