A sample from Chapter 1 – My Story

 

If you’re like most people, you have received or are receiving your education from the public school system. You spend 12 years of your life doing exactly what is required of you.  School is much like an obstacle course.  Your “job” while in school is to navigate the paths laid before you by your teachers and to provide the “right” answers when tested to demonstrate you have “learned” what you were taught.  If the ability to regurgitate facts learned through memorization were all that was required in life, you would be all set!  Unfortunately, upon completing high school and receiving a diploma you have not learned much that is useful in the “Real World.”   Sure you may understand grammar, punctuation, spelling, and even be able to solve the most complicated math problem.  These skills will not help you determine whether the lease you’re about to sign for your first apartment needs to be modified.  You have got to be able to think on your own to do that and you are not taught how to think for yourself in school.

Don’t believe me?  Well consider this - have you ever disagreed with a teacher in class?  What was the result?  I’m not talking about debating whether the answer to a math problem is 42 or 67.  I mean disagreeing with a fundamental principle of economics or history or some other “truth” given to you by your teacher that you were being asked to willingly assimilate into your knowledge base as just that – unquestionable truth.  Perhaps you were discussing Social Security or Medicare and whether or not they are necessary in our society.  What was the outcome?  Was your teacher willing to listen to a contrary point of view?  How about your classmates?  If so, consider yourself lucky to have been exposed to someone who would force you to think on your own.  What’s more interesting to consider is how did your classmates respond?  Did they support the debate or did they shun you for not agreeing with the teacher or just want you to shut up so the class could just keep going and you could get that lesson done?

The main purpose of school today is to teach conformity.  Beginning with kindergarten you are taught how to follow rules, to do what you’re told and what is expected of you.  This philosophy is reinforced with each passing year as you progress through school.  Your homework must be turned in at the specified time.  You must answer the questions the way you were taught.  Nonconformance is not acceptable.  Conformance is rewarded and praised.

This is exactly what happened with me.  I attended a parochial school from 1st thru 8th grade.  I wore a uniform every day.  I had homework to do.  There was a lot expected from me.  I was a B and C student.  I was also with the same 20 to 30 kids for those 8 years and we all became good friends but the experience limited my view of the world.  It was a very controlling atmosphere and absolute compliance was demanded.  Nevertheless, there was comfort for me since I knew almost everyone in the school.  Because the highest grade at the parochial school was 9th grade and my local high school was structured for 9th through 12th grade, I began attending public high school in the 9th grade.

The situation in public school was much different.  First the school was much larger (I went from a school of 250 in 8th grade to a school of over 2,000 in 9th grade) which meant less one-on-one contact with the teachers.  Nevertheless, when I had questions, I sought out the teachers and they were very willing to help me learn what I “needed” to learn.  In 1988, I graduated high school 5th in my class of 580 with a 4.07 grade point average.  Achieving all this you would think I was ready for the world but not just yet; I had been accepted to college.

I attended Georgia Tech and majored in Electrical Engineering.  I spent the next 5 years of my life working to achieve my degree (5 years because I was part of the co-op program so I worked while I went to school).  Georgia Tech is a fantastic school.  People who were committed to learning and being the best they could be in their chosen field surrounded me.  The environment pushed me to do more than I thought I could and it taught me a valuable lesson; if you want to succeed, you must surround yourself with the best.  No average person will ever push you to do more than you believe is possible.

In the 15 years since I obtained my undergraduate degree, I have lived in 4 states, bought 4 houses and sold 3, worked for 7 different companies (8 if you count my co-op job in undergraduate school), gotten married, gotten a graduate degree, had a child, gotten divorced, gotten married a second time and gotten divorced again.

If you think I planned my life this way, you are nuts!  Life doesn’t always go the way you plan.  The only way you can survive what comes your way is if you have prepared.  That’s why I wrote this book.  I can’t tell you everything you’re going to need to know.  Everyone’s situation is different.  Everyone has different needs.  The purpose of this book is to give you the basic understanding you need to cope with the life situations you will encounter.

Thomas Edison once said, "Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with preparation."  I hope the information contained in this book gives you the preparation you need to make your life successful regardless of what happens.