Is school still on for you? Are you continuing your learning even though school is over? Even the best and broadest college curriculum will give us only a survey view of the many fields of knowledge AND teach us how to learn, how to educate ourselves. There are six essential things I think one MUST study:
1. Emotional Intelligence. Your happiness is affected by your understanding of how your emotions influence you and how you can influence your emotions. You will be happy as you become emotionally mature and wise. How you interact with other people will probably be the defining influence in your life and will largely determine whether your family and friends will love you or turn from you.
2. Eating and Exercise. Your ability to enjoy life to the fullest will depend in great measure on your health. Most of us need to know more about how to exercise properly and how to eat in a healthy manner. Use information based on good science and common sense. There are no shortcuts to good health. Good health is far more important for enjoying life than I ever supposed as a young person.
3. Biographies. Biographies are among the best textbooks for learning life's lessons. Come to know Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Lafayette, Henry, Lincoln, TR and FDR, Kennedy. Mother Teresa, Churchill, Gandhi, and Hannibal will teach you great things. Hellen Keller’s My Life is one of the most influential books I’ve ever read. Their lives will speak to you and uplift you, warn you and encourage you.
4. Politics and Economics. The U.S. is engaged in a political and economic conversation like I have rarely seen. Much of this is positive. However, much of it is not worthy of us, because it is based on personal opinion, anecdote, speculation and sloppy reasoning. Stretching facts, skewing history, and personally attacking political opponents have come to substitute for good policy proposals. Matters of our economy and our polity are difficult and sophisticated and cannot be approached with shallow “I’m right and you’re wrong” thinking. We must become informed of the facts rather than being lazily doctrinaire. Exposure to good thinking on all sides of issues serves one far better than believing ranting talk show hosts, whether on the left or the right.
5. Learn New Things. Socrates’ aphorism still speaks great truth: "The unexamined life is not worth living." So examine your life, your thinking, your values, and your personality. Throw out the bad and keep the good. Become familiar with medical advances, emerging technology, new perspectives on human rights, etc. Associate with new people, especially those you may have misunderstood or disagree with. Embrace unfamiliar things which prove uplifting and which make you wiser or better. Leave behind that which is unhealthy, isolates you from others, perpetuates ignorance, or interferes with a happy life
6. Spirituality. Finally, I strongly commend deep, daily study of the spiritual resources available to you. A rich spiritual life is essential to a happy life. It grounds, directs, and comforts us.
My final plea to graduates and anyone seeking to further their education: Avoid the great time-wasters of our day: television, video games, insipid movies, wasteful time on the internet, pornography, endless texting. Avoid and overcome addictions. Be in control of your lives. Live with purpose. Be happy by being informed, healthy, strong, wise, good, and by serving others.
My schooling and especially my education after my schooling have greatly enriched my life.
SCHOOL IS STILL ON!