At 19 years old, a young French nobleman and army officer arrived in America and was given a military commission. As Marquis de Lafayette reviewed the troops for the first time–hardly a pretty sight–an embarrassed George Washington made some remark of deference to this new officer he needed to impress. Lafayette’s response: “It’s not to teach but to learn that I come hither.”
He’d given up his life and traveled across the ocean. Why? To learn. To go right to the heart of something new and exciting and important. And to absorb it right from the source.
But that’s not what most people do. Especially young people. Especially privileged young people. Because they think they already know.
“Every person has two educations,” Edward Gibbon, once said, “one which he receives from others and one, more important, which he gives himself.”
It’s hard to disagree with that. Except the…
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