David Brooks’ Advice for High School Graduates:
The most important decision any of us make is who we marry. Yet there are no courses on how to choose a spouse. There’s no graduate department in spouse selection studies. Institutions of higher learning devote more resources to semiotics than love.
The most important talent any person can possess is the ability to make and keep friends. And yet here too there is no curriculum for this.
The most important skill a person can possess is the ability to control one’s impulses. Here too, we’re pretty much on our own.
These are all things with a provable relationship to human happiness. Instead, society is busy preparing us for all the decisions that have a marginal effect on human happiness. There are guidance offices to help people in the monumental task of selecting a college. There are business schools offering lavish career placement services. There is a vast media apparatus offering minute advice on how to furnish your home or expand your deck.
I’ve never heard it put so succinctly.