Rule #22 – Raise Yourself in Your Own Eyes

My philosophy of education can be summarized in two quotes. The first – in both order and importance – is by 19th century French painter Eugene Delacroix: “When we do the right thing, we raise ourselves in our own eyes.”

We tend to spend a lot of our time trying to raise ourselves in the eyes of others: our teachers, our bosses, for example. However, the person we really want to impress is ourselves. We can only do that by doing the right thing. And that can be a lot more difficult than it sounds, especially during those times when we are not sure what the right thing is. To further complicate matters, sometimes we have to go against the advice of family and friends who are certain that they know what course of action is best for us. (What’s more, some people are actually trying to pull us down to their level rather than raise us to new heights!)

When we’re stuck, we will often do well to consider the second quote that summarizes my philosophy of education. That’s the Emerson quote in Rule #21: “Our chief want is someone who will make us do what we can.” The problem is that we might not want to hear what that someone has to say. Sometimes you just have to go see the people that you do not want to see.

Onward, Malcolm Gauld