Balance to the Force

When I was 16, I was asked by family friends to help them for a summer on their farm. On the border of Nevada and Utah, the farm was hundreds of miles from the city, near an old Pony Express trail.  I ended most days viewing the most beautiful sunsets I have ever witnessed. I have since experienced exquisite sunsets in the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and dozens of other places which could not compare.  The dust from the dry country roads, stirred by cattle trucks and harvesting machines, somehow amplified the colors in the dusk light.  Sunsets are not what I most remember, however.
The family lived in a place so remote that no broadcast signals reached the farm. They couldn’t watch television or listen to the radio.  So I listened to the three available albums on cassette tape: Blackout by the Scorpions, British Steel by Judas Priest, and Pyromania by Def Leppard. All I heard was a limited slice of hard rock during that hot summer of hauling hay, moving massive irrigation pipes, and repairing fences.
corn fields under white clouds with blue sky during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on
The takeaway is the way the music changed me. I don’t think it was inherently good or bad music, but it was limited. I forgot Mozart after a couple of weeks, then I eventually forgot about Van Halen. I started to believe that those three albums represented the entire culture of the world.  Through being completely immersed, my worldview changed. I still laugh at myself when I think of my mindset shift that summer.
This can happen to self-learners.  Because we study only what we want, we can insulate ourselves from variety.  If you want to be educated, you must expose yourself to a variety of viewpoints, particularly those with which you disagree.

Published by Brock Stout, PhD

Brock has helped many people to be extremely successful. He has lived in various countries and has enjoyed several careers, but is now a writer and a career coach. He sustained mild lead poisoning as a child, resulting in neurological damage. The result was a life of learning disabilities, always struggling to keep up. But he completed two degrees from competitive universities, then advised Wall Street executives in Asia for 15 years. He later earned a PhD and worked as a university professor for six years. He has started three profitable companies in between. So he particularly wants to help those with special learning challenges. Because so many of us now have these special challenges, they are no longer special. But they are challenges. He wants you to TEACH YOURSELF how to be successful.

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