Learn to interact with people, learn Math, English, learn to drive, use a phone & computer, but learn them for success.
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“By this time I had figured,” Rosh was telling his sons, “that for the job of a door-to-door market research interviewer in this country didn’t need an impressive CV.”
“So, the next time I saw yet another market research company, I would just walk in, and at their Reception Desk, ask if they were recruiting.”
“This industry has a high turnover rate, so they are forever recruiting, unless they are struggling for work themselves. If they were recruiting, I’d ask to see the recruiting officer or HR manager.”
“Nine times out of ten, it would be a lady. And nine times out of ten, she would ask me for my Resume.”
“I can mail you that, I began to reply, but you don’t really need that. I have an IRD number, a car and a cellphone. I know English well, I love meeting people, and I will travel anywhere.”
“That usually got them to pause and take notice, and then they would ask me if I had done any interviewing before.”
“Yeah - all sorts, I would reply. Cold calling and by appointment. Door-to-door and on the telephone. 2-minute polls and 2-hour long surveys. I’ve done them all.”
“Qualitative and quantitative. Executive interviews, focus group recruitment, mall intercepts. In fact, I am currently working for so and so company, and my hit rate is best in the company…”
“Were you the best interviewer in all your companies?” little Josh asked, his eyes twinkling with admiration.
“Always,” Rosh said. “I never set out to beat the others. I just wanted to do my best. Usually, it also turned out to be the best, wherever I worked.”
“Anyway, what I was trying to tell you was that my degrees, and the academic subjects I studied throughout those long years of my education, were useful in getting me into New Zealand, but were of no use in getting me a quick job here.”
“It was my health, my confidence, my perseverance and my can-do attitude that landed me a job. I knew English, I spoke it well. I had a car and a driving license. I had a phone, so I was easily accessible. And, I took the job, no matter how big or small it was, and no matter at what hour of the day the call came.”
“Sadly, except for English and Math, I used the knowledge of none of the subjects I had studied at school, college, or university.”
“But English and Math gave me not just the literacy and numeracy skills I eventually needed, but also the communication and problem-solving skills that only language learning and Math can provide.”
“Math isn’t just about number crunching, you see. It also teaches things like logical reasoning and attention to detail. It is about structure, and developing principles that hold true even when the underlying numbers get changed. For instance, if you spend more than you earn, you end up in trouble, whether you are a person, a business or a nation.”
“Learning other languages, even if you never gain fluency, helps you understand your own language better. Languages shape how you think, and gives you insights into how other language speakers think.”
“Chinese, for instance, doesn’t use verb tenses for past, present, and future. Little wonder then, that many Chinese-speakers think of ‘time’ quite differently from English-speakers. Knowing this helps understand their psychology, work ethic and culture.”
“Hindi has gender-neutral pronouns (no he or she), while English has age-neutral pronouns (no aap or tum), which can lead to confusion and resentment, affecting social and economic relationships.”
“Studying another language helps your brain recognize these differences. This widens your horizons, makes you more receptive and understanding of others, and increases your opportunities to assimilate, succeed and prosper in lands near and far.”
“So, learn to interact with people, learn your Math, learn your English, learn to drive, learn to use a phone and a computer, and you will always have bread and butter on your table.”
“And if you want fruits and cream on your table too, learn your other subjects. Learn how to find and use information, learn to observe, learn to think, learn to troubleshoot, learn to listen, learn to talk, and learn to write well.”
“How did you learn all these, Papa?” asked Hosh.
“By observing others,” answered Rosh. “By asking them questions when I didn’t understand something. By trying things myself. By learning from what I did well, and from what I didn’t do too well.”
“The lessons life teaches are lasting, but they are very expensive education. You can learn much cheaply by reading, you know, but I was too lazy for that. So, I ended up paying a much higher tuition fee.”
“The only books I liked reading were story books and comic books. Strangely, I learned heaps from them too, but that learning was neither structured nor systematic.”
“I never enjoyed sitting and reading course books. So, instead, I paid attention to my teachers when they were teaching something in the class-room. I was like a sponge there, absorbing everything.”
“I rarely mucked around like the other kids, when my teacher was speaking, or when someone was showing me how to do something. I learnt by listening, by watching, and by doing.”
“But only now when I try and answer your interesting questions, have I realized, how little I truly know of anything. I want to learn everything now, and teach it to you. Especially about my roots, my culture, and about life. In fact, I have been thinking of enrolling to study Philosophy.”
“Do you want to become a Philosophy Professor now?” asked Isha. “That job pays well, I hear.”
“No,” laughed Rosh. “Not for the money, or any job prospects. I just want to learn how to live life. So, I can be a better father. A better teacher for my son. And a more mindful human being.”
“How will studying Philosophy make you all that?” she was baffled.
“Carl Icahn’s philosophy education served him well. Ditto for Osho, Peter Thiel, George Soros, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, Overstock.com founder Patrick Byrne, and Legg Mason fund manager Bill Miller.”
“All did philosophy degrees or advanced studies. Basketball coach Phil Jackson is a philosopher too. At its core, philosophy teaches how to think logically and critically, which is a valuable skill in any career.”
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