[singlepic id=70 w=320 h=240 float=left]”You can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and still come out completely dry.  Most people do. ”
~Norman Juster

Last week I realized the most obvious of all facts about education, students, success, and failure. And I knew it to be true, but it’s so hard for me to believe because the conclusion is so completely foreign to me. People that are successful simply choose to be. People that fail and are average simply choose to be.

To make your body stronger, you have to make it suffer a little. You have to make it work harder than it normally does. We all know that. Lifting a feather a thousand times a day will never make you stronger. You have to lift more than you normally do- tear those muscle fibers a little, and then you’ll grow back two for each one you break. Your body will adjust to the load it’s expected to carry. It takes a little time, but it works.

The same goes with your mind. You have to stretch it beyond what it already knew. Here’s another quote- one of my favorites:

“Man’s mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

How true! How OBVIOUS! And yet, how uncommon. Why is it that students in this class- with the answers given to you like an open book test, won’t even open the book and watch the videos that teach you to create better art. Instead of watching the videos for an hour to learn the secrets to getting good results on these projects, students are choosing to fail over and over again for 3 or 4 hours straight- creating poor project after poor project, never learning anything new, thinking that practicing their ignorance will somehow cure it. It only makes it more deeply entrenched in your minds. You actually will make yourself a WORSE artist by repetitively creating bad art. You have to learn something new, make adjustments, and stretch yourself a little to become better.

Practice does NOT make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect. You have to practice the correct thing to improve. If you practice a bad habit, you’ll just get better at that bad habit. SO STOP! Rebel against your own indifference. These work habits are “practice,” too. if you practice poor learning and adapting skills to new situations, you won’t know how to deal with them in college, work, relationships, or any other aspect of life. You have to learn to love yourself enough to want to see yourself grow and work through the effort that growth requires.

So when it comes to this class and watching the videos… I’ll quote Sinatra- “If you’re cheating on me, you’re cheating yourself.” I’m not hurt by you not learning anything. You may feel you’re getting something for nothing- but what are you getting? A grade in an elective class? This course isn’t even required for graduation!! So what if you get a C or D in this class. The grade is NOT the issue! I believe that for all the classes. The issue should be- are you having this time taken from you by spending it and not getting anything out of it- or are you investing this time to learn what you can while you’re in class? It costs you 1.5 hours of your life every time you come to this class. Are you throwing your life away, or investing in your future with it?

And if you’re throwing it away… why doesn’t your life mean more to you? Why aren’t you worth the time you’re already spending in school? If you think about it, that’s a really serious question! It says a lot about how you view yourself and how you value yourself. Some might say “well, I just don’t like school” or “I’m just lazy.” I understand that, but you are paying with your life- literally- by coming to school. Just being here is literally costing you your life. So why waste it?

11/3 update– JUST GOT THIS!!! CLICK HERE for an entry to a logo contest. DUE THIS FRIDAY! I know that’s only a little time, but if you win this, not only do you get a free letter grade this quarter, but you also get $250!!! WAY COOL!!! Knock ’em down… Post entries in the forum for your class.