Thursday, October 07, 2010

A, B, C, or D

once, some good long years ago when i was still working in a factory, one of my officemates asked me,"sito, if you were invited by your alma mater to give a pep talk to a fresh batch of students on which is the most valuable lesson or skill you learned in all of the years you spent studying, what will you tell them?"

"whoa! friend, the opportunity to give inspirational talks are accorded only to those who have done notably well after school." i reminded him.

"well, just humor me, my friend,"he said, as he sipped on his beer,"i know you're not a class top honcho, this is just for discussion."

"ok, in that case, give me some time to think." i replied. i looked at my glass of beer and amused myself for a while with the way the ice moved as i jiggled the glass slowly. come to think of it, i asked myself, why don't these alma maters invite non-achievers or moderate achievers for a change, for inspirational talks? i answered the same question myself-- inspiration is equated with wealth or fame or social status. mediocrity will serve no purpose. people, especially the young, look up to people who have accumulated wealth, became famous, or have successfully reached the highest echelons of the social ladder. these are the people whom they want to pattern their lives with.

"what, in my years of study, do i consider the most valuable lesson or skill i learned?" i repeated my friend's question just to be sure i understood him correctly.

"yes!" he said,"you know, you've taken so long to answer this question, i'm not inviting you to deliver a speech. i told you, this is just for discussion."

"ok, i'll say it's english. the skill to communicate in this worldwide tongue. no matter where you go, if you're conversant in english you won't be an underdog."

"hmmm," he considered my answer. sipped on his beer again. "i'll say it's math," he declared,"it's the most useful tool, if you know how to compute, you will not fail." uhhuh, i sensed where this is leading. i know this guy so well. never wants to pass an opportunity to debate. but i won't allow him to.

"you know,my friend,"i answered," i guess you're right. math is the most valuable tool. if you're skilled in math, you'll go places." there. end of discussion. we drank a couple of beers more and left in peace.

today, if i will be asked the same question, i will be very definite with my answer -- it is "a,b,c, or d". MULTIPLE CHOICE! yes, i just realized this.

if i will be in front of young students i will tell them this -- the skill or the ability to answer multiple choice type of exams or tests. this is the most valuable skill or lesson these years of schooling should hone you for. be sure to develop this. most school exams or tests are in this format. a question is given, then, there follows several choices. one just need to select the best answer. learn this well. HOW TO SELECT THE BEST ANSWER. never mind the exams or the tests where they allow you time to review. although most of those are major exams, still, you are given time to prepare. focus on the exams or the tests that are unannounced. the surprise quizzes! during these times, that's when you are truly being tested. you are left to rely on your ability to choose well. a? b? c? d? which of these? and for most of us, mediocre, lazy students, during these unannounced quizzes or tests, we will have to rely on gut feel. or copying, of course, from the nearest seatmate. but, if the seatmate is as mediocre as we are, then..

why did i say this? well, as i knew it now, LIFE IS A VERY BIG SCHOOL! and most of its tests are unannounced. its questions are also of the multiple choice type. and if one has not this ability to select the best answer, then one will always find one's self in trouble. a? b? c? d? none of the above? all of the above? which is which? if one is not prepared for life's questions, one must rely on gut feel, intuition. one must be prepared to take a chance. oh yes, like most schools, in Life if you fail, you can repeat. Life will permit that. of course, you will be delayed. and that will hurt especially if you have a goal you want to achieve the soonest time possible.

by the way, if you don't develop this ability to select the best answer to Life's questions, forget your desire to be in front of a fresh batch of students to deliver an inspirational message.

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