When I went back to graduate school, I gave up making good money as a casino dealer for the poverty of graduate school. But what was the point of dealing cards no matter how good the tips were? I didn’t want to spend my life that way. I wanted to do graduate work in philosophy. I didn’t want to die and know Buddha’s or Aristotle’s names, but not their philosophies. And I knew that I would succeed since it was what I really want to do. Most of us do best and are happiest doing what want to do.
Of course, the chance to do what we want to do, rather than what we have to do, depends in large part on whether we live in a society which provides an opportunity for all its citizens to flourish—that is what makes a society a good one, as Aristotle taught me. But if one is lucky enough to have the opportunity and ability to do what they want—then they should seize the moment, accept the challenge and grow. The world so needs people who have grown, who have evolved, who have increased their awareness. The world desperately needs better people more than it needs anything else. To those embarking on this journey, I say—go forth and travel.