Favorite Inspiring Quotes
Life Transition: Self-Directed Education
Commentary by Peter Shepherd
Education may be about cramming our minds with a syllabus in order to become a viable employee, a cog in the machine, but life-long self-directed education (that includes personal development) is the opposite... it's about unlearning all of that; about opening to new possibilities; about releasing our judgments, assumptions and prejudices; about nurturing our creative flame. An educational system isn't worth a great deal if it teaches people how to make a living but doesn't teach them how to make a life. Plutarch: “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
Same for all kinds of education, and our own, self-directed education every day of our lives. When life is abstract, just viewed from a distance, it's not real enough to inspire a commitment, not personal enough to make us want to get involved.
And it starts at home - first educate ourselves. As Jack Welch says, "Change before you have to." And Albert Einstein, who knew a thing or two... "The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."
We all know the value of education. The mind is naturally curious and we want to explore and find out why. The knowledge we gain from learning and research that interests us forms the basis for discovery, invention and career expertise. Albert Einstein also pointed out, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." But imagination builds from a wide knowledge base, covering many topics and specialities, so new possibilities become apparent and creativity breaks new bounds. Education should be focused on discovery and understanding, not cramming facts immediately to be misinterpreted, distorted or forgotten.
Same for all kinds of education, and our own, self-directed education every day of our lives. When life is abstract, just viewed from a distance, it's not real enough to inspire a commitment, not personal enough to make us want to get involved. “A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.”
Hence the value of wide, open-ended education for liberation - and the negative power of distorting evidence and rewriting history to create suppression. As Yeats said, "Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire." By the time we leave school we should in particular have learned just how much we don't know, and be inspired with a lifelong desire to know it, which can be fulfilled only by ongoing self-directed education.
Articles about self-directed education...
From the moment our senses receive the first signals of life, school is in session. We learn whether we intend to or not. The brain is a giant sponge absorbing the relevant and the ridiculous with equal ease and eagerness. But, we not only determine whether we accept what comes at us, we also determine what comes at us. What we learn depends upon the teachers we choose. Continues...
I'm in the 'education business' and the 'motivational speaking business,' and I love it. However, I must admit that I have two very strong biases. First, I believe that education without motivation serves no useful purpose. And second, motivation without education is dangerous. We must have both items ... especially in the tough times ... which seem to be everyday these days. Continues...