HomeBench Racing2017The Advantage of Being Self-Taught

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The Advantage of Being Self-Taught

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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Growing up, I've found that many of us get a sense that "education" and "learning" are done in a school with a teacher.

In society we are also often given the impression that unless you have a degree and are somehow "certified," you lack education.

Then there are those that get upset by these ideals and reasonably get tired of being called dumb, stupid, ignorant, and fight back claiming they aren't dumb, and that the "educations" these "certified" people have don't make them any smarter, and are in fact, dumber than they are.

All of that is nothing but a giant pile of bullshit.

You don't have to have a degree to be educated and a lack of an education doesn't mean you know better — at all.

The truth is that some of the smartest, most successful, most influential, most intellectually developed people in history don't have a formal education, but they are extremely well educated.

Here are a few for you to consider:

All are college drop outs or lack a formal education.

All are massively successful and influential in business, art, science, technology, design, engineering, and/or academia.

All are highly, highly educated.

It's well-known in the world of education that if you want to be successful, merely achieving a degree is insufficient. You are expected to continue your own personal education once out of school, and to do so throughout your life and career.

However, you don't need to be in school or receive a degree to drive yourself to a high level of education.

In fact, it's also known that the most effective educations are those that we apply ourselves to and are most meaningful to us. Meaning that you may struggle with reading, math, science or art, but having a personal need for reading, math, science or art — such as to accomplish something in an automotive project — is the kind of thing that spurs a person to get past a surmountable shortcoming and find success with it.

Of course, not all shortcomings can be overcome. It's just a sad fact that we are not all born equal, and that having a positive attitude, great gobs of motivation, and solid personal and work habits won't be sufficient to get past certain physical and neurological deficits. But that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't try, and it doesn't mean you shouldn't keep trying. There are simply too many ways to approach something to give up just because you struggle. If one way doesn't work, find another, and if it's important enough, keep doing that until you've found success or exhausted every avenue.

Things like school systems, the military, etc, are what are called standards-based systems, and not all people fit into standards, and there is just no cramming a square peg in a round hole, but that doesn't mean you can't find a way to achieve your own self-improvement with enough effort and enough personal change.

Beliefs stymie people, standards-based systems fail people, but just because you've failed before doesn't mean that you aren't capable of growth — especially if you are willing and able to apply yourself to something meaningful and are eager to learn on your own.

For more about self-directed learning, check out A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley, PhD.


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