I have one internal value and rule that I can’t ignore. Always be learning.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you’re enrolled in College or not, or already on a career path. The truth remains: you’re responsible for your own education. You’re lucky enough to be alive in a time when the wisdom of the world both ancient and new are readily available. You can learn multiple languages, physical skills, expand your mental abilities, and find scientifically valid strategies on how to survive a zombie apocalypse. And it’s all free!
Think of a subject. Pick any topic that comes to mind. There’s probably several hundred videos on YouTube. There will be more covered on blogs and websites the world over. You’ll find book after book available for sale on Amazon. There might even be free ebooks written by people who are just passionate with a desire to share. You could load up your Kindle, and take your entire library with you around the world, packed up neatly into a few ounces. It’s a good time to be a self directed student.
Here’s a personal example. I made an initial investment in my training as a Hypnotist in order to receive world class live instruction. I haven’t spent a dime on training in a traditional manner since, but that hasn’t stopped me from continuing my education. There are extremely gifted instructors out there sharing their knowledge on Hypnosis through various networks. They take questions, provide tutorial videos, and teach on webinars. They cover every subject from basic inductions to the nuts and bolts of business practice. They’re doing it for free. I’m happy to continue educating myself through their resources.
I found so many quality educational sources online that I parted ways with the my original Professional Organization for Hypnotists. The organization has a bad habit of continually trying to sell courses when they could just answer a simple question instead. None of the organization’s leadership is participating in the growing community of professionals openly sharing their collective wisdom. They’re holding on to an outdated model of education. They’ve molded themselves in the image of Colleges and Universities.
Does this mean paying for an education is a bad idea? I could argue yes in some cases, while it remains mandatory in certain career paths. I’m willing to pay for quality training and content. However, it appears many institutions of learning are ignoring how the bar has been raised by open sources online.
Education doesn’t always need to be about a career anyway. Rediscover the simple joy of learning.
Do you want your own business? Wondering if you could be a consultant? You could start a charity, or change the world according to your passion. You can do all the above, and you don’t need College to do any of those things.
Calm down before you freak out and think I’m about to bash all over College. The premise here is always be learning. It doesn’t matter what direction you take as long as you realize it’s all in your hands.
The problem with College is the growing number of people struggling with debt they built up getting the degrees they can’t even use. Being enrolled in a school doesn’t even guarantee you will receive an education that will be meaningful to you. You must figure out what to do with your life regardless of whether you have an expensive permission slip or not.
You need to get curious about the world around you. The world is much bigger than the borders of your town. It’s bigger than your campus. Stop and consider just how much you don’t know that’s right under your nose! Energy fields, habits of local birds, what kind of tree is in your yard, and multiple dimensions (maybe) occupying your living room! There’s so much more to know. Dive in!
Wouldn’t you love to build a company that becomes a global verb? That’s what Google did when they opened the gates to information unlike any company before them.
Make a list of your passions. What subjects excite you? This is all about your choice. Check out the top ten results on your search. Play with the search terms and do it again. Find online forums to participate and share information with other like minded people. Find out if there are any meetups in your area. You’ll be surprised how much is right in your own backyard.
Get A Library Card …Now:
You can devour thousands of dollars worth of education for the low price of your library card. Mine was free.
Libraries have always been a magical place for me. I get excited like I’m a kid again any time I know I’ll walk up those old stairs and through the doors.
Libraries are great for your budget. What are the top 20 books recommended in your area of interest? Go to your local library and start checking them out one by one. Most libraries participate in library networks. That means you can get a book from somewhere miles away if it’s not on a local shelf. Take notes as you read. Write a review of the book when you’re finished.
Money doesn’t have to be an excuse.
Use The Bibliography:
Did you just finish a book that blew your mind? Did you find yourself wanting to know more? Here’s some good news: No ideas are purely original. Many authors will tell you where they got all of their inspiration and information. They’re nice enough to list them in the bibliography. Sometimes they’re nice enough to categorize the list. Track down those books. You’ll find more in depth coverage of topics, sources for the studies quoted, or entirely new topics that excite you.
Some books are worth owning. You should see the growing stack just a couple feet to my left. I buy books that interest me knowing I won’t be able to read them for weeks, and sometimes months, from now. I’ve built my own personal library of diverse interests. All of those books represent ideas that built new networks in my brain. They’ve become connected in ways the authors may not have envisioned.
Books are powerful.
Books change you.
If you dream it, chances are someone rocked it. Find out who they are and reach out. You can find mentors using online forums, communities, or sending an email. There are people out there who are good at what they do and willing to help.
It doesn’t even need to be a living mentor. The collected knowledge of teachers past is out there. You only have to go looking.
Teach What You Know:
You may not feel like you’re qualified. You’re wrong.
Imagine a scale numbered 1 through 100 that represents all of the possible knowledge in your field of interest; 1 being the newest clueless soul and 100 being the most supreme genius of godlike power. Where do you sit along that scale? You’re qualified to help anyone lower than you on the scale.
Teaching is a great way to reinforce what you’ve learned and discover new connections you wouldn’t get in lectures or reading. Teaching can be a great source of inspiration.
Share what you know. Start a blog. Help a friend. Just share.
See. I told you I’m not all anti-college.
There’s no reason to stay boxed in the status quo. You don’t have to walk along a predefined path. Choose your own method. Dance to your own tune.
Always be learning.