Education/Educate: “The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing powers of reasoning and judgment, preparing oneself intellectually for mature life.”
From 1984 to 1998 I very successfully performed a Sports Entertainment persona that I created and own named Ultimate Warrior. This character was internationally known and loved for his physically charged, explosive entertainment performances in the World Wrestling Federation. The character was always a superhero-like, positive influence and is still, today, admired and remembered for that. My firsthand experiences gave me the fortunate opportunity to realize the influential impact a celebrity role model can have over young people. Throughout the 90’s, as I matured in my career and as man, I saw and began constructing the incredible potential for an even more powerful and meaningful role-modeling influence by melding my entertainment image with education-related projects. I call this “Project Warrior.” “Warrior Talks” is the public speaking element of it.
In 1998 (my gear bag retired to the closet) I began to devote my energies entirely to my already substantially developed education, enlightenment and motivation projects, all spun from my Warrior philosophy of life. At the inception of the education-based Project Warrior ideas, I went back to “hitting the books,” so to speak. I found an incredible experience filled with new thrills from reading, writing and learning. My most notable self-study endeavors being the discovery of the “Great Books of the Western World,” American history and OUR heroic Founding Times and Ancestors, and having the dictionary – its bounty of literalness -- become my absolute favorite go-to-in-leisure book.
As a role model always on guard to stand accountable while in entertainment, it has long been my position that “celebrity” alone to define role-modeling is a crutch too easily and sorrily resorted to. As it matters to humanity there is no greater role to be modeled than the role of a rationally mannered human being, this conduct manifested through one’s own thinking and acting. All opposing arguments are simply canards. An example set is an example learned. And as such, always has an excellent chance of being replicated. We are all role models, all teaching by example -- all the time.
In the mid to late ‘90’s the entire entertainment industry took a harsh debasing and perverse creative turn -- Sports Entertainment pushing the provocative envelope farthest. I decided that as an adult male role model, one heavily influencing young people through the premiere celebrity character’s conduct I portrayed, that I was not okay with the new creative course. Or to put it barefaced: I was not going to be able to rationalize profane, immature, degenerate behavior by insisting I was an only “actor acting.” As I have stated many times: my absence from the entertainment business is not what has caused me to become a more responsible, mature adult, it was the becoming of a more responsible, mature adult that caused me to choose absence. With all that we cannot find the time or resources to do, when we grow up we should think and act like it.
It may produce a hearty chuckle but it is absolutely true: I educated myself of how to achieve success in Sports Entertainment. Typically people tend to view success in entertainment as something more romantic and magical, mysterious even, but there was nothing happenstance or fickle about my own. Except in the way of the wise adage: “The harder I worked the luckier I got,” luck had nothing to do with my success. Facing reality and using an educated mind did. To think was to know, to know was to solve, and to solve was to succeed.
But don’t get me wrong, I am not promoting careers in entertainment, nor am I speaking strictly on success. My bottom-line is about education and one’s comprehension of its life (and lifelong) importance, which ultimately leads to a life lived at its best. The experiences of my life, and my own further self-study, have shown me that there is no greater fundamental importance to finding the solution to any of life’s quandaries -- personal or professional; solitarily or societally -- than education. Regrettably, many solutions to today’s problems are not being discovered simply because personal education efforts are sorely lacking and people do not believe the truth of the matter that solely because they are a human being they can learn and become educated on anything.
The unique opportunity of my career to be a public role model and meet people from all walks of life also had me see and hear that many people “feel,” without any logical explanation, that a positive, onward course of life is not entirely up to them. That success is more dependent on magically stepping into “IT,” rather than putting in hard work, consistency, striving, doing things properly and effectively. That their choices made by their own free will (an awesome power that comes with an equally powerful responsibility) had little to do with the place and circumstances they found themselves. They use feelings more than thinking. Feeling their way through life instead of thinking life through. Although if asked directly if they do, they would answer the direct opposite, “No.”
My life is filled with countless “power in your life comes from using your mind” milestones, where thinking has been used over feelings. Over the years, through introspection of my own life experiences and lessons, it’s became clear to me why some believe in this truism and others do not. Our different outlooks lie in the fact that many have no, as I call it, “preserved learning.” They hold no “educated belief” in what I consider the first fundamental factor of education: knowledge of what it means, precisely, to be a human being. If one has and understands this vital knowledge, knows it in an educated way so that one never forgets it, then the rest naturally follows:
1) self-guidance in life
2) self-assurance in knowing solutions can be found by oneself to life’s challenges
3) reliance on one’s own judgment
4) awareness that learning (educating oneself) necessarily needs to be done throughout life
5) acceptance that stimulating, productive work necessarily needs to be done throughout the entirety of life
6) self-motivation to succeed at life
7) guilt-free rational self-esteem while pursuing success at life
8) success at life
9) the competence to define success truly
10) having happiness and fulfillment in life
If we go back to the definition of education included at the beginning of this letter: “The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing powers of reasoning and judgment, preparing oneself intellectually for mature life” and we go a step further and break down into definitions the words: knowledge, reasoning, judgment -- the key attainments of getting [an] education -- we would find all these words without having to supplement the list: know, reason, intellect, intellectual, intelligence, learn, cognition, cognizance, rational, objective, facts, evidence, certainty, exist, reality, real, proof, true, truth, think, sensible, sane, sound. We also find as part of the definition(s) these: “rather than emotions or feelings,” “as distinguished from that by which one feels,” “as contrasted with emotional processes,” and “not false.”
Two unavoidable, perpetual concepts are thread throughout the meanings of all the above words derived from the meaning of the one, education. One, reality. And two, the existence of something capable of knowing reality and capable of working with it. That something is only the human being’s mind. Words necessarily meaning what they do, it follows that the human being necessarily needs education to understand and know reality to deal effectively with it. Thinking gets this done, not feeling.
Words are the tools of thought that mean the ideas in and of existence, ourselves and the universe we exist in. Ideas and the words representing them matter only to a mind that can “know.” The human being -- the rational being -- is the only the “being” that can know. And for the sole reason that the human being IS the ONLY being that can know, he 1) can be educated, 2) needs to be educated, and 3) is NOT prohibited from attaining education on or about any knowledge that any man can know. This is the first fundamental factor of education one needs.
If a human being comprehends this fact, first, the fact that they are capable simply because they are born as the “being” they are and, therefore, must engage the capability, then they will always be capable. No matter the question, the problem or the challenge they will be capable of solving and handling it. If a person is taught this knowledge in a manner that has them learn it as well as they come to know their ABC’s, its knowledge will become automatic, a habit that cannot be broke. This is where education begins. This is how nobody gets left behind.
Some youthful background...
“As a youth, I had little if any competition when it came to being first in always finding myself in the wrong place at the wrong time. In fact, minus dependable and concentrated male mentoring, along with being raised by an overwhelmed although caring mother who was single-handedly raising five, when all the votes were tallied up by classmates of my graduating year I was voted “Least Likely to Succeed.”
In my sophomore year of high school, a dismissive guidance counselor guided me for a total of two minutes and when I asked, “What about further education?” she blurted out: “Put your dreams away. Forget that nonsense. Get a factory job. Apply now before all the jobs are scooped up. Hope that after a couple summer stints, they will make you full-time when you graduate.”
Much later in life I surmised that her insistence that I rush to the front of the application line was because she had invidiously (and so sadly) made a career out of squelching young people’s dreams while at the same time filling up the local factories.
It was one of those classic “Why?” -- “Because.” -- “Because why?” -- “Because I said so.” exchanges. Ironically, even then I knew intuitively I should be given reasons. I did not take her advice.
Over the years, though, I have wondered to myself, if that guidance counselor had given me reasons other than her haughty “Because I said so,” would I have had further intuition to dissect her reasons, looking, myself, for “reason” all alone? That is, would her reasons have gelled with "reason," i.e., reality? Would I have really asked myself: “Just what is the factual basis she has for predetermining the course of my life lie on a factory’s production line?”
When I tell that story, along with other personal circumstances at that time of my life, most people wonder, “Why would a young kid snubbed by adults wielding huge influence and, on the other hand, getting little positive adult influence elsewhere, think to think like that?” My response is, “Why wouldn’t have I?” After all, here I was going to school for 12 years, being taught to learn things no one had ever before presupposed I could not learn. No one ever stopped me at the classroom door of any class and told me I could not learn the knowledge being taught, or that I had to take a preliminary test to find out if I could learn in the first place. So what, in a sentence or two of radically given advice provided by a twisted, bitter, and unhappy counselor, based ostensibly on nothing more than a few trips to the principal's office caused by harmless acts of normal juvenile rambunctiousness, I was supposed to accept that all of the sudden my ability to learn was going to cease? No, of course not. It was no stroke of brilliance on my part, don’t get me wrong. It was just common sense. Human beings are taught and educated because they can be and acquiring knowledge is what they do.
Apparently, somewhere in between everyone's judgment and all the mischievous free time my scrawniness had while growing up in a hometown of only 600 people, common sense and self-discipline punched me in the nose and got my attention. Because, what I do know today always leads me to ask the rationally-put question I intuitively asked then: “How can I not think and determine for myself?” For that matter, how could anyone let someone else think and determine for them?
I had "reason" on my side to know better. It’s a human thing. Power in my life would come from using my mind.
I went on to continue pursuing a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Seven years of schooling later on the verge of realizing that degree (shy some clinical requirements), my disciplined efforts in successful amateur bodybuilding led to an opportunity in Sports Entertainment. Desirous of a break from an unbroken string of 10 semesters of arduous study, and needing money to fulfill my dream of opening my own practice once I graduated and got licensed, I saw the chance as a great lateral move for my career. For the next two years money matters were so dire I had only enough for tunafish to sustain myself. Even if I had wanted to get back to Georgia where school was, as I many times thought I did, I had no money to do so, let alone reenroll in school to finish my clinical studies.
Not so many months ago from where I found myself then, I was only 3-5 months from obtaining a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, living relatively comfortably as a student, having fun, enjoying friends, etc. Now here I was sleeping on the floor, subsisting on canned fish and an apple here or there, with no car of my own, renting old, stinky used taxicabs to drive 4-5 hours one-way to wrestle in hardly ever used Armory buildings for $50 a night.
Quite a predicament I was in, what to do? Turn to myself and think. Just as I did as a high school student meeting with the angry-at-the-world guidance counselor.
Sitting my new predicament, it would have been a perfect time, I reckon, to feel...feel sorry for myself, apply for sympathy wherever I could find it handed out, place the blame for my circumstances on everyone and everything else except me and my conscious decision to do what I had done, which had brought me here to where I was at the time.
Here again, at this critical juncture of my life, I knew NOT-thinking was NOT going to bring a solution.
Power in my life, again, would come from using my mind. And so it continues to even today..."
Look, as an entertainer, I’ve seen plenty of silly and I’ve done plenty of silly -- I know silly very well. I also know very seriously that entertainment it is not education. However, not far do you have to “click the remote” to see that many people believe otherwise.
When it is all boiled down, my career in Sports Entertainment is a wonderful life momento and professional success story. The telling of it most interesting because of the unusualness of the career, particularly to young people more attentive to what is culturally popular nowadays. But in the big picture of things, notably as it relates to humanity, my career is seriously unimportant. So I tell kids as I have long told myself: “People have done much greater things.” And they have -- using their minds.
Yet, as a guy who is constantly mischaracterized as only being the physical animal they know from entertainment, going out and educating people about the rational animal (the animal with the real power capable for conquering the challenge of life) is custom-fit for me. I use the contrast and the correlation to my advantage. Facetiously and with self-effacement, I use “I’m just a big, dumb, muscleheaded wrestler,” to create a safe area of communication for young people wondering about life, then I body slam serious ideas into their minds before they even know what has happened. When they leave, they remember. That’s education, enlightenment and motivation.
Engagement of the mind and education are the answer to everything. Together, they inspire belief and motivation.
It is time a human being with communicable and entertaining life experiences stepped on to the stage with personable courage and serious intellectual competence to make people think seriously about their life, not silly, to have them ask themselves: “What has the greater chance of running my life successfully -- mindful or mindless? thinking or feelings?” If a human being can decide it is “mindful and thinking,” then there are no limits to their success or contribution to society. If a human being decides it is “mindless and feelings,” then there are no limits to the damage done to themselves and society at large.
I am the human being to do this. It is my mission, my destiny. Every bit of muscular intensity I expressed in my physically oriented Sports Entertainment career has been passionately transferred to intellectually turning people onto the mindful power of education. Let me have the opportunity to encourage and emphasize the importance of this simple and plain, yet powerful idea, seriously.
Always Thinking and Believing
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