Seek Randomness

2 years of lost education

On Education

When I say education, what I mean is the pursuit of wisdom. ie: seeing the world for what it is. This is not to be confused with the pursuit of knowledge, and is definitely not to be confused with school.

Such wisdom isn't easy nor quick to develop, and for most, they receive this sort of education at some milestone moment in their life. It may be moving out of the house, getting their first job, starting a business, having a divorce, etc. This is a private growth experience, and it usually defines who the person will be for the rest of their lives.

As far as I can tell, the earlier one gets this education, the better.

That's why we see young, poor-er immigrant children thrown into the business world by necessity, and in doing so, developing a keen sense of street-smarts, along with an appreciation for money, a respect for mentors, a treasuring of family, and a relentless passion to create.

On the opposite spectrum, it's also why we see trust-fund kids who grow up taking everything for granted, and whose biggest battle in life is fighting for a "fair share" of the family fortune.

Needless to say, the 2 examples above are extremes, and most people would fall somewhere in between.

However, what's more interesting is how this is viewed from the perspective of the outside world.

Through early life, we're being assessed against some standard. [1] Usually this is school, but what's important is that we can tell when someone is falling drastically behind. In some funny way, people actually end up caring about your development as a person, albeit at a shallow level.

Fast forward to working life, and we end up in a situation where nobody cares. All people care is what you can deliver to them, which means that someone can possess immense monetary wealth simply by making things people want; he/she doesn't have to worry about being wise. [2] The world sees nothing but your offering.

Fast forward again to old age, and we finally see the consequences. The individuals relationships are now broken, their health is failing, and the pension is running dry.

I'm obviously exaggerating here, but the point is that not "getting it" all those years ago as a young person can translate to a lifetime gone astray.

On Randomness

So the question now is: How do you get this sort of education?

The thing to note here, is the massive influence of randomness. The very nature of wisdom prevents us from being able to see it from the front end. Most don't usually say, "Let's get married and then get a divorce a couple years down the road, I'm sure that we'll both take away many life lessons from it". ie: wisdom is largely a retrospective phenomenon.

What's more, the vicissitudes of daily life all too often get in the way. That's why people dread work on the weekdays, and spend their weekends dreading the weekdays while engaging in pointless recreation.

I can say now that the solution is to actually take a vacation. That means using some of your time off to sit and think about what you want and planning for the road ahead. Those who succeed emerge with an actionable item (quit that job), but more importantly, they've emerged educated; possessing a brand new attitude moving forward.

While coming to that first realisation of "I need to start thinking for myself" is a matter of luck and circumstance, future growth opportunities can be consciously driven. But because education doesn't come in a formal, packaged form, all we can do is charge forward with the plan, often times not knowing what we're doing nor how things are going to turn out. It's something that hits us when we least expect it (and therefore grow the most from it).

The solution to the problem of lost education should therefore not be centred around doing things done before and hoping for a better outcome. It's about summoning the courage to take another step into the unknown. It's about having the humility to admit to yourself that you don't know anything, along with the stubbornness to keep trying anyway. It's about leveraging past experiences to propel oneself to bigger ventures and grander experiences. And it's about fearing every consequence while taking comfort in the eventual outcome.

In other words, to get the best education, seek randomness.

[1] In the poor immigrant scenario above, early life ends when they have to face that financial reality

[2] Though at times, wisdom and the ability to generate wealth are closely correlated


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