The Most Precious Resource is Agency

I resonated with this.

The world is a very malleable place.

When I read biographies, early lives leap out the most. Leonardo da Vinci was a studio apprentice to Verrocchio at 14. Walt Disney took on a number of jobs, chiefly delivering papers, from 11 years old. Vladimir Nabokov published his first book (a collection of poems) at 16, while still in school. Andrew Carnegie finished schooling at 12, and was 13 when he began his second job as a telegraph office boy, where he convinced his superiors to teach him the telegraph machine itself. By 16 he was the family’s mainstay of income.

Readers (and often biographers) tend to fixate around the celebrity itself, when people became famous or fortunate. But the early lives, long before success, contain something revealing. Before you grasp, you have to reach. How did they learn to reach?

For a 13 year old today, what is the equivalent of being a telegraph office boy, where he can learn technology while contributing? What about for a 16 year old? 21 year old? What is today’s equivalent to being a studio apprentice of Verrocchio?

Where are the studios, anyway?

There are good reasons that programming is now the typical industry for precocious children. It is something parents can still allow their children to do despite systematized schooling, and it is also one of the few industries with a permissionless culture. You don’t have to ask anyone. You don’t have to get a building permit or be a professional. You can just create.

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