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The Price of Self-Education

Updated on January 14, 2011
Take this for what it's worth.  Self-education is what provides the tools to discern your truth from someone else's truths.
Take this for what it's worth. Self-education is what provides the tools to discern your truth from someone else's truths.

The Premise

In almost everything that I have read and witnessed, there seems to be one constant strain underneath the information overload. The world keeps changing. While it seems so oversimplified and obvious to put it that way, it's in the manner of how the world has changed that people seem to not understand.

It's in our escape valve, our entertainment, when the big media churns out movies with end-of-the-world or leadership themes. It's in our financial planning as we cut corners and shop for the best bargain. It's in our mindset, the world-weary and resigned to what our educational system has provided us. When we are forced to learn the information that is easily accessible everywhere else and in the manner that is outdated. Then, we go on believing our education is over when all that is said and done.

In America, we live in a nation of entitlement mentality, lack of self-discipline, and where our dollar has dropped in value to the extremes. We're not a nation of problem-solvers, nor a nation of scholars. We're living in the age that is designed for the rule of creative people because of technology. In that age, what is the price of self-education versus compulsory education?  How will we thrive financially and career-wise in the world that is beginning to split into richer rich and poorer poor, with middle class slowly vanishing?

The Age of Self-Education

Self-education, in my humble definition, is a life long learning experience. It is hands on, full of failures and success, and filled with opportunities along the way. I feel that everything that you ever experience is never done. When it is done, it is a death of something. No, every learning experience is organic and only dies when you let it die. Sometimes it becomes dormant and then it crops back up when you need it the most.

I can really see this age to go something much like this:

The credentialing system of college will ultimately prove less important than whether you use your college years to generate a body of visible and durable online work, openly accessible to the world, shouting who you are louder than any "graduated with honors" certification on a transcript one must pay to see.

Source: Academic Revolution; "Dear Students: Don't Let College Unplug Your Future"

Essentially, when you take your self-education seriously, you can begin to learn how to cultivate that knowledge in the most amazing of ways. Currently, this age is cropping up with creative people who become wealthy off of technology and their own passion interlinked with it. The passion can be game design, felting, crafting, social networking, and more. In presenting your passion so publicly and globally, you put yourself in the position of having created a living, organic resume that is always changing and always relevant.

I'm talking about paradigm shifts, discipline, personal passion, and an openness to constantly learning throughout all ages of life.  I'm talking about breaking out of what has become obsolete.  I am certainly not talking about disregarding academics and literature as a whole.  Never disregard history, for they are important.

“Only the curious will learn and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient.” ~ Eugene S. Wilson

The Process, Your Birthright

There are two diagrams that really speak to me when I think of self-education.

Consider first, however, that there are important elements of self-education. Opening yourself to these possibilities and elements can help you figure out the next step by yourself.

  1. Fun. It should be fun. The value of learning is diminished when you're not having fun in doing so.
  2. Passion. What calls to you the most may be your most important learning experience. In your passion, you can come across so much better opportunities than you realized.
  3. Experience. Immersing yourself in the experience of whatever trade will bring the best learning experience possible.
  4. Persistence. In the face of using what you learned to make a living, persistence will overcome obstacles. Having this drive and dedication will teach you that there will always be problems that arise, and that your persistence will solve these problems as you go through.
  5. Resources. There are resources everywhere. Sitting back and saying that you don't have the money means you've barely nicked the surface! There are books, libraries, internet connections, websites, mentors, open roads, cities, nature, your own legs -- all are provided for, and all can be free if you figure out where to look. Figuring out even more creative ways of accessing or having these resources means that you're utilizing #1-4.

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The True Price

The price of self-education is a long-term asset. But what is the financial cost? The materials, the resources, and what the hey, what about STRUCTURE? Will we really learn self-discipline in our pursuit of self-education? What about jobs? Without colleges and their monopoly on education, wouldn't there be less jobs for teachers? Without obtaining the degrees, won't there be less chances of us having jobs? Aren't we just making the economy worse?

Let's be realistic. We need to survive. We need money to just buy food, to travel, to take care of housing expenses whether it be mortgage or rental. Better yet, we want to have extra funds to spend on personal shopping. Having extra luxury isn't totally a bad thing.

But whoever said that self-education, and potentially in the process self-employment, has to be all doom and gloom? I mention self-employment here because the use of technology makes that so much easier. Technology helps take care of self-education and can also help pay the bills, if you know how to do it right. Still, it's going to be hard, yes. It's a very long-term process that pays off in the long run. There's going to be a lot of sacrifices. It isn't about sitting around and waiting for things to just come to you out of nowhere because -- drum roll -- you have all the resources at your fingertips.

Being smart and working hard to take those resources to your advantage; being adaptable to the changes of this economy and the world in general; overcoming obstacles and in the process increasing your IQ; keeping your debts to a minimum when it comes to the costs of compulsory, formal education; getting hands-on experience yourself early on through travels, jobs, volunteering, and immersing yourself in whatever trade...

I could go on and on. There's your price. It takes up all your time. It takes up your brain. It takes up your energy. What you get out of it? Expansion. Keeping the cycle of using what you have can give you more. Higher IQ, better health, self-discipline, higher energy. The catch? You actually have to work at it. In this age of information overload, you have to learn how to discern your truth from other truths and lies and from information provided.

I fully believe that through all this, there is your path to career and to living a beautiful life. I believe that taking control of your own education and life means you are willing to work for your own freedom rather than the false illusion of security. Security is safe, safe means other people do things for you.  People who are on the wealthier side of the financial line are the ones who take matters into their own hands and learned through trial and error.

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    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJ 

      7 years ago

      Sunny, this is absolutely brilliant. I loved every word. You'd like a book I got on recommendation, "The Shallows." It's a researcher discussing the deterioration of how we learn from overuse of the internet. It's making idiots of people, and the most dangerous type of idiot--the one who thinks he knows something. Technology is an awesome tool for learning, but definitely has to be used properly. I love your perspective, I believe strongly that all the components you mentioned to self-learning have to be there for learning to continue. I'm with C.Y. Falvey here, keep writing!

    • C.Y. Falvey profile image

      C.Y. Falvey 

      7 years ago from Nova Scotia

      Your hub has really added some valuable perspective to my own thoughts on self-teaching. I think a focus on self-teaching could be valuable for societies where formal education hasn't become readily accessible to the masses. It's certainly been valuable to me. Keep writing!

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