Sunday, May 29, 2011

Power Principle #2

Knowledge is Power.
Ignorant men (and women) are rarely aware of the fullest extent of their own influence. They are also unaware of the contributions of others, and how those contributions can benefit their own lives. 
If you were to see a baby crawling toward a fire, what would your response be? Stop the baby, so it would not be burned? Yell and scare the baby, hoping it would never go toward another fire again? One tribe would simply watch as the baby's fingers touched the flames, or the rocks near them. The baby would get a minor burn, yes, but it would learn, absolutely, what those flames could do. And no, I am not advocating burning infants to teach them the dangers of fire. I am advocating learning where we can.
If you want to be able to succeed in this world, not only must you be educated, you must also be informed. There are many people who are making money without having received a college education (or in some situations, even a high school education), but every one of these people researches their options, and finds out as much as possible about the factors leading up to their success. And every one of them stays educated--or informed--about as much as possible. 
Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's restaurants had not graduated high school when he started working for Colonel Sanders in his KFC business. But her learned all he could about the business. One of the things he learned is that by working for the Col. he would not be leaving a legacy for his daughter. So, he started his own business, and became very successful. And what did he do after making his company the giant is is today? He went back and finished high school, even going so far as to pay for the graduation party for his classmates!
Even teachers and professors attend what is called "Professional Development Conferences" to better themselves and their teaching. If the people who are on the front lines of education feel it necessary to continue learning, perhaps everyone else should at least give it a chance.
By learning more, you open up a world of opportunities. You give yourself the tools that can help you make--well, there is no other way to say it--"educated decisions." By refusing to learn, you risk not only stagnating, but reversing your circumstances. You are more likely to lose money, lose time, and lose out on opportunities.
Do not assume that current media practices will keep you informed about the issues surrounding you. The people who run the different media organizations stay informed about all issues. Then they relay the information they want you to know. If you simply rely on their slanted reports, you may never know how much you don't know. You will believe that you are informed on the issues, while remaining as ignorant as the truly informed people want you to be.

One danger in our world is the attitude of "Why can't you let me make my own mistakes!" Only the truly ignorant would wish to not learn from those who went before. I do not need to stick my hand in a shark's mouth to know for myself whether or not that is a bad idea. I myself once slammed my finger in a car door. Should my children perform this mistake simply so they don't have to rely on my experience? Of course not. Then why do so many people insist on the Freedom of Stupidity?
Another point to consider is the Tabula Rasa condition. This is the Blank Slate student. They soak in every word as though it were Gospel. Don't accept everything you hear at face value. Even professors may miss some information, or even skim past it due to time restraints, with the hope that you will actually read up on the research. 
There is a character in a Shakespeare play who exhibits an undesirable attribute with regards to learning. He name is Ophelia. Her father Polonius asks her if she believes Hamlet's sincerity. She answers, "I do not know, my lord, what I should think." He tells her he will teach her, and to think of herself as a baby. This basic relationship has been named, the "Ophelia Syndrome." 

In essence, you should not go into an educational experience as a completely empty vessel, waiting to be filled, but as a full being, expecting to increase understanding. Far too many students do not have the foundational knowledge necessary to actually LEARN from their professors. Instead, they memorize as many facts as possible in an attempt to pass the exams. Every one of these professors would prefer a room full of well-informed thinkers instead of vacant automatons. When you can communicate with those who teach you, you can grow more than even they would hope.
So stay in school. Go to college. Earn a degree. Keep learning. When you stop learning, it's because you're dead.
Knowledge is Power.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Masculine Affirmation

We watched one of the final episodes tonight of the Oprah Show. One of the main themes was what this woman has done to help girls and women all over the world believe in and grasp the power they have. It was an affirmation of the feminine sex. It was inspiring. And it made me ask a huge question:
What is being done to TRULY empower young men all over the world?
So I would like to start a series of posts about what attributes belong to REAL MEN. These are from a set of standards I have had in the back of my mind for some time now. I call them "The Power Principles."
Patience is Power
This is the first great Principle. Real Men do not feel the "need" to lose their tempers or "blow up" at their families. Real Men bide their time and focus their energies on solutions instead of retaliation. And, oh yeah-- just for the record--Real Men NEVER HIT WOMEN! 
A Real Man can always find a solution that is better. Those who "can't help it," or "lose control" are less than Real Men and more like Beasts. And Beauty may have fallen for one, but Beasts are NOT Real Men. In fact, if we continue the story of the fairy tale, it was only through the Beast's willingness to overcome his Animal nature that he was able to break the curse and become a Real Man.
Those who lose their temper do not see the whole picture. They only see the immediate burn from those they consider their enemies. Only those who can remain cool can wait out the storm to find the security that comes later. These are the Men who keep money instead of spending it, make profit instead of losing wages, and climb the ladder of success instead of sliding into the gutter. Those who cannot maintain their control are more likely to take risks that cannot pay dividends in the future. 
If we look at the simple phrase "Losing your temper," we must go to the foundation of our culture. A blacksmith would heat and hammer steel until he could not only shape it, but strengthen it by hardening it through the process. This is called "tempering the blade." When a blade "loses its temper" it becomes weaker and more likely to break or shatter upon contact with another blade, a shield, or other hard surface. Its effectiveness as a blade is diminished. It is worthless as a weapon. 
Knives that lose their temper will not hold an edge as long, and will dull more quickly. They become an inconvenience and a frustration to those wielding them. They cannot fulfill the purpose for which they were made. These blades rust more easily and become a tarnished shadow of the image they were meant to project.
Men who "lose their temper" are no different. They become weaker, easily distracted from true objectives, and less capable of fulfilling the purpose for which they were created. They become worth less (if not completely WORTHLESS), and are more likely to break or shatter when facing truly difficult circumstances. They become, at best, an inconvenience and a frustration to those who would be with them. They repulse others, and wallow in solitude.
Those who maintain, or hold their temper are among those who remain strong. They can stay the course. They will not be broken by the smaller issues that face them, and are more likely to remain strong when faced by truly deep trials. They can, simply by their presence and and focus, strengthen the people around them; their friends, families, and spouses. They attract the people around them, and create unbreakable bonds in their most intimate relationships.
Young men, for the sake of your own future, and the well-being of those around you, remember this first Principle:
Patience is Power