self guided education

“There is no graduation from education.”

~Rachel Denning, a loyal LYL reader

Warning: From time to time I go on a small rant about the importance of taking control of your education, what you learn and how you use it. Today is one of those posts. This is one of the most crucial topics I have on my mind right now and I would really like your thoughts on it. Share in the comments below your ideas for creating your own eduction, what tools you use (online and off) and your experience so far. Now more than ever, it’s on us. If you’re reading this in email, click here to contribute your ideas. Your responses will have a lot to do with the next big thing I build.

Simply put, this post is a call to arms. And I need all your help.

*Update: The week after writing this post, I put together to Unofficial Self-Guided Education Manifesto (aka: the 27 principles to teach yourself anything) complete with a free PDF download and info-graphic to keep us inspired. You can access the manifesto here.

*****

The widening theory gap

Lately I’ve been wondering if it makes sense to drop out of school. Whether one should really stick it through four years of college or another couple years for an MBA or other advanced degree.

I went to college at UC Santa Barbara. I loved it. I studied Business Economics, Accounting and Spanish. I worked my ass off and actually did pretty well. I even graduated with high honors in the top 5% of my peers.

I tell you this to better set the scene for what happened next.

Fast forward 8 years later and now a large portion of my business time is spent running an investment fund, Cumbre Capital (that and Live Your Legend are my two babies), with a good friend of mine. You might think that was the logical step after studying accounting, economics and finance.

The thing is, by the time we launched our fund, I had remembered precisely zero applicable skills from my studies.

Everything I apply in my investing work today, I had to relearn from scratch.

This makes we wonder, did I really ever learn practical tools or did it all stop at theory? When you have many professors who studied to be professors, it’s tough to get past the theory part…

Granted I did have a few lights-out entrepreneurs for teachers (you know, the ones who had gone out and actually had experiences and built things), who dramtically impacted my experience and life. They are still very close friends. But sadly they were the rare exceptions.

Rethinking higher education

Last week I attended an inspiring TEDx event in San Francisco on Rethinking Higher Eduction.

The core message was simple: if we want a useful and valuable real-life education, we have to take it upon ourselves to build it.

It took me about a decade to figure out what these brilliant speakers all hit over my head in a matter of hours. That’s why I’ve read What Color is Your Parachute half a dozen times. It’s why I attend a few focused seminars each year. It’s why I hang out with passionate people. It’s why I took the GMAT and never attended business school (nor applied). It’s why I started Live Your Legend and it’s why I created Live Off Your Passion.

The TED speakers included Bror Saxberg (Chief Learning Officer of Kaplan), Michael Ellsberg (author of The Education of Millionaires- mentioned in last week’s post) and Dale Stephens (one of the 20 Under 20 Peter Thiel Fellowship winners. He also founded Uncollege.org)

At times it seemed like it was an all out bash on formal college and post-college education. Pretty entertaining given the level of sophistication of most of the audience and how many formal credentials there likely were in the room. Yet not only were the 200 or so folks in the room listening, we were on the edge of our seats. People roared in acceptance and agreement as each speaker left the stage. Regardless of everyone’s background, they knew something was broken and it desperately needed fixing.

The exciting thing is all of us are going to be the ones to do it.

The end of credentials

The topic begs the question:

What skills, education and experiences do we really need in order achieve and build things that will have the impact on the world we know we can have?

In many cases the answer is a lot different than we’ve been brainwashed. If you’re looking for a job the traditional (and wildly ineffective) way, you are going to need credentials. No question. And as many as one can have. But by most studies, less than 20% of jobs get filled via this traditional route. That means that as many as 80% or more of the jobs are filled before their listing ever hits craigslist, Monster, Career Building or whatever other mindless keyword searching robot job site you decide to use.

Those other 80% are filled by people you know and by people who know the people you know. That’s why your network of passionate people trumps everything. I guarantee that when I decide to hire someone to work with me to build the bigger vision at Live Your Legend (which I’ll likely do next year), I won’t give so much as a thought to what their formal credentials are. I also won’t post an ad on a job site.

Why would I?

Instead, I’ll ask a couple dozen of my entrepreneurial buddies and then I’ll hone down candidates based on referral source, what they’ve built in the past and my ability to personally connect with them and our beliefs about the world.

This is exactly why I wrote The Hacker’s Guide to Finding a Job: 9 Tactics No One’s Using for Jonathan Fields a while back. If we want results, we have to focus our time in the right place.

birth of self learning

Becoming your own expert

The night after the TED event I spent the evening with two good friends of mine, Corbett and Leo, having dinner and beers at Raddish, an impressive new spot in the Mission in SF. The topics covered business, charity, marketing, fitness (Leo had just completed the insane Goruck Challenge) and more than anything, education.

In a way, all three of us, through our blogs, businesses and online courses, are trying to offer a form of much more practical education based on very specific topics – all revolving around our practical experiments and experiences with the world (you notice you don’t find much theory on any of our sites).

Corbett has gone so far as launching a whole new business and site dedicated to rapid practical learning. It’s called Expert Enough. His recent article, A Brief Guide to Becoming an Expert, is worth a quick read. I might even try to twist his arm to write a guest post on Live Your Legend sometime soon ;).

The topic of expertise is a huge passion of mine and something I cover a lot in the recent Live Off Your Passion course. Mainly because I wish I would have had tools like this when I was just starting out, totally lost and listening to the status quo much too often.

For most people, expertise is massively misunderstood.

There’s all this talk of 10,000 hours to become a world-class expert at something. But what if you don’t care about being the best in the world? What if the top 5, 10 or 15% is enough for you?

Well as it turns out, that takes dramatically fewer hours. It’s something that I believe anyone can achieve if they care enough about it. As I talked about in last week’s guest post on ZenHabits, 3 Simple Steps to Making Money from Any Passion, most of us are already experts at something and don’t even realize it. Since we’ve been, say, juggling flaming Coke bottles (or whatever you happen to love doing) for the past decade or two, we are already on a level where all kinds of people would happily line up to learn from us, pay us for the lesson and even say thank you as they leave.

Pretty powerful to realize, eh?

And if you decide there’s something else you want to be expert enough in, you can be. And often times it can be done in under six months if you really put your head down.

I have a feeling what Corbett is doing with Expert Enough is going light a whole new movement on fire. I plan to be a big part of it.

Showing up is not enough

I believe that with the right community, drive and passion, you can become anything. And you don’t need a diploma, acronyms or some arbitrary credentials to tell you you can. In fact, often times those credentials come with the belief that you have to walk a predefined societal line.

That’s something that’s very difficult to unlearn. Perhaps it’s best to not learn it in the first place…

I’m not saying you or your kids shouldn’t go to college, business school or some of the other options out there (that’s for you to decide). But what I am saying is that in a lot of cases it’s not necessary. And in fact can be a hinderance. Yes, I said it…

Try to give it some detached, unbiased thought and I think you might agree.

But if you do decide to get formal with your education, it is NOT enough to just show up and learn. That’s the easy part.

The challenging (and much more fun) part is to question things. Question everything. To take at least 25% of your time and energy and direct it towards building your own curriculum. To taking online or offline courses (not affiliated with formal schooling) and testing and building businesses and ideas to see what works. To see what you love. To see what you hate.

This is where the real learning happens. Don’t take anything for granted.

It’s time to drop out of ‘traditional school’

Before you get angry, let me clarify…

We have to drop out of expecting to learn what we need just by showing up. This goes for every school of life, not just formal university.

And you can never, absolutely never, drop out of learning. Learn everything of interest you can get your hands on. Become expert enough to reach goals, to help people, to make a living doing what you love.

No one is going to do this for you. No school system, no book, no teacher – It’s on you. You have more tools than you’ve ever had and the potential for putting them to use grows daily.

In ten or twenty years from now I see an education system (be it formal or informal) that teaches us our natural strengths and talents and caters to them. One that shows the tools we want and need to make the impact on the world only we can. One where theory is optional but practical application is mandatory.

This is what I call Self-Guided Eduction. And this is just the birth of it…

The good news is you don’t have to wait for it to happen. You can create yours tomorrow. Better yet, today.

And no one can stop you. No one. You’re free to learn, apply and build whatever you want. But you’ll only see progress if you depend on yourself to make it happen.

We get to create our own university. We have to…

I can’t wait to see what we all do with it.

How have you taken control of your eduction? 

This is the beginning of a very big theme on Live Your Legend and throughout the world. I want to hear your thoughts. What about the social skills and connections you make at traditional schools? I didn’t cover that on purpose because I want to hear your thoughts first (then I’ll chime in). If reading this in email, click here to comment.

How have you taken it upon yourself to learn the things that have allowed you to experience huge goals, do work you love or get the job that most only dream of? Share your process, specific online tools or resources. Share it all. We need it.

Together we can put a dent in a massively broken system!

Thank you.

*Update: Be sure to check out the Unofficial Self-Guided Education Manifesto (aka: the 27 principles to teach yourself anything) I put together the week after writing the above article. You can also download a free PDF and info-graphic to keep you inspired! You can access the manifesto here.

Here are a few other hand-picked articles I’ve written on self-guided education:

How Business School Killer the Entrepreneur (and some worthy alternatives) 

How Living Legends Ensure Success: The One No-Brainer Thing You Must Do Daily (it’s not what you think)

Rule #1: Surround Yourself with Passionate People

On Modeling the Impossible and How to Do Anything

From Lost to Legendary: The 6 Pillars of Hacking Human Potential

Follow this Process & I Guarantee You’ll Do Work That Lights You on Fire

Image credits


Leave a Reply

66 Responses to “The Birth of Self-Guided Education (the only real option left)”

  1. Corbett says:

    Hey Scott, thanks for addressing this and opening the discussion. I believe self-guided education is going to become one of the most popular and important topics of the next 50 years. What we need to learn to function in our rapidly changing society just isn’t being taught in schools (and nor can it be).

    Perhaps the role of college will change. College is a place for personal growth, to learn how to learn, and to build a foundation of knowledge. It’s not a place to gain the practical skills needed to land a job, build a business, give back to society or change the world. Those are things you have to learn yourself, and that self-guided learning is becoming easier and easier for those who want to do it.

    Great topic! And yes, I’d be honored to write a post here sometime soon.

    • Scott says:

      I could not agree more Corbett. Our session last week sparked some ideas I’ve had bubbling in a my head for a very long time. I think you and I (and hopefully all of us) are going to be a big part of the 50-year shift you speak of. There’s no way I’m going to sit on the side lines, that’s for sure! I can’t wait to see where we all take it! Thanks for the inspiration and your work with Expert Enough. I’m excited for that guest post!

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks for the article! I’m going to share it with my two high school-age kids, so that they have some realistic expectations for afterwards.

    I was able to get some tangible benefits from my formal edication, but I agree that it probably wasn’t equivalent to all of the time I spent ‘filling a seat’ in the lectures.

    The biology, biochemistry, and chemistry lab classes were instrumental in getting me an internship in industry where I could develop practical expertise. If I didn’t have some experience I may not have been able to get my ‘apprenticeship’. As you said in the article: “Practical Application is Mandatory”.

    Getting an MBA did have asome positive benefits for me. First of all, it got me over a strong fear of making presentations. Second of all, some of the theory that I learned regarding business allows me to put some context on business decisions that my more scientificaly educated peers miss. However, I don’t think that these fully justify the financial and opportunity costs.

    • Scott says:

      Great points Mike. It sounds like you really made the best of your education opportunities. I think that’s the key. If you’re going to commit to something like an advanced degree (or even four year college), then commit to getting every drop of experience you can from it- that means outside of class and off campus too. That of course is on all of us to do. Awesome that you’re sharing it with you kids too!

  3. Joe Amadon says:

    Amen, Scott. Traditional education is very outdated. As someone with a couple graduate degrees, I know for sure that this time, energy, and money was not a very efficient expenditure. I think a lot of the problem with formal education is that there is a mindset that is instilled in students that when you are learning, you shouldn’t be creating, you should just be getting ready for a time later in life when you will do something you can share with others. And I feel I had the chance to, but never the suggestion, to create something amazing during my many, many college years.

    • Scott says:

      Right on Joe! That’s just it. Learning and creating and testing and experiencing all need to be synonymous. How can you really learn if you aren’t doing the others??

  4. Anne says:

    Brilliant and timely, Scott. I finished my formal education a long time ago, but reports from the next generation in my family suggest that high school and college have become even more irrelevant than ever. Three of the four of them have dropped out of high school or college frmo sheer boredom, and yet they have creative, interesting jobs and full lives.

    Most of my education involved the imparting of information. Only the rare solid-gold course or instructor actually bettered my mind (as distinct from just filling it up).

    Well, I can fill my own mind for free now from the internet. What’s more, brilliant resources like TED and blogs and inexpensive books can keep my mind growing and deepening.

    I can still see a place for formal training in hands-on physical skills (crafts, mechanics, music). There’s value in getting one’s ass to class for the discipline of learning something difficult-but-necessary.

    But six years of college-loan debt for a piece of paper? It makes very little sense anymore.

    • Scott says:

      Learning discipline is one of the most valuable byproducts of formal education – assuming you go to class of course, which many people around me didn’t do while at school.

      As for dropping out, that is fine as long as (and this is absolutely CRUCIAL) they do not drop out of learning. If you are out of school it’s even more important that you are dead set committed to learning. And learning like absolute crazy. Like an obsession. Learn all the practical stuff you can. Then you can’t go wrong. You’ll always be valuable, marketable and likely building something that matters.

  5. David Archer says:

    As an example of exactly what you talk about here, I had to put my hand forward. I enjoyed University as a discovering experience, but couldn’t tell you much about most classes. I have since taught myself everything I needed to become a programmer and then study Computer Science, get a good job in that field, then go out on my own, set up a business and start contracting.

    Self education is the only way you actually learn, and it is so enjoyable to expand your mind beyond what you have ever thought before. Here’s to learning!

    • Scott says:

      Here’s to learning indeed. Congrats on your successful path to self-guided education. It clearly sounds like it’s made all the difference!

  6. Ali says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your post! I am doing what I love and living the dream. I have thought soooo much about this topic since I am a mother of 4. I have come to the conclusion that a “self-guided” education is the best way to find success and happiness, which has led me to do something CRAZY (according to my parents). HOME SCHOOL! I figure this is the best way to lead my kids to find their passion and their purpose. I currently own a successful business, do all the graphic design, photography, cooking, and social media and I don’t have any formal training in in any one of those subjects. If you are interested I would love to do a guest post. Let me know. Thanks. Ali

    • Scott says:

      That is AWESOME Ali. Congrats on all of it and especially on brining up four kids the way you believe is most valuable. Leo home schools as well and it sounds like it’s been a great route for him. My wife and I will definitely give it serious thought when I get to that stage. Thanks for the guest post offer. I am going to slowly start offering them next year but am still only going to do a few to start. Will keep you posted!

  7. Kurt Swann says:

    Scott, Thanks for the post! Few things I’ve used . . .

    1) Am currently using a speed reading self-study course. It’s a book called Break-Through Rapid Reading by Peter Kump. Takes a little effort but it’s good. You’ve probably seen it since I understand you started reviewing books? :)

    2) College professors lecturing on ALL KINDS of topics from The Great Courses (always buy on sale) http://www.thegreatcourses.com/greatcourses.aspx

    3) Earned a helicopter rating a couple of years ago and that was mostly a matter of internet research till I found a local flight school. But then the instruction was obviously very specific to the goal of getting an FAA license.

    4) Want to learn a musical instrument? Homespun Tapes has tons of instruction CDs DVDs that cover mostly blues, country, jazz, folk. http://www.homespuntapes.com/

    5) YouTube can supplement TED.com because they sometimes have other videos by the some of the same speakers.

    6) The Library!! Okay it’s low-tech but for me it’s close by and free.

    Kurt

  8. Noah Greenberg says:

    Wow. This is an amazing, timely piece. I’m currently a senior at UC Santa Barbara, and over the past quarter have been contemplating dropping out to do something I love. I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship and have finally found an amazing entry point, a job at local startup FindTheBest. What you said is true – there is absolutely NO learning experience like doing something that you actually love, and my Sociology classes aren’t quite cutting it. In contrast, I’ve been finding the most amazing teachers and lessons through work, and really appreciate this article. Find someone doing what you want to do, get out there. Scott, thanks, great piece.

    • Scott says:

      Yeah Noah!! A fellow Gaucho. I love it. I hope that you have had a chance to find the Technology Management Program hidden away in the Engineering department. Those entrepreneurship classes were the only ones I took that actually connected with me and were useful after school. Jim Morouse (who no longer teaches there), Gary Hansen, John Bowers and John Greathouse were the practical and extremely useful professors and friends I spoke of in the article above. Hopefully you crossed their paths.

      Awesome about Find The Best too. I actually know their founder, Kevin O’Connor. Small world down there ;). We’ll have to connect on one of my next trips.

      Congrats on nailing such a fun startup environment out of school! That will make all the difference.

  9. While my husband and I are both college graduates, we agree that the value we got from the experience was questionable. We, too, have decided to homeschool (go Ali!) as we believe the school system is basically a free baby-sitting service that sucks the creative soul from children and makes them good sheep. We are following the un-schooling methods which basically leave it up to the child to lead the educational process. This keeps everyone excited to learn and create which, I think, are some of the goals of education. Thinking that learning and education can only happen in a certain building until we’re about 21 years old is absurd.

    I have started a new online business with absolutely no previous knowledge of how to do it and I’ve done it all myself (no outsourcing – yet). My background and formal education is in accounting and finance and this does help but the important things I’ve learned have come from online resources like this awesome blog and my internal drive to constantly learn.

    Here’s a rockin’ post on Tim Ferriss’ blog about how to educate yourself and create a career in a completely new field – how to follow your passion possibly: http://ow.ly/7SuxT I have forwarded this to many friends who think they have to go back to school to do something different with their lives (most are in their 40′s and 50′s).

    Scott – Thanks for opening this discussion. It’s a very important one!

    • Scott says:

      I love hearing this Paige. Awesome to see you leading the self-guided revolution. We need you on that front line! Yeah that article on Tim’s site is spot on. The guy who wrote that (it’s not Tim) is the one who spoke at the TED event and I referred to in last week’s article. Very very powerful stuff. A lot of the inspiration for this article came from the time I’ve spent with him in the past weeks and from that article. Keep at it Paige!

  10. Yvonne Root says:

    Scott,

    A topic after my own heart. As a “retired” home school mom and now a home school grandma I already have the teach yourself bug big time. We have discovered that when we describe ourselves as auto-didactic a number of folks look worried as if they are concerned we have a life threatening disease. We smile and go on as if we haven’t noticed their discomfort.

    In truth we have a problem with institutionalized education. I have taken various college courses over the years and my goal has always been to learn something. If the goal is only to receive a document to frame and hang on the wall then it seems 4 or more years is a high price to pay.

  11. Sudan says:

    Hi scott!

    I feel like you should have written the benefits of both the college education and self-education system and allowed people to make their own decision. There is a popular saying in my country Nepal, ” We can take a horse near a river but we can’t force them to drink water ” People who are taking those steps need to provide updates about their learning and outcomes so that it would help interested people to take a decision.
    Personally, i feel it works for business school only. You can’t avoid college and learn about medicine on your own. No one will give credit for that. I too feel like people who want to take this approach need to visit http://personalmba.com/ i highly recommend his book on the same name. Good post. This statement tells a lot”Drop out of college if you want to but don’t drop out of learning”

    • Scott says:

      The personal MBA is really powerful stuff. That’s exactly what I believe. You are right about medicine. I meant to mention that. That are some areas where formal education is very important. Like law, medicine, accounting, etc. But for the majority of passion based work, you can train yourself better than most any formal school can. Thanks for the thoughts!

  12. Ben Edwards says:

    Interesting timing of this post. Just tonight I was talking with a co-worker who’s getting his Master’s degree right now and then planning on moving onto his PhD after that.

    The Masters is definitely applicable to his job but the PhD is just so he can leave the business world someday and become a college professor if the opportunity arises.

    I was thinking about our conversation on the drive home and thinking how sad it was that he needed to spend years of his life earning a PhD just so he could teach others. He’s a really smart guy and already good at teaching people, why should he have to spend an enormous amount of time and money earning an advanced degree to even be considered fit to teach others?

    On a related note, here’s a piece that Penelope Trunk wrote a while back on lifelong learning – http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2011/07/12/how-to-compete-with-generation-z/

    • Scott says:

      So true Ben. And the cool thing is that if you go out and do epic things, build things that matter and really kick ass, you can often come back to university and teach. Maybe not as a totally formal professor but at least as an adjunct professor. Either way you are getting to help people in a way you love. Worth thinking about and you don’t need the PhD…

  13. If I had to do it all over again, I personally wouldn’t go to school. I have never used my degree and within a few years of leaving school I don’t think I could remember one thing from any text book.

    I had the opportunity to take 2 years off and work and travel, splitting my time between NY and Europe. I learned more about myself and life in those 2 years than I did in 4 years of school.

    It definitely is an individual choice and obviously education is a given for certain professions – law, medicine, etc.

    The biggest thing is that the way we teach and our education system needs to change. It is geared towards left brain thinking. Sir Ken Robinson says it very well in one of my favorite TED talks.

    • Scott says:

      I fully agree with the travel Wendy–my years living in Spain and London were the most educational I’ve had to date. That should be a requirement for everyone!

      Thanks for the TED Talk rec too. I just added it to my list!

  14. Gail says:

    My education is not “credentialed”, but I am the best-educated person I know.

    I hated school, was bored out of my mind. Questions were never answered to my satisfaction. I was forever hearing “Don’t get ahead of the class” and “We’ll be getting to that later” and even, in one case about Einstein’s Relativity, “No one in this room will ever be able to understand what Einstein is saying”. In most cases, the education I was receiving was never relevant to anything. It was just “stuff” that an educated person needed to know. Though I had almost perfect scores on my SAT and my IQ is quite high, I barely made it through high school. If I had dared, I would have dropped out.

    In my first job, I climbed the ladder of success to become one of the first women in my field. My second job, I was the first woman in my field. Life was fine and by all standards, I was a success – until my worldview crashed and I was not equipped to put a new one together. I was paralyzed with fear and indecision.

    All that I had believed in was a lie. I needed to have an evidence-based worldview. Not knowing if one was possible, I decided that I needed a broad education.

    The day after I set my mind to finding an evidence-based worldview, a friend gave me a book called “Einstein, Gertrude Stein, Wittgenstein, and Frankenstein” (written by a noted physicist) that told me about the exciting things that were going on in physics. It changed my life.

    I joined a book club intent on broadening my education. I figured that if I didn’t have a framed certificate on my wall, I could have a beautiful library. I began with “The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written” collection. There soon came a time when I realized that the list creator was a man and that women were being colored in an unflattering way. They were always victims, and I saw that I had been given a woman’s education.

    I broadened my education again. I focused on the new sciences and this led me to comparative religions and philosophy, which led me to history which took me to biographies and autobiographies.

    I found The Teaching Company that sells inexpensive audio and video courses taught by respected professors. Now there is nothing that I am not interested in exploring and there is no shortage of experts who are willing to share their knowledge.

    I was able to put a new worldview together, and in so doing, I found my power. How different I am than what I was taught to believe about who and what I was supposed to be.

    When the Internet grew I was able to explore questions that I had not found answers to before. When it came to American History, I was finally able to see original documents that showed me that much of what I learned about that history was a lie intentionally foisted on those who attend state-sponsored compulsory education. When it came to world history, I learned that the most important parts had been intentionally left out. When I saw how easy the new sciences are to understand, and how much help there is on-line, I realized that even the teacher who said that no one in her class would ever understand Einstein was misleading. Certainly she didn’t understand, but I could teach relativity to a third grader in less than an hour.

    My self-education is very well rounded. I studied art and the new age arts. I learned piano and gained an interest in music throughout history. I began to see history through yet another lens. I became a memoirist and learned much from the personal histories I collected.

    I questioned my mind. I realized that I could only focus on a topic for 12 seconds when I do not have a tool to help me stay focused. I began practicing maintaining focus on an idea until I could sustain it for hours. I explored thoughts, emotions, and beliefs and realized that I am the god of my reality. There is nothing withheld from me if I want it. How delightful! My self-directed education was serving me very well. I connected dots in a new and joyous way.

    When the Occupy Movement started, I was curious, and learned that it was time to learn about economics and I was devastated to learn the vast amount of lies taught and the even larger amount of essential information that is never taught to the masses. The reason that I am the only person I know that loves learning is because we are formally taught how to close our minds to that which we are not supposed to ask about. We are taught to allow others (who are allegedly better than us) to think for us. When I grant someone the right to think for me, I give away access to my power. I simply refuse to do that.

    When I was sufficiently stunned by the lies – both overt and covert – that are part of an “essential” education today, I went to the Dept. of Education (DE), and after about a half hour of looking, I finally found the mission statement (recently revised and website recently updated). It said that the purpose of the DE is to educate in order to prepare students for global competition. How horrifying. It doesn’t exist to educate students. It doesn’t exist to prepare them for an interesting and satisfying life. It doesn’t exist to teach the people how to be a government “of, by, and for the people”. It exists for the sole purpose of turning people into commodities that big corporations chew up and spit out with no concern for their core needs.

    When my hometown began a group that stood in solidarity with the 99%, I joined them for their initial meeting and helped organize it. I gave a speech about the need for education. I told them about the exact point that government went off-track and the point of corruption that leaves us all so powerless. I told them about the power of the mind and how we have the power to protect ourselves from the coming economic collapse. I told them about the research in the field of the universal consciousness and the quantifiable evidence that says that group meditation has the potential to eliminate war while keeping Americans safe. And I told them about our war-based economy that makes ending war a threat to our survival under the current mistaken worldview.

    I was speaking heresies. I was saying things that people were afraid to hear. I was undermining God (in this South Carolina town, that’s a real no-no). I was telling people things about their government that they were not willing to believe. People do not want to see their greatness. They do not want to know about their personal power. They would rather work against all that they are working for. That’s why they are the 99%!

    So that brings me to today. There is always more to learn; more to discover. I am experimenting with working through the unified field and participating through what I call subtle activism. I am finally accepting full responsibility for my life and am choosing to be the ideal self that I have always been afraid of acknowledging. It’s hard, but every time I think a fear-filled thought (which I can now recognize consciously), I replace it with an affirmation. Practice makes improvement and opportunities never end.

    My education has been wonderful. But it only became that way when I accepted responsibility for my own education. It will never end.

    I may have recently turned 61, but I feel like my life is just beginning. May it always be that way.

    • Scott says:

      What an amazing comment to read Gail! You are living the Self-Guided Education way of life in a as big a way as I can imagine. And I love the balance in what you’re learning too. Right on! It’s an inspiration big time. I hope you’ll continue to share your learnings with our community. It adds a lot.

      Also, thanks for the “there is always more to learn; more to discover” –that is going to be one of the points in the Self-Guided Education Manifesto I’m publishing this week!

  15. Kenley says:

    Hi Scott,

    By far, there have been two things that worked for me. Peers and execution. No more, no less.

    Blogging is a good example for me. I started to blog, but had no peers. No one to support me or teach me. I did write, but nothing else came after that. No traffic, no anything.

    After that, I learned that we need someone to support us. That’s why p2pu works. If we have no one who does the same thing with us, we have no idea how to do it, no audience.

    After I quit blogging, I decided to wrote my first novel. I thought it was an instant classic, but I was wrong. I posted it on book country. Two experienced reviewers pointed out the flaws and taught me on how to improve it. Needless to say, it was a lot better than reading books on writing.

    About a week ago, NaNoWriMo ended. I asked a few people to read my work and they didn’t think it was too bad. Decent, not too bad. Found new friends and met people who helped me improve and I helped noobs improve. It felt great and it was the time I realized that remembering theories were useless when I actually started.

    Now, I’m going to try to start a business. I have read zillions of business books. It’s time to try to actually start. I have no peers, sadly. But I have decided that one thing will work, something I planned to use for myself. Something that my fellow writers will use.

    I tried exploring the different self publishing platforms and was shocked at how much you had to pay. I prefer free, but the free plans weren’t good enough. I decided that I’ll start my own publishing platform called Epicgraph that rewards referrals, makes all books free and still manage to make it profitable, without ads, because getting ads is too much hardwork. I don’t have peers from the publishing business, but I have met writers who might be interested. All that’s left is execution and I decided to publicize Epicgraph to the writers to force myself to start code the entire thing. I even made a launching soon page to force my self even further.

    Sorry if I sounded like I was promoting Epicgraph, but I haven’t learned anything from business, so I guess I tried to be as thorough as possible on how I plan to learn business. Maybe a few suggestions from you would help. Someone who has experience knows better than a person who just wants to start learning.

    • Scott says:

      You said it just right Kenley! “Peers and execution”. With those two things just about anything is possible. But without either one of them, it’s challenging to even take the first step. This site and business would be nowhere without the peers and friends I have become close with over the years. The one’s who’ve shown me it’s possible. And from the day in day out putting one foot in front of the other. Over time that can really add up!

      This site is here to help provide the peer part of the equation as well as some ideas on execution but largely that is up to you. The cool part is you are in full control. We are here to help!

      btw, I really like what you are trying to do with Epicgraph and I like the page too!

  16. Scott!

    I can’t tell you how passionately my husband and I agree with you on this subject. I went to some college, my husband as a Bachelors, but we’ve both questioned the effectiveness and usefulness of having the ‘credentials’, as opposed to your own self-guided education.

    We’ve been passionate self-educators for almost our entire married life. We read personal development books daily, as well as books on other topics of interest (I’m studying Aztecs and Mayas right now, since we’re visiting ruins in Mexico).

    We’ve gone so far as to never send our children to school, and instead are dragging them across continents with us – because we believe the entire system from preschool to college is broken, and we want them to have an education that is applicable, versatile and ‘real’. So far, I’m loving the results :)

    For me personally, I’ve taught myself everything about websites, design, and blogging that I know use (and earn an income from) for our website. I just tried things – failed, and tried again, until I got things to work, then asked others for their insight and advice. Or I googled it, read books or other blogs.

    Thanks for another amazing post!

    • Scott says:

      I love it Rachel. You are walking it in a huge way. Your adventure, your business and your approach are right on. You know I used your quote to open this article right?? It’s examples like yours that not only show it’s possible, but that it’s so so important. That adventure you’re taking your kids on is literally going to be the best education of their lives (and probably yours too ;).

      Hat’s off and enjoy!

  17. Matt B. says:

    Scott,

    Thanks for the great post. Between the blogs of you, Tim Ferriss, Leo Babauta, Adam Baker (MvD), and others, I have seen this topic come up a lot lately.

    I recently did some homework on pursuing a Master’s or MBA. I have been considering this for the past year or so and each time I look into it, I just cannot justify the time and cost of pursuing additional education. I have done pretty well for myself given the short time I have been in the “professional” world and as your post mentioned, attribute very little of my success to my college education. This is not to say that it carries no value, but at the same time when you look at most universities, they require prereqs that have little or no relevance to what you will be doing for the rest of your life. Usually the justification is providing a “well-rounded” education. I can’t help but think it is tied to more profit for the institution in some cases.

    What I envision for education going forward would be to start placing an emphasis on discovering what you truly care about at an earlier age. I really did not put serious thought into what I wanted to do with my life until half way through college or later. By the time I graduated I had switched my major twice and most of this was driven by scare tactics – in other words people telling me that major “A” or “B” was not going to get me a good paying job.

    Now that I have had a few years of experience in developing my professional life, I have learned that each one of us has to make a choice. You can either follow the traditional path of obtaining one credential after another and sinking loads of cash into education to lead you down a path of promotions over a long career, or you can take ownership of your life and do something meaningful – not just meaningful. Complacence is one of man’s worst enemies.

    I have been placing a lot of focus on what I am truly passionate about and am currently reading multiple pieces to increase my knowledge on those topics. I think everyone should take the time to identify three or four things that they love to do – its as simple as thinking about what you find yourself doing or find yourself reading about outside of your 9 to 5. If you are consumed by these things, you have to find a way to make a living doing them to live a truly satisfying life. This should be the goal of education – not letters after a person’s name to get them to the top of a resume pile.

    Thanks again!

    • Scott says:

      That is exactly why Live Your Legend and Live Off Your Passion exist Matt! We have to go to school on ourselves first so we know where to spend our time and what to learn to allow us to better do the things we really care about. I’m glad to see you’re finding the right way. It’s going to make all the difference!

  18. Boyd says:

    Great post Scott!!
    I’m actually an educator (a school counselor) and I agree with you that quite a bit of what is going on in education isn’t always what’s best for the student. There are some good pieces and skills they get (basic knowledge, social interaction, discipline, etc) but there is a big piece missing. Social skills and communication skills are suffering a huge decline due to many adults and kids becoming overly reliant on electronic means of communication (texting, e-mail and social media outlets). I refer to this as relational fast food. We’re more connected on a surface level but less connected on a meaningful level. I’m not saying these tools aren’t useful, but becoming overly reliant upon them has created a huge void in interpersonal communication skills. Teaching these skills is actually an area that I think public education could be more helpful with. I’m trying to figure out a way to tackle that concept wtihin the setting that I work in, but I’m realizing that the educational machine is difficult to work within. Where would be a good place to start exploring on how to get this idea out there?

    • Scott says:

      To be honest Boyd, I think the best way to get it out there is to start building an audience somewhere. Blogs or videos or something that leverages the ability to spread a message using technology. I realize that part of the problem you are saying is the technology but there is still no better way to gain a following (from what I see, especially for the time and money investment required). Then you could lead a movement to better focus on things in person and teach students the social and communication skills that are being missed online.

      I agree that there are definitely some very valuable parts of a formal education but subject matter and some other key skills (like communication, negotiation, etc) are not part of that benefit. We have to bring more attention to them.

      Thanks for taking a crack at it on your end. Keep it up. We need it!

  19. Joan M says:

    Good post-
    I think there’s a good point to your post BUT I do believe that even though you don’t think you use any skills you learned in college, you do. I am a physician and I don’t think I use anything I learned in the first two years of medical school,until I meet someone who is ‘self educated’ about health. Often their beliefs are influenced by poor science and they fall victim to marketers in ways that they can’t even see. This may or may not apply to your arena.
    I certainly think you need MORE than a college education, and you need to own that education. However, skipping it may not be the best idea for most. Just my thoughts…

    • Scott says:

      I definitely agree Joan. The most valuable lessons form university might not be the ones we directly notice. That’s why I think that probably the best option (if you can afford it), is to attend a well-known traditional university but also commit to spending at least 25% of your learning, education and doing time, out learning practical and useful skills and tools and learning about yourself. That’s a powerful combo.

      Also, when it comes to medicine (or law or accounting), a formal (and very rigorous) education is crucial. No question.

  20. Lori says:

    Thank you for this article!
    I am struggling with the decision of continuing my education or chucking that plan and just diving in with what I already know and the skills I already possess.
    I am studying Health and Wellness. I have no desire to get into a corporate environment after I complete this degree. What I really want to do is to start a blog and create an online presence in the health and fitness environment. I am not looking to make any certain dollar figure. It’s just my passion. When I am happy doing what I firmly believe in, money is no longer the motivator.
    I have plenty of academic skills in business, marketing, writing,etc. I have over 25 years of personal experience in exercise and fitness but have been told that this field requires a degree for people to truly believe that you know what you are talking about since there are a wealth of people out there that make you question that. It seems to be such a waste of time, money, and effort. I am over 40 as well, so I am often contemplating the ROI of the education I am most likely going to be paying for over the life of my ‘career’.
    I think one of the most important things I continually keep reading in all of your posts, blogs and articles is that surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals is a critical component of personal success. Which is why I look to your blogs, etc. for the added “push” that helps keep things moving forward. Education is great, don’t get me wrong. I love education. But is it really a necessity in the online environment?
    I am 70% sure that I can live out my passions without a 5-6 figure degree. I just wish I had the courage to say, “I QUIT” and then really focus on getting my passion off the ground.

    • Scott says:

      Congrats on what you’re pursuing Lori. I love the health/wellness/fitness space!

      So my short answer is “No”, you do not need formal credentials to build something online. Will having formal credentials help get people to better trust and look up to you? Maybe. But to be honest, online I don’t think hardly anyone cares about formal credentials (unless we are talking about medicine, law, accounting or anything else highly regulated). What people online do care about is one thing: Is what you’re offering insanely helpful and directly useful to them as reader. If you can do that (and given your experience I am sure you can) then you can build a massive following with zero credentials. I know there are tons of heath/fitness sites out there where the authors dont have a bunch of acronyms after their name. I don’t care because I enjoy consuming their stuff.

      One thing is for sure. If you know you want to build an online audience, the best time to start was ten years ago. The second best time is right this second. If you know you want to build something online, you have to start immediately. Even if it’s in a very small way- in fact I suggest starting very small. If you’re still uncomfortable quitting your current studies, then just start building your following on the side as a little side-hustle. It will make your studies mountains more useful. Then we you finish with your credentials you will be way ahead of the game.

      If you know school is going to keep you from starting on your online endeavor today, that’s when I’d think about stopping. But I know there is room for both. Just start small. You will crush it.

      Then send me the link to your work. I’d love to check it out!

  21. Sarita Uhr says:

    I think both formal education and self-guided education are very important. I am a doctor and spent many many hours in school and actually loved it.

    I think formal education can be very important for learning discipline, persistence, and problem solving. Those 3 skills have been key in my never-ending self-guided education. In other words, my formal education built a very strong foundation for my life-long learning endeavors.

    • Scott says:

      You make an excellent point Sarita. And I definitely agree. If you are intentional about your formal studies, you can take a lot from them and apply it to how you learn things on your own. In your case, as a doctor, formal education is a must (and I think that’s a good thing). Those three skills you mentioned: discipline, persistence and problem-solving, are invaluable. No question about that. Thanks for the thought!

  22. Eddy Azar says:

    Last year of Highschool, I get on with Ramit Sethi’s Earn1K program and start up a freelance copywriting gig.

    I drop out of school a few months later and go on to make $80/hour as a copywriter and keep learning a crap load of new stuff (so much that I’ve had to start cutting down and focusing on a few at once so I don’t get overwhelmed.

    Now starting my own Minimalist Backpacker Shop (.com) thanks to the Behind the scenes of a Muse course and a bunch of others.

    The formal education system serves to create office workers. Nothing else.

    If you want to write your own life, I suggest you start by googling a course on something interesting to you.

    Cheers,
    - Eddy

    • Scott says:

      Wow Eddy. Thanks awesome! I’ve heard great things about Ramit’s stuff. Fun hearing a success story.

      I like the sound of your upcoming muse. Looking forward to checking it out once it’s live.

      I agree big time that formal education trains office workers. That scares me.

      Your ending quote said it all: “If you want to write your own life, I suggest you start by googling a course on something interesting to you.” Love it.

      Congrats on your progress!

  23. Marianna Arkoudohoritou says:

    I am glad to see there are people with common sense out there, and even more glad that some of these people decide to share their ideas with others.
    I already ‘educate’ myself alone (heard about Greece? well, the educational system has always been worse that our current economy) so we don’t have many options.
    The only problem I had to deal with was myself: boredom and lack of will is what will keep you behind, but since it’s a matter of our own minds, it’s only up to us to overcome it! And to whoever still needs some encouragement, hanging out with people who are passioned with what they do and life in general is the best thing!

    • Scott says:

      Nothing is more energizing than hanging out with passionate people. Couldn’t agree more!

      I love the self-guided education you’ve created from the other side of the globe (my wife and I hope to visit out your way next summer). The amazing thing is that it literally does not matter where you are anymore. If you want to learn it, all you need is an internet connection and a lot of drive and persistence. Awesome work Marianna!

  24. I agree, I don’t think you go to university to learn a particular skill – foundational principles at best, if anyone can remember anything they were taught (I can’t remember 99% of it). As others have said, it can have an important role in growing us as people – how to learn, how to apply a little more discipline than in earlier schooling, often how to look after yourself in the world being the first time many live away from home. Are there other ways? Sure, and I agree self study is key – think of all the truly amazing things you could have learned during those 4 years!

    But what strikes me is that that maturity and awareness isn’t something most 18 year olds are gifted with; most aren’t thinking of changing the world, or truly learning key skills, thinking beyond the immediate, trying to fit in with the crowd and most likely lacking the knowledge and more importantly the self discipline to successfully self study. The thing that university does do is give a natural progression, a structure (outsourcing your self discipline!), a safe environment to find out about yourself more, and gives you something that most employers are looking for – a formal qualification. The education system caters to the needs of society to consistently produce talent of an ‘average’ and known quality (average isn’t quite the right word, but it’s a leveller, and the truly outstanding – and awful – people likely stand out differently). As an employer you know – or think you know – what you’re going to get. Not so with the candidate who’s done their own thing and learned some valuable skills on the way, without the certificate who’s to say you did anything but bum around for 4 years. Of course it’s lazy on the employer’s part, but they need to filter people.

    For me the maturity and ‘epiphany’ that what I learn and what I do with my life are determined by myself alone came 15 years after uni. All I can say is I’m glad it came and will bring my daughter up with greater awareness of her options and her responsibility.

    • Scott says:

      Thanks for this Duncan. I think you outlined the merits of formal education perfectly. I agree with those full on.

      The question it begs to ask is: is formal school the best setting to learn all those things you mentioned? Formal education was not designed to teach discipline, how to socialize, etc. Those are simply byproducts of the current system. That system was designed to teach people various subject matter. But now it’s gotten to the point where learning those specific subjects is all but useless in the real world (save a few professions mentioned earlier). Now we start justifying the value of school based on the byproducts mentioned above. Seems a little backwards.

      If that’s the case then shouldn’t there be a more efficient way of learning those things? Should there instead be a school for practical knowledge, self discipline, communication, socializing, etc? Maybe if a system were designed with those goals in mind, it would do a much better job of teaching those things and everyone would be more likely to learn them (as I knew a lot of people in university who made it through 4 years without learning much of anything when it came to discipline and all others mentioned above).

      What this discussion clearly shows me is that the system is pretty broken as is. And to fix it I don’t think we can simply tweak what already exists. We have to start with a new foundation and build up. It’s a tall task but I know there are some very smart and entrepreneurial folks out there up for the challenge. I’d love to join them! And I intend to.

      Awesome points, really. Thanks!

      btw, your photography looks awesome. It would be cool to use a picture in one of my articles if you were up for it at some point.

      • I kinda feel like my post was half finished, looks like I’m pro-formal education when I’m really not! I think you make a very valid point – that it’s perverse that the byproduct of formal education is so much more valuable than the actual product, which in almost all cases is barely relevant. I think there are some positive learning experiences from such education – my 2 summer work placements taught me more than my courses, though some of the advanced, research type courses in my final year where much more ‘you’re on your own, think’ based and I found much more valuable and applied that to subsequent work. In the main though, the courses themselves are for the most part a waste of time – geared for passing an end of semester exam, than passing on practical, useful learning.

        I totally agree that teaching the values of education (and life) is more important than the subject matter itself (in most cases, I think I’ll let doctors learn the subject! :). I fear we are where we are because the system ‘works’ for many, and most aren’t interested in learning self motivation, discipline, passion, etc as topics – they want something that employers will recruit them for (and so recruiters are to blame by looking for the wrong stuff)! It’s also much easier to teach and assess – how do you give someone a C for self-motivation for example? For that reason, and because some people don’t care – I think we’ve both witnessed many people that are there for the reward rather than the process, learning little in the meantime – formal education of this nature will always exist, and those that do want to excel are the ones left in the cold to fend for themselves. Such people have successfully self-studied for years using their own initiative.

        I would hope that the proactive, self studiers outnumber the lazy, spoon fed but unfortunately don’t think that’s the case. Nevertheless I agree that a self study crusade is something to embark on to open eyes to the options and give it a place on the agenda. By making it a viable alternative (or at worst, supplement), it may well light a fire of ambition that will rapidly turn into a bushfire.

        As I said in my first post, I will encourage my daughter to tread her own path and highlight the many positives of self study and doing things differently such that university isn’t the ‘default’ option that some see it as.

        I’m all for your crusade and keen to see where it takes us!

  25. I’ve always been an avid learner…since school, college… but it didn’t end there. I’ve consistently put myself in situations where I had to learn in order to survive and grow. I have no real prescribed system except for this….

    I identify something as a passion or deep interest–something that I can’t stop talking about.
    I do some casual gathering of information and if the feeling is still burning inside me, I go deep into the subject. Whether it’s deciding to teach Pilates or produce animation or learn online marketing or write an ebook or record an album…I learn everything I need to in order to master it.
    Once I get to a certain point, I start sharing and teaching what I know to others — and for me it has meant some interesting career shifts.

    Since starting to work in the online space, I’ve tried to be a little more picky about what I learn and where I learn it from. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the information.

    But the hunger for knowledge is still there – and I share what I do with others who ask — how do you know all that? how did you learn all that? I don’t see it as remarkable, though I know it took a lot of searching to educate myself.

    Thanks for a great topic Scott…have really been enjoying what I’m reading here!

    -Anne

    • Scott says:

      Love it Anne! A good portion of what you mentioned is definitely going to make it into my Self-Guided Education Manifesto post later this week. I absolutely loved “I’ve consistently put myself in situations where I had to learn in order to survive and grow.”

      That is the only system you need!

      Your whole process is very similar to how I’ve approached my own self-guided education. Good to see others on the same track! You are certainly at home here at Live Your Legend ;)

      Awesome site title by the way. Very cool.

  26. Paul Jun says:

    I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for so long. . .
    This relates to me perfectly.

    After high school I went to college because . . . I just did. That’s why I failed most of my way and had to spend an extra two years there to fix my grades. Towards the end I really got my life together, found my passion, and wanted to pursue it no matter what (blogging/writing). I went from a failing student to getting straight A’s . . . and the only reason why was because of self-educating myself — sitting down, reading, studying, going out of my way to learn more about the craft.

    I always said 90% of my education was outside of the classroom. Classes only teach you so much. I’m actually majoring in Print Journalism and minoring in PR and taking specific classes definitely benefit to blogging and writing on the web.

    My advisors/professors asked what I do? So I showed them my blog, my guest posts, they read them, and they were impressed. They said not many students do this. The reason why I was able to do all of this was sitting down and teaching myself. Sitting down and reading blogs such as this, copyblogger, problogger, zen habits, etc. I spent the whole summer reading newsletters, ebooks, listening to interviews, etc.

    I sometimes wonder do I really need to be in school? Should I drop so I can spend more time on my craft — even though I balance both very well.

    At the end of the day, I agree with Scott. Self-educating is definitely the most important way of doing anything. Literally anything.

    This is a great post though. Well done.

    • Scott says:

      You are living it Paul- nicely done! Your story so perfectly demonstrates the importance of finding something that excites you – a passion. Once you do, you’ll stop at nothing to learn all you can about it. And you’re do it just the right way. Building something practical and tangible as you learn some other (more relevant) skills in school – that is what makes formal school genuinely useful. Awesome to read this Paul and congrats!

  27. Dan says:

    This is so important. I recently watched a video of an interview with Isaac Asimov from the 80s, in which he correctly predicted the advent of self-learning via the Internet. Since finishing university 10 years ago, I have taken several online courses to improve my skills, and I think I will probably continue to do so as I find new things I want to study. Great post Scott!

  28. Jon says:

    There is so much information at your finger tips today it should be considered a crime not to take advantage of it for learning purposes. I’ve attendees many free webinars that have enhanced my business skill set and made me more valuable to my employer.

  29. Josh says:

    This is exactly where I am in my life right now. It also reminds me a lot of Seth Godin’s Linchpin.

    The point really seems to be to find what is the truest expression of who we are and to surrender to that part of us which is already great.

    That part of us is often uncompromising and deeply connected to everything. It is often scary to trust it fully because it means reaching out to try new things and leave our old limitations behind.

  30. Limantina Sihaloho says:

    Thanks Scott!

    I recently remember my teacher when I was 6 years of age, the one who got to teach me how to write and to read. For a year, it seemed to me that the main thing we did in class were just learning how to write and read. That seems to be the only thing I can thank for having been at formal school, almost 20 years on the row. I didn’t go to kindergarten. Fortunately! I didn’t need it. Well, my parents, both farmers, actually could just do the work, teaching me how to read and write, but, it was not the story.

    I started to study English when I was 12 years in school but after 6 years, I had no idea what I learned.

    I started to write my journal in English when I was 22. I was not that faithful at the beginning but then I have managed to keep doing it. I wish I could design it as my own curriculum at that time, even though, to some points, it has the spirit of self-designing curriculum. If I had that awareness of designing my own curriculum on mastering a foreign language such as English, I am sure I could have done it in a much better way.

    I am grateful that I did start it; I now can enjoy reading and writing what I like in English. (English is a foreign language to me).

    It takes time but it is a fun thing to do; for the long run, it can only give more benefits and pleasure. I am sure it is the same for anykind of skill anyone is passionate about.

    Now, I have an idea to reshaping my own curriculum…:) Incredible! Many thanks again, Scott!

    Limantina Sihaloho

  31. Aaron says:

    Scott: This is a great topic. One of my concerns for my girlfriend’s youngest daughter is that she goes to college and gets a degree which does not land her a job after graduation. Your thoughts on networking and relationships when looking for work is more important than ever in this economy. The education I’m getting is in personal finance, specifically, when it comes to investment in funds and knowing what to look for (i.e., cost, yield, tax efficiency, alpha, et al). No one taught me these things but were things I learned on my own through reading and investing and learning from my mistakes along the way. Learning by doing I’ve found is the only way, the best way, really, to identify what’s right and what’s wrong. Thanks again for this post.

  32. GREAT post! I worked at an economic development agency and I can tell you this isn’t on the radar screens and it should be.

    Most higher level educators know that school is becoming too expensive, and also moves too slow to be relevant. Freshman entering now will not be prepared with the practical skills four years from now – industry and technology is moving way too fast.

    So then the question remains what should be taught? Soft skills like communication, writing, and working in groups come to mind, but higher ed has not embraced this.

    I have always been a lifelong learner, and as a pr person I learned some basic foundational skills in college I still use in my profession, but the technical skills I have are all self-taught.

    I am increasingly frustrated by high level managers and executives who refuse to learn more – I can’t learn that or I don’t want to. They are rendering themselves irrelevant.

    Post college I have consistently taken one off professional development courses on a variety of topics, and even took a graphic design class last year. Personally I explore my hobbies and interests through dance, cooking and other classes. I think these have all served to enrich my skill set in a meaningful way.

    My husband and I asked one another the other day if we would send our future kids to college – and the answer was we honestly weren’t sure.

    Would LOVE for you to write a guest post on my blog about this topic – I think it’s very important.

  33. brand says:

    kqasDNu ha ha ha

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