Look closely before you leap
The old adage “Look before you leap” wasn’t coined so cats could get from a comfortable chair to an even more comfortable couch. Anyone who has a cat as a pet knows that these curious – and often crazy – creatures are generally pretty good at finding their way around. Cats just intuitively seem to know what to do and don’t need a lot of instruction.
That being said, the cat in this picture once jumped off a balcony about 10 feet off the ground by accident in an impulsive attempt to catch a passing butterfly. But thankfully, she only tried that once. I guess even cats sometimes need to learn this basic lesson.
But for some of God’s other creatures (i.e. people) life experience is much more complex. Yes, we arrive on the earth with many important capabilities and yet also arrive lacking knowledge in many ways. In order to avoid any confusion, the point of this post is that it will often be necessary for each one of us to aggressively go out and get the knowledge and experience we need.
Please don’t underestimate the amount of time and intentional effort this will take. And please don’t wait too long to get started.
Back in high school, I remember boarding a bus in a bit of a haze with many other students and travelling to the University of Saskatchewan on a career exploration tour. This was a step in the right direction, in terms of gathering more information, but it wasn’t very helpful because the purpose of the trip wasn’t individually specific enough.
Oh yes, some new knowledge was acquired along the way.
What I remember most about that trip was that the agronomy or “Agro” students had a rivalry (sometimes friendly and sometimes not) with the engineers. Not surprisingly, the engineers had the technological upper hand; they had a device capable of firing melon-sized projectiles at unsuspecting agronomy students. But, not to be outdone, the Agros had the tactical advantage of a classroom on the third floor overlooking an important walking path…and access to a water hose.
Which side of the campus war did I want to be on? That was the bizarre question that captured my imagination on the trip back to my home town.
But what is really bizarre, is that I never got around to actually talking to any recent agronomy students or engineering students who had jobs doing what they were trained to do. If I was seriously thinking about becoming an Engineer don’t you think it would make sense to make an effort to talk to one and ask a few questions?
But I never did. Instead, I applied to the College of Engineering (partly because I didn’t know what else to do), got accepted and then privately agonized over whether or not I should go. Looking back, I didn’t make nearly enough effort to get the information I really needed in order to make a wise decision.
Confusion set in for good reason. I didn’t know what I wanted to do partly because I didn’t take the time or put in the right kind of effort to find out.
In case you are wondering, I never did become an Engineer. And for this the world can be eternally thankful. Enough things fall apart as it is. But being a slow learner, I went on to apply to the College of Education without ever talking to anyone who worked as a primary or secondary teacher. What was I thinking!?
Back then, my general approach was to collect as many college catalogues as possible, stare at them in a prolonged and confused state until I ran out of time, and then make a wild leap in a mostly random career direction.
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