Education is a hot topic these days. It seems like everyone’s discussion the “failing system” that’s leaving thousands of graduates jobless, and in tremendous debt each year. There’s also a lot of talk about the lack of creativity or alternative forms of teaching in schools.
Although these are all very worthwhile discussions, I’m not going to focus directly on any of these issues in this post. Instead, I’d like to talk about the idea of learning itself, both within the education system and beyond, and how it relates to being a multipotentialite.
Multipotentialites are natural learners
Learning is second nature to us. We become hungry for information and dive deep into new subjects, many of which appear totally random. Once we get what we came for, we tend to become bored and move on to devour something new.
Every time I get an email from a student asking how they should select their courses, I always recommend that they take advantage of their time in college, and study everything under the sun that excites them in that course catalog– to pick courses based, not on career potential, but on passion and curiosity. I also suggest looking for those majors that are more interdisciplinary in nature (they’re out there), or combining multiple majors, minors, etc.
The reason I suggest following your heart and sampling a wide array of topics is because I believe that there’s a greater design behind our curiosity. I think that when your heart is saying “gee, I’d really like to learn about East Asian art right now…” there’s a reason. Maybe ten years from now, you’ll be working as an architect, and a piece of artwork from that old class will flash into your mind and inspire a beautiful design.
Or maybe it won’t be this obvious. For instance, I accredit my time in law school for making me a more persuasive writer, even though none of the writing I do now is related to law. Similarly, growing up playing the violin helped develop my ear, which is really hard to quantify in terms of value. But I just know that it has had an impact on my work in areas outside of music.
Trusting that the dots will connect
Every new topic you explore develops your brain in new ways. Studying lots of subjects also makes you a more interesting person. So while I can’t exactly tell someone “this is the role that your deductive logic class will play in your future,” I would say to just trust your intuition. If you’ve become interested in something, there’s a reason. As Steve would say, “trust that the dots will connect.”
Now what about those who are not in a position to attend formal education (either due to budget, life circumstances, or just a dislike of academia)?
Well I don’t think that changes anything. In that case you read books, use libraries, scour the internet, check out the Khan Academy, or you learn through hands-on experience, as you develop a new project. It’s hard to stop a multipod from learning, whether they’re paying tuition or not. It’s just what we do.
Another thing that most (but not all) multipotentialites enjoy is teaching. Perhaps that’s because teaching is the ultimate way to solidify information in your head. Or maybe it’s because we like inspiring others and seeing our excitement over a subject reflected in someone else.
How does this love for learning jive with the rest of the world?
The problem that a lot of us encounter, is that many people don’t get it. They use terms like “useless degree” and “impractical skills” because they don’t understand that there’s inherent value in learning. You don’t need to “do something” with your knowledge to make that knowledge valuable. It just is.
What does that mean for us? Well, there’s the social pressure to study with your career in mind (as opposed to your mind in mind). But if you can get passed that, then there’s another issue: Who do you share your new fascinations with? You need people in your life who are interested in what you’re learning and want to hear about it. We all need that kind of support and encouragement. No should have to feel as though their pursuits are meaningless.
Sharing among multipods
In the very first Huddle that I ran back in January, we had an eclectic group. At the end of the brainstorm, after hearing about everyone’s projects, Simone, a “HipGnotist” (among other things), mentioned that she would love to learn more about everyone else’s interests. For instance, Brandon was working to get his timber framing business off the ground, and to this she said, “I would love to learn about timber framing!” The group concurred. (Similarly, I would love to learn about hypnosis!)
This is how the idea of member-led workshops came about. Each month in the Puttytribe, we’ll have a call for workshop proposals and select two Puttypeep to share something they’re learning about with the group. All of the PT members will be able to tune in live if they like, but we’ll also record the workshop and include it in the Co-Created Library (as well as allow the presenter to use the recording on their own site if they like).
This is one of the features that I’m most excited about. I just don’t think that any community designed for multipotentialites would be complete without an educational component. Learning is just so integral to who we are.
How has education (whether formal or informal) impacted your life? Do you believe in learning for learning’s sake?
Congratulations to Colleen D. and Joel, the winners of the lifetime memberships to the Puttytribe. You have no idea how difficult to was to choose… You all gave such amazing, heartfelt answers. I’d just like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I really do hope to see you in the Tribe anyway!
Oh and hey, make sure you’re all signed up to the email list, so that you can grab one of those 50 spots when we open the doors tomorrow.