“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.” – W.E.B. Du Bois
My pet peeve with most reality television is its celebration of dysfunctional and at times destructive behavior. The more selfish and short-sided the behavior the higher the participant is elevated on a pedestal. Given the sorry state of our affairs, do we need more examples of how not to succeed in life or society? How, exactly, does this strategy lead to our next win?
What’s more, employers are having a difficult time finding employees with the necessary skills to make it in the modern work place. The most desirable skills are the product of self confidence, the ability to communicate, and to get a long with others. Employers want people who can think intuitively and have the self confidence to imagine and innovate. These individuals easily communicate their ideas to others. They can work collaboratively in teams and have the self confidence to be flexible and improve their ideas in a adaptive fashion.
Akeelah and the Bee is a truly inspirational story which dares to celebrate the human spirit’s desire to succeed. The movie makes some especially interesting points. The first being, the fear of success is a more powerful force than the fear of failure. In fact, it is easy to fail and on a certain level socially acceptable. Success, on the other hand, brings unpredictable change to your life and relationships.
The other important idea is the use of competition as a tool to coax out the greatness hidden inside each competitor. Today, much of what passes as competition, is little more than an excuse to belittle, crush, or destroy. Instead, it would be helpful to remember the etiquette of the dojo. After sparing, the competitors bow as a show of gratitude. The opponents understand that only through competition will they be given the opportunity to sharpen their skills and improve their performance.
It is time for this country to accept the the tragic consequences of wasting human potential. In the world economy, we need every one of our citizens performing at their optimal level. The days of leaving all of the mental and creative work to the arbitrarily determined top ten-percent have long since past.