No progress is possible without the self-taught learners. Many of the formal education drop-outs have learned, through life setbacks, that fulfilment is in adding value to others. By adding value and delivering benefits, they not only achieve success but attain fulfilment. Formal education teaches them while life learns them. What they learn from life is that before adding value to others, they first need to add value to themselves. Having been kicked out of the matrix of education, they found themselves defenseless in a world of no rules where the adaptable survive and the fool scrape by. That’s the real world they are challenged to first survive in, then thrive.
Formal education is a reflection of the industrial age of the 20th century. It’s main goal, and still, is to graduate people capable of dealing with a structured and predictable lifestyle. The structured system breeds a structured mindset. The methodology is to get yourself a job, add value to your company, get married, have kids and invest in your retirement fund. The horizontal teachings lead to a horizontal way of life where climbing the corporate ladder and vocational training are the best investment possible. This approach is not wrong but is not enough to thrive in a totally different landscape.
The knowledge-based economy of the 21st century produces a different kind of species. While the industrial economy was based on making, today’s economy is revolving around serving, thinking, knowing and experiencing. To thrive, you need to go vertically and invest in yourself. You need to make your own curriculum. It’s a self-made one not a mass-curriculum that fits the mass age. A curriculum that highlights self-education and constant learning. It requires designing a fulfilling life by first having a vision for yourself. To materialize this vision you need a lot of self-discipline and deliberate learning. That learning liberates your soul and allows you to be attentive to what’s available.
The American Billionaire, Larry Ellison, is indebted to self-education more than formal education. Throughout schooling, he was a mediocre student who disliked the formal education. He was interested in technology. Later, he dropped out of college twice, first from the University of Illinois, then the University of Chicago. He moved to California to work odd jobs before having a programming job at Ampex Corporation. He recalls this moment,” I never took a computer science class in my life. I got a job working as a programmer; I was largely self-taught. I just picked up a book and started programming.”
The turning point in Allison’s life comes when he built a database for the CIA. He called this project “Oracle.” Afterwards, he left Ampex and started his own database management company with two co-workers. The name of the company is “Oracle Corporation.” Oracle grows and becomes one the best computer technology corporations in the world. According to Forbes, Ellison’s personal net worth is over $56 billion. He is a true manifestation of the great business thinker, Jim Rohn, saying, “Formal education will make you a living, self-education will make you a fortune.”
Self-education is the only investment worth undertaking. Formal education is totally insufficient in a changing and hyper-speed world. Invest in yourself by constantly learning, unlearning and relearning.