There is something in this world that is more useful than any other tool and more powerful than any weapon.
This tool can be used to make your life a success and to make your life “easier”. This one tool will make you more competitive, allow you to easily earn more money, and grant you freedom and flexibility.
This same tool is also the most powerful weapon known to mankind.
Yup, you guessed it: Education.
Now, when I say “education,” I’m actually referring to two types of education:
- The piece of paper you earn from a college or university
- Knowledge, understanding, logical thinking, curiosity, future exploration, etc.
The latter is what I’m referring to as the most powerful weapon known to mankind. Free thinking (meaning, not what you’re told to think, but rather, true questioning/thinking) is what dictators and anyone with power fear the most. Why? Because education and questioning is the most powerful weapon.
I mean, look at what Pol Pot did to his own people in Cambodia; he wiped out every educated person in his own country because he knew that the educated would be the ones to most likely overthrow him. The educated people are the most dangerous. Remember that.
I’ll come back to this in a bit…. But now I want to talk about that little piece of paper.
That little piece of paper (known as your degree) is the most useful tool you can acquire. Sure, it’ll take you years to earn it and is about the price of a house nowadays, but it’s definitely worth it! In my mind, there is no question of whether or not someone should go to college – the answer is yes. And I’m not saying to rush into anything. Maybe you need to take a year off to get your bearings straight or maybe you need to change your major nine times, but that is perfectly OK – just do it! For that little piece of paper, is equivalent to your “golden ticket”. No matter where you are, which job you’re applying for, or what salary you’re looking to earn, that piece of paper is crucial.
I’m not saying this is right, wrong, bad, etc. Yes, I believe that 25 years of experience in field should trump someone with a degree straight out of college. But the reality is, it doesn’t. This is life and this is how it is: piece of paper = better life. Better money, more flexibility, more freedom.
I haven’t worked a full-time job since June 2011; that’s when I started being a drifter and traveling around the world. I survive off the money I have and bounce around from place to place. And I never get worried about not having a job because I KNOW that when the time comes of when I want to work again, I’ll get a job with no problems at all. Always have, always will. Why? Because I have a masters degree and that is highly sought after.
I’m not trying to brag by any means… I’m just using myself as an example that with that piece of paper, it doesn’t matter if I travel for the rest of my life and never use it again, or if I decide to get a job tomorrow, at least I will ALWAYS have something to fall back on. No matter how old I am, no matter which country I’m in, no matter how little or how much money I have, etc.
Like I always used to say to my students, “You could go bankrupt and you could lose everything you own. They can take your house, your car, your boat, your dog, etc. But they will NEVER take away your education. Even if they take away the physical piece of paper you have framed on the wall, that is not really your education.”
Note: “They” is whomever (just fill in the blank) – the government, the mafia, your crazy ex, whomever… it doesn’t matter.
So, the moral of the story is to that piece of paper. The majority of people have jobs in areas that are completely different than the areas of their degrees – but they have the career they want because they have pretty much any piece of paper to get them the interview.
Now I want to go back and talk about the other type of education I referred to: true education in the sense that you think for yourself and question everything.
I absolutely loved when my students would ask “why?” Some people get annoyed by this and give cop out responses such as “because that’s just how it is”, “because I said so”, “because that’s the rule and that’s what the textbook says”, etc. Oh man… really?! Those teachers should retire… now.
Here are the reasons why people don’t have answers to the questions you ask:
- They weren’t smart enough to ask the same question themselves when they were young.
- They aren’t smart enough now to come up with the answer.
- They don’t care enough to research the answer later.
As a teacher, I encourage students to not only ask me a question if they are stuck on something, but to also challenge me to prove why something is true. This is good practice for later in life. Do not accept something is true, PROVE IT for yourself.
As a student (of life), I am probably very annoying because I challenge everything. You want to preach to me? Sure, knock yourself out, but back it up and show me proof.
- That snack is healthy? Show me the science and research behind it.
- Your _____ is the cheapest? Show me prices of your competitors.
- Your religion is the only correct one? Oh boy, I’ll have a field day with this one…
I honestly believe that questioning and challenging everything is a great trait to have. Don’t just jump on that bandwagon because all the cool kids are doing it, or because you feel like you should do it because it’ll make your parents happy, or because it’s comfortable, what you’re used to, and less effort to challenge it… THINK FOR YOURSELF!
Think, question, challenge, question some more, and then come up with your OWN conclusion.
But I must throw in one more important note: Challenging and questioning everything that is going on is awesome, but works a lot better if you are educated. You will be taken more seriously and get your point across a lot more effectively if you can speak coherently, write clearly (with correct punctuation and grammar), and can piece together logical arguments instead of having emotional yelling matches.
So again, kids, the moral of the story is to get that piece of paper… and then challenge the piss out of everything and bring out the change in the world that you’d like to see.