“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious” – Albert E.
There is a big focus on “coding” or learning a “skill set” to accomodate this ever evolving exciting economy. Although that is all well and good, the big lack I’m observing is no matter what skill a person has or is learning, is only as powerful as the idea it is striving to materialize.
I can not stress enough that most of our knowledge has been uncovered by great people pursuing an “idea” (Da Vinci in pursuit of understanding the universe through art , Newton’s apple etc). Of course the latter stumble on unintended discoveries on their way (think Louis Pasteur). Ideas are the hallmark of our species. Schools should strive to harness that fire and teach knowledge using it.
From the screen you’re looking at now (or printed) with its millions of reflected shining red, green and blue lights to the cup of caffeine you’ve ingested early (or now) with its sleeve, beautifully interlaced patterns to keep the heat dissipated. All these we’re in people’s imagination once, sparks of genius that floated amidst the concoction of consciousness or sub.
Back to the point, it is ideas that give skills a purpose. Let’s see how we can learning with such a grandiose albeit inconspicuous ideology!
Learning with Ideas
Whenever someone comes up to me and asks “How can I learn X-skill?”, I always remind them to focus on Why they want to learn that said skill. Imbue it with purpose. This forces them to arrive to a need and hopefully start thinking about a higher vision than just acquiring that skill. This might sound a little too philosophical but the more important the motivation is defined on the higher altitudes, the more the drive to strive, learn and thrive on that skill is at ground level. See, it’s not about the skill anymore but the purpose, vision and idea.
One of many benefits is that you get to re-live as close as possible as how the geniuses originally uncovered the knowledge. That Newton, was inspired with an idea of the falling apple, which created a “need” to learn. Similarly to you, when you learn their discoveries you are approaching it with an idea. This can be done by emulating their thinking “Why did the apple fall?” in the case of Newton, but it doesn’t have to be limited to that. You can go on and wonder about the current world around you.
The New Idea Fueled Company
Automation is here! It is undeniable and many of the “repetitive” jobs will be passed along to machines. This stresses the point of this essay for schools to evermore focus on harnessing “ideas” because that will make the difference between the thriving always ascending economies vs the crushed, skill obsessed alternatives. Companies such as Zappos are already experimenting “no bosses” structure. Organizations should focus more on grassroots structures and paradigms that harness ideas as the main driving engine.
Vision the Shepherd of Ideas
It is very critical to practice idea-tion as early and as often as possible, because it too is a tool. Just as all tools, they need a purpose. Anchored in this grandeur principled reason. Having a square instead of a wheel on a car is an “idea” but purposeless if we are looking for mobility. On the other hand, it’s great to keep a vehicle from moving, let’s say on a slanted surface at 5000ft! The point is, context is everything with ideas, so keeping a “purpose” in mind when churning and brainstorming is as crucial as making our ascension from the “skill” based mindset to the “idea” one.
Focus on ideas and inspirations and learn what you need to learn to materialize them. Do not obsess over ideas having to be polished, don’t forget that they too grow with execution and evolve. Trust thy gut more and of course, test it with logic and rational.
Resumes and Curriculum Vitae:
Follow this structure or similar:
Skills used and acquired
This gives and fills our natural way of doing things. The project is synonymous to the idea. Responsibilities show “why” you were picked and skills show what you personally learned and polished during your contribution to that effort.
One of the greatest eras of our species was riding the idea horse to its limitless limits! With a switch of attitude on skills whether that be cooking, dancing, maths, programming, physics etc. and focusing more on the materialization of inspirations, the hunger and curiosity of our young years is alight again!