Skip to content

Who Are You Learning From?

January 6, 2015

One of the aphorisms I have always held to be true is “iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”. We learn from each other, and raise each other up to higher standards.

However, sometimes we need to check our blade. Iron will crush wood; wood won’t dent iron. Some people simply don’t sharpen us in the same way that others do, just as sometimes we need a butter knife, and sometimes a steak knife when eating.

That’s the ‘lesson’ for today. Iron sharpens iron. Check whether you and your comrade are holding iron; change the situation to sharpen your blade and better yourself.

But today’s article doesn’t end there. Lets put this lesson into practice by examining a blade in front of you – this blog. If you’re a regular reader, you’re reading because you think your mind is being sharpened. I’m going to detail a bit about myself to convince you that I am iron to you.

Who Am I?

Readers are probably surprised to hear that I’m not even 19 years old yet, yet I’m a somewhat unique 18 year old.

Having finished my education in the top 1.5% of my cohort in the Higher School Certificate, I began working as a paralegal a few months back – a city job less than a week after my exams finished. Shortly afterwards, I was offered a prestigious scholarship by the University of Sydney.

Yet in these past few months, I haven’t just been working. I believe in making the most of each day. I’ve hosted a variety of events – from a dinner party (formal style), to bowling, to paintball. I’ve researched parts of my familial genealogy, studied Conditions of War and Peace from the University of Tokyo, and done a host of other things. This has all been while on a long holidays between school and university.

What was I like in school?

I largely followed the roadmap I laid out. I will sing melodies in praise of extracurricular activities – I captained a chess team for years leading my school to the  best result in over 55 years, I participated in the best ever mock trial team for my school, debating, public speaking etc. I joined the SRC. In fact, I became Student Representative Council President in 2013-14, and – how do I put this – developed a following. When you get a standing ovation during a school assembly and its not rehearsed, you’re doing something right. When year 7s salute you in the corridor occasionally, and your vice-principal singles you out as the only student worthy of mention as a “never to be repeated entity and energy” in his farewell to year 12, you are doing something unique. Who knew that the salutation “Students!” could inspire so?

Yet truth be told I was also rather ordinary in many regards. I had some interests in sport, I played lots of handball, and didn’t study too hard. In fact, despite my marks, I never studied that hard. Put it down to efficiency and focusing on what counts.

The comment on studying hard is also because I hold a lot of other interests. While I utilised my natural interest in economics and history to effect in my studies, I also got distracted occasionally! Researching aspects of modern Japanese history when you should be studying German history, for instance. I have a wide interest in history, economics and some other humanities. Right now for instance, I’m researching genealogy, ecclesiastical history and international relations in my spare time. This is all quite interesting though – many years ago I had not thought of myself as a person for the humanities or law etc. But as I turned away from the sciences, and knew that my proficiency and interest did not lie in blue collar / trades, I turned to the humanities. My writing became my strong point. In hindsight, I wish I had learnt more about trades and being a ‘handyman’.

Which brings me to ‘civic education’ – dressing well, good manners etc. I’m an antiquated young man in some ways, trying to forge a synergy of tradition and modernity. I read the newspaper, yet have this blog. I love a good walk in the forest, yet also love watching The Legend of Korra online. I read about Teddy Roosevelt, an iconic figure of the past, not through a hardcover book, but online from the Art of Manliness.

Back to civic education though, I’m a fellow interested in virtues, principles, duties etc. Not in a black or white manner – too much study of postmodernism to agree with that! – but as a growth mindset. Becoming better, doing better by our neighbour. Acting for charity, building community and camaraderie. Etc. My number one goal for this year is about furthering this civic education and becoming an admirable gentleman like my role models. Nothing could be more important.

In terms of personality, I shift between a certain shyness, and a personality that has been called ‘theatrical’, larger than life and gentlemanly.

So why, in summation – without listing a lengthy resume –  should you follow me, being but an inexperienced young man?

  1. My fascination with civic education, growth and development and gaining experience
  2. I’m committed to applying the techniques of academic excellence to hobbies, like personal development
  3. Proven capability – scholarship, paralegal work, cult following as President
  4. Hobbies – chess, public speaking, blogging, reading, walking… I have some quintessential interests
  5. Most important of all, I recognise that iron sharpens iron. What I write about is the product of experts in their fields often. It is their vision and expertise refracted through my mind and understanding.

But really, those are but the tip of the iceberg. If you’ve read this far, go read some other articles on my blog, and judge for yourself. Writing a self-congratulatory sort of article is always going to sound horrible and misleading, so I urge you simply to check out my other work.

I hope I have helped you, just a little, check the quality of your sharpening iron.


From → Foundations

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: