I am here re-publishing an article by one of my favorite people, Roy H. Williams.
I am republishing it, instead of trying to paraphrase it, because the way he says it, I can feel, is from his personal experience. I am listening to it also as a student… I am not ready to declare it quite my own knowledge… Maybe yes, but until I totally live like that… well, I will just quote the ones that have it as a real knowledge… not mind knowledge… There are not many like that, by the way. Most people spout tree of knowledge b.s. as if it were their knowledge… Beware.
So here you go: this article is worth its weight in gold… through and through. Don’t miss it! My notes will be in the footnotes…
An Open Letter to 12 Year-Old Boys
You’re twelve. 1
Everyone treats you like a kid, but you and I know better, right?
You’ve known the difference between boys and girls for a lot longer than anyone suspects. But girls aren’t the mystery you suppose them to be. They’re far more mysterious than that. You’re going to spend the rest of your life trying to figure out just one of them.
I remember twelve.
You’re about to start getting a lot of advice from people who love you and some of that advice will be pretty good. But you’re also going to be told some things that are absolute crap. 2
CRAP: You’ll be told the secrets of success are to be smart and to work hard. But that’s not entirely true. The world is full of successful people who rose to the top simply because they overcame their fear and took chances other people weren’t willing to take.
Successful people usually fail multiple times before they succeed.
If working hard were the way to wealth, men who dig ditches in the heat of summer would be the wealthiest of us all.
We’re paid according to the size of the responsibilities we’ve been entrusted to carry.
You’ll be given responsibility when you demonstrate that you’re willing to do what other people aren’t willing to do. You’re not going to want to do those things, either. But do them and do a good job. That’s how you gain authority.
CRAP: People will tell you that a single success can cause you to be “set for life” or that a single mistake can “ruin your life.” But success and failure are both temporary conditions.
CRAP: Grown-ups will tell you that you need to go to college to be successful. If you want to become an employee and climb the corporate ladder, college will definitely help you do that. But the downside of college is that it trains you think like everyone else. If you want to leave your fingerprints on the world you’re going to need to have your own way of thinking.
Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. So never be afraid to experiment. Just make sure you can afford to fail.
Piffle and pooh. You don’t need to find a purpose; you need to choose one.
You fall in love with a purpose exactly like you fall in love with a girl: by reaching out and touching it each day. When you make daily contact with something, it becomes an important part of your life. You make your mark on it, and it makes its mark on you. 3
You can choose what you want to do, but you can’t choose the consequences.
There’s a big difference between the way things ought to be and the way things really are. If you moan about how things ought to be, you’re a whiner. And the only people who like whiners are other whiners.
But if you work to make things better, you’re an activist. If you fling yourself headlong into making things better, you’re a revolutionary. Congratulations, you found a purpose.
Grown-ups with good intentions will tell you that you should “enjoy these years of no responsibility, blah, blah, blah.” But grown-ups who have warm and fuzzy memories of the years between twelve and sixteen aren’t remembering those years as well as they think.
It’s pretty cool when you can hop into a car and go anywhere you want to go. But after a few years you’ll realize that no place is quite as special as the place you came from. But you can never really go home again because “home” changes just like you do. This is what Heraclitus meant when he said you can’t step into the same river twice.
The best advice I can give you is that you should marry your best friend and never let anyone or anything be more important to you than her. If you’ve always got your best friend with you, life is pretty amazing.
Hang in there, kid.
And remember what I told you.
Roy H. Williams
When I talk to some of you, it is really clear to me that you WILL consider the GOOD AND USEFUL in this article crap… to the degree you do it, to the same degree you’ll continue to be miserable and or unsuccessful.
The choice is yours.
- Had someone taught me this, I would have had less depression and less anxiety in my life… And even though some of the stuff comes naturally to me… not all… some.
- Today, those advice come also from the internet, from gurus, from books, and that makes sure that absolute crap circulate faster than real truth.
There are many ways to go wrong, and very few to go right. That is the meaning of the “strait and narrow”. I have most recently been exposed to “crap” in the area of the biting mites… 99.99% of what is found on the internet, what is SOLD on the internet to deal with the mite epidemic, is pure, unadulterated crap.
- This is the most important thing in this article: you don’t find your passion, you choose your passion, just like you choose someone to fall in love with. Someone to be friends with. Before you choose they are strangers, and you can’t even imagine being best friends with them…
My whole life, since I quite architecture, has been lived like this. I said yes, tentative yes… and a said a lot of yeses.
Dating in the area of choosing a profession or a vocation, is largely missing. Just like in dating we have started to say “I love you” which is a premature commitment, on the first or second date, in life we think that we can’t date a job, a profession, a skill. But we can… I am an example for that. I take on projects with people for the sole purpose of “dating a skill” to see if I like it or not.
I have built my skill-set like this, not through schools, courses, or books. Through doing “work” that put me in a “dating” closeness, a dating-relationship with the skill.