A job well done, satisfies the soul. Such was the past week for me. I am a builder. I derive a lot of pleasure from seeing the results of my efforts. For the most part, this is a common thread that runs through my life. I am not good at idling my engines, and very few have had the opportunity to see me lying in the sun, on a beach. Walking the path that leads to the mountain is just as satisfying as reaching the summit. This I value, more and more, after too many years of only living for the summit.
One day, long ago, a co-worker said to me, “Paul, give yourself a pat on the back, once in a while, you’re doing a great job, and you need to know it as well.” I immediately understood what he had said, and I still remember his words to this very day. Today, I focus more on the journey, and a lot less on standing on the summit. This has made my journeys more fulfilling and happier. A two-minute stay on a summit, or a few days of ecstacy, after winning the gold medal, or the championship trophy, are all moments we aspire to.
It should never be forgotten that these fleeting moments are only achieved after years and years of dedicated, sustained effort. 99.9% of your time will be spent to reach the summit. Simple math leaves you 0.1% left to enjoy the view from the summit. This is why I focus all my efforts now on the path to get there. The journey is always challenging, and the path can be long and treacherous. Ask anyone who has accomplished a major goal in their life. We all need goals. Goals are destinations. Where would a ship leaving a port sail to, if it had no destination? We spend most of our lives on the path to get “there”, so why not learn to enjoy all that it has to offer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that, “Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” Enthusiasm is not something that falls out of the sky, like rain and snow, it is a seed we carry inside of us, the more we water it, the more it grows. Without it, little can be produced and few dreams are realized. The summit is a very small part of the mountain. Once on the summit, the way from there, … is down, into the valleys again, only to plan a path to the next summit. Most of our lives are spend in the valleys, hence the need to appreciate and value our time there.
I am a vigorous proponent of self-education. I believe that educating oneself is a major responsibility that each individual must undertake. You must educate yourself. No one, except your parents will do this for you in your early years. If you miss out on this important duty, your life will be forever lost in shadows and miseries. Perhaps you mistakenly believed that it was the purpose of the schools to educate you. It is not their purpose, and if you still believe this, give your head the proverbial shake.
John Taylor Gatto, in his book, Dumbing us Down, writes this, “Schools are intended to produce…formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled. To a very great extent schools succeed in doing this, but…in a national order in which the only ”successful” people are independent, self-reliant, confident, and individualistic…the products of schooling are…irrelevant. Well-schooled people are irrelevant. They can sell film and razor blades, push paper and talk on telephones, or sit mindlessly before a flickering computer terminal, but as human beings they are useless. Useless to others and useless to themselves.”
Adding to John Taylor Gatto’s interpretation of modern education is Noam Chomsky. This is an extract from his book, Understanding Power.
“…given the external power structure of the society in which they function, the institutional role of the schools for the most part is just to train people for obedience and conformity, and to make them controllable and indoctrinated.”
Almost all of my formal education taught me how to become an obedient sheep. Many of my classmates turned out to be obedient sheeple as well. What a waste, for active and energetic young bodies and minds. Lucky for me, my parents introduced me to the world of books, early. This in large part, help me to resist being corralled and shorned so often. As soon as I saw an opening in the gate, I was gone.
If you have young children, teach them how to read. If you are reader, read more. Read books that you don’t normally read. See how other people live. Every coin has 2 sides and, an edge. Don’t forget the edge. At the end of the day, ALL education is self-education. No one should be more concerned about your education than YOU!
If you believe that school system is designed to educate you, you may still be stuck in that pen with the other sheep. Baa … baa … baa
The years roll by quickly, don’t waste them.