A reader named Mark from Charlotte, North Carolina, writes:
Your book [The Art of Self-Directed Learning] sums up the past 40 years of my life. I had the good fortune to run across a lifelong mentor on the day of my 16th birthday. You may call that good luck but one of the first lessons my mentor taught me was about the reality of most good luck.
As all good mentors do, he modeled this lesson one day as we were working side-by-side. A person who had recently met my mentor came into the shop where we were working. After a brief conversation this person made the comment “you sure have been lucky in life.” As I learned over the next 35 years of friendship with this man, his success led many people to make this comment as they paid tribute to him. This happened often and was somewhat frustrating to him. His standard reply he graciously responded with which I witnessed firsthand during this one Saturday encounter was “Oh yeah, and the harder I work the luckier I seem to get.”
My good fortune or what some would call luck in meeting this incredible man was a result of me taking a deliberate step that led to us meeting. I picked up my driver’s license on a Friday which happened to be my 16th birthday. On the night before I had searched the Yellow Pages looking for cabinet shops in hopes that one of them would hire a 16 year old kid. After returning home with my newly printed driver’s license I began calling shops one after another until I got to the one that turned out to be my lifelong mentor. Listening or reading your book is the same type of deliberate step a young person can take today that will result in life stories like those you write about in your book. I suppose there is such a thing as good fortune or good luck. This being true then the alternative is also true. There can be bad luck and bad fortune. Hard work is the force that your write so well about in your book which is far more important and real than the luck of the draw.
In chapter 12 you make an important distinction between information and knowledge. […] I’ve written about comparing information and knowledge to paint in cans sitting on a shelf waiting to be used. This is how information and knowledge acquired in the 100 year factory education system we are mired in today works. The issue today is that information and application change so fast, those who don’t find their own self-directed path are going to find their supply of stored knowledge will have become like old dried-up paint that was never used to brighten and inspire a lifetime of curiosity driven, constant personal improvement.
Congratulations for writing this wonderful book. It is an incredibly accurate how-to tool for those who want to become self-directed learners. I look forward to reading about that camp you dream of building one day. That is one dream I’ll bet on becoming a reality in the future.
Thanks Mark! —Blake
[all emphasis mine]