The Tourettic Bully-Proofer | Blog

Educated Idiots

I’m sure that we (well, most of us anyway) have all heard the term “Educated Idiot” before. Do we really know what that means? Getting a sheepskin to hang on the wall does not necessarily mean that we have a clue what we are doing. It means that we were able to pass enough tests in high school and college that we have been awarded a diploma.

Okay, you have a diploma. But do you know that while driving making a U-turn in front of an oncoming car in the rain is a terrible idea? If you answer “No” to this question, then congratulations; you are an educated idiot. It never ceases to amaze me at the things people will do while behind the wheel of their car. They seem to think they have the right of way, regardless of the circumstances. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but you don’t.

What this tells me is that our educational system no longer teaches critical thinking skills. I could not list all the things I have seen people do purely because they refuse to THINK! It has absolutely nothing to do with their race or gender or IQ; I am talking about common sense.

The word “think” is defined as “to employ one’s mind rationally and objectively in evaluating or dealing with a given situation.” Look around you. How many extremely bright people do you know that have trouble loading the dishwasher? We are born with the ability to think, to rationalize, to determine what the logical effects of our actions might be. But how many of us actually do this? How many of us stop and think for, oh, say two seconds before we act? We have become one of the most self-centered, impatient, and ostentatious societies that I have ever seen. We seem to have this attitude that WE are the most important person and everyone else has to wait on us.

Although I am not a psychologist, it is easy for me to see where a lot of this comes from. Over the last twenty or thirty years, the parents of the current 20- and 30-year-old’s made the mistake of listening to too many child-rearing experts. The philosophy was just to ignore poor behavior and give everyone a trophy regardless of performance. How do these children learn when they have not met expectations? How can they know when they must try harder? Trying harder and improving their performance in whatever they are doing also helps to improve their true self-confidence

. Over time, this will make it very hard for a bully to scare them or impose their will on them.

Anyway, American society is now overloaded with people who do not even know HOW to think. They don’t have a clue when they have screwed up when they need to change the things they do because they have been rewarded regardless of performance. A participation trophy is one of the worst ideas this country has ever come up with. I absolutely refused to allow my daughter to accept one. It would have given her the impression that she did something worthy of being presented with a trophy when all she did was show up.

Let me give you another example. I don’t want to destroy anyone’s image of me, although I cannot imagine it being all that great. But I am an eleventh-grade high school dropout. Yesterday I had to see my doctor. While in his office, he made the statement to me, “Mark, I am always glad to see you because I always learn something new from you.” I was not only surprised, but I was also quite pleased that a man with his level of education feels like he learns from me. I am now the CEO of the company where I work, so I have not done too badly.

My point is, your education does not stop when you graduate. But there are so many people who think it does. The people in life who seem to be the most successful never turn down the opportunity to learn something new.

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