Learning

Teach children to speak.

To read.

To write.

Teach them how to think.

NOT what to think.

Teach them to think critically.

Teach them to ask questions.

Show them how to find answers to their questions.

Nurture their curiosity.

Offer them help when they need it.

Then, for heaven’s sake, get out of their way.

I’m not saying they should be allowed to spend all day on social media.  Or playing video games.

Give them supervision.  Make sure they’re learning something.

Make sure they know the skills they’ll actually need as an adult.

Give them the resources they need.

Don’t force them to memorize a bunch of facts, regurgitate them onto a test, then never use them again.

Help them find their talents and grow them.

Let them run around and play when they need to.  They’ll focus better afterwards.

Don’t turn learning into drudgery.

Someone who loves learning will become a lifelong learner and make a great contribution to the world.

Someone who hates learning will become a dullard who never picks up a book again after they finish school.

The School of Hard Knocks

Sometimes I’m thick-headed.

Sometimes I have to be taught a lesson multiple times.

Those lessons can be painful.

Lessons like, “Get to know someone really well before deciding to marry them.”

Or, “Don’t have sex with someone you’re not married to.”

I think I’ve finally learned those lessons now.

I hope so.  They’ve come at a high price.

Empty your cup

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”

– Master Yoda

There’s a famous story that goes something like this:

A skilled martial artist came to Bruce Lee.  He was seeking training and wisdom.

Bruce Lee told him he needed to empty his cup.  The man’s cup was full of his own knowledge.  He would have to empty it first.  Then it could be filled with new, better knowledge.

We have to be open to the possibility of our ideas being wrong.  Otherwise we can’t really learn.  We can’t really change for the better.

I’m wrong a lot.  I might even be wrong about being wrong.

Learn the easy way. Please.

Advice is ultimately autobiography. Don’t listen to people where the advice is coming from a pedestal. That’s how snake oil is created.

James Altucher

He’s younger than me.  Even more foolish.

He hasn’t made the same bad choices.  Not yet.

Maybe he won’t with some helpful advice.

Or some scare tactics.

He’s me.  But younger.

Maybe he’s you, too.

I can’t un-choose my bad choices.

But maybe you can make better ones.

Maybe you can learn what I learned.

Without the pain.