Don’t blame your equipment

The Things They Taught Me–Stephen Dubner on the Freakonomics Podcast


First of all, the first couple minutes of this and what he says–everyone has the things they live by, their mottos or always-stick-to-it ideas. I feel like I don’t really have that. I always work hard, try to be kind and clean and healthy and happy. But I’m not great at being kind or compassionate, even if I am trying. I try to set goals and reach them, but often those goals don’t come from me… they just kind of appear and feel correct. And I don’t really have ideas that I stick to, that I can go back to when I am trying to make a decision or make sense of a situation. Rather than hanging on to lessons and applying them to situations, I seem to let go of lessons and make up new ones for each situation… But maybe reflecting each day and writing about things that have meaning for me will help me to develop these things.

Anyways, a couple of the lessons Stephen mentions having learned in college really struck a chord with me the other day. I think they apply to some of the troubles I’ve been having here at school, some of my questioning about my situation.

First of all–“Don’t blame your equipment.” This really struck me because since I’ve been feeling dissatisfied in grad school, I have been doing this far too much. Not literally–blaming my computer or anything like that. But blaming my situation, people around me, even people who have been nothing but kind or helpful to me. I can’t ask people to change and be who I want them to be. I need to do my best at being myself, using my resources, using my drive and desire to do well. And appreciate all of the things that other people offer me–their time and advice, and the fact that even though they have so much else to think about and deal with, they spend some of their time thinking about and dealing with me.

Second–“Everyone you meet will know something you don’t.” (Well, that is Bill Nye, but Stephen gets to the same idea in this podcast.) I may be smart, I may have knowledge to offer, and when it is requested or invited I should share it. But really, I should be open to how much knowledge and experience others have, how valuable their input is. If I have an unfounded idea about how something should be and if it gets challenged, I should sit back and think for two minutes before I decide to challenge back. So maybe “Don’t be a smart ass.”


Tomorrow–“Our Buggy Brains” TED Radio Hour podcast.


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