Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Time, Education and Leaky Brains

There are times when my head is so full of information that I wonder if I can absorb anything new. Sometimes I feel as if my brain were like a bucket of water and if another dollop of information is added to the pail, liquid will leak out of my ears. Of course this isn’t true. My head isn’t leaking, so I can take my fingers out of my ears and stop singing “La, la, la,” every time I am confronted with new factoids. But in this age of instant information, it can seem a little overwhelming to keep up with everything.

After talking to my daughter, Brittany, I realize my concern is not confined to middle-aged Baby Boomers. Brittany just turned 25 and she is not only learning new things on the computer, phone and digital camera (all things I seriously underuse), she is studying interior design – a career that is constantly changing. She is attending a private college and passed on an opportunity to enter a competition where she could have won a significant scholarship. Unfortunately, the entry was due shortly after completing her finals and she felt she wouldn’t have the time to create a worthwhile project.

Apparently, her classmates felt the same way. Only one person entered, and that lucky person won the top prize. The second and third place awards went unclaimed.

One of my clients, the International Academy of Hair & Aesthetics in Tempe, AZ, also had a competition. Students were asked to write an essay, or pledge, outlining their commitment to their future careers as aestheticians. The prizes were significant – a $2,000 and a $1,000 scholarship to the National Laser Institute. Amanda Tihey won first place and Baeley Haught received second place.

While the International Academy of Hair & Aesthetics received more reaction than Brittany’s school for its competition, I thought the response was a bit underwhelming, particularly considering the amount of the scholarship and how tight money is for most folks right now. I think it might be attributed to the leaky head syndrome. Bottom line is most of us feel like there is too much to do, not enough time to do it, and if I have to learn anything else today I’m going to go screaming into the night.

So, you might ask, with this attitude, why did I write the self-help book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within? Isn’t this just another example of new information? Technically, this may be correct. There is nothing new about my book, or even most self-help books in general. Some of the best ones go back hundreds, or even thousands of years ago – The Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, The Richest Man in Babylon.

However, since there is only so much time in a day, the information may be out there, but taking the time to access it may be problematic. And that is the catch 22. Most of us recognize we would be happier if we took the time to learn better habits and methods of interacting in the world, but we feel like we just don’t have the time to do it. Just like my poor, struggling student-of-a-daughter, Brittany who missed out on a chance to win a scholarship and reduce her student loan debt.

No matter where we live or who we are, all of us have the same 24 hours in each day. What separates us is how we choose to spend our time. We can veg out in front of the television, gossip on the telephone, or sleep all day. Or we can make an investment in ourselves to learn how to become better human beings by taking the time to help others, read an uplifting book, or simply enjoy beauty by taking a stroll through the park.

When confronted with the many options we have each day on how to fill our day, I hope you will take a moment to ponder on how you can use what limited spare time you do have to create value in some way. Because that type of investment in time is one that is sure to bring lasting rewards for yourself, and for others.

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