Partner School Stories

Love of Learning: Lifelong Success

By Joey Pagano

It’s important for us to realize we can learn important lessons from others’ experiences and expertise — and that doing so is a strength of character. Because if we assume we can only learn from our personal experiences, then it will take us a long time to learn anything. The Positivity Project (P2) is trying to teach America’s youth this concept through the character strength love of learning.

(Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash)

As P2 explains, “Love of learning means that you master new skills and topics on your own or in school. Those with a love of learning are intrinsically motivated and engaged in a topic regardless of achieving an external standard. They enjoy learning simply for the sake of learning.”

Moreover, P2 promotes the idea that people who enjoy learning tend to be happier than those who don’t. This roots from the idea that when we love learning, we buy into the idea that we are students of life, hence are more confident in our ability to overcome challenges.

Even so, in order to overcome an obstacle, we first have to learn from it. But is it possible to learn from a hurdle you’ve never encountered?

Sure, it is. And this is why I love learning about others. Whether you’re reading a book, skimming this article, watching a movie, or listening to the radio, you can learn something valuable. And, I just began to realize how impactful this can be.

For example, I love sports. Although I’ve been routinely watching ESPN for the majority of my life, I didn’t become fully invested in the “30-for-30” series until recently, partially because of the mindset I had about shows like that.

Documentaries used to bore to me, but I have recently learned the value they can have. “30-for-30” resonates with me not only because I love sports, but also because of what I can learn from it. Each episode is about a different athlete and their life, making every part of the series valuable in some way.

When I think of the episodes, the one about Christian Laettner stands out. The Duke basketball legend carried an infectious attitude with him onto the court, and I admire that. He wasn’t the most popular person because of how he presented himself, but didn’t care and continued to do his thing.

Though I don’t encourage how he responded to fans from time-to-time, I enjoyed learning about his love of the game and the confidence he played with. Ever since, I have taken pride in believing in myself no matter what outside forces say and have constantly reminded myself to be passionate about everything I do.

Each athlete is a unique human being. They have different upbringings and stories about how they arrived at where they are today. This means they all encountered different struggles and frustrations along their journeys.

Even if it seems like they have problems that have nothing to do with my life, I have been forcing myself to take something away from their stories. Doing so has allowed me to improve my life based on theirs and has made me see the importance of seeing things from different perspectives — and continuing to learn about others as well as myself.

Joey Pagano
Student, Syracuse University

Building the Other People Mindset and remembering and emphasizing its importance is what I aim for day after day. As I continue to pursue a career in journalism and attend the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, I aim to show people that buying into The Positivity Project doesn’t mean you have to be happy and positive all the time, but instead means we have to work together more and build positive relationships. You can also find Joey on Twitter @WheelchairQB_ and at his blog