I developed this creed for myself, to guide me on the path of endless fascination and lifelong learning.
Then I realized that it could work for any student of anything, so I’m sharing it. I hope it works for you too.
- Attempt something great, until you fail, and then try again immediately. Schools manufacture a culture that is obsessed with avoiding the wrong answers, so people stop having new ideas, which are probably wrong, yet might just be the seed of our salvation. We train students to recycle the “right answers” we gave to them in school, which got us in this mess in the first place. Instead, teachers must encourage creative risk in students, in every subject, every day.
- Nurture a fascination with the world, people and things. In high school, students are busy and tired with the coursework we pile on them. Despite the fact that at least 90% of the world’s most successful people credit lifelong passion as the critical element of success, we invest shockingly little in passion pursuits during school. Students have no time in class to share their passions, nurture their passions, or deepen their unique expertise. But they need to learn new things that the teacher does not know, and share them with others, in order to succeed in life.
- Help someone else to achieve what they want. In school, we try to be fair, and grade students on individual merit. Consequently, students don’t work together on problems, and often students get away with competitive behavior that doesn’t work in the world. The work that matters today is work done for others, with others, toward a shared goal. Besides, a generous spirit and habits of helpfulness are one of the most reliable paths to a fulfilled life.
- Create something valuable every day. Are you creating more than you consume? Creators continue to thrive, while consumers continue to struggle. Traditional education manufactures knowledge for consumption. The reality is that straight A’s don’t matter to the world, but a portfolio of unique accomplishments does. So tap into your creativity in every moment, and allow the muse to speak into being something new through the channel of your body and mind.