Stoop and Drink
There are some things I think I do pretty well. There are others that need improvement and still others that are probably beyond anything I can help. I picked up golf for a while. How hard could it be, I wondered? I soon learned. It didn’t take long before I was consistently shooting in the lower seventies. Pretty much every hole.

Two people actually gave up working with me to improve my game. Which is okay – I have more time now for doing things less frustrating, like solving the problem of world peace.

I heard of a hotel that has a water fountain in the lobby that is operated by an infra-red beam of light. When a thirsty person wants a drink, she simply bends down and the water automatically turns on. There is a sign above the water cooler that reads, “Stoop and drink.”

What a marvelous parable for a life attitude. Stoop and drink. Especially when we have something to learn, when we want to drink from the fountain of knowledge, we may need to stoop and drink.

Like Albert Einstein. He once arrived in London carrying his violin case. After greeting him, an old friend asked, “You still play the violin, Albert?”

The mathematical genius nodded and said, “Yes, but not very well. My teacher says, ‘The trouble with you, Mr. Einstein, is that you can’t count.’”

He knew that he had much to learn if he were to play the violin well. And he was wise enough to know that he would learn better if could approach it with a sense of humility; he had to stoop in order to drink.

Have you ever skied? Even if you’re an adult, if you’ve never attempted downhill skiing you would do well to begin by taking a lesson on the beginner’s slope. Yes, you may be the only person in the group over four feet tall, and you may also be the only one to slide down the slope backward while little people are whizzing by. Believe me, I know. But you’ll never get the hang of it unless you learn the fundamentals. If you stoop to take a lesson or two, you can leave the bunny slope behind forever.

Author Barbara Sher says something interesting about this approach to learning new things. She says that you “can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.”

I think she’s right. I takes some stooping to approach something new like a beginner. But that is the way we learn best — at any age.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that anybody can teach me, if I let them. Young people and old people, the uneducated and the learned — anyone can be a teacher. But not anyone can be a learner. It takes the right kind of attitude to learn. But if I’m able to stoop, I’ll have plenty to drink.

— Steve Goodier

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