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(转载)Follow Your Bliss  ——A Letter to My Students

(2011-03-10 20:28:38)
分类: 英语学习

Boys and girls,
    First, and foremost, I am here to say “congratulations”. Congratulations to all of you coming to UIBE, and second thank you for your coming to SCE to open wide your eyes and get more knowledge. We are all friends. By the way, there are so many teachers here. They have been waiting for you and they are willing to help you. To be good students, you must be polite and modest. Please present your ideas and new concept of learning English. Also, you'd better say something about “LEARNING ENGLISH”.


    Together we have come through two hard but meaningful years and now we are on the threshold of graduation year. Last time I asked you to talk about your personal problems, which each of you has done well. All of you have presented me with a lot of personal problems. Some are having a hard time staying away from Internet cafes; some call themselves “nap addicts”, especially in English class; some are not thinking about their studies; some can’t get accustomed to the new teachers and new desk-mates; some can’t stop themselves from talking at the wrong time; some are overwhelmed by their laziness and are frequently putting things off… I am moved by your honesty and have been searching for ways to help you out of your difficulties. I hope the following tips will be helpful.


1. Follow your bliss.


    Recently, I began to read the works of a man named Donald E. Petersen who was the former CEO of the FORD Company, one of the largest auto companies in the world. More important, he once read from Joseph Campbell, a college professor and perhaps the world’s best expert on symbolism in mythology and folklore, which became the voice of a new generation, says life is too short to be small. His philosophy can be summed up in three words: follow your bliss. No, not “if it feels good, do it.” That was the`70s. Follow your bliss means to follow a course if life that is most exciting and challenging for you and to follow a direction that brings you the greatest personal and professional satisfaction.


    Campbell urges us to do like King Arthur`s  knights when they went out to find the Holy Grail(
圣杯). Each set out alone. Each entered the woods at the deepest, darkest point, where there was no way or path. If there is a well-traveled path, it is someone else’s path, not yours. In this way, each individual is able to create his and her own grail led only by a sense of self discovery and of personal bliss. I’ve had the great honor of meeting and conversing with many of the best men and women through my reading experiences. They all had one thing in common. They were following their individual visions with energy and enthusiasm. And they were enjoying themselves. So follow your bliss, and you will have a rich, full life. Follow after money or power, you may lose it and have nothing. Or worse, you may get the money and power and still have nothing.


2. Life is all about choices.


    To those who are not careful in making a choice. Do you still remember the story about a certain Hailun Kaile, who is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say? When someone would ask her how she was doing, she would reply, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow!” which means she’s so great, or talented or wonderful, that she cannot be any better than she is. She lived, thanks to the skill of her doctors, but also because of her amazing attitude.

    On Labor Day, I received an email from a former friend who is now at Cambridge University. Asked the question about his English study which is your biggest headache, he said, “I felt really comfortable in my college class. English is or seems difficult to many students, therefore, many of them felt sleepy or even took naps in class due to lack of interest, confidence or responsibility. I chose to listen to my teacher. The more I concentrated on my lessons, the better resource I found class to be. And the more I admired the teacher’s excellent teaching, the better my English became.”


    Students, life is all about choices. If you stay positive everything will turn out positive. Whatever happens to you, there are mainly two choices facing you. One is positive, and the other is negative. As a student, when you are out of sight of your teachers, you can choose to obey your teachers’ rules as usual or to ignore them. For example, you can choose to stay away from Internet cafes or to go and play network games or chatting meaninglessly with strangers; you can choose to finish your homework on your own or copy it from a classmate. When changes come about, you can choose to complain about them or to think of them as something wonderful, no matter how discouraging they seem. For example, when your seats are changed and a new partner comes to your side, you can choose to feel angry with the teacher because you now lost a friend you already knew or feel delighted because of the opportunity to meet a different person. When a friend misunderstands you, you might choose to forgive him or to hate him and never talk to him again. As an early 20-something year-old student, you can choose to treasure every minute of your two years in an adult-University or to waste the rest of the days of this study period.


    Dear students, if you quit the positive choices and make the wrong ones, you will pay for it! You might get good at playing network games but you are probably good at nothing else. You might achieve good marks once or twice by cheating, but you can’t cheat all your life. You may hurt somebody as you have expected, but you yourself will never feel happy when you do. Just remember: those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. Therefore, those who bring clouds into the lives of others also cannot keep it from themselves. Friendship is fair enough. If you feel you don’t get the friendship which you think you deserve, that’s because you haven’t done enough to deserve it yet. If you really love another properly, there must be a sacrifice. The shoe that fits one person pinches another - each of us carries his own unique life, which cannot be used by any other. To avoid silly arguments, never impose your ideas upon others.


3. I can do it and day by day, in every way I am getting better and better.


    To those who underestimate themselves. Some of you might have wasted so much time visiting Internet cafes or taking naps in class. Some of you don’t think your study is good enough, because you’re making very little progress. At the very beginning, you allow yourselves to get some bad habits. Later on, you find it hard to give them up. You live in your habit day after day. You let your habit control you. But you should know that the secret of success and happiness doesn’t necessarily lie in hard work. It might lie in whether you can bring your bad habits under control and meanwhile form some good habits. Therefore, whatever you are now - a regular visitor to cyber cafes or a student feeling depressed about not being able to enjoy your study, just say to yourself, “I can’t change yesterday, but I do have the power to make a wonderful today and tomorrow.” You can feel sorry for the mistakes you’ve made in the past, but there’s no way to undo them. What you badly need is to learn from your mistakes and build self-confidence in whatever you’re doing now.


    In 2002, a boy with the name Journeyman didn’t take English studying seriously and had no chance to go to college like many of you here. However, he didn’t disappoint. Instead, he tried his best to memorize English words wherever he could. He only got 5 years working experiences as a Chinese teacher, TV-reporter, secretary, and so on, thereafter; he kept studying and practicing writing and finally got an opportunity to give up his job and went to Beijing to continue his study like many of you here.


    I believe there are many Journeymen among you. Or rather, all of you are like him in some way. Each student has his or her own problems. Some might be faced with the challenge of giving up a bad habit like visiting Internet cafes, frequently being late for class, taking naps or talking nonsense in self-study classes, etc. Some might be facing the difficulty of slow progress in the study of certain subjects like Journeyman. Whatever your problems are, abandon any excuses like “I’ll never be able to change my situation.” or “I’m hopeless in this.” View things in a positive attitude and take a trip to a place called “Starting Again.” Take up a permanent residence in “I Can Do It Street.” And then, day by day, in every way you will be getting better and better.


4. Your “cheese” might be moved!


    To those who overestimate themselves. (Those who easily get defeated by failures because they take it for granted that their method of study and their position in their class will stay unchanged.) All of you know of the story “Who Moved My Cheese?” which is one of the best sellers about self-development. It tells the story of two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two “little people” (Hem and Haw) trapped in a maze and their different reaction towards an unexpected change in their life.  Cheese is a metaphor of whatever you want in your life. For the mice, it’s cheese. For the “little people”, it could be success, happiness, or financial security. For the present you, it could be an effective method in solving problems, good marks in your study, the ability to win a good friend, being liked by your teachers and so on. The book gets us to think more like a mouse, who, when change occurred, didn’t try to hold on to a past that no longer existed. We are most impressed by the life lessons written by Haw on the wall of the maze. They remind us to realize that change happens and circumstances, which may have been good for us, change too. We can’t control change and nothing stays the same.


    Students, what makes a perfect you? Not only correct choice and self-confidence, but also the ability to adjust to any new circumstances. You may have recently come to a new class and are having new teachers. It’s no use complaining about the changes. Accept the reality and make it to your advantage. Different teachers have different strengths and weaknesses. Try to forget their weak points and discover their strong points. In my opinion, you’re somewhat lucky because you are able to take the strong points of different teachers and make them fit your needs of self-development. To be frank, I am now having fewer chances to do so; many times I often want to attend classes with all of you together, because the teacher on the stage was so knowledgeable.


5. Send a Message to Garcia.


    To those who procrastinate, that is, putting things off until the last minute, and then rushing to finish them-and sometimes not getting them done at all.


     Recently, I was told to read the famous story - Send a Message to Garcia. President Mckinley of the United States, in 1898, during the Spanish-American War, called in an officer (West Point graduate) named Andrew Summers Rowan, and sent him to Cuba with “A Message to Garcia, Insurgent,” hiding somewhere in the Cuban countryside. The point of the essay by Elbert Hubbard was that Rowan didn’t say, “Gosh boss, I don’t know where he is,” or even ask, “What am I supposed to do, just walk through the whole Spanish Country?” He just went and did it, and that was that. It was a wonderful lesson of self-reliance and responsibility. I hope my class leaders, when given a new task, will be able to act promptly, concentrate their energies; and do the thing - “carry a message to Garcia!” just as Rowan. Now that you’ve moved into the first year in SCE, you’re well experienced in helping manage your class. You must be fully aware of your duty of assuring your classmates of an upright atmosphere for living and studying. You should think of useful ways to prevent the people who come late from coming late; the game players from stepping into Internet cafes; the active students from chatting at the wrong time; the cheaters from copying other students’ exercises; the “nap addicts” from taking naps in class etc. Don’t tell me they wouldn’t listen to you before you make any attempts. What I am expecting of you is to hear no bad news about your classmates’ daily behavior. If you really want to be capable of your job as a monitor or something, you shouldn’t rely too much on me when you meet with problems.


    For all the students in my class, as your head teacher, I’d love to be your reliable friend, ready to share your joys and sorrows at any time. I have the responsibility to keep an eye on your daily behavior as well as your study. But I’m achieving this result with my spirit and beliefs not my presence. I hope you can well understand my intentions of not visiting you so regularly when you’re studying on your own.


    Everybody has the task of sending a message to Garcia. What can your message be? It can be making a new study plan; getting fully engaged in your study; getting accustomed to new circumstances; giving up a bad habit; making a friend, etc. When your aim is achieved, your message has been sent. It’s not enough only to make the right choice or have the confidence of doing these things. What really counts is whether you can take immediate action once you decide to do something and whether you can solve problems using your heart and brain. If you tend to procrastinate or make excuses and complaints in time of difficulty or rely too much on other people when trouble happens, you’re not likely to reach your goals. If you can be a person who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the letter, without asking any stupid questions, and with no hidden intention of throwing it away but deliver it, anything you ask will be granted and all your dreams will come true. As Elbert Hubbard said, civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly - the man who can carry a message to Garcia. Start sending your message now and try to get more messages to be sent!


    Dear students, each of the above tips were seemingly selected for different kinds of students, facing different types of problems. But actually, every tip might work in some way in any individual student. Nobody can be totally perfect in any single aspect. Therefore, I hope you will read them carefully before you finally find something useful to you.


    As the old saying goes, “No matter how tall your father was, you have to do your own growing.” So, on this special spring day, I speak to you as a friend, tutor and head teacher. Also I join your parents in the silent prayer as you go forward: “God, please let them fly, but don’t let them fall.” I also speak as your brother, and as your speaker, I urge you to go for it: take your chances, follow your bliss.


    By the way, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”, as an English major student, I wish all of you are doing things like that. Otherwise, if I can help you with anything,
Good luck and Godspeed.

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