Category Archives: Education

Learning from Mistakes

I work on the EMS squad for our local ambulance service.  Today, we got three calls in a row.  All three ambulance with three different crews had to rush out within an hour at different times.

I had a vacation day today, but I worked due to a ton of documents to convert in during my regular job.  Even though I was on vacation, I was pretty stressed.

When we go on calls, patient focus is the primary responsibility.  I am still pretty new at this, but my crew (including my oldest daughter) did everything correct except for one small mistake on my part.  I loaded the patient backwards, so her feet was where her head should be and vice versa.  In this situation, it did no harm.

When things are pretty stressed in life and so focused on doing a good job, stupid mistakes are good to stop us from getting too caught up with ourselves.  We can lead huge projects, work around the clock on ensuring something keeps running, and have the holiday stress as well as everyday stress, but we need to do something stupid to have ourselves be able to smile at ourselves.

And isn’t that what made this country great?  Hard working people able to stop and just laugh at ourselves once in a while as we try new endeavors.

Education – Faith of a Mustard Seed

The idea for this week’s blog really came from thinking about the band Rush, an artistic powerhouse of a band of true musicians.  Just the musical talent and the faith in those talents have led to an amazing gift to its legions of fans.

Needing a way to think about closing this week’s blogs utilizing Rush, I was drawing a blank.  In church this morning, the sermon talked about faith of a mustard seed.  I can imagine three guys in the early 70’s playing high school dances with just a small amount of faith betting it all on their talents.

Miles Davis dropped out of Juilliard to educate himself in jazz from the greats at that time.  Sam Calagione went to the local library to learn about breweries.  Fred Smith wrote a paper in college outlying FedEx even though the professor did not think the concept was feasible.

All these examples this week of the various topics on education and going with that we sometimes have to educate ourselves in an informal sense if we have too shows these people with the faith of a mustard seed in their abilities.

God said we can move mountains with the faith as small as a mustard seed.  I believe this to be true just from these examples.  They all may not be Christians.  In fact, I never look at their religious beliefs.  I do have a strong belief that God wants us all to be successful, and sometimes it is the crazy idea that you can’t shake will lead to a successful life as you try to follow through on making your idea a reality.

So thank You God for the many opportunities, for the faith You give us, for the guidance down our path (even if not a straight path), and the opportunities You have given us to educate ourselves when we have too.

Education – Sometimes not a Straight Path

I read and listen to a lot of Dan Miller.  Dan actually almost has a doctorate.  Dan was down to his final writing and decided to write the highly successful 48 Days to the Work You Love.  In his mind, why write a book for five college professors to read and then it never sees the light of day when he could write a book to be read by millions.

One of the things concerning me is the student loan debt in a terrible economy.  When I switched jobs 14 years ago, the main thing that drew me to my current position in the corporate world was the continuing education.  I actually made it through grad school without student loan debt.  I would have not chosen to go back to school if it was not for this benefit.

Dave Ramsey’s formal education is impressive, and his success came early in the real estate market.  Then he went bankrupt.  After that, his experience from that has helped others to be education about finances through his coaching and writing work.

If you want an informal education, Steve Jobs can show that.  Dropped out of college, but he still attended classes unofficially by sneaking into the courses he was interested.  This gave him the artistic flair his creations are credited with by attending those courses.  For having an education on being a CEO, it took being thrown out of Apple and having to found NeXT Computer.  It was at NeXT that people accredited his education at being a CEO.

We may not be on a straight path in our education.  Sometimes the education comes in unexpected places.  I do not have any collegiate business classes, so I have educated myself by being a voracious reader of business authors.  It is not a straight path as an MBA would be, but it has served me in being educated in the business world in a very unconventional way.

Education – No High School Diploma?

I am reading Sam Calagione book on “Brewing Up A Business”.  Sam started Dogfish Head Brewery, and he has been very successful.  Sam also was expelled from high school, so he does not have a high school diploma.  He states he is one of the select few who never graduated high school but has a college degree.  His degree is in writing.

What Sam did for his goal of starting a brewery was to go to the library and self-educate himself on the brewing business.  I would say he did a great job of educating himself with the success he has had.  I am finding it a fascinating journey, but I have only started it.  I hope the next 200+ pages are as educational as the first 20.

Another high school dropout “loser” was Billy Joel.  Yes, he got his diploma 25 years after being unable to graduate high school due to his workload of helping his mother make ends meet.  My wife did a blog on one of Billy Joel’s song from 1973 (  Amazing longevity of success.

I think education is so important in life.  I have a couple of degrees, and I push my daughters in school.  My big thing is to make sure they have every opportunity to be successful on achieving their goals.

Sometimes, life has other plans for you though, but nobody should give up.  Like Billy Joel who could not get a diploma due to playing in piano bars to help his mother, life is just not that easy, but you can still achieve the goal of being a successful musical artist even if you have to educate yourself.

Education – Thoughts on College

As I am going through the secondary education process with my daughters, I wanted to go back to what I went through.

I was pretty decent in school.  Always knew what I wanted.  I decided to go to a small local college.  I had some friends look down upon me for my college choice.  I remember one friend in particular tell me how I did not understand some things due to not going to a large university, because “they are special places”.  That was fine.  Different strokes for different folks.  I did get tired of having my choice look down upon, but my focus was matching what I wanted in a school to best match my educational goals (I can thank my parents on focusing me on educational goals).

When I took my oldest two daughters (one in college and the in high school), I took them to every possible choice of a college.  Three of the oldest colleges in Illinois, 2 of the 7 working colleges in the U.S., large universities, small colleges, local colleges, colleges in other states, etc…..

My oldest found a small working college that matches up with the goal she wants.  She has already laid out the path she wants to go after she graduates thanks to the opportunities she is being shown even this being her freshman year.  My middle girl is now starting the same path of matching her goals with the school as my oldest has.  It is an exciting time to watch them plan their future.

To go back to my story, I decided to go to graduate school years later after graduating from that small college.  I chose a large Catholic university, Regis University, in Denver Colorado for grad school.  When interviewing for acceptance, the head of the department looked at my degree from Illinois College, and he was impressed due to the school’s reputation.  There was no question in his mind as seeing my alma mater that I would be a perfect in fit his graduate program.