Learning and digging gold

An inefficient gold digger needs many good mines to extract a good harvest of gold. An effective gold digger, on the other hand, needs only one.

Learning is similar. You don’t need to have 20 years of experience to have sufficient learning. You can extract 20 years worth of learning from 1 year if you set your mind to it. Growing old is not an option but growing up by making the most of the experiences life throws at you definitely is.

So, while “am I learning” is an interesting question to ask in a situation, it isn’t terribly useful. Yes, you are learning something most of the time. But, asking yourself “am I extracting maximum learning out of this?” changes the game.

Just one trait about effective gold diggers – they don’t stop when they get one mine right. They keep working and widen that gulf. Learning is not different. Ask those who take time regularly to read, for example, and they’ll remind you that there is no difference between the ones who don’t read and the ones who can’t. Learning, like any other skill, needs work – perfecting it requires constant deliberate practice.

Making the world better

Atrocities happen every day of the week on this planet. This was one of those that had me swearing out loud. A man felt it went against his family’s honor for his pregnant daughter to marry someone against his wishes but felt it was perfectly okay to murder her with his son and a few goons.

There is a lot wrong with the world. There is no doubt about that. There is a lot right too that goes unmentioned. It feels, as a result, that we have two principal duties to help make the world better. Focus on the right in our lives and do more of it. This is the only way to keep our spirits up without getting bogged down by everything that is wrong with the world.

At the same time, we must work hard on changing what is wrong. A lot of what is wrong with our attitude towards other races and women can be made much better. It starts within. We have to pledge to be open to differences ourselves and hopefully change the culture of our families and friends to reflect that. Change occurs in ripples. It begins with changing ourselves or, at the very least, teaching ourselves to think. There is a real dearth of people who can do that. Atrocities like the one above are typically committed by men (yes, it is always men) who are unthinkingly following some norm or order.

The world will never be perfect but it can become better, much better. In making ourselves better, we make it a bit better and I think that’s as worthwhile a cause as any.