Today I’m launching an idea that I’m hoping will become a recurring column here called Advice For My Daughter, outlining the most important things I’ve learned (and continue to learn) about life on this strange planet. I hope you enjoy it as well! -Josh
One of the most important things you can do in life is to ask questions.
And ask a LOT of them.
Many people don’t do this because they’re afraid of looking dumb. What they don’t realize, though, is that everyone is dumb.
Now, everyone is smart, too.
The problem is, most times we forget that ‘smart’ and ‘dumb’ are different for everyone. What’s easy for you might be really hard for me. What drains your energy might be one of my favorite things. This is just how the world is, but many people don’t see it, or have somehow forgotten about it.
A wise guy named Albert Einstein once said:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
You may be a fish or you may be a monkey, we don’t know yet. Everybody is wired a little differently, designed for different things. What we do know is that whatever you are, we will encourage you to be more of that.
Appreciate the gifts and talents of others, but never think you have to be exactly like them.
All you need is to be exactly like you.
Your mom and I will also urge you to understand and respect the other “animals” around you — and to be brave about asking them questions. Especially if you’re a fish, don’t ever be afraid of asking about trees.
Don’t be afraid to ask anything, really.
P.S. A side benefit of this is that most of the people around you will be glad you spoke up, because they were scared to — even though they were wondering the same thing you were.
P.P.S. While we’re on animals, please ignore that whole “curiosity killed the cat” business. That crap was just made up by silly people afraid of adventure.
Jim Wallis: American Gangster by Josh Allan Dykstra on February 5th, 2008
Umair Haque On Constructive Capitalism by Josh Allan Dykstra on August 19th, 2009
Advice For My Daughter: 'Real' and 'Tangible' Are Not The Same by Josh Allan Dykstra on March 21st, 2014