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Saturday, October 16, 2010

An investment in knowledge

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."
Says Benjamin Franklin.

I wholeheartedly agree with him.

The things I learn go into my bank of skills. In my life I've felt blessed to add more and more skills to my savings account.

In intermediate school my English teacher encouraged me to write. I took a creative writing class. Imagine if I stopped there. But I did not. I enjoyed writing so I took a print journalism class. I enjoyed that and then tried television journalism class. I signed up for Spanish and enjoyed that, so then I took French. Upon graduation from high school I was awarded a couple hundred bucks in scholarships for creative writing, journalism and French.

I went on to write for my college paper and decided it was time to learn copy editing. I then learned how to write headlines. Then I learned how to design pages and soon I was the editor in chief. After graduation I landed a job in graphic design. Now in my current position, I am editing, assigning, writing, designing, paginating and still learning.

If I had stopped at reporting, where would I be? Every skill has been fun to learn (because I like learning!) but also has led to a new adventure or chapter in my life (pardon the book metaphor).

My love of music and movies put me ahead of other applicants applying for a part time job in an electronics store. That I could rattle off both the first and newest Sam Raimi film impressed my boss and everyone in the store turned to me to play name that tune.

When I worked at Home Depot, I studied all the care tags for each plant that came in, just out of curiosity, and soon earned monthly cash bonuses for customer service excellence as the only employee who knew that Cheddar Pink, Sweet William and carnations are all dianthus plants.

The things I learn are often random and extemporaneous but I'll always have them with me. Who knows how, when and why I will use them, but I am delighted when I can.

Steve Martin's biography points out an example that he experienced. He decided to learn rope tricks, lassoing as part of an early performance job at a magic shop, where he also juggled, etc. He honed these skills but it would seem unlikely that a stand-up comedian would ever use these skills in a comedy act. And yet, it was exactly what set him apart for the Three Amigos, a film where he did his own lassoing and rope tricks.

And on that note, I'm off to learn how to lasso.

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