“We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application–not far far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech–and learn them so well that words become works.” — Seneca Sitting in a classroom aged 11 learning about oxbow lakes.
That’s when I remember realising for the first time that the aura surrounding adults as these omniscient, benevolent beings was shattered.
Because at that moment, surrounded by 30 other gaumless pre-teens drifting off into sleep as the afternoon crept on, it struck me that there may not, in fact, be any point in learning all of these random things for some arbitrary test at the end of the year.
It struck me that maybe, just maybe, adults think as little about why they do things as me, a clueless child.
It struck me that everyone was just sort of doing stuff because someone had done it before them. And that maybe our teachers & those creating our curriculum did not, in fact, ever stop to think about what the point of it all was. To question it.
Why was education focused on learning by rote? Of memorising a specific list of things to then just write down in a test at the end of the year? Of not so much learning stuff, but, rather, just memorising stuff.
Now I doubt I could have articulated these thoughts at that age, but the thoughts were definitely there. The nagging sensation that school was all a bit absurd & silly was definitely there.
Wasn’t I learning more from my clandestine activities at break time, selling 10p sweets in the playground at double the retail price? Learning how to hustle on the not-so-mean streets of suburban London?
Was learning all these vague, general subjects any good for us?
The average person’s response to adult education It Sticks With You
I would argue that, not only has traditional education failed to prepare us for life outside educational institutions, but it also leaves many people with a sour taste in their mouth for the rest of their life.
“Education” becomes a dirty word, bringing back vivid memories of Year 7 maths class, wreaking havoc instead of learning Pythagoras’ theorem, because no teacher ever bothered explaining who this Pythagoras guy was & why his theorem was so important in the first place.
So that now, in an age where continuous learning is so integral to remaining relevant in an ever-changing workplace, we are terrible at learning.
Because we never really learnt how to learn. Just to memorise.
And even that was done begrudgingly.
Yet the modern world requires us to re-skill. And to do so quickly.
Whether it be to climb those giddy heights of ambition you desperately want to reach, or just to do enough to stay afloat in an ever-changing world, you must fall in love with learning again.
You must learn to throw off your residual misgivings towards education & unmute the curiosity that was such a driving force as a child.
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none. Zero.” — Charlie Munger, Self-made billionaire & Warren Buffett’s longtime business partner Learn to love reading again.
Learn to be curious, to delve into problem & find its solution.
Learn to push yourself. To push through when it gets hard & feel that sense of accomplishment on the other side.
Learn to learn again & you’ll not only guarantee your future, but you’ll unlock a wealth of joy in discovering new things, overcoming difficulties, in conquering something new & unknown.