If you think education is expensive, try ignorance


“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Derek Bok

Throughout history, higher education was looked at as something for the elite, the intellectuals and the wealthy while the average person  usually learned a trade. Although a higher education wasn’t a requirement, in order to live decently one still needed to learn a trade.

It used to be if you were healthy you had a good chance of finding decent work. As time went by, many jobs began requiring the ability to read and write. As jobs evolved and became more difficult, a high school diploma became a requirement.

Within the last ten years, a high school diploma wasn’t enough anymore to find a decent paying job. The problem was there were more people than jobs. Jobs that ten years ago only required a high school education now required a four year college degree.

Even with that additional requirement, there are still more candidates than available jobs.  Those who don’t have any education stand no chance in finding a decent paying job. Pretty soon, even the lowest paying jobs will require an education.

Obtaining an education is expensive, but with the right education, that cost can be paid back in a reasonable timeframe. Taking the money required for an education and spending it on a business venture or something else will not get you very far. In order to survive in today’s market, a formal education is really needed.

Every so often you hear of someone striking it rich without an education, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Most of these individuals were in college and only left after their venture took off. These individuals were also far from ignorant. The ignorant will not get very far in today or in the future.

Everyone at one point or another has to pay someone to do something for them. Even the wealthy and educated have to pay others to perform certain functions. The educated don’t need to pay many others, since they are able to perform some of these functions themselves. The rich can afford to pay people for every function. The ignorant also have to pay people for almost every function, except they have no money, and usually get taken for a ride.

Without an education these days, you have to pay more people to do things for you, and many of those people who will take advantage of you. In the long run, ignorance will end up costing much more than that education.

Not only will ignorance end up costing much more than an education, it will kill the possibility for many opportunities. You may have an idea or two for creating something that may make create wealth, but without an education, the connections an education establishes or vast sums of money, you will not get very far with your ideas.



Are you living in the past?

“Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon.” Percy Bysshe Shelley

So you made quite a few accomplishments in your day? That’s great. Do you sit back and reflect on those accomplishments? Do you reminisce about them with pride? Does your chest expand with pride?

That’s enough of that. Stop living in the past. How long ago were those accomplishments? If you have to count back in years, then it’s been too long. You’re like the middle aged people who still reflect back on their high school accomplishments.

Have you done anything recently, or have you just been living off your laurels? While your living in the past, others are out-performing you. Sure, they were great accomplishments at the time, but those days are long gone.

Time or opportunity waits for no one. If you’re resting on your laurels, you’re missing out on new opportunities. Go out and accomplish someone new, before it’s too late and you’re no longer able to. What you did last year or the year before is old news.

People smile when you tell them what you did, but they’re just being polite. They see you as the person who used to be good, who used to have a talent. To them, you’re a has been.

So, what’s the next major thing you’re going to accomplish? Leave a comment if you’re serious. Say what you hope to accomplish and by when. I’ll hold you to it. I’ll check back to make sure you’re still on track.


The Great Wall of Milford

“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.” Theodore Isaac Rubin

Every once in a while we are confronted with a difficult task. Some people are constantly drawn to these and overcome them each and every time, making the impossible seem easy. Others avoid difficult tasks like the plague, never taking on anything beyond their current capabilities.

We bought a house in Milford that had a stone retaining wall that was falling apart. We used every last bit of money we had for the down payment and as a result, had nothing left to pay anyone for work which the house needed.

I had never built a retaining wall, or even seen one being built. Yet, I felt fully confident that I could replace the failing wall myself. In my mind I examined what needed to be done and seeing nothing that was beyond the abilities of a normal person, decided to take on the task.

My first step was to research the process of building a retaining wall. Within a week, using the internet, I was able to put together each of the steps that needed to be done, and a list of the materials required.

The materials were ordered, a backhoe was rented, and the old stone wall was taken down. I gave the old stone to a local contractor in town, my son’s friend’s dad, who came and picked them up as I took them down.

It took me three months, working weekends and evenings after work, to complete the retaining wall. For the following month after the wall was done, one of my neighbors brought everyone who came to visit her over to look at the wall. At Home Depot, the worker in the garden section would point me out, saying “that’s the guy that built that wall”, every time we came.

The wall is eighty feet long, with a 90 degree curve in the middle, six feet high on one side, going down to 1 ½ feet high on the other side. 1,200 70 pound retaining wall blocks were used to build the wall. About 10 tons of dirt were taken out, and dumped a block away, and replaced with 20 tons of crushed rocks and gravel. The dirt was actually hard clay and had to be dug out using a rented backhoe. The rest was moved by shovel and 5 gallon plastic containers. 99% of the work was done by me. On weekends I would begin working on the wall at 7:00 in the morning and wouldn’t stop until nightfall.

The wall demanded not only hard work, but careful planning as well. Drain lines needed to be placed in the right position, the right amount of gravel had to be placed beneath and behind the blocks for water to flow properly.

Breaking it down into steps, simple achievable goals, made it into a realistic endeavor. Rather than looking at the total amount of work required, I looked at the first step – create a list of required materials. Next step, take down existing wall and so on.

Breaking the job down into basic steps made it seem a lot less difficult than it actually was.

Rather than looking at an impossible task and walking away, break it down into steps. Each step will appear difficult, but not impossible. Each difficult step will require hard work and dedication, but when you’re done, you would have accomplished the impossible.

After finishing the great wall of Milford, my afterglow lasted for many years. Do the impossible and you too will experience the same afterglow.

Are you a procrastinator? Are you always missing opportunities?

“”Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin.” ~Victor Kiam

Wait until later to do something and you’ll be putting off opportunities for another time as well. Do it now and opportunity may come. Don’t do it, and there’s no chance that opportunity would appear.

Opportunities come to everyone. The ones who make the most of the moment also find the opportunities. They almost stumble upon them by accident. They are the missed opportunities of someone else. The things someone else decided to leave for another day.

Opportunity is like a lover. Keep either waiting too long and they’ll both be gone, gone to someone else.

Everyone comes up with great ideas from time to time. The procrastinator waits for another day to do something about the idea. If that day ever comes, someone else would have thought of and done something with it.

The procrastinators also shot opportunities time and again. They keep putting things off, until they are forced to act. When they do act, it’s either too late and will cause more damage, or done in a rushed manner, again causing more damage. The procrastinator waits too long, then acts without thinking, killing opportunity.

This comes from first hand experience, having assassinated opportunity time and again, by putting important things off for another day. We really do assassinate opportunity when we continually put things off. And then we wonder why some people seem to get one opportunity after another. It’s because they did today what we put off for tomorrow.


Life is what you make of it, fight for it

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.” Mother Teresa

There is nothing which happens in life that we can’t deal with if we chose to. There is no obstacle or disability which may confront us which we can’t overcome. Many others before us have faced each of these challenges and have overcome them.

If we aren’t able to overcome an obstacle, the fault lies within us. We have given up the fight.

“But look at them” you say, “they have been given everything”. Jealousy is a disease which eats at you from the inside. Don’t concern yourself with what others have. They may have been born with a silver spoon, but because of that silver spoon, they will face other challenges which they will think are impossible to overcome.

“But look at how easy that comes to him. If I was born with those skills, I’d be happy” People are not born with special skills. They develop their talent over time. They spend hour upon hour working on and developing that talent, to the point where they make it look easy. You can do this with anything. Practice and train hard enough and you can make anything look easy. Look at the athletes in the Olympics. They make it look easy. When you’re still sleeping in the morning, they are practicing. When you go to sleep at night, they are practicing. When you relax on the weekend, they are still practicing. No one is born an Olympian. An Olympian is made by hour upon hour of hard work.

“But I have nothing but bad luck, no matter what I do” No one is born lucky or unlucky. Things happen because of your attitude and your belief in yourself. If you continue thinking you have bad luck, you will. If you start thinking that you control your destiny, and not lady luck, things will begin going your way.

“I have no one to help me, I can’t do this on my own” All you have to do is ask, but ask the right person. Look for the right person. When you find that person, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You might be shocked by the response. Many people want to help others. It gives them a sense of accomplishment. Many get back much more in return than what they give of themselves by helping others. You will never find that person being locked up inside. Go to your library, school, place of worship, community group, volunteer groups, special interest groups. There is no end to where you can go to find help. You can also help someone else, and they in turn may help you.

The bottom line is that no matter what life throws at you, never give up or stop fighting. With a strong will, you can accomplish the seemingly impossible. Work at it hard enough, and you’ll be able to make living look so simple that others will think you were born that way!

Once you do that, you’ll begin appreciating what life has given you, the beauty of life.


Do you walk the walk, or just talk the talk?

“Deliberation is the function of the many; action is the function of one.” Charles de Gaulle

Are you one of those who talks all day long about what you’re going to do? Then pat yourself on the shoulder, you are among the majority. You are part of the group that talks, but never does anything.

Those who do something never talk, and when they do talk, it is only to talk about what they already did, not what they’re thinking about doing.

Thinkers are a dime a dozen, they are all over the place. If you want to be heard, let your actions speak for you, or walk the walk.

Look at everyone around you. How many of them keep talking about what they’re going to do. YOU are probably one of them. STOP talking and go do it! BE THE ONE who’s function is to act. BE THE ONE who reaches a dream. STOP TALKING AND START WALKING! It’s time to stop deliberating and time to take action.

You are what you do

“I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.” Dorothy Day

What this quote means is that most people are all talk, and most of what they say has no value. To truly know a person, judge them by what they do, not by what they say.

So when someone tells you about themselves, watch what they do to see how much of what they said is true.