Saturday, March 16, 2013
I see an equation here: easy=instant gratification=like, hard=dislike. Difficulties should be overcome, not explained. I never believed those students who said, "I got 60, but if I had invested more time, I would have got 100". In my opinion, this is a poor excuse for not actually getting the high grade. Because if you invested all you got and still got 60, what does it say about you? That it's the grade you deserve. If you want me to believe you can do better, do it, don't explain.
For me (and many in my generation), enjoying studies is a completely new concept. Nobody told me I was supposed to enjoy studies. I did, sometimes, but studies were just a means to an end, something you go through, without philosophizing too much over them. Nowadays people want to also enjoy the way, not just the destination. This attitude makes sense to me, but I wasn't raised that way. My parents always emphasized the importance of studies, preferably in a practical field, transferable across borders and languages. Studies were important because knowledge, unlike material goods, cannot be taken away from you. Learning or doing something for enjoyment was called a hobby. The notion of enjoyment was never mentioned to me, not in relation to studies, not in relation to work, not in relation to life. I was expected to do my duties, studies being one of them. The underlying message was that studies lead to better paid jobs, that lead in some mysterious and unexplained way to a happier life, whatever that meant.
My upbringing emphasized the importance of formal degrees for signaling to potential employers that I am capable of performing a job. It never occurred to me that I could start my own business, as in communism there was no such thing. "Entrepreneurship" was not in my vocabulary. Slowly but surely I realized that formal studies or a high IQ don't necessarily guarantee success in life. Though not formally taught, leadership, resourcefulness, networking, motivation, risk taking, communication skills and courage (not to mention capital) are important contributing factors to one's success. Bill Gates and new Finance Minister Yair Lapid demonstrate just that.
But even with this "newly" gained wisdom, I still teach my sons to work hard for their degrees. Not only will this make them appreciate the achievement, but also give them the confidence they can overcome difficulties. This is my encouragement.