P. Edronkin

Educate Your Ego Before Educating Others

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People assigned to many dangerous jobs seem older than one might imagine: take a crop dusting pilot or an astronaut, a formula one racing pilot or and engineer specialised in high-voltage installations. Most of these individuals tend to be over 35 years old, and it is no coincidence: the companies, organisations and institutions that hire them prefer things to be in that way, but why?

There are two reasons, mainly: one is accumulated experience; a person who has been longer in any trade is more likely to have acquired much more experience than younger professionals. But there is a second reason, and that is the mental state and attitude of each person.Younger professionals tend to be quite eager and enthusiastic, but that means that they may turn out to be reckless. If you think about the popular image that a racing car driver has, you may conclude that a fearless and imprudent with a lot of luck and very rapid reflexes would be ideal for that job. However, that is seldom the case: if you look at racing car accidents, you will see that in most cases it is a young pilot involved.

The same goes for crop dusters; flying very low an aircraft over fences, wires, animals and people with a tank filled with gasoline and another filled with agrochemicals is not precisely the safest of all jobs: moreover, the consequences of dispersing the chemical compounds mistakenly could cost a fortune in lawsuits, even if the pilot doesn't poison people or animals because just the value of the crops is huge. So, for these jobs of high responsibility mature people is required, but what is the thing that has to mature? The ego. Young pros have an ego larger than life in some cases, and in almost all, it becomes the most sensitive part of their personalities. Just put two cars waiting the lights to turn green: in one, put a young racing car pilot, and in another a woman with two kids. The lights turn green and the car with a woman accelerates faster and is going a couple of metres ahead of the hotshot vehicle: what do you think that the fellow will do? More often than not, he will step on the pedals and accelerate like if he were in a real race, until he at least gets ahead of that woman.

The same goes for young teachers, professors and instructors: if a student or trainee does something good, that's okay, but if he or she does it better than anyone else, including the head of the class, the coach, instructor or trainer, then things may go awry because it is the ego that suffers most. But a teacher - speaking broadly and including professors, instructors and so on - acting in such a way not only discourages those students that are really talented; he or she teaches everyone else watching an irrational, reckless and dangerous way to act when one perceives a competitor of whatever kind. If you are facing a competitor in athletics, business, etc. it is indeed correct to compete: however, one thing is to do things according to a plan and thinking about what you do, and another is to proceed on impulse and just for the show.

People who are older tend to be more settled and tranquil in this regard: look a t any sports team coach: they are often retired athletes in their forties and fifties. Teams prefer them because authorities, franchise owners and administrators firmly believe that such individuals will not be competing against the team superstars, and while this may sound ridiculous, it really does happen. It is a pity that in a variety of careers, becoming an instructor is part of what those who want to advance just must do: flight instructors are a good example. The best ones are invariably those individuals that have a lot of experience, but in order to log the number of flight hours that a young pilot needs to get hired in an airline, he or she just have to work as a flight instructor for a couple of years. Indeed, these instructors, with a license under their belts, do know their job: however, they will almost never be in the same position to teach student pilots as, for example, semi-retired airline pilots nearing their sixities.

The way in which life, business and academic requirements are shaped today puts everyone at disadvantage, and some even in jeopardy because these conditioning elements ask too much from uneducated egos.

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