Sadly, this week, the world lost an individual who brought laughs to millions and in his quiet way, off stage, left behind a few lessons to be learned as well.
“There is still a lot to learn and there is always great stuff out there.
Even mistakes can be wonderful.”
When did we begin to believe that mistakes are bad and to avoid them at all costs? Was it back in school when you got into trouble for a bad grade? Was it in your first job when you forgot to check the schedule and showed up late for a shift? Believing mistakes are bad has become a paralyzing stigma. Its effects have caused many to avoid risks and turn away from “chances of a lifetime.” However, mistakes are opportunities and no other group of people should love mistakes more than those in education. Mistakes are a chance to learn, grow, and change.
The chocolate chip cookie was a mistake, a very delicious mistake. Ruth Wakefield was trying to make her regular chocolate cookies for guests at the Toll House Inn when she discovered she was out of baker’s chocolate. Instead, she decided to break sweetened chocolate into small chunks and add them to the cookie dough. To her surprise, the little chocolate chunks did not melt. This wonderful mistake paved the way for chocolate morsels and the Nestle Corporation.
“Some are born great. Some achieve greatness.
Some get it as a graduation gift.”
There is some debate over whether individuals are actually “born great,” but achieving greatness, through seizing opportunities, hard work, and education, is undisputed. Just look at the lives of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Robin Williams.
During his senior year at Redwood High School in California, Robin Williams was voted “the funniest and least likely to succeed.” He didn’t let this stigma stop him from pursuing his passion. He went on to be one of 20 students accepted into the 1973 freshman class at Juilliard, won an Academy Award, several Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, and the rest as they say, is history. It can be argued that Robin Williams was one of those people who were born great, but if you look back through his past, it was the opportunities he pursued which paved the way for his dream of making the world laugh. It was education and hard work that allowed him to hone his craft and touch the lives of millions.
“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff
you weren’t paying attention to.”
The drive for change is almost always accompanied by some kind of pain. In the face of a weakening economy, people turned to education. Some of these people may have known all along that they needed or wanted to start or finish a degree, but it took facing “bad times” to make the difference. Educational institutions should use these times to re-evaluate and re-focus on providing the skills and knowledge students need to better the world in which we live. Let’s face it, you don’t work in education to get rich. Warren Buffet is not a billionaire because he owns and operates schools. However, without strong educational foundations; a country’s economy and future begins to weaken. The bad times should be embraced and used to re-evaluate those things which we should have been focusing on from the beginning, education.