Category: Blogs
Posted: 02-26-2018 11:51
Comments: 0 [Post]

My route to the office includes navigating the last main intersection to the local high school. I have it easy as I travel the right turn lane through and away from this intersection. Some mornings I see traffic backed up for what seems like miles in the three inbound directions. Strategically located just off this intersection is a Starbucks. Depending on the morning routine of all those teenagers heading to school, the line here can be rather long. One morning while waiting patiently for my Cuppa’ Joe, I was listening and observing. A perky young girl in front of me ordered a Venti White Chocolate Mocha. It’s not so much that it took a while to make this hand-crafted, whipped cream beauty. It’s what she said in response to a question I couldn’t hear posed by her friend as they waited for their drinks to appear: “No, I totally can’t. I have to get to my nutrition class”. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING)

I chuckled to myself. Her comment sent me to my phone to do a quick search on that drink she just ordered. Google replied that a Venti White Chocolate Mocha has 580 calories with less caffeine than my black coffee. She’ll be fine. I’m sure she’ll burn it off or “like literally” it off before third period begins. As I drove away from the store I couldn’t shake the contradiction of her carrying that drink into a class about nutrition. Gaining knowledge and using it are two completely different things, as I just witnessed with that high schooler.

As I drove away, I found myself deeply reflecting on this subject, the temporary bestowal of that wisdom that is my promised reward for aging! I thought about formal and informal education, the choices of classes we take, the pursuit of lifelong learning, and the attainment and use of knowledge. I could feel myself waking up, the caffeine doubtlessly firing up the neurons. I mused “what difference does it all make if we don’t act on the knowledge we are acquiring?” And by act, I mean the conscious exercise of considering whether new concepts we learn fit within our personal frameworks; the ones we use to make decisions and choose to act on, or even just react. A framework that expands as we learn and accept new things, and one that stands unchanged but confirmed, right or wrong, as we consider alternatives but then dismiss them as not applying to us or those we just choose to not believe.

The first choice we face of course is whether we even want to bother challenging or expanding our own framework, whether we are interested in opening ourselves to new ideas, thoughts and concepts that expand the margins of the frames we hold onto. If we do, we then must choose the processes we undertake to widen these frameworks - the where and how we choose to learn - and then who we’ll allow to be our teachers, mentors, advisors or coaches. But this all takes work, a lot of it.

Against this there is an easier path – the inertia of complacency, the acceptance of the status quo. As if all this weren’t difficult or challenging enough, ungrowth seems just fine these days in a world obsessed with social media – the carving up of segments of our society into infinite buckets of sameness, where you can associate with those who see things and react to events just as you do – those with the exact same frameworks. It may feel good knowing you’re not alone or that there are so many others out there just like you. It may feel uplifting to have your framework affirmed several times a day. It may cause you to think ‘why should I bother changing?’

But accepting this position comes at a cost – the loss of stretching, challenging and expanding your points of view and the limits on your personal growth. When this happens, the framework stiffens and may shrink. And then the highest price of all needs to be paid – that of increasing intolerance.


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