Last night I dreamt about being back at high school. That could have been a nightmare – I hated high school. There was a brutality about it that really disturbed me. Whenever I watch the movie The Shawshank Redemption about a brutal prison in America, I am reminded of high school – though in reality, it wasn’t quite that bad!
In the dream, I was the age I am now but back at the old school. Some of the old faces were there. Some were not. There were strangers of all ages sat in a really large class all in our uniforms. We chatted with the teacher and even sang a song together.
Maybe it was something I ate before bed. I don’t know.
But I woke up thinking about it. And the phrase ‘never stop leaning.’
The day we think we know it all is the day we die inside.
The late Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Computers, gave a speech at Stanford university commencement in 2002. He closed by quoting something he’d seen on the back of The Whole Earth Catalogue.
‘They put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: ‘Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.’ It was their farewell message as they signed off.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay hungry, stay foolish.’
Stay hungry – always keep wanting something more, something new. Stay foolish – always keep an open mind, never think that you know everything.
This is a simple step that will improve your life.
The Principal of my old college used to always ask students, ‘What are you reading?’ He expected us to always be reading some book or other. It didn’t really matter what it was. Reading involves learning. Even if we read a novel it may teach us something about a place, a group or community, or simply how to write a novel.
One of the plotlines in The Shawshank Redemption is one of the characters trying to get books for the run down prison library. It takes years but eventually he transforms the library because he believes books will enrich the lives of the inmates.
At the time of writing, I’ve just finished reading The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemmingway. I read that because someone said that if you want to be a writer you should read that book, because it will help you understand more about writing. And it did.
Whatever you want to be in life, read a book by someone who excelled in that area, or a biography of such a person. Once you get in the flow new books almost suggest themselves.
So my question to you is: What are you reading this week?
What other ways do you learn? Do you read books and articles by people who have a different outlook to you?
My recommendation: ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish.’