The Most Important Secret About the Modern World

Here’s the most important secret about the modern world:

The rewards for smart, creative people are greater than they have ever been.

But it is harder to be smart and creative than it has ever been. It requires more work than ever before to become the level of smart and creative that gets rewarded.

English class teaches you how to think critically and how to communicate (read, write, speak). These are the two things you need most in order to become the leader of your own life—one of the smart, creative people I am talking about.

People who can think critically and communicate effectively are basically unstoppable. It doesn’t matter what field they are in. They can learn anything they want because they can read and evaluate information like rockstars, and they can persuade others to help them with all of the other stuff they are bad at because they can communicate well.

Don’t believe me? Name one person you admire who is really amazing and awesome who can’t think critically and is incapable of talking to others. All awesome people are good at those two things.

You aren’t born good at those things. You learn how to think and how to communicate over the course of a lifetime, and you learn by doing. You have to do a lot of thinking and a lot of communicating to get good. You have to sustain your focus. You have to lift heavy–mentally. And if you aren’t doing that–if you spend your time Netflix binging and being a Call-of-Duty warrior 6 hours a day and SparkNoting the entire syllabus and avoiding hard work at all cost–if you aren’t investing in yourself, you are not going to grow. Forget grades. If you aren’t investing in yourself you won’t grow as a person.

It’s way more comfortable to distract yourself with any of the over 9000 time wasters at your fingertips than it is to read something hard, or seriously try to understand a perspective you disagree with, or write a poem, or have an adult discussion about a controversy, or give a speech, or create something that has actual value for other people. But the biggest rewards ever don’t go to people who can’t give back to others, and you won’t have anything to give if you haven’t grown your own abilities.

The best time to invest was yesterday. The second best time to invest in yourself is today.

Get started!

Here are some links to help you (post some of your favorite links in the comments too):

Find a book or audiobook

Find a library and go to it

Read the news

Write a poem or a story or anything–just write something please

Make a video about something–anything

Discuss controversial issues with thinkers from multiple perspectives

Create a blog or website

Look at art

Create art

Learn a new language


Author: David Freitag

David Freitag teaches high schoolers English and coaches forensics near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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