Joseph Tussman was a philosophy professor at Cal Berkley and an educational reformer. He said (h/t Farnam Street),
What the pupil must learn, if he learns anything at all, is that the world will do most of the work for you, provided you cooperate with it by identifying how it really works and aligning with those realities. If we do not let the world teach us, it teaches us a lesson.
The ideas already exist. The businesses, accounting methods, and professionals already exist. The clients and customers already exist (even the ones that aren’t ours yet), and so do their preferences. It’s on us to put the sails up and catch the wind.
We all get ideas in our heads. We picture things a certain way and we position ourselves to move forward. Tussman‘s message is to see the world as it is, not how we think it ought to be.* The pupil will learn, if anything at all, to look where the wind is blowing before setting the sail.**
When we’re humble enough to see the way things are naturally progressing, we can harness that same progress. The world, like the wind, will do most of the work for us if we cooperate. When we don’t, it will teach us a lesson. It’s on us to learn from it.
*tbis is very Hume of him. For a separate post on this topic see “You can’t derive an ‘is’ from an ‘ought’”
**did I mention I know nothing about sailing? Critics ahoy!