Sunday’s Wisdom #444: Become More

“You claim to be a scholar, but where are your discoveries?”
– Gavilar Kholin, The Rhythm of War
The Stormlight Archive
, by Brandon Sanderson

The exact circumstances surrounding this quote are a bit complex. Suffice to say that the man saying it is has made many discoveries, but has kept them secret as he imagines he can use them to elevate himself, and only himself. By contrast, the woman he is speaking to will go on to make many discoveries of her own, and share them widely to elevate the entire world around her. He is speaking truth, in the most hurtful way he can, but it is a truth limited by things as they happen to be at that moment.

A truth which is limited by the past can be changed by the present to become something else in the future.

Human babies are not born walking. They must first learn to move their limbs, roll over, crawl, stand, then walk, and then eventually run. Just because a baby hasn’t walked yet doesn’t mean they can’t eventually win a gold medal in the Olympics.

It is we, not our past, who dictate our future.

On the other hand, that only happens when we choose to do it. We only accomplish things when we actually set out to do them.

Whether it’s exploring the unknown, discovering the wondrous, defending the right, reforming a piece of society, raising our status, helping those in need, saving a life, building a home, learning what others know, creating the new, inventing the imagined, finding love, starting a family, raising a child, or anything else, we can only do it through our own efforts and choices. That means more than just passively absorbing what is around us and perhaps regurgitating it on command – which, having once dipped my toe into academia at large, I assure you, that’s most of what those “scholars” do, and congratulate themselves for being so capable at it – but daring to think and say and do things which do not come from others, only from ourselves.

It is good to learn from everything and everyone, but if we do nothing with it, then what “good” is it, really? It would be like having the most massive fortune in the world and letting it sit there, forever unused. Why bother having it, then, if we aren’t going to do anything with it? (though that goes into another discussion for another time…)

Basically, if we want to truly be the things that we aspire to, then we must get up, do the work, and choose to be more than we have been. We have that power.

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