Having spent essentially my entire life in the educational system, I’ve come to believe several things about it:
1) It’s a place where we can learn & explore the most interesting ideas our civilization has come up with.
2) It trains us for specific jobs, like becoming a doctor, an engineer, or a counselor.
3) It’s a massive credentialing system.
4) Universities are immersion experiences, albeit very expensive ones.
5) It’s big business. The endowments at the most prestigious universities are in the 10’s of billions of dollars.
6) Grade school, middle school, and high school serve as day cares.
7) Perhaps the most prevalent characteristic of the education system can be derived from asking every student in the U.S. to name the one word that comes to mind when we mention school. I bet the most common response would be: “Boring.”
All too often schools are just plain boring.
But why? Why are schools so boring?
I think the most immediate, causal reason is that so much of what we learn in school is just not practical or relevant.
But I’m not here to throw our educational system under the bus.
And I think there is one more characteristic of the education system that I didn’t mention before, which I think is the most important of all. The education system teaches us the one skill that is hard to put a price on: it teaches us how to learn.
Once we learn how to learn, we can spend the rest of our lives learning the interesting, relevant, practical things that will make us happier, more fulfilled, more successful, and more useful to society.
“Take a simple idea, and take it seriously,” said Charlie Munger.
And what’s more simple than dedicating our lives to learning new things, now that we know how to learn. Be a learning machine.
It’s a simple idea. Please take it seriously.
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