The beauty of educating oneself is there is no limits to what can be learned. – Louis L’Amour, Education of a Wandering Man
Louis L’Amour is a regular contributor to The Thought for the Day, so we are going to dispense with the usual introductory paragraph except to note Louis got his education when and where he could. Born in North Dakota, his family hit the road when the local economy tanked when Louis was a teenager. Louis traveled often in his early years, including time as a merchant seaman and in the Army during War II. Since he was a boy he was a voracious reader and he always took care to draw some profit from every situation, whether it was reading or hitchhiking across the country.
Like Benjamin Franklin, L’Amour is a great example of what someone can accomplish when they choose to educate themselves. It’s not that hard, either. All you really need is some curiosity, a willingness to live and learn – which is all we really have to do with our time, anyway – and the ability not to force matters, to be content putting nature and circumstance to work for you.
All education is self-education, too. If you choose to utilize the resources of a great university, what you get out of your time educating yourself depends on the work you put into it. If you spend your time merely binge drinking, taking notes and passing tests, you really aren’t doing yourself much good. In a few years, you’ll get a piece of sheepskin with some flowery writing that announces you’ve met the requirement for a degree. You are probably much the same person you were when you entered the academy.
On the other hand, those who go to college and do their work, who utilize and maximize the resources available will be on a summit looking down on what they used to be when they are issued their degree.
When you have some curiosity, when you decide there are things you want to know and then go and find them out, when you fear neither the attendant successes or failures life brings, when you know exactly what you are about, then all things come to you. The life you were meant to live will happen.
The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.