When I was 18 years old, my boss (at that time) gave me some advise. Obviously, as a know-it-all 18 year old, I didn't appreciate the advice then, but as the years went by, I realized how valuable was. Today, I use this advice to guide many decisions. I decided to share this story on my blog because it complements some of the job advice articles I have written and it will show you a lot about what makes me tick. So back to the advice…
Years ago, my boss and I ended up in a conversation about the lack of opportunity for those who have less money. He was a physician who had come from a well-to-do family. I came from a typical, well educated middle class family. I believed that opportunity was directly linked to financial situations. The debate got pretty heated. I really believed that the rich could never understand the struggles of the middle class and my boss felt that anyone could do better with a little effort.
Finally, realizing that we weren't getting anywhere he decided to end the conversation with a very powerful statement. He leaned back against the desk, took off his glasses, crossed his arms, looked me straight in the eyes, and said with a very serious look on his face “Holly, this is the most important thing I will ever teach you so listen to me carefully. You have two choices in life… only two. Accept it or change it” with that, he walked away.
It took me years to really understand what he said. He was right. There are only two choices – you either accept it or change it. I still do not believe that people who struggle want to struggle. Rather, I think there is a another piece to the puzzle. I think many people don’t understand two key facts. First, some people become demoralized not realizing that we have the power to choose between accept it or change it. Second, some people don’t know how to change it - no matter how much they want to.
I believe the key to changing circumstances is education and today, more than ever, free education is readily available for those who want it thanks to some truly amazing people. I have no affiliation with any of these free educational sources. I simply wanted to take the opportunity to give a personal thanks for the effort they put in to making it easy for those who choose to ‘change it’. As well, I wanted to help spread the word about the opportunity available to everyone who wants it.
This list of educational resources is not comprehensive. These just some really amazing sources. I am sure there are a lot of others that I just don't know. If you know of others, please feel free to add them in the comments. If you weren’t aware that these sources existed, check them out!
The Gutenberg Project: free e-books
The Khan Academy: free educational videos about everything from A-Z
Open Culture: a large list of links to free college courses, free books, free videos, free text books, etc. from top ranked universities and well known educators
Librivox: free audio books
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence: learning resources from the federal government
Free Online Education.com: a directory of free educational resources
University of the People: Non-accredited (but apparently they are working toward accreditation) online university
To the people who offer these free educational resources, thank you for giving so much value back to society. Your work is truly inspiring and greatly appreciated.
To those who feel stuck - remember you can change it... It will take time, dedication, and effort but if you want it GO GET IT!