Zig Ziglar Wisdom Thought Number Two
Read Number One HERE.
2. A wise man expressed it well – education covers a lot of ground, but it won’t cultivate any of it.
We live in a time, more than any era before, in which higher education is more a requirement to reach many goals than the luxury it was in the past. But we must not make the mistake of thinking that education is the ‘end all, be all.’ Because it is not. A good education is just part of what it takes: it is perhaps, the beginning.
What could Zig have meant when he said “it won’t cultivate” it? The World English Dictionary offers, as definition 2 for the word cultivate: to plant, tend, harvest, or improve (plants) by labor and skill.
Education is useful in moving forward in life, but what is absolutely necessary? Labor is, that is – work, and skill, which only comes from doing, not from knowing or thinking. Actually, skill comes from doing, over and over again. Sounds like work to me.
Perhaps the best know statement of what it takes, is this quote from Calvin Coolidge (30th President of the United States, 1872 – 1933). “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
So, was Mr. Ziglar putting education down? I don’t believe that for an instant. Our lesson and the one we need to impart to our children, and to our children’s children, is this: do get an education, and then put it to good use working hard and smart toward your goals & dreams.
As parents and guardians, it is up to us to help the upcoming generations understand that they are personally responsible for their own success or failure in life. And that while getting this or that piece of ‘parchment’ (diploma, PhD, etc.) is important, the key to their future is working to a level of skill and then working hard with that skill.
Give them that knowledge and you’ll be giving them a genuine head start.
I have been a fan of Zig Ziglar since I first heard of him back in 1981. Recently I have been re-listening to a set of his recordings on cassette tape titled “How To Stay Motivated.” Read more about it and listen to a sample from the set HERE.
Near the end of the series Zig lists 9 one line statements, about which any family could sit down and have a valuable 20 minute discussion. Listening to these tapes again has inspired me to do a series of articles based on the one-liners. And I strongly urge you to take the time to have ‘the conversation’ based on each of them with your children – they need to understand the underlying realities of the world expressed in these nine simple statements.
“1. The most practical, beautiful, workable philosophy in the world won’t work, if you won’t.”
There is a big lie so prevalent in our society that many young people fail to discover that it is a lie until after it has ruined their life. The lie is subtle and therefore not able to be simply stated. Its antithesis is, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”
Large segments of the population expend most of their mental efforts trying to “get over” or to “ride on another’s coat-tails.” You know the type. They come in 15 minutes late, extend their breaks, take a long lunch and rush out of the office ahead of everyone else. These same individuals work very hard at being busy, and yet seem to accomplish little.
If the amount of effort that is expended to intentionally avoid working was focused in a productive direction, it would change the world, by beginning to change each individual’s circumstances.
So what is Mr. Ziglar’s statement actually mean?
A philosophy is only truly practical if you can show that when put into practice it proves effective. It can only be judged beautiful if it is effective in bringing about positive change in things. And finally, a philosophy is only workable when regular people are able to effect those positive practical changes in their lives by utilizing it.
A philosophy is really little more than an idea. Ideas are of great importance when acted upon, but an idea with no “elbow grease” behind it is only a fantasy. An idea put to work, and worked on, can change a fantasy to a dream and dreams times work equal reality.
We have oft heard the saying, “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Zig is telling us that the idea whose time has come, is the idea we work on. Or as Seneca said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
So, teach your child that if they want to get lucky in life, to start by getting to work!
PS: The best way to teach a good work ethic is by example.