Now that College Success Guaranteed 2.0 – 5 Rules for Parents (Rowman Littlefield, 2014), my latest book, is available on Amazon and will soon be released on iBooks, I thought I’d present some excerpts from the book on my blog. From the Introduction:
A Few Words on Bullshit
In my book College Success Guaranteed, just prior to launching into my proposed Five Rules for college-bound students, I ask the reader to ponder a quote that I have shared for many years with Hyde School seniors on the eve of their graduation: “Man is the only animal in the forest that bullshits himself.”
Think about it.
As I write in College Success Guaranteed (2011):
Animals pretty much serve their best interests on a daily basis. They generally:
– Sleep when they’re tired;
– Eat a healthy diet;
– Keep trim and stay in good physical condition;
– Have no problems with procrastination;
– Have a healthy and responsible sex life; etc.
Men and women, on the other hand, often have trouble with the above to say nothing of other issues, especially when it comes to:
– Eating and drinking the right things;
– Getting enough sleep;
– Maintaining exercise routines;
– Sticking to schedules;
– Over-spending; etc.
Animals in the wild never have those problems. (They also don’t smoke… anything.) Not only do men and women have those problems on an all-too-frequent basis, we often delude ourselves into believing that we don’t have them when we most certainly do.
Of the kids I have known who have gone off to college and bombed, I have often observed that all too many of those young men and women have been the last to know when the ship is indeed going down. Sadly, right up until the 11th hour, some will say to themselves, their friends, or their parents:
– “Plenty of kids miss a lot more classes than I do.”
– “I don’t party anywhere near as much as the hockey players do.”
– “I’m really going to buckle down… next week.”
– “Professor X never flunks anyone.”
– “I already went over most of the class material in high school.”
And so it goes until they find out too late that they have been bullshitting themselves the whole time, and they are the last to know.
The problem with bullshitting yourself is simply the fact that it’s hard to know when you’re doing it. (It’s weird, but bullshit has an uncanny way of protecting itself.) And, dear parents, I would ask you to consider the idea that kids aren’t the only ones capable of deluding themselves. As you read the Five Rules that form the core of this book, consider the idea that it can be easy for you to:
– Make yourself believe that your children are contributing to their educational costs when they’re really not;
– Convince yourself that you’re not badgering your child with phone calls and/or text messages when you actually are;
– B.S. yourself into believing that you’re stepping aside when nothing could be further from the truth;
– Assume far too much ownership of your child’s issues while they’re away at college;
– Play the martyr in addressing your child’s “needs” or wants as a way to avoid getting on with your own life.
So, a message to both students and parents: Don’t b.s. thyselves!
Onward, Malcolm Gauld