What I learned from people

People are everywhere

This may seem like stating the obvious. But think about it… because our society is made up of people – lots of them in some places – we need to acknowledge that getting along with people is an obvious skill we all need. Few can afford to become hermits, or a recluse, and I do not think that this is healthy anyway. We may not love everyone, but we need to get along with everyone. From this I have learned tolerance.

People are demanding

Some people can be demanding on your time, energy and space. Some people have a highly refined habit of being in your face. Constantly. Patience. From these people I have learned patience in huge dollops. And to be less demanding of others myself.

People are generous

I am staggered by how generous people can be. They give of their time, money, skills, love, compassion and heaps more. These people have taught me to be less self-centred. From them I hope I am learning to develop my own spirit of generosity.

People are courageous

I admire people who step out on a shaky limb and try things. They live life. They get on with projects. They go places. They refuse to sit inside their little boxes and have pity parties. They do not say, “It can’t be done.” Instead they shout, “Why not?” I hope I can learn from them to take one brave little step…and then another… and another and…

People are loving

John Lennon captured this thought in the classic Beatles song “All you need is love.” It is a fundamental, basic necessity for everyone. I am so glad for knowing all those people who have taught me unconditional love. They love me for who I am, not what I have done. I am slowly learning from them the wonder of being loving in return.

People are different

Some people are curious. Some people are strange. Some people are wacky. Some people are downright weird. The wonderful thing about this is that it stops boredom; imagine if we were all the same? I have learned from people who are different that this rich tapestry of humankind is endlessly fascinating.

People are people

This is not a nonsense statement. People are not animals. Sometimes individuals are said to behave like an animal. But even the worse offender on the planet is a person. Let us not excuse the deed but let us always keep in mind that behind even the vilest behaviour is a human being. I have learned to respect and admire a select small band of people who are able to touch the untouchable and to love the unlovable. May I learn to be a little like them.

This article was written in response to the challenge given by Robert over at Middle Zone Musings. His Group Writing Projects are becoming legendary. Every contributor writes about the same topic, but that it where the similarity ends.


12 Responses to “What I learned from people”

  1. Thank you Trevor, for a wonderful article on the value of people! I will admit to sometimes feeling a lot like Seinfeld when he said with frustration, “I’ll never understand people!”

    The truth is, understanding comes a bit at a time, like a flower unfolding. If we’re willing to give them the time, for the most part, people can be quite interesting.


  2. Trevor says:

    Very true Robert. With some people it takes time and patience – lots of time and plenty of patience!

    And I am one of those who sometimes prays, “Lord – grant me patience – and I want it right now!”

  3. Beautiful post. I used to feel that most people were the same (and on the internet in particular it’s easy to end up feeling that people in general are rotten), but of late I’ve met so many great folks. You’re never too old to learn how to better deal with the people around you.

  4. Trevor says:

    Well said, Heather – and thanks for the compliment and the comments.

    I sometimes get depressed watching the news and reading the paper and learning of the absolute depravity of some people. And as you point out, the internet is the place where many of them congregate.

    Then I spend time with friends or colleagues or the folk at church and I am uplifted again. When I experience the generosity and love and care and courage of others I am amazed and encouraged. Life then is good, people are great and all is well with my world. Each one of us can do our little bit to make this a better place. We CAN change the world – one kind act at a time.

  5. […] Salvadore Dali, by Amy Palko at Lives Less Ordinary … People, by Trevor Hampel at Trevor’s Writing … Things I have learned from… People, by Sarah Stewart […]

  6. Brad Shorr says:

    Your optimistic attitude is refreshing. We need more of that, because as you say we are inundated with negativity from the media.

  7. Mother Earth says:


    I think tolerance speaks loudly to how we can all approach the variety of characters we meet in these times, my son in 3rd grade should have had tolerance written on his forehead, he was an extrememly bright, smart, creative spirit who didn’t get why he had to be surrounded by those that were non like-minded, needless to say I applaud his teacher who added that word and the concept to his vocabulary

    Mother Earth aka Karen Hanrahan

  8. Trevor says:

    Thanks for your comments Brad. I try to be positive and optimistic but some people and some elements of society can get me down if I allow them to, not just the media. Some people I know are so hard to get along with and it is with them that I really have to work at the relationship.

  9. Trevor says:

    Thank you for visiting and commenting Karen. I too, applaud that teacher (I was an elementary school teacher for 35 years until retirement in 2004. (This week I return to university to do my Masters of Arts in Creative Writing – but I digress).

    I find tolerance such a difficult word and concept. I can tolerate many things and most people – except those I find absolutely intolerable! Ouch! THAT is my weak point. Learning to tolerate my own intolerance is so hard.

  10. […] Salvadore Dali, by Amy Palko at Lives Less Ordinary … People, by Trevor Hampel at Trevor’s Writing … Things I have learned from… People, by Sarah Stewart […]

  11. Pete Aldin says:

    You’ve reminded me of how diverse and rich a world we live in. Thanks, Trevor.

    And this week we met someone who grew up around Mother Theresa – her stories about this “saint” paint a picture of someone who – as you said – “who are able to touch the untouchable and to love the unlovable”

  12. Trevor says:

    Thanks for your comments Pete.

    Knowing and meeting people like her are an inspiration and very humbling because they see the inner beauty of people, they see the true worth of the person and they are never judgmental.

    Oh – how much have I still to learn.