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In a World of Change, The Learners Shall Inherit the Earth
Happy Tuesday, good people! I have an article I’ve just released and it is my shortest, ever (quite an achievement for me, actually). Get it here, or at the end of Today’s Stuff.
ONE FROM THE AGES
China’s most famous philosopher and political theorist, Confucius, on planning for the future:
“If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.”
ONE FROM TODAY
The chess prodigy turned Tai Chi Chuan World Champion, Josh Waitzkin, on how the pursuit of outcomes and fears of failure can cripple us:
“Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety. The hermit crab is a colorful example of a creature that lives by this aspect of the growth process… As the crab gets bigger, it needs to find a more spacious shell. A soft creature that is used to the protection of built-in armor must now (leave its shell and) go out into the world, exposed to predators in all its mushy vulnerability. That learning phase in between shells is where our growth can spring from. Someone stuck with a (fixed mindset) is like an anorexic hermit crab, starving itself so it doesn’t grow to have to find a new shell.
In my experience, successful people shoot for the stars, put their hearts on the line in every battle, and ultimately discover that the lessons learned from the pursuit of excellence mean much more than the immediate trophies and glory. In the long run, painful losses may prove much more valuable than wins….”
Source: The Art of Learning, By Josh Waitzkin
ONE FROM US
School is out! The kids are home and everyone is struggling to figure out how to think about this. I have a million thoughts - here are a few, followed by an article to bring it all together.
Big Picture (the focus of my article today): Learning is essential, perhaps the most essential thing for creating great people and a great life. Just as new breakthroughs compound on themselves opening up portals to more innovations, learning compounds for us. Those who aren’t inclined to learn as a way of being are disadvantaged in every sector of life.
For Parents: This is hard. There is work stress, willpower fatigue from changing habits, and on top of all that, the kids are home all day. Some of you are even adopting the role of homeschool teacher.
First of all, take care of yourself. You know that whole putting the oxygen mask on yourself first thing. Setting a new routine can go a long way. (See 30x30 Program offer at the end)
Second, recognize that your model is far more influential than a couple of months of school could ever be. Do you read, exercise, eat well, ask questions, pick up new skills, take risks, apologize when you’re wrong, laugh, play, and, generally, pursue self-improvement as a way of being? Your example and daily interests can incline your kids to learn for a lifetime - that matters far more than whatever school is missed.
For Teachers: What an amazing opportunity to learn and develop yourself. Kids want to learn from people who want to learn - people who are always relating topics to whatever new idea they are learning. Education tends to be a bit of a static, echo-chamber, so this is a great time to read outside your field.
In my article today, I explore the crazy situation educators and parents currently find themselves in. While quarantined learning isn’t ideal, it may be just what we need to jar us into some necessary reflection.
New article: Why Are We Learning Any of This Anyway
I also wrote a piece in August 2019 on the 7 Rules For Creating Empowered, Antifragile Young Adults. A natural extension, if you want more.