Open and openness are the keys to life and living

A few days ago I wrote a short piece on Facebook and in it I reflected on my anxiety of a few years ago when I retired from public education. I was certain then that my future was bleak. At the time my son said to me, “with your skill set you’re sure to excel.” I was not so sure, but what I’ve discovered in the past three years is that while my skill set is important, even more important is my mindset. Years ago I learned that honesty,¬†open mindedness and willingness were keys to a happy life. Those three simple concepts have been the key to my life. I’m talking about being honest with myself. Taking a good hard look at what I have to offer and not assuming that because of my age and experience that I have nothing more to learn. Quite the opposite in fact. Approaching life with an open mind is key to not only success but also to contentment and longevity. In Chapter 76 of the Tao te Ching this life giving principle is stated succinctly.

The living are soft and yielding;
the dead are rigid and stiff.
Living plants are flexible and tender;
the dead are brittle and dry.

Those who are stiff and rigid
are the disciples of death.
Those who are soft and yielding
are the disciples of life.

The rigid and stiff will be broken.
The soft and yielding will overcome.

Therefore if you seek a long and happy life look to be open and willing. Openness and willingness point to growth. Embrace new ideas and learning. This mindset will keep your mind, soul and body in good health.

Keeping it green

Tomorrow I will be attending a conference on learning. The name of the conference is the “IT Conference.” It means the, “Innovative Teaching Conference.” I’m sure there will be lots of innovators there. I’m going there to listen and learn. That will be my focus to keep an open mind. Learning requires an open mind. Some say the mind works best when it is open like a parachute. Attending conferences is a way for me to keep it green. Keeping it green means being open. All the brainpower in the world is really useless without an open mind. I’m hoping to learn more about project based learning and about iPad integration in classrooms. It will be great too to see so many friends whom I follow on Twitter and Facebook too. I hope I’ll have some new insights by this time tomorrow night.