Rethinking Education and Learning

To get ahead in our professional life, so that we can lead great lives and live to its fullest, so that we can contribute fully to the organisations we are involved in and that we care about.

So that we can love what we do and do what we love. So that we can lay our head down on our pillow at night knowing that life is totally worth living. And eventually in our old age, surrounded by loving friends, family and community, knowing that we lived a life that was truly ours, and that we wouldn’t change a thing.

This is something that can only come about through a deep level of awareness, through continuous, lifelong learning, through living with purpose, on purpose, authentically. It is a powerful need, almost a life-force, which drives us all and sustains us.

So you’re saying education is key?

Well, yes and no.

The problem with education as we know it, with universities and institutions, is that it’s inherently based on a culture of conformity. Assessments and examinations based on a predetermined set of criteria, resulting in the commoditisation of students, graduates and workforce.

It’s an exploitation of our ignorance and lack of awareness. If we don’t create a grand plan for ourselves, we’ll fall into someone else’s plan, one which does not have our best interests at heart. And even employers are starting to wise up to the fact that the academic letters on the end of one’s name are mere commoditised labels.

The fact of the matter is that, we’re not all cut to the same homogenised mould, nor should we be. Yet traditional education, and even some alternative providers, would seem to assume otherwise.

For example – failing to recognise individual needs. And this is a lot more common than we’d like to think. As well as failing to recognise and help leverage unique individual strengths which fall outside the criteria for assessment.

But what if we try a different approach?

What if we were to start with the individual? Start with you, with your interests, your capabilities, your goals and aspirations.

Your interests and values – what drives and motivates you and why? When people lose sight of what truly motivates them – why they do what they do – they eventually become disengaged. This is why it’s important to start with this.

Your capabilities – “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Miss Jerusha Mathers being incapable of completing the GAMSAT all at once, but not being given adequate consideration to do it in smaller chunks. Even myself, being slightly impeded in my immediate/short term recall compared to other intelligence indicators (or so I was told).

It is not that we are incapable of completing certain tasks, it is that we are at a disadvantage to do them in exactly the same way that many others can.

A true sign of intelligence is adaptability. Not everyone can break through a wall with brute force – some of us will build or source tools to make it easier, some of us will find other ways around it.
Finding ways to adapt to the situation and objectives – to try different approaches, to compensate for our weaknesses in achieving the same outcome – is a far stronger indicator of intelligence than anything else that can be measured in a more traditional manner.

Your goals and aspirations – only you should decide these for yourself. It is perhaps as much a part of your identity as anything else, your guiding light and North star. If they seem out of reach, it’s just a matter of chunking them down into smaller chunks and, from the previous point, learning to be more adaptable.

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