Your present verses your future self

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This is mainly for any younger readers out there (although I hope all can get something from it).

I believe YOLO (“You Only Live Once” for you old people) is still a saying.
So… my question is – how are you living? Specifically, how are you living with regard to your future self.
Since YOLO, are you living such that when you are on your death bed, you can look back and appreciate the present you?
The idea of considering your future self is certainly not my concept.
However, I DO have some questions.

Will you be able to look back in 10, 15, 25, 50 years and tell yourself you did everything you could to set yourself up for what you wanted to become. Will you be able to say, “I’m successful” (however you might end up defining success) because of what I did now?
Will you be able to tell yourself you did the best you could in your high school classes? You didn’t just quit because an assignment was hard?
Will you be able to tell yourself you did the best you could in your high school extracurricular activities to ensure a potent job application / resume / college application? Or set yourself up for, and apply for, college scholarships?
Will you be able to tell yourself you did the best you could in college or trade school?
Will you be able to tell yourself you did the best you could in working your way up “the food chain” at work? Did the best you could at every task, every position, ever opportunity? Throughout your career?
Will your future self appreciate the amount of time you spend on your cell phone or social media or watching TV or …?
Are you setting him/her up to be comfortable?

Are you helping to create a better society? Are you helping others in need such that you can look back and say, “I was a pretty good person”?

The one person you will never be able to escape is you. You will, hopefully and if you are smart, move away from your parents. Brothers and sisters may move to other areas of the town, state, country. And if they don’t, you will still be able to avoid them. Friends and coworkers may come and go.  Even your spouse will be avoidable on occasion.
However, you are stuck with you. 365 days each year – 24 hours each day – 60 minutes each hour – 60 seconds each minute. You will be there. Even if you don’t look yourself in the mirror, you will still be there.
You will live in the house you are setting yourself up for now. You will drive the car you are setting yourself up for now. You will eat the food and take the vacations you are setting yourself up for now.
You will live in the comfort, or lack thereof, you are setting yourself up for now.
You will live in the society you are helping to create now.

Will you appreciate what you hear when you get the answer?
Will you have done everything you could to set yourself up for success? However your future self will define success.
Will you have done everything you could to set yourself up to have time for family and friends, leisure activities?

Are you doing all you can to ensure your future self appreciates your current self and what you are doing for you!?
Will you be happy, and specifically happy with yourself, due to what you are doing now?
If not, why not?
Is it time to change something about yourself?

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

Educate Yourself!

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It is quite discouraging the number of people I run into that have decided to accept the absolute minimum amount of education with which they can get away.  Students that put in minimal effort (not paying attention in class, not doing homework (or as little as possible), not studying for exams).  I wonder how they expect their life to turn out.  When I ask, I end up with the unenviable task of informing them they are living a dream.  I grade point average of 2.5 is not going to get you into a quality engineering school.  That is not a goal.  It is a dream.  As well, would you put your life into the hands of a doctor or pilot or lawyer or whatever professional that finished in the bottom or even middle of his class?  Would you rather one that put in the effort to learn as much as he could about his craft?  I tell my students, adulthood begins the first day of high school.  What they do from that day forward counts.  Their grades and effort will matter to their future college and employment plans (whether they attend college or not).  My concern also is that few professions require (and therefore few people take advantage of) continued education.  With the help of modern medical science, many people die at an advanced age knowing little more than the minimum they got away with in high school.  Sad and discouraging.

Vernon Law once said, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”  Rarely does the test come only once.  Since most of us fail the test, we had best learn the lesson – preferably the first time.   On the other hand, someone once said, “Good Judgment comes from Experience, most of that comes from Bad Judgment.” [the quote in one form or another is actually attributed to numerous people]  Unfortunately, most of you seem content with failing the test over and over again and bad judgment.  You never take the time to learn the “why’s and wherefore’s” of the lesson.  This leads me to…

Funny thing about knowledge, the more you have, the more you know.  This may seem obvious (as should many things about which I write), but many don’t seem to get it.  They claim to “know” an awful lot just due to life experience (especially teenagers – the claim being an endless source of amusement to me).  Now, while I will grant that you gain some knowledge just from living, it is a slow and painful way to attain it.  It WILL happen.  Let it.  But don’t, as so many do, let it be the only avenue.  And if you do, don’t claim to know it all just because you have lived.  It would take 1000 lifetimes just to make a dent in the knowledge of today.  And since each day our body of knowledge grows exponentially, individually we are always losing ground.  As well, it is interesting that the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.  At least you should, if you put any effort into thinking about it.  While this may seem discouraging, it doesn’t have to be.  As mentioned, man is discovering new things each day.  Many are contributing to this body of knowledge.  Recognize you don’t and never will know everything.  But certainly don’t give up or be discouraged.  Just recognize and accept there is no way to keep up with everything and concentrate on those things of interest to you.

Formal education should never stop.  I realize life gets in the way sometimes.  You have work, families, etc. to deal with at numerous points in your life.  So put it on the back burner for a short time if necessary.  While all the things listed above DO “get in the way” at times, many use them as an excuse.  There are those on the other hand that manage to move on with their education in spite of all the other things going on.  Watch less TV.  Go out with the guys/girls less often.  Play fewer video games.  Limit your internet surfing (unless it is for a necessary purpose).  Stare at the wall less often (yes, I am to understand someone I know actually does this to pass the time).  So never stop.  Formal education is not limited to universities and/or community college.  It can come in the form of on-line courses from various educational institutions or private firms, private lessons, etc.

Another point is that once you are pretty comfortable in the level of education you need for employment in your chosen field, you are free to pursue education in all those wonders of the world in which you’ve been interested since childhood.  Learn to fly, gunsmith, build knives, paint, sing, write poetry, design websites, culinary, automotive technology, sign language, carpentry/wood working, dance, martial arts, play a musical instrument, yoga.  These are just a few off the top of my head.  I suspect there is a course in virtually anything in which you may be interested.  While books (to be mentioned momentarily) are a great way to acquire knowledge, learning from “experts” is usually the best way.  Community colleges normally have teachers that have worked in the area they teach and know of what they speak.  They can provide “war stories” from first-hand experience.  Unlike books, they can answer questions and guide you in further study in the direction YOU wish to go.  Community colleges are also significantly less expensive than universities.  As well, many community centers and adult centers provide inexpensive ways to learn from people that have “been there and done that.”

Not so formal education is what should be accomplished between sessions of formal.  READ books, magazines, newspapers, etc.  Go to lectures at local museums or community events.  Watch educational television shows on occasion (my wife tends to “force” me to do this – stupid animal shows!).  There are many DVDs you can buy or rent that have lectures/lessons on various subjects.  If you can’t afford community college tuition or fees (if any) for community center events, there are a less expensive way of gaining much of the same knowledge.  Books and magazines can be free.  Try your local library.  You won’t have the expert there to answer questions, but a search of quality sites in the internet can often provide that additional information you seek.

Just get some!  Get more!  Make it a priority.

Ok, so why am I bringing this up.  Remember that blog on apathy.  If not, go back and read/reread it.  Apathy, sloth, lazy, indifference – similar ways of expressing the same issue.  And it leads to a less productive and less enjoyable society.  A culture of ignorance is a sad and hard existence.  Why would someone purposefully make their life more difficult than it need be?  Many think getting and continuing an education is difficult.  What they fail to comprehend is that NOT being educated is actually more so.  And in all reality, the more education (read – knowledge) you have, the easier life gets (unless you take into account the growing frustration with those that choose ignorance).  As well, I will be speaking in the near future of Class/Refinement/Sophistication/Style.  The individual lifestyle and a society that practices civility is by necessity educated in all classes (poor, middle-class as well as the “rich”).  I dream of the time when we again practice such in our private and public lives (or are they nightmares of never expecting to see it).  But it will never happen if a significant number of us accept the limited knowledge present society allows.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…