We spent millions on schooling, and almost nothing on education.
Schooling and school degrees are overrated.
Example: an MBA costs you a fortune and a half, but the same information has been condensed and made available by people like Josh Kaufman in his critically acclaimed book The Personal MBA – I own a copy of this remarkable book and I highly recommend it.
So yes, you save mmm… I don’t know… about 100,000 US$ and learn as much as an MBA graduate, in about one twentieth of the time; an MBA takes two years, reading Kaufman’s book doesn’t.
Education and learning, on the other hand, are pretty underrated.
Example: although pretty much everyone I talk to agrees that education and learning is what really matters, not many understand the very basics of a good education. For example, the required humility to begin asking decent questions is something that no school teaches, although it is the very basis upon which all learning is based.
Many of us do have a hunch that there is a better way than an extended, expensive, dumbed-down-to-the-lowest-denominator-type school. But we do not give it an honest shot. John Gatto – an award-winning, hugely experienced educationist – in his concise book Dumbing Us Down clearly explains what most of us already know.
A school degree and an education are more far apart than ever before. We need to turn this on its head. Because we spent millions on schooling, and almost nothing on education.
One of my favorite writers and bloggers, Chris Guillebeau, recently wrote a powerful and personal piece on how “Qualifications” really do not matter. It reminded me of a couple of posts I had written long ago, one that recounts my own experiences with supposed failure, and the other where the concept of pre-requisites is examined.
Prerequisites are almost always misunderstood
What is the prerequisite for changing the world? Do they offer a course for that?
What qualifications do you need to lead a tribe, an army, a nation?
We are lead to believe that we need to spend 16 odd years and spend upwards of a fortune so we are eligible to work for someone else. Yes, for someone else. Why aren’t we trained and schooled and educated in working for ourselves? Who forgot to educate the educators?
We are taught that we need to push our dreams and ambitions to one side so we can be practical. We are wrongly taught that for a happy life, we need to be qualified with a degree in one hand, and our deferred life plan in the other.
Our supposed prerequisite for a happy life actually involves putting aside our happiness. (Yes, John Gatto was onto something when he titled his book Dumbing Us Down. )
But is there a better way?
How to “be educated” according to Harvard University
Harvard University, a few years back, sharply warned their students that credentials and credit hours would matter much less as compared to some real training.
So what is this real training?
I will borrow again from Mr Gatto. My intention is to give you some food for thought, so here I present Harvard’s list of things an ‘educated person’ must have as reported by Gatto himself:
- The ability to define problems without a guide.
- The ability to ask hard questions which challenge prevailing assumptions.
- The ability to quickly assimilate needed data from masses of irrelevant information.
- The ability to work in teams without guidance.
- The ability to work absolutely alone.
- The ability to persuade others that your course is the right one.
- The ability to conceptualize and reorganize information into new patterns.
- The ability to discuss ideas with an eye toward application.
- The ability to think inductively, deductively and dialectically.
- The ability to attack problems heuristically.
But how do we teach this to ourselves, because surely, our schools did not teach this. No matter if you were schooled in Pakistan or the US, the above list is not taught as part of a curriculum, although it is now recognized as an objective of education.
Attempts to teach this have already been made of course. Many good self-help books talk about these concepts, and we – as people who want to improve themselves – can readily use them for our great benefit. But no college text books teach these concepts as part of their general curriculum.
As entrepreneurs and businessmen, we tend to believe that to enjoy a millionaire lifestyle, we need a million dollars or more.
Again, the prerequisite is misunderstood. We have been schooled to accept this equation without question.
You do not need a million dollars to have a millionaire lifestyle. In fact, many millionaires do not have a lifestyle that allows them time and freedom. And also to note that many people who are no where near being millionaires live their lives as if they had the supposed security and spending power a million dollar gives.
What is a millionaire lifestyle? What will you do if you already had a million dollars in your bank account right now? What’s stopping you from doing that right this instant?
Tough question, I know. But do you have any viable, reasonable answers?
P.S. I feel that a lot of people actually want the millionaire lifestyle, confuse it with having millions in their bank accounts and then join the rat race to earn millions. This is an entirely wrong equation. Having said that, earning millions, if not more, is desirable. But at the cost of what?