10 Things I Must Have On My Learning Epitaph

This life is finite.  Our ability to learn is painfully finite.  Our potential to "learn it all" here is zero.  But given that not all learning is of equal importance, I pose the following questions and offer the following suggestions to guide our learning.

What must I learn before I die?  What lessons would transcend all others?  What must I yearn to see on my personal "learning epitaph?"

I would settle for these 10 things:

1. I learned who I was.

I discovered my identity and attached to it a clear sense of worth and purpose.

2. I learned why I was here.

Through some combination of inspiration and perspiration, I chose to fulfill a clear purpose in life.  Service, contribution, help, improvement and progression imbued my life with meaning.  Learning and establishing my personal purpose made me matchlessly valuable to the world.

3. I learned to love. 

Selflessness, forgiveness, patience, listening and kindness colored my actions even as I incessantly strove to learn.  I loved to learn, but more so, I learned to love.

4. I learned to learn.

I learned to think about learning – the process, the mechanics, the patterns.  I learned to analyze and constructively critique my own thoughts and learning methods.

5. I learned to teach.

Particularly, I mastered the art of inspiring others to do #6

6. I learned to treasure new knowledge.

I discovered that application is the fulfillment of learning.  I clutched new truth close to my intellectual bosom and shared it willingly with others.

7. I learned to record my learning for myself and for others.

I wrote things down!  I left a recorded legacy for others to learn from.

8. I learned to be content.

I learned to let some things go, to understand that I couldn’t have it all, do it all, be everywhere or know everything.  I learned my place.

9. I learned to keep my balance.

With so many plates to spin, I learned how to walk carefully so that all remained in proper harmony.

10. I learned to reach higher.

No matter how much I learned, there was more.  No matter how good I was to others, I knew I could become better.  No matter how much I did, I tried to learn to do more.

May these thoughts inspire you to write and someday fulfill your own learning epitaph.  Though we are born stripped of knowledge, may we someday die clothed with wisdom.  And may others remember us most for how valuable we are because of what we have learned.

Easton Ellsworth
writes about corporate and professional blogging at Business Blog Wire.  He also serves as an associate editor for the Know More Media blog network.  He lives with his family in Mesa, Arizona.


  1. says

    Thanks, Steve. These are just some thoughts to chew on – if we can just leverage the awesome power of our own minds, we can control ourselves to a much greater extent and basically will ourselves to excel to a much greater degree. Easy to say, hard to do. I’m having a hard enough time just trying to get my brain to focus on this instead of what’s for breakfast, that errand I have to run today, the blog post I want to publish later, that person I need to email back, etc.!

  2. says

    Yes, and chew we will when we get a chance. This gets into one of the problems we all face; we have two eyes and two ears and only so much bandwidth to absorb the content that is available and make sense of it. It becomes very important to be aware of the context and focus on that moment, and the content for that moment, and then move on. “Easy to say, hard to do.” It is worth a try.

  3. says

    How Does Your Attitude Affect Your Business Blogging?

    Over at Talking Story I’ve been honored to publish a guest post about learning titled 10 Things I Must Have On My Learning Epitaph. The principles and ideas I discuss in that post might help you refresh your attitude toward…

  4. says

    I read along and the kapow I was faced with the question
    Have I learned how to walk sufficiently in balance to keep the plates spinning and me Ok?
    Answer = Not sure but that’s a good challenge for me.
    Thanks PAL I just LOVE a a challenge (not)
    Oh Alright then I’m challenged!

  5. says

    Everyday I wake up and look forward to the things that I will learn that day and how those experiences play into my teachings. I thank you for giving me much food for thought and inspiring me to keep learning and to keep sharing.

  6. says

    Bravo! I wish I could have made these same realizations at a similar age (not that I’m old, I’m just older!). I’m getting there, and with posts like these it helps me get a little bit closer. Well done Easton.

  7. says

    Thanks, Maria and Starbucker. I ‘ve been impressed with all the posts here this month. Everyone seems really focused on helping others gain new insights. It’s been a privilege to be a part of it.