We all have dreams . . . We all want to believe deep down in our souls that we have a special gift, that we can make a difference, that we can touch others in a special way, and that we can make the world a better place.So begins Tony Robbins in "Awaken the Giant Within," his best selling book. If you haven't read it yet...
I learned a question worth asking when giving a guess lecture for a student group a few years ago. I asked them, given a choice of becoming really good at video games, not world class mind you, just very good, or starting a company and making $20M, which would you choose? Then I asked them, what are they doing to make that dream come true? The real answer for most students is nothing.
One of the sad things about living in Carbondale, is so many people are planning to be worse off in 20 years then they are today. So many people's lives were capped when they reached their last college graduation. Few are striving to be great, few are striving at all. We know the janitors, working civil service at SIU, have given up. They aren't learning, they aren't striving, they are filling their slot, until they retire and then they are going to die. Ask them if they want to live to 100 and they say, "what for?" OK for them, but I don't want to be that way. Do you?
It is sad to see SIU's administrators, not working hard to become better managers, hiding behind layers of secretaries, ducking out the back and not working hard. It is sad to see SIU's professors not doing research, not pushing for new knowledge, not working to become better teachers. It is sad to see SIU's students not working to learn the knowledge offered up in their classes and from their professors, and instead worrying about their video games, cell phones, beer bongs, $7/hour jobs and paying for their personalized license plates. SIU is a place that needs an overhaul, it needs to become an organization of striver's again. I can see some movement on the very top, but so many people will have to be fired to make it come true, I don't see it happening.
I have been here for six years, trying to do service for my hometown. Some things turn out well and some didn't. I have 5 or 6 friends I'm leaving behind, that I'm not sure I will be able to replace. I have hundreds of acquiescences, that are great people too. But, I don't want to be here, in a town where a majority think being smart and having no life goals is a good choice. Mediocrity is such a bad life choice. If you have to choose between having a great potential and a PhD or having less potential and making more of it, always choose to work harder.
The questions I leave you with now, where will you be in 20 years? Shouldn't you be doing more, both for yourself and your society?