Creating the Power of the Shift – Why Self-Education Is a Must

In an effort to create some coherence between the many different topics covered on this blog, I thought it might be worth a moment to explain where I’m going with all of this information. Don’t worry; I promise this won’t be one of those big talks that promise all the “great things to come” and the “big plans we have in store.” I like to get excited about what’s coming next, but we sometimes spend so much effort on hyping the future that we don’t talk enough about what is happening right now. Last week, I wrote about the Paul Bunyan effect that new technology is having on people. In the old Disney cartoon, Bunyan faced off against a tech innovator by clinging to his old ways to show off his might. When he lost, Bunyan exiled himself rather than learn to adapt.

I think this type of effect is happening not only because of technology. It may be the shifting tides of the economy, a change of interests, or simple burnout, but we often find ourselves in need of making changes. Those changes may be as big as moving to another country or finding another job or as small as taking another way during our commute. (As an aside, I’ve found that regular small changes help to stave off the mega-changes for much longer.)

When those changes come, we have to make a choice. The truly limiting aspect of all of this, however, is that we can choose only from the options that we know. If we don’t realize that we have more choices, then how can we ever move in a new direction? We find ourselves trapped in a cycle of choices.

manual shift
manual shift

Photo by NinJA999

The Shifting Role of Education

My wife and I have had to make some decisions on our children’s education in relation to picking public, private, or home schooling, and it has been an interesting process. You really come to see what it is you believe about the education process when you have to make these sorts of choices. My point here is not to promote that one is better than the other, but we came to realize that memorization – a key skill stressed in our education as kids – is not nearly as important as it used to be.

Why memorize all the world’s facts when you have search engines? Why memorize all the world’s facts when they continue to shift so quickly that you’ll never be able to keep up with them all anyway?

Today, we need to be able to find information. We need to be able to combine that information into interesting answers and create our own point of view based on those details.

It’s a very different way of looking at the world.

Self-Education and Expanding Our Options

Once we've moved beyond those primary years of education, we have to actively choose to learn if we wish to progress. Besides a mandatory work program or something similar, no one is making us study. This is both freeing and debilitating. We have the freedom to choose, but we have to find a different motivation to keep ourselves going.

Learning isn't something we do once and then file away. Learning is the opportunity to expand our possibilities. Learning can point us to new career paths, new hobbies, or simply just new discussions. That process, that constant intake of information, makes us immeasurably more flexible.

This doesn't mean that we need to be experts in everything under the sun. We'd never achieve such knowledge, anyway. It does mean that we can know which experts we need when a new problem arises. It means that we know where to go to get the help we need.

The expansion of options is what this site is all about. We won't cover every step along the way to become a world-renowned expert in any single subject. We will look at trends and tips in technology and communication. We'll sprinkle in some discussion on creativity and maybe even a dash of philosophy, all with the main focus of creating options for your learning and for your life. It's a real drag to feel trapped in a job or in a situation simply because you don't know where to go next. I want to provide a resource where you always know that you can find new ideas and the resources to become an expert in that area if you so choose.

What About You?

Do you feel trapped in a job or situation right now? If so, is it just because you don't know a new option; or, do you know what to do but need the motivation to get through the decision?

Let us know in the comment section below.