There’s too much information in the world. Too much to consume, too much to learn, too much to remember.
I have over 100 books on my shelf. Really, a small library on topics ranging from accounting to graphic design and computer science.
I’ve read most of them, and every morning I come into my office and sit down with one of those books to learn something new, but it wasn’t always that way. There was a time that I came to my “office” to play video games, click the “Stumble” button and check my Facebook.
I was a mindless zombie. But I got tired of being tired. I wanted a purpose in life. I wanted success.
Knowledge is the foundation for success.
Charlie Munger (Warren Buffet’s partner) said of Buffet’s success:
Warren Buffett has become one hell of a lot better investor since the day I met him, and so have I. If we had been frozen at any given stage, with the knowledge we had, the record would have been much worse than it is. So the game is to keep learning, and I don’t think people are going to keep learning who don’t like the learning process.
If Warren Buffett (one of the most successful men in the world) believes in staying on top of the game by being a lifelong learner, wouldn’t it make sense for you to do the same?
It’s just insanely difficult to “get into the zone” when it comes to learning. As Munger said – “I don’t think people are going to keep learning who don’t like the learning process.” There’s a problem with that, and not a very difficult one to pinpoint.
Public education is an assembly line.
It’s true – public education is a factory for factory workers in America. Whether those are the true origins or not, it has turned into an accurate reality.
Listen to your lecture. Wait for the bell to ring. Focus on math, science and literature. Don’t talk during class. This is what you will learn today.
Students are pressured to score well on standardized tests. That’s the only thing that matters.
Students have nearly no personalized curriculum until high school, and even then the selection is extremely limited in rural schools. Sure, you can take a “gimme” class like Art I if you need a break in the middle of the day. Physical education is only required once during your high school career.
The focus in high school is Math, English and Science all four years. And these courses are rarely taught well. Teachers have no freedom in how they teach, they’re expected to cram students’ heads for standardized testing. Teachers don’t have the freedom or the time to go to each student, figure out what they need help with, determine how to help them, then implement. It’s just not possible.
It’s hell for a developing brain, and we put kids through it every weekday during Autumn, Winter and Spring in the good ol’ U.S.A.
What’s the result of this mind-numbing torture?
The unfortunate attitude that learning is boring.
Kids don’t want to learn any more when they come home. Once they finish their homework they shut down and play video games or watch reality T.V.
Or worse, they drop out. As of 2014, 7.4% of high school students drop out, and only 75% of high school freshmen will graduate on time in the U.S.
Sometimes these vegetative habits last a lifetime. Go to work, come home, eat dinner on the couch with the T.V. on, go to sleep, repeat. It’s like high school stifled every last bit of creativity and motivation out of these unfortunate souls. They don’t want to learn anymore.
Maybe they don’t even realize how bad it is. That they’re making a wage that’s earning their bosses or the owners more money than they can imagine. The pitiful worker wants more money, but is afraid to ask for a raise, or just doesn’t know how.
A “good job” is all they want, without even realizing that a good business is the better end of the deal.
Even that “good job” is out of reach for the couch potato that doesn’t want to invest in their own education. The good business is just a pipe dream.
Want to finally level the playing field?
Knowledge is power, so it’s time to start learning.
Adopt the attitude of a lifelong learner. Your brain wasn’t meant to go stagnant at a certain age, so commit to learning new things.
If you don’t know what your purpose is in life – education is the way to find it. I’m not saying you need to go back to school, but at least start doing some research into topics you find an interest in. Build your own curriculum.
By exploring deep into certain topics, you’ll gain rare knowledge. If you start applying that information to your life, you’ll become an expert.
And when you become an expert…well, the sky’s the limit.
If you have kids…
Try to instill in your children the value of curiosity. Hell, pull them from public schools and instead of cramming information into their tiny little developing heads, try to make learning fun and let them explore on their own.
Find them mentors instead of math tutors. Dig into your children’s lives and figure out what interests them, then encourage them to spend time in that area until they develop expert skills by the time they’re 14 that 22-year-old college graduates would be envious of.
We don’t need a new generation of factory workers. We need creative, curious, intelligent people in our society. Let’s work on becoming those people ourselves, and work on getting our kids there, too.
Make learning part of your daily routine.
That’s all it takes. For you or your kids. Just make learning part of every single day.
Whether you read a business book, browse a design blog, study up on how to draw or just start creating something – commit to becoming a lifelong learner by doing it every day.
Every. Single. Day.
For you or your kids, I highly recommend Khan Academy if you want to tackle some general topics or start exploring a subject deeply. Whether you’re looking into business or art, Khan Academy is a fantastic resource for getting your “general education” out of the way. Who knows, you might find you have a knack for something you used to be horrible at.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Book List. There’s a wealth of hand-picked knowledge that has been curated just for you, our readers.
So…what are you going to learn today? Tell me about your plans for education in the comments below.