There are quite a few things I know wish I had learned in school. I was pretty good, a natural at pretty much anything scholarly and also physically adept. Everything was easy. Well, everything school-related. I wasn’t too good at interacting with my classmates. I came from a different world. And I don’t just mean the cultural gap between Americans and Germans. Maybe I was good in school because I was socially isolated. That is, until 10th grade. I started drinking in public – which is 100% legal in Germany at the age of 16 – and I started smoking cigarettes. My grades were never exceptional, but I didn’t have to do anything to get decent results, and that didn’t change much when I changed from misfit to sort-of popular. Maybe a bit, but I was still better than my older brother.
And that’s exactly what I would go back to school for: to learn how to try harder.
My entire life would be different had I tried harder. But until a few months ago, I didn’t know how to do that. And I’m still on the basic level of “trying harder”. If you don’t try harder, you will be a blob. There is a lot of failure and faltering involved, but what is the alternative? Trying harder shapes you up, and when you finally succeed at something you’ve been trying over and over, well, that’s the feeling we live for.
Maybe that’s what makes us human. Maybe that’s the essence of our intelligence. We don’t grow by natural means, we need to drive ourselves.
This post sort of reminds me of what I wrote about our potentials a few months ago. Really, the sky is not even the limit. It’s just the next frontier.