What I Have Learned: Alan Arkin

atkins bookshelf quotationsOne of Esquire magazine’s most popular column is titled “What I’ve Learned” where people celebrated in their fields — from politics, literature, movies, music, sports, etc. — sit down with a staff writer and share their pearls of wisdom mined from the sea of their life experience. Academy Award winning actor, director and writer Alan Arkin (born 1934) shares what he has learned in life:

What I’ve learned about teaching is to refer back to the root of the word, which is deuce, which means “to pull from.” Education does not mean jamming information into somebody’s head. Rather, it’s that ancient idea that all knowledge is within us; to teach us is to help somebody pull it out of themselves.

If you’re looking outside yourself for substantiation of your own happiness, you’re going to fail.

Marriage requires searing honesty at all costs. I learned that from my third wife.

Children learn from what you are rather than what you tell them. What you try to jam into their heads isn’t going to be worth beans if the way you’re living your life doesn’t look like that.

I read somewhere that some people believe that the entire universe is a matrix of living thought. And I saw, “Man, if that’s not a definition of God, I don’t know what is.

Truth is always unfolding. It’s not an absolute.

I recite the Robert Browning poem to myself all the time. You know the quote? “Grow old along with me!  /  The best is yet to be,   /  The last of life, for which the first was made.” I’m praying it’s going to be true.

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Read related posts: Wisdom of a Grandmother
Wisdom of Tom Shadyac
Wisdom of Morrie Schwartz
The Wisdom of Centenarians

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