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Why Education Matters

“A single day among the learned lasts longer than the longest life of the ignorant.”

Posidonius (135 BC – 51 BC)

When I was a little boy my parents taught me to highly value education because it can yield power, money, and a “good” life. But most importantly, value education because no one can take it away from you.

They taught me that my education was one of the most important investments I could ever make for myself.

Because no matter which path I chose, I must get educated. The musician’s education is in the stage. The baller’s education is on the court. The doctor’s education in the classroom and with patients.

As I got older, I saw that education is all of that and much much more.

Education is more than just memorizing y=mx+b or dates in a history class. Education is training yourself to take on a mission worth of your talents and inner greatness. It’s learning how to act when you come across something that you don’t understand or don’t want to do. It is, as far as I know, the key to freedom.

So I worked hard in school. I paid close attention. I took the AP and IB classes. I went to college. Majored in something practical. Graduated. I did what my teachers, counselors, and professors told me and my parents supported that. I wanted a great education and all of the things that came with it.

But when pop and circumstance faded out and everyone stopped comparing their post-college opportunities, a subtle disappointment shrouded the moment of reflection when I looked at my degree.

I felt like school has failed me and everyone else too. It was painful to admit, but getting the degree didn’t seem to help me prepare for the world. I was constantly presented with problems that I had no idea how to solve.

 School taught me nothing about:

  • how to apply for a mortgage
  • how to open up a 401(k) or Roth IRA
  • how to buy a car
  • how credit works
  • how to grocery shop
  • how to cook
  • how my own cognitive bias affects me
  • how to find good books
  • how to raise happy children
  • how to get to know myself
  • how to help family members struggling with money
  • how to cope with drug abuse
  • how to live purposefully
  • how to have honest conversations
  • how to be a professional
  • how to navigate our world in terms of the Internet
  • and so many other things!

I forreal could go one forever. I was so upset that I spent nearly two decades in school and came out with about 5 years worth of useful knowledge.

(Side note: while I felt like college didn’t provide me with a worthwhile education, it still grew me in ways that I would have never imagined and I’m so grateful for it. I was thrown in so many different situations [some crazier than most] and I had the opportunity to see the world from many different perspectives.)

I was so hurt when I realized that I was not let down by my teachers but by the momentum of my culture. I was set up for failure and the generation before me couldn’t have seen it coming and prepared me for it.

The world has been changing faster than any other time in human history and the people responsible for teaching me how to act properly had no idea how to do it.

They were responsible for teaching me something that they had no idea how to navigate themselves. Sounds like a lose-lose situation.

In their time, the way to success was through a formal education. While a formal education still has its value, there are many things to consider now with the change of times.

There is a fundamental flaw in the structure of our schools.

School schedules mimic the hours of a typical 9 to 5 job:

  • Start in the AM.
  • Take your 10 minute break roughly 2-3 hours in
  • Patiently wait for the arbitrarily divided units of time to pass….
  • Lunch around the 5th hour.
  • Continue to patiently wait for the arbitrarily divided units of time to pass…
  • Go home.
  • Repeat.

Why?

During the industrial revolution, the school systems were designed to educate as many people as possible in order to employ at the factories that were growing at massive rates. This meant the lil future factory workers got accustomed to their schedule early and were taught enough to function on an assembly line.

This system was effective, and it helped launch the United States of America into an even bigger revolution. There are many names for it (i.e. The Information Age, The Internet Revolution, The Age of The Internet Information Revolution), but what ever you want to call it, it is amazing. Today, not knowing something is a matter of choice. We have the ability to learn anything at any moment. We can know almost everything that everyone else knows. We have the ability to talk to anyone anywhere at anytime (for the most part). We can be anything and faster than ever.

The only problem (well, not the only problem) is that we have used the same educational system since the last revolution.

WE HAVE NOT UPDATED OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM SINCE THE LAST TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION.

I’m not a history buff, but I’m pretty sure it takes a while before revolutions come about and in that while, WE HAVE NOT UPDATED OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM.

We need tools to deal with the new world and the new digital revolution. We need a way to teach adolescents how to build successful lives.

I believe that this responsibility fell onto the schools, but since they dropped the ball, the responsibility falls upon ourselves to go out and seek the education we need and deserve.

“The way you teach your kids to solve interesting problems is to give them interesting problems to solve. And then, don’t criticize them when they fail. Because kids aren’t stupid. If they get in trouble every time they try to solve an interesting problem, they’ll just go back to getting an A by memorizing what’s in the textbook. I spend an enormous amount of time with kids . . . I think that it’s a privilege to be able to look a trusting, energetic, smart 11-year-old in the eye and tell him the truth. And what we can say to that 11-year-old is: ‘I really don’t care how you did on your vocabulary test. I care about whether you have something to say.”

Seth Godin (1960 – )

Utilizing the resources at hand (a.k.a. the internet), I took it upon myself to fill in the gaps of my education in order to not just survive in the modern world, but to thrive in it.

Education is important but our current institutions are not fit in their current state to properly prepare the next generation to thrive.

Sooner or later, parents have to take responsibility for putting their kids into a system that is indebting them and teaching them to be cogs in an economy that doesn’t want cogs anymore. Parents get to decide…

Seth Godin (1960 – )
Jordan Peterson captures a few of the failings in the modern education systems. Starts around 2:23 ends at 5:08.

The truth is we are not going to change our schools overnight, and by no means am I suggesting for students to stop attending school. But, I believe the world and life can be an easier journey as long as we know how to deal with it.

School is an opportunity to train ourselves in the face of things we don’t want to do.

Why we do want to practice doing things we don’t want to do?

Because life is filled with those things. Ask anyone. It is so important to know ourselves as the type of people who can get things done, especially in tough times.

The road to anything worthwhile is filled with hurdles that you don’t want to jump.

˙ǝʌıʇɔǝdsɹǝd uı ǝƃuɐɥɔ ɐ ʇsnɾ ˙ʇɟıɥs ǝɯɐɹɟ ɐ s,ʇı

We should all aim to:

  • read well.
  • write well.
  • think critically.
  • develop our characters.
  • build our best selves.

But our education can’t stop there. I honestly believe everyone should go out and find their own education.

Be disciplined and curious. Don’t stop until you get an answer that satisfies your hunger.

It’s a difficult task but it’s a beautiful journey (and fun too) and I want to help you do that.

If we don’t know where to start we can look to all of the great works that our culture has considered to be great and form our own opinions. Writer, Seth Godin, gives two starting points:

I think we need to teach kids two things: 1) how to lead, and 2) how to solve interesting problems. Because the fact is, there are plenty of countries on Earth where there are people who are willing to be obedient and work harder for less money than us. So we cannot out-obedience the competition. Therefore, we have to out-lead or out-solve the other people. . . .

Seth Godin (1960 – )

It’s my dream that one day there will be actual programs and establishments to help guide youth from being good students to great leaders (I’m trying to build them). But until then, we must make the best of our situations and take charge of what we know.

We can turn this revolution into a second Enlightenment, or at least something similar, in the sense that everyone is synthesizing massive volumes of information and transforming the world for the better. I honestly believe that a person can accomplish what Leonardo da Vinci accomplished in his lifetime in less than 15 years with today’s resources.

But we use most of it for consumption. It’s really a damn shame. We have the means to create a beautiful new world in a way that has never been done before. I want everyone to bring out their inner da Vinci and I believe the way is through a proper education.

Everyone can be like da Vinci, but better. Education unlocks our potential and I hope my content can help at least one person see the true power of education.