When is the last time you read, watched, or heard something that was true about you but you did not want to face up to it because it was painful or hurtful? What did you do? Did you block it out? Did you think about it? Did you wonder what you could do to change things so that the next time those words are said, your stomach does not knot? Hopefully, you thought about it and made some positive changes. Gandhi said, “those who know how to think need no teachers.” Knowing how to think about such things is very important.
Steve Olson, has written an excellent piece about education: “A Simple Story About The Importance Of Education”.
Here is a quick summary, but I would encourage you to read the whole story for yourself: A rich boy, Flounder, is working with Steve Olson and a few other guys. It is a back-breaking job and the guys wonder what this rich kid is doing working this job. They decide to ask him, and here is his response:
“Flounder replied, “No, we don’t need the money. I don’t want this job. I hate it here. My dad makes me do it…. He said he wanted me to know what my life would be like if I didn’t get an education.””
What would you have done if you were in Steve Olson’s shoes (or any of the other guys’ shoes)? Were you going to be defensive? Would you beat the kid up? Would you have laughed it off and never thought about it?
Truth That Hurt My Feelings And Also Educated Me:
I will give several examples of when I have felt not-so-good about something that I read or saw or heard and what I did about it.
1. When I was researching about blogging and making money online, I read about the need to be passionate about the subject(s) that you write about, about the need for research, the need to continuously update your blog, the need to learn the technical aspects of maintaining a blog, the need to write original content, …, and the fact that in blogging, just like in life, the richer get richer! Almost all those things were depressing to me, may be except the passion and the original content. I decided to carry on writing, and rearrange my priorities so that money was the last of my concerns. I learnt some HTML, read about plug-ins, pasting “code” into templates, backing up my blog, etc – I know, it sounds funny and simple writing about it now, but some of the things almost stopped me from starting. But I went ahead and started. I am hopeful that I will carry on regardless.
2. When I look at my blog and see that there are no visitors or no comments on a piece that I spent a lot of time thinking about and working on, it sucks, and it hurts sometimes. It is like somebody shouting on top of the world that you suck, that you wont make it, etc. This is not necessarily true. It is true, however, that there are no comments! Okay, what do I do? I do not just laugh it off. I decide to continue being true to myself, and write the best I can, the truth as I see it. 10 years from now, when somebody reads what I write, may be he or she will be inspired, may be I will positively impact a life. May be I will bring more kids to the game of Chess without taking them to a Chess board…
3. When I work or study, I need to have the big picture; how what I am doing is related to everything else. At the same time, I would not say I am the quickest at doing some things. So this one time, at work, I was working on something that I did not completely understand. I needed to know what happens at the bookstore for me to be able to fix the problems that were on the “download” that I was looking at. My other weakness is that I try to figure things out myself before I ask somebody for help. One additional thing, at the time that I was working on this problem, we were in a time crunch! Bad combination of events. Here I am, without enough knowledge/information, trying to figure things out by myself in a time crunch… Let me just say that it was implied that I was “slow”. That hurt! It was a little after time to get off work, so I left before I lost it. Anyway, the issue was later discussed and amicably settled. Later on, I realized that in truth, I took longer on some things, just because of my working “style”. That my not asking questions made me take longer on some projects. I decided to consciously speed up the way I work, to think while I work or learn so that I can ask the right questions, to review my notes when I do not need to use them – so as to be familiar with what I was going to do… etc. I also promised myself that I will do all I can, never to be called slow again! I believe I am not slow. My past shows me that I am not slow. I just have to make sure that I do things so that my present and future does not reflect “slowness” in other people’s minds. (I guess this must have impacted me greatly, as I have written quite a bit about it!)
4. I have girls who are my friends. (I did not want to call them girlfriends!). My girlfriend had problems with me talking to some of them. We worked that out. Somebody told me that, it was either them (the friends) or the girlfriend! Ouch! I think it was the truth. I knew it, but I had refused to look at it that way? Hearing it hurt, because I did not want to make that choice. I got all sorts of advice from different people. I made my choice, and I am glad I made that choice.
5. When I was younger, my mom would say things like: “why are you not studying, do you want to grow up a loser?”, “Why are you not washing your dishes, do you want to be the kind of husband who treats his wife like a maid?” and on and on. It hurt hearing those things. It hurt doing what she wanted. I studied. I did household chores even though I really didn’t get it. Now I am glad that I learned to cook and clean after myself. That I got a good education and I am not a “loser”…
What kind of truths have hurt your feelings or changed your life? Feel free to share your ideas, suggestions, or stories.