Quick Notes on Inspiration

Wrestling over what to do with my future, I thought back on some inspiring quotations. I found myself looking back at a quote I first saw many years ago. At first, I dismissed it as both unimportant and erroneous, but I’ve come to see deeper value as I’ve grown older.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

From The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupéry, one of the best-selling books ever. This is one canonical work I’ve never picked up, and I’m not sure why. For years, all I knew about the book was this quote, and like I said, I dismissed it on first read. But this past week, it’s been playing through my mind in a loop.

My disposition is to over-analyze and think my way through every problem. The result is that I know a lot of stuff and can make reasonably well-informed decisions about lots of things–what to buy, where to eat, how to get places. On the other side, my inability to think in any other way hampers my ability to reflect and make important personal decisions. It’s a flaw.

There’s simply no way to rationally analyze what’s most important to you, what your values demand and how to chart a path forward. This part of life–the central part–is as Saint-Exupery says, both essential and invisible to the eye. It took a bit of tumult and a few headaches for me to figure this out, but I got here. Some things cant be thought out. Sometimes, you just have to follow your heart.

Teaching is an effort that requires whole-soul investment and commitment, and like any single guy, I’m terrified of commitment. But it’s worth it. Teaching is also the most rewarding project I’ve ever engaged in, enriching and challenging and amazing. Some days, it’s also deadening, heartbreaking and impossible, but even on the worst days, it’s worth it.

Education is learning to value what is valuable.

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