If it’s ok with you, I’m taking a break from writing about youth ministry and I’m going to share what I have been reading and what I am learning from it. The knowledge is bursting in my mind like fireworks. Read on and feel free to “Ooooooh!” and “Ahhhhhhhh!”
I have been reading a book lately called The Magic of Thinking Big and the author David J. Schwartz relays the story of having sat with a businessman while watching a quiz show. The business man observes of one of the contestants,
“That expert can’t think. He can only memorize. Do you know what I’d pay that quiz guy? $300. Not $300 a week, $300 life time. That’s how much a good set of encyclopedias cost.”
Earlier in the book Schwartz describes the savvy business man, “The ability to know how to get the information is more important than using your mind as a garage for facts.”
Schwartz originally wrote this book in 1959 but the statements above are just as true today as they were then, maybe more-so. Everyone has access to the internet. Any fact can be looked up at a moments notice on your computer or on your phone. Since this s true, why do schools spend so much time testing on memorized knowledge? Why do we obsess over facts and how much of them we have in our brain? The accumulation of facts or the lack there-of do not determine our success in life. I am proof of that.
I echo Forrest Gump, “I’m not a smart man… but I know what love is.” Well, mostly the first part. I’ve tried college, several times. Most recently last year and I am two classes shy of a two year degree. I have not retained one fact from any of those classes, yet, my educational life will be judged (by some) on whether I have a degree or not, not whether I have made a difference in the life of students or other youth workers. Have you ever felt that way? If you have, I hope the next quote will set you free like it did me.
The businessman above wrapped up his conversation with Schwarts by saying,
“What I want around me are people who can solve problems, who can think up ideas. People who can dream and then develop the dream into a practical application; an idea man can make money with me; a fact man can’t”
Did you feel it? The chains around your ankles breaking?
Let me say, I am not down on education. I read more books per year than most college students. I attend seminars, blog five days a week, and make You Tube training videos for youth workers. No one told me to do all that. I just do it because I can. My hope is that I am solving someone’s problem every day.
Instead of waiting for schools to say we’re smart enough, employers to say we’re good enough, and our own minds to tell us that we’re creative enough, maybe we should just choose ourselves, solve some problems, and succeed in spite of it all.
You can download a pdf of the book HERE.
What problem is around you that you alone could solve?
Is your job based on the facts you know or the problems you solve?