Why learning from history is cool : Part 1

You might wonder, what history has to do with life improvement or personal development area? Answer is a lot. If we do not learn from our past, we will bound to make same or similar mistakes again and again. If we do not know where we came from, how will we know where to go forward. Learning from our world and society history as well our OWN past, we can learn lot of things that hopefully will enhance our present and future life.

I will be the first to admit it, when I was in school, I disliked history so much. I thought history was such boring subject, mostly due to the fact that we students were forced to memorize dates of each wars, kings and other nations. I could not understand why it was important to memorize the dates then or now. I preferred science, math subjects instead as it has definitive answers and solutions unlike abstractness of history and other like subjects.

However, now as I am older and not forced to remember silly dates, I find that learning from history or our past has become a favorite with me. If you were like me in past, you may wonder what is so cool about learning from our past? As most of us like to live in present time and worry about our future such as retirement, kids, paying off debts, no wonder many of us do not have time or interest in look back in to our own past, let alone world’s history.

I will share with you a few reasons that I think learning from history is cool and why you should give it a try at least once. While history may be not be as exciting as murder mystery, science fiction or powerful technology, it is actually everything rolled in to one. Lot of things in past we thought were truth, we are debunking those as a myth and making a new history and will keep changing until hopefully we will get it right. For example, in past we believed that earth was flat and not round. Here is an interesting article that explores Who invented the idea of flat earth? In modern times like now, there are still a few educated people and scientists still believe that to be true, see here Flat earth society and they show reasons to believe why it flat earth is the truth. I am not here to take sides, but share that history shows many sides to a story and that why it makes an interesting to learn from various theories from our past.

Our history may teaches us contradictory views, or it might show different story based on where you live. For example, in India students are taught that Columbus actually was looking for India for its spices but could not find the place during those early no navigation time and instead he found America and native people who lived here were called red Indians or native Indians for that reasons. Now in US, our history did not mentioned India at all with Columbus’s journey.

This creates a confusion on young minds and adult minds as well. Often time history is written by winners and we may get only one point of view. That is why when we want to learn any history or any subject, try to learn from at least 3-5 different point of view to get best overall knowledge and make up your own judgment on the subject. We will not know the complete truth as we were not present but we still can learn lot from the past to improve our present and future life, not only in global sense but also as personal sense too.

Here are some of the subject we can learn from our earth history:

  • Evolution of life
  • First lives and creation of animal, birds, fishes and human
  • Early religions and progress of current religious and spiritual practices
  • Geography and Map building
  • Early food growing to current state
  • Learning to crops, rain water, clothes, shelter
  • Medical science from its infancy
  • Protection weapons to current milatary gadgets
  • Empires building and collapse
  • Natural disasters and ways to survive those better
  • Diseases and medicines
  • Learning from birds, animals and other life
  • From early star gazing to current space projects
  • From cave living to current multi-story building with heater and Air conditioning
  • Why some culture and language survived and other did not
  • Dinosaurs and other extint animals and preventing future extinction
  • Learning religious and color tolerance from past days
  • Learning for transportation with trials and errors, – Cars, Planes, Trains, Bicycle, Scooter and more
  • Electricity and other modern scientific conveniences such as cooking stoves, fridge and so on
  • Computer, Internet, phone, video phone, and more
  • Creation of languages, spoken and written to communicate

Lot of things we take it for granted, was invented or thought about after much trials and errors from our past ancestors. Without someone inventing an internet, I and you will not be able to blog and share our thoughts.

So, let’s give history another chance and learn from it. In next part, we will take a look at more on why to study history and what type of history lessons to learn and which ones to avoid.

While learning from history lesson may not seem like subject towards life improvement or personal development, I like to think they are closely related.  As if we want to improve our self and our lives, we also need to look in our own past and learn from it. What do you think?

Please click here to check out Why learning from history is cool : Part 2 here.

Click here now to read fun and last part of the history lessons series here Why learning from history is cool: Part 3 .
Image Source: scrapetv.com


About Author: This post is written by Preeti who writes under name of Zengirl on Heart and Mind Blog. She writes articles about self improvement, stress free and slow living and believes in slow blogging.

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I am stay at home with 2 kids, married to my best friend zenguy. I am in to simplifying, slow and sustainable living, I am frugal, love reading, writing and watching romantic movies. I believe in family, friendship and community.

25 comments

  1. Angela Artemis says:

    Preeti,
    I couldn’t agree more. I believe that most historians would plant a big kiss on your forehead for writing this post. History isn’t about remembering dates but for learning from past events.

    Thank you!

  2. Belidna Munoz + The Halfway Point says:

    Hi Preeti, I’m so glad to see a post about the past for a change and not yet another one about the present. I agree. There is so much wisdom we can glean from the past. I think the past gets a bad rap. If we honor our past, we might actually learn to live in the present a little bit better.

  3. Dia says:

    Hi Preeti,

    I’m glad to see geography on your list. A few months ago, I decided that I’m going to learn the capitals of all countries and at the end, I succeeded :) The other points you mentions are true as well. Thanks for sharing

  4. ZenGirl says:

    Angela,

    True, history was never about memorizing dates although it often happens in classes. Now that I am not tested on, I actually like to learn it on my own. For example, I see some movie or read a book, I back it up with my online and other books database to learn more about that event from past. It sure is cool learning for me.

    You’re website moving day already here? Wow, let me better check out.

  5. ZenGirl says:

    Belinda,

    I am glad you liked it. Many of us busy living present life, some time we forget to look back. You are so right about honoring our past, we can live now and future better.

  6. ZenGirl says:

    Dia,

    Geography is another subject that is cool to learn, right now I am starting with History learning.

    Learning capitol of world is neat, Zenguy is good and knows most of capitols.

  7. Betsy Bargain says:

    Zengirl,

    I agree with you that many subjects were not interesting as they were presented in school. Only later, when I could learn about things in my own way, did I come to enjoy certain subjects. As a blogger writing about frugality, I often look to the past for inspiration, as people tended to live frugally back then, whether by necessity or principle. There is definitely a lot that the study of history can teach us about all areas of life!

  8. ZenGirl says:

    Betsy,

    Yes, I remember you posts on other cultures and how they save money. I think learning when we are ready and in way that we can relate, we can learn and retain so much new information, be it any subject like frugality to life improvement. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Marko -- Calm Growth says:

    Hi ZenGirl (or Preeti :))… You have noticed an interesting correlation between history and personal development…
    Here’s how I see it. Method of “trial and error” is one of the most valuable methods of learning. History is full of stories about the “trial and error” so that history gives us great opportunities to learn and grow.

    Great story… Take care…

  10. ZenGirl says:

    Marco,

    You can call me with either name. I also think there is a link between history and personal development so we can learn from past to improve present and future.

    Thanks for liking the story.

  11. Abubakar Jamil says:

    Preeti,

    You touched on an important topic. History is one of the best tools for learning since it is an accumulated human experience that simply can not be replicated and has a huge potential buried inside it for self improvement.

  12. The Dropout Kid says:

    Hey Zen Girl Im back. Check out my new site. But anyways. Great post.

    I think learning is the best way to find out who we are in terms of history. We know not who we are, unless we know where we come from.

  13. ZenGirl says:

    Abubakar,

    You are so right, when we are learning from history, we are learning from thousands and millions of others experiences, trials and errors and that can be very useful if we do it right. Thank you for showing another way to look at it.

  14. ZenGirl says:

    Hi Drop out kid aka Jonathan,

    Welcome back. History is great way to learn from many wise and not so wise’s people life but it does not get full credit as it deserves.

  15. rob white says:

    Hi Preeti,
    This is great. Our relationship with the past is very important. After all, learning from past mis-takes is the only way for us to grow and evolve. We can always learn from the spiritual teachings of 2,500 + years ago. I often find the ancient philosophers say things so perfectly that we do a diservice by trying to say it better… and of course you know all about zen!

  16. ZenGirl says:

    Rob,

    Sometimes I am very impressed with our ancestors as have figured out so many things without the modern technologies of current time. Spiritual, philosophers and religious learning from past is more relevant now than ever, as we are currently live in the most rushed and hurried time and we need more wisdom from past Gurus. Thanks for point that out Rob.

  17. Tess The Bold Life says:

    I agree. I failed history in high school. I aced it in college after listening to the professor say “put your book on the kitchen table where you’ll see it, don’t leave it in your car! It was a reminder for me to study.

    Yes we can always learn from our history both personal and world…and I agree it’s slanted by the person writing it. Open minded is how I learn best.

  18. ZenGirl says:

    Tess,

    Welcome! I disliked memorizing all historical dates for wars and such that I disliked the subject or maybe the way it was taught to me.

    We can learn so much from early culture, countries and people that sometimes it amazes me. History are always written by winner so many of accounts are slanted, nevertheless we can glance back in to past.

  19. Farouk says:

    you are absolutely right, by learning history a person would save himself from making certain mistakes , so instead of learning from his own mistakes he will learn from the mistakes others did

  20. ZenGirl says:

    Farouk,

    History of other people and our own past, we can learn so much. History does not get enough credit it deserves. Thanks for sharing your view here.

  21. Keith Davis says:

    Preeti / Zengirl
    First thing…. what shall we call you? I rather like Zengirl.
    Second thing…. are you telling me that the earth is not flat? LOL
    So what about history… it was always my daughter’s favorite subject. She loved everything about it and is still interested.
    You are right that we can learn so much from history – I watched a TV program recently which looked at some of the lesser known facts about the Great Fire of London. Not the sort of things I was taught at school but it gave life and substance to a long dead event.
    Super post Preeti – lots of hard work gone into it.

  22. ZenGirl says:

    Keith,

    You can surely call me Zengirl. I think of it as a my supergirl persona name!

    I am glad your daughter likes history and learning from it now. It took me quite some time to be interested in learning from history. I learn a lot from history channel and historical book. Interesting thing is my grandfather was a very good novelist and he wrote a few historical based novels, I finally appreciate him now.

    Thanks for your continuous support here.

  23. Sibyl-alternaview says:

    Preeti: Very good point … although I have to admit that I am still having nightmares about some of my history classes :) I do think though that there are lessons to be learned from the past and to see how people cam across discoveries and the insights they had. I also agree with you that it is best to look at several perspectives and then piece together the story to develop your own perspective and insights. Life is all about living and learning and history definitely has a role to play in the lessons we learn today. Great post.

  24. ZenGirl says:

    Sibyl,

    Thank you for liking the post. Even I dreaded history classes and tests in school time. It is recently that I started enjoy learning from history and our past.

    Learning from a few perspectives give us a complete picture of history or other subjects.

Comments are closed.