This Is Water

In this brilliant video, Dave Foster Wallace explains that real education is not about knowledge, but about how you look at your challenges in life and how you choose to interpret life’s annoying trivialities that are all around you. Education is about awareness.

This is his commencement speech from 2005 at Kenyon College. I’m having a tough time explaining the not-so-trivial impact this lesson has had on me.

We all have a choice. Education affords us an opportunity to reflect. We have the opportunity to choose to see things and interpret their meaning positively, compassionately. Or, we can choose to be miserable, self centered wretches, unknowingly imprisoned by what we KNOW to be true (that just isn’t). That our default condition (that WE are the center of the universe) can be overcome with hard work and deliberate effort, and the knowledge that we can choose to think differently.

Related to work and career, one thing I do know is that happiness and fulfillment is not found in your “work”, per se, but in relationships and committed, long term sacrifices for those you serve – eg people you care about. (family, friends, teams)

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