Don’t confuse education and wisdom

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Did you ever benefit from a light bulb or a fluorescent light? Of course, we all did. The person who perfected the light bulb had a total of three months of formal education in an elementary school.

As a young child, Thomas Edison didn’t get along with the schoolmaster of the small school he attended. So after three months of schooling, he dropped out for good. When I first time heard this from Napoleon Hill, I found it hard to believe. But Hill, a famous motivational author, had met Edison and used him as one of his role models for accomplishing. The next time I was in a public library, I found a biography of Edison. There it was: Edison had only three months of formal schooling. He spent the rest of his life studying and researching on his own.

Some people with a limited formal education might have a selfimage of: “I’m not that educated.”

But Edison never let his short “proper” education get in the way.

He kept reading. He kept speaking to people who had the knowledge that he wanted to gain. You can do the same.

Every time you see a light bulb, let it remind you to gain more knowledge, on your own or from speaking to knowledgeable people. Let it motivate you to keep learning more, even if you do not yet have your ideal education.

As long as you continue reading books and listening to others share their knowledge, you are a person who is continuing a lifelong quest for more knowledge.

You can have a self-image of: “I am a person who continues to gain more knowledge my entire life.”

Once we’ve mentioned Edison, it’s worthwhile mentioning one of the classic reframes of history. When Edison was working on inventing the light bulb, he tried one filament after another to find one that would work. He tried thousands of experiments. When asked about his feelings towards his failures, he commented, “I didn’t fail. Each experiment that didn’t work successfully taught me another way not to make a light bulb.”

Every person who tries to do positive and constructive things will find that many things won’t work out as planned. You build your self-image by viewing this as part of the process of gaining more knowledge and wisdom. As quoted in Chochmah Umussar, “There is no one wiser than someone with experience.” As you accumulate more experience, you become wiser. So you can frequently say, “This, too, is making me wiser.”

By Rabbi Zelig Pliskin


Jewish World Review




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