Some years ago I had the privilege of being a judge at a regional Miss America pageant. You probably know that Miss America pageants are not just about beauty but also intellect. Besides the various beauty related events, the contestants were brought before the Judges one at a time to answer any question we asked.
One of the judges asked each of the ladies to tell about the most recent book she had read. Many of them had good answers. One of them replied, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.
She tried hard to make her discussion of this children’s book seem intellectual, but with each tortured sentence she revealed a shallowness of intellect that destroyed almost any chance of winning the regional rhinestone tiara.
Shallowness of intellect results in a life filled with superficialities, trivialities and sentimentalities. A nearly empty mind is useless, miserable, a waste of potential, and even dangerous.
Don’t get me wrong, I have never won any awards for intellect. Heck, when I graduated from High School in 1961 I had barely enough credits to graduate. In a graduating class of 347 I might have graduated 345th.
In my third year of college (yes, I went to college, but they had to let me in because my father worked there), I discovered that learning was NOT drudgery but exciting, fulfilling and life-enhancing. I learned that books were filled with all kinds of wonderful things like facts and information that helped me become a more valuable individual, a more interesting conversationalist, and a happier person.
I found out that it wasn’t dumb to be smart!
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Since then I have read many hundreds of books, articles, blogs, magazines and more. Just last week I ordered three more books from Amazon.com, one of them I bought for only a penny (plus shipping and handling – cost me $4 – and it was delivered to my door in 4 days.
Every city has a library. Every library has a book or two or ten or one-hundred that would fascinate you, teach you, lift you, motivate you, and bless you. Books are cheap, some are free; it is ignorance that is expensive.
If you don’t like to read, watch videos. The Internet has tens of thousands of educational videos where you can watch lectures by some of the smartest people on earth.
Why waste your life on superficial things such as gossip, fads, stupid TV shows, inane conversations, and brain-dead friends. Learn something. Know something. Get smart.
You know what’s great about knowledge? No one can take it from you. Once you learn something, it’s yours forever – you own it. And the more you learn the more you own and the more you own the more interesting, happy and successful you will be.
One confession I must make. That young lady at the Miss America pageant has one thing on me. I’ve never read Green Eggs and Ham.
- 3.3: Protect Your Mind from Garbage
- 3.5: Protect your mind from Self-criticism