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I wrote a genuinely inspired post last year about what a simple Cambodian girl taught me about capitalism (linked at the bottom), and completely unbeknownst to me it got posted a couple different places last week, one of those being the behemoth news aggregate Zero Hedge (slogan: “On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”).

Since I’m not a famous person, I do read my emails, and I did read the comments – what person curious about their own psychology wouldn’t? It’s a new experience for me to be trolled for something that doesn’t have to do with wearing a tight black unitard and doing my sport laying down, so I had to give it a shot (and yes, I knew going in what the ZH comment section is like).

It actually wasn’t too bad – more people defending the premise of the post than attacking the me they think they know from 30 seconds of googling.

But still – for the record, I don’t spend my life “playing”, I work my ass off, day after day, in myriad ways – many of which have nothing to do with my ‘non-world-changing’ sport.

And I probably have a lot higher level of risk-induced stress from the lifestyle I’ve chosen, than I would if I had a safe secure cubicle job and a Volvo and lived in the suburbs. Especially if I had a golden retriever – those things are awesome.

So while I don’t care if you diss my apparent lack of education since I didn’t use my diploma as the background on my website (sorry – most adventure athletes and the media that cover them really prefer colorful multimedia to grayscale Old English fonts), what I do find rather insulting is the suggestion that because I don’t list my formal education, I can’t possibly understand how the world works.

I’d been in half a dozen countries before I even started kindergarten – not because my family was monetarily rich but because their values consisted of “sacrificially” helping other people – and that real-life education through travel and experiencing cultures not “my own” continues to this day.

While I must respect a man with the self-discipline to get multiple PH.D’s (because what other kind of person could possibly have the free time to troll on ZH!), perhaps you would have been better served reading this book a few times.

Education comes in many forms – I’ve hobnobbed with governors and slept on dirt floors – but the one lesson that has impacted me more than any other is to invest in life experiences.

The ROI from that investment comes from learning, which, since there’s no textbook or professor with his Masters Degree there to assign me rote memorization, means I must analyze and deduce as much truth from every experience as I possibly can, in order to learn, grow, and keep moving forward as an evolutionary human.

Watching a girl with nothing fish for her dinner in the company of snorkelers on a pleasure cruise – and her amazingly positive attitude in the process – made a real impact on me that I thought was worth publicly analyzing on my personal website.

It may have been overly simplistic for the ZH crowd, but my readership tends to consist of people whose degrees are earned through engaging life fully, not merely their scholastic aptitude.

But then again, Occam’s Razor might apply.

For anyone curious about the original post, you can read it here on this blog, or heck, why not go read it on ZH.

Oh, also – I kinda dislike religion. That was a good guess though, that the girl learned about fishing from the proselytizing I was doing on the boat – I mean, there ARE a lot of great Jesus stories related to boats!

And no, I’m not going to purge my blog of stuff I wrote 5 years ago that I might disagree with now. Life’s a journey.