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Published:October 15th, 2011 09:59 EST
gOld Nuggets: On Learning and Education

gOld Nuggets: On Learning and Education

By Harry J. Getzov

Young Kim-71 (Evanston, Illinois)

On learning and education:

"That would be wasting your brain. That`s a sin."

Young Kim is the owner of several very successful laundry and cleaning stores in the Chicago area and I came to know her as a customer at her Evanston location. Young`s early schooling put her on the fast track to becoming a world renowned physicist, and yet, as the years unfolded, a lifetime filled with many twists and turns gave rise to a very different success story. One thing, however, has been a constant in Young`s life: her pursuit of excellence.

"When I bought my first store, I knew nothing about the business," Young explains. "But I learned. I had to. I was absolutely determined, not merely to own a cleaning business but to have the very best cleaners in all of Chicago. I never wanted to be second-in anything. I always had to be the best."

That work and study ethic was drummed into Young`s psyche even as a young girl as her father pushed her to study science. `You`re a really smart girl. You have to be in science,` my dad would always say. `You must study physics and be like Madame Curie,` Young says, laughing. "Physics? I hated physics! But my dad was insistent about it, because he was convinced that I was some kind of genius. "What else could I do?" Young asks." I was required to finish."

"Education. That`s what my dad planted in here," Young explains, pointing to her head. `In order to be the best person,` he`d always tell us, `you must keep learning.` "As it has turned out, my schooling has been the basis for everything I have accomplished in my life. Unfortunately, my father died in 1974, so he didn`t have any chance to see the success I created with the cleaning business. But I will always remember him telling me, `Young, whatever you choose to do, be the best one.` "So that`s what I`ve taught my kids, too. To get away from the ghetto, you have to study hard."

Harry J. Getzov is the founder of Eldercation - an organization committed to changing the way our culture views aging and older people. He is also the author of the newly released best-selling book, gOld - The Extraordinary Side of Aging Revealed Through Inspiring Conversations - Available at

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