Years ago, while attending a business conference, I heard about a psychological test of two small children. One had been placed in a room full of toys, the other in a room containing a pile of horse manure. After a few hours, they checked on the boys. The first had played with all the toys, broken a few and was bored. The second was up to his elbows in horse manure and grinning ear to ear. When asked why he was so happy, he replied, “With all this horse manure, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere.”
Since this time, I’ve often found myself in locations or situations that were not to my liking. Each time, I tried to be like the second boy. I looked for the “pony” or benefit in each. Students should keep that in mind when sitting in a classroom or completing an assignment. Not every subject or task will be a thrill a minute. But, there will almost always be a hidden benefit. It’s the job of the student to find the benefit. It may be short term pain for long term gain.
Perhaps the assignment will train your brain to think differently. It may broaden your horizons or teach you a valuable skill. In any case, there is a reason the assignment was given, or the class is a requirement. The perspective of the student isn’t the same as that of the instructor or educational institution. They are farther down the path and have a more informed point of view. So instead of shrugging off the intended lesson, seek the pony. It’s got to be in there somewhere.
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