Thoughts on Education & Failure

Last week I appeared on an episode of Carren’s Couch to discuss the Praxis program as well as my thoughts on Education in general. I had a lot of fun. If you’d like to check out the interview, feel free to check out the video below.

Carren’s Couch 30 – Teen-preneurs! How to make them or ‘break’ them with education from Carren Smith on Vimeo.

Also, if you haven’t heard, I host a weekly podcast where I speak with various educators and entrepreneurs on the value of failure. It’s called “What Are You Failing At?” If you’d like to check out the latest few episodes, feel free to check out some of the latest videos below:

Everything Isn’t Everything

Money isn’t everything, but neither is anything else.

A good education isn’t everything. Being married isn’t everything. Having kids isn’t everything. Being in love with someone isn’t everything. Physical health isn’t everything. Having amazing friends isn’t everything. Appreciating fine art isn’t everything. Working hard isn’t everything. Taking care of your physical appearance isn’t everything. A sense of humor isn’t everything. Giving to charity isn’t everything. Getting a decent amount of sleep isn’t everything. Living in a neighborhood where you don’t have to worry about getting shot isn’t everything.

No single thing is everything.

Life is multidimensional. A flourishing life involves many different elements and the “right” combination of those elements ranges from person to person.

The question we should be asking ourselves is not, “is this thing I’m pursuing everything?,” but rather, “is it consistent with my own priorities, preferences, and principles to pursue the particular thing I am pursuing?”

What you need might fail to be everything, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth absolutely nothing.

Does it give you the options you want? Does it matter to you? Does it make you feel alive to go after it? Is it consistent with your value system? Does it make you a better human being to focus on it?

Instead of getting stuck in the trap of thinking about the things you want in terms of anything, nothing, and everything, consider the freedom that comes from just giving yourself permission to do and pursue YOUR thing.

Be Open

People change. They grow up. They get better. They learn. They mature.

The evidence is in the mirror. Aren’t all these things true of you or have you always been enlightened? Have you always been wise or do you also know what it’s like to be a cause of someone else’s inconvenience or sorrow?

What would your life be like if everyone defined your identity by your last bad choice? Be open as the world has been open to you.

Will everyone change? Of course not. But if the cooperation of every single person was the standard for anything, nothing new would ever be possible.

Is Your Life Exciting Enough?

When assessing the value of your daily practices and pursuits, let your own priorities and preferences take precedence over the inclination to evaluate your existence in terms of what others are posting on their social media accounts.

Love your life for what it is and for what you’re capable of making it.

Beware the temptation of resenting your life simply because you’re not included in every instagram photo of a fun party or cool concert.

One of my mother’s earliest lessons to me is apropos here: “there are always exciting stories of exciting people doing exciting things. None of those stories are as exciting as the story of your life purpose. Keep your attention focused on THAT!”

God Doesn’t Need A Vacation

serpent apple

One of the greatest tricks the devil ever played was to convince the world that work was HIS idea.

Truth is, work is not a product of The Fall. It’s the first gift of Creation. It’s a blessing, not a curse. It’s a privilege, not a punishment.

Before God gave human beings anything else, He gave them a work to do, a purpose to fulfill, a creative outlet through which they could express their own divinity.

As long we persist in our hatred of work, we live in condemnation of the very thing that makes us God-like.

Work is not the enemy. Ignorance of self is.

We appear to be frustrated with our jobs when deep down inside we’re frustrated with a lack of direction, a lack of conviction, a lack of passion, a lack of confidence, a lack of willingness to do whatever it takes to find our mission.

Our greatest need is not more vacation, but more vocation.

These Are The Days

Recent question from a friend: “Hey, I notice that you’re always posting a bunch of inspirational self-help stuff on your Facebook pages. Do you ever have days where things aren’t all hunky dory and positive?”

Me: Yes. Those are the days when I usually write all that inspirational self-help stuff.

Arguing Is Not A Substitute For Creating

You can justify your intentions or you can go about your business and do the work that summons you, but it’s hard to do both at the same time.

Creating is a very different kind of activity from explaining to others why it’s sane, permissible, or necessary for you to create.

So many people fail to ever get around to making art because they’re too busy trying to transform their friends into fans.

As Steven Pressfield wrote, “leave your buddy behind.” Thrust yourself into your calling with faith and trust that your work will move the people it was meant to move.

You can defend yourself until your face turns blue, but at some point you have to face the blank page, the blank canvas, the blankness of a life lived without passion.

The most noble form of integrity is the kind that proves itself not through argument, but through action.