I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn

Unfortunately we live in a world where people don’t see learning as something fun and enriching. Too many people would rather watch a stupid program on TV than read a nice book or an interesting article on Medium for instance.

Why is that? I believe it’s mainly a cultural problem. Too often we learn or do something for a reward: a mark, a degree, a title, a pay cheque. And sadly, not enough for our own pleasure and enlightenment.

The way children are educated at school is part of the issue and it has a huge influence – for most of them – in their future professional lives.

School

“Have good grades so you will have a good job and money”. That’s how plenty of parents and teachers see school: a way to have a nice future in life. But in their heads, that means: get a good office job, not physically tiring, and get a good salary.

The first impression is to think: yes that’s true! But when you think a bit deeper about it, that’s the cause of several issues we encounter in our current society.

Too often, schools are considered as the place to get a degree, that’s it. You disagree? Here is the proof: at the end of each school year, when the children get the results (so them and the parents know if they pass to the next year), no one cares anymore! Teachers are way more relaxed and they barely teach anything to the children anymore. The parents knowing this don’t care about putting their children in school… so each year, for the last 2 or 3 weeks, schools turn into playgrounds.

See my point? School should be considered as a place to grow up and learn. Exams and degrees are just here to check if the skills have been mastered… they should just be a check, not a goal or an achievement.

Work

As we grow up this way, we can see the same issues in our professional lives. Here are two ways of working:

  • Too many people work to get a title! I feel too many people, especially in big companies, work for the prestige of working for whoever, for the title and of course the money. The issue is, everyone cannot get promoted, so frustration comes, then people get unhappy at the office, so it gets more frustrating and so on. It’s a vicious cycle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all be happy where we are and not have any ambition! My point is: getting the promotion should not be the reason you work hard.
  • Not enough for pleasure! I believe we should work hard to deliver something good (whatever it is, a service, a product, it doesn’t matter), period. If you do a job you enjoy doing, motivation comes naturally along with the intention of doing something good. If you do, customers will be happy. And all these things will get noticed by the right person, who will eventually give you what you deserve: your promotion.

In both cases, people get a promotion. But in my second example, it is not the initial goal. And that’s what matters. Just like kids (pushed by parents previously raised this way) study for the grades, adults work for the promotion and the salary…. And the whole system is screwed.

We should study to learn things. And we should work to create something good and make customers happy.

Never to old to learn

It’s never too late to learn. Age doesn’t matter. If a new project actually interests you, free up some time in your schedule and go for it! The important thing is why you are doing it. Learning how to play football at 50 to win the World Cup might be a bit ambitious and unrealistic! But if you’re doing it to stay fit and have fun with your friends, it doesn’t matter which level you get to.

Same if you want to redirect your career on a new path, it’s never too late! If you’re sick of your job and want a new project, we are lucky to live in a time where there are plenty of ways to learn for free: online classes, books, communities, etc… there is no need to go to university! You can learn photography, coding, guitar or anything else you want from home! The only thing you need is an internet connection and motivation! That opens so many doors to anyone in the world!

Learning is too often seen as a chore, something boring. But if there is motivation, a real “WHY”, then it can become something fun. It’s just a matter of perspective.

For instance if you want to make money by starting a business, here are 2 ways of doing it:

  • Find the most lucrative business you can get into (even if it doesn’t interest you). Learn about it, work you ass off, sacrifice all your free time for it and maybe at the end you’ll succeed and be rich. The risk is that you won’t be happy with your job – is that worth the money you’re making? – and you would have sacrificed your personal life for it.
  • Find a project that you are passionate about. Learn about it, and see how you can turn it into a business. Working for something you are actually passionate about is easy, sometimes you can even forget that you’re working! If your idea and execution are good, there is no reason why you can’t make some money from it. Maybe you won’t be rich, but you’ll enjoy everyday of your life doing something you love and care about!

So, which kind of life do you prefer for you and your children? Read my previous post about working for an open-minded startup to help make up your mind. Think about it, it’s not too late to make some big changes!

Learning is good for us. For our body, our brain, our mind. Renewing ourselves and challenging everything we know makes us better people. And it’s never too late to get better!

Here are some websites where you can learn nearly anything:

  • YouTube: the well-known video platform where you can find tutorials about anything. And it’s totally free!
  • Medium: I love Medium! An amazing website where you can find articles about anything from people just like you and me, sharing their visions of the world. Some of them are masterpieces!
  • Books: read books!!! For 99$ you can get a Kindle and carry with you thousands of books, so no excuses!!
  • Coursera: a great platform where universities from all around the world offer online classes. The courses are free and you only have to pay if you want the certification at the end.
  • Udemy: another platform with thousands of online courses available from 10$!

Also, I strongly recommend watching Simon Sinek’s video about WHY. It will open your mind!

*Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash


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