The world is hurting like I’ve never seen before

Hawaiian pacific island canyons and cliffs
Hawaiian pacific island canyons and cliffs


The world is hurting like I’ve never seen before.

There is an insidious decline in individual optimism and personal responsibility.

Making optimism scarce, hence valuable.

There’s gold in them thar hills!

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By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. Jeff,

    Years ago, when I was a public school teacher, I said the same thing about the teachers in the school system. And I was the teacher representative for my school for the county – I was supposed to be the “cheerleader” for the teachers. And yes, I was still wet behind the years – I was still in my mid-20s, when the average age of the faculty of my 100+ teachers was closer to late 40s – early 50s. So maybe my optimism was dismissed as “too young to know better.” But I knew that a lot of the faculty basically felt trapped in their jobs with no chance to make their lives better, and it was always someone above them’s fault for holding them down. They believed salaries couldn’t be improved, work conditions couldn’t be improved, and appreciation for their work would never come for those who did this to them.

    I tried for 6 years to change that mindset while there, but I have to admit something. It is hard to be surrounded by that without being jaded by that. Then a teacher, near the end of his career, told me something. He said, “The number is 7. If you stay in this job for 7 years, you will never leave it.” I said, “Why is it 7?” He said, “That’s how long it takes for your optimism to be beaten down to where you no longer have ambition to leave. It’s also the point at which you salary is high enough that you can’t go somewhere else and make more starting out, yet so low that you are always going to struggle.” Sad to say, he was right, and you could tell his regret, looking back on his 30 years of teaching.

    I really could tell he was speaking the truth, and I could also tell that I was heading down that same road (with the birth of our first son and my wife stopping work to be with him, the salary issue became very real). I didn’t like the negativity that I was feeling, and it was someone else’s fault (or so I believed). So after a lot of prayer, I took a leap and left that environment. Granted, negativity is everywhere, but I needed out of that environment, or be doomed to become like it.

    Sadly, I still hear from some of my former co-workers from time to time. And they are still talking about the same disappointing things…bad salary, bad work environment, and no appreciation. They are stuck there.


  2. Thanks for posting that Bob. It was so interesting and sad. We all know teachers are under paid and over worked. Do you see a solution? In recent years I have heard about the possibility of virtual teaching. The best of the best will teach class via a Skype type environment with only a facilitator monitoring the classroom. Interesting thought and scary all at the same time. Will the Internet totally change the face of the classroom like it did so many other industries? Your thoughts?

  3. Donna – I think the Internet has already changed it a bit, but there is still something to be said for a live, face-to-face, teacher-student relationship. It may not be as crucial in the older years, but definitely important in those early developmental stages in elementary school.

    In extremely rural America, virtual teaching by video has been going on for about 20 years. I know that in some areas where there aren’t enough students to justify a school or teachers, students tune in daily by video into a classroom hundreds of miles away. It is two-way, where the students on the video and respond to the teachers in the classroom as if they are there. So the format is there.

    And Internet is becoming more and more of a way to get degrees online. So yes, we are heading that way. My sons even take classes online now as a part of a homeschool environment.


  4. Bob, thank you for sharing in such vivid detail the reality of your early life and pivotal moments. And the. Fast forwarding to today. Still the same issues. All we have control over is what we have control over. To not control or act on that leaves us prisoners.

  5. Donna, personally I think the whole educational system is in jeopardy. If most people didn’t need someone to watch their children while they worked, schools would be in big trouble.

  6. Bob (to your second comment), your examples illustrate how ex emotions are perfectly normal.

    I think the whole system is at risk of a long list of exceptions.

    I also think employment as we know it today – big companies offering benefits – is eroding. The future will see society gravitate to individual entrepreneurs subcontracting their art to others.

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