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Senior Correspondent

"Yesterday I was clever and I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I want to change me." — Rumi

I was an average student in high school, and that's being generous. I did a lot better in college, but that's because as a working student I had the luxury of taking my sweet time and applying what I was learning in my job or in my personal life.

That made my education extremely practical  and I like practical. Since it took me over a decade to earn my degree, I apparently developed the habit of continuous learning. Well, more like an addiction. I just love to learn stuff and put it to use.

After 10-plus years in the classroom as an adult, I chose to take up another form of continuous learning. I enrolled in the school of life, using daily happenings as my curriculum. Still needing a place to apply what I was learning, I set out to change the world. Well, maybe not change "the" world but "my" world. 

Turns out, changing my world was a big job. I soon discovered that it involved changing the beliefs and behaviors of those inhabiting my world  not so easy. I failed miserably at changing other people. The School of Hard Knocks continued to increase its tuition, and I continued to pay. All these great ideas I had for fixing other people, and no takers. Imagine that.

A painfully slow learner at times, I finally arrived at an amazing realization  perhaps I should narrow my focus. Perhaps I should start with myself. I would work on changes that I needed to make. That should be manageable enough, I reasoned.

It certainly wasn't difficult to identify areas in my professional and personal life that needed improvement. There were plenty, and I was up for it. Nothing short of a complete Jeanne transformation would do. But the need for speed got the better of me, and I begin looking for quick results in all the wrong places.

After frustrating myself once again, I eventually learned what I consider to be one of the greatest lessons life has to offer. The great life lesson? Focus on one thing at a time until it is mastered and becomes a habit. The wise tortoise knows. Slow can be fast, and fast can certainly be slow. Just ask the clever rabbit. 

Niece Jackie, puts it this way: one simple, small, sustainable change at a time. I am blessed to be surrounded with wonderful nieces, nephews and many adopted kids. They are excellent teachers, and it's a good thing because I still have so much to learn.

"The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all."  Harry S.Truman

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