The Changing Nature of How We Learn

light waves eraoflightdotcomA few years ago, I participated in a Hay House summit where I talked about entrepreneurship and the ridiculously high cost of a college education.  During my interview, I suggested that parents and young adults needed to seriously consider alternatives when furthering their education.

I have fourteen nieces and nephews, a grandniece and two grandnephews.  It makes me crazy to think of these kids taking on debt the size of a mortgage only to come out of school struggling to find a job worthy of their investment.

There’s no doubt that a college education is a good venture for some, but to many students (those who are lucky enough to even go), it can become a burden that leaves them feeling vulnerable and fearful about the future.

Twenty-five years ago I heard the poet, Robert Bly, say that expecting a high school graduate to make a decision about his or her future at eighteen years old – a future that required four years of study and thousands of dollars – was a crazy idea.

And a college degree was a bargain back then.

Instead, he suggested we send children out into the world to try a variety of jobs in order to discover what excites them, to figure out how to survive on their own, and to get to know themselves and their passions in a clear and helpful way. Then, they would arrive at their thirties ready to make a sensible investment of time and money in a college education where they could study something they were truly passionate about.

I still love his idea today – with the caveat of an education being expanded to include things like trade schools, mentorships, apprentice programs, etc.

The world is changing. We need to give children (and ourselves!) new ways to gain the skills and experience necessary to build a good life, not just a successful career.

Just imagine the kinds of opportunities a young adult would be privy to if he or she knew how to:

Manage his or her mind.
Develop discipline and focus.
Use time, energy, and resources wisely.
Make a plan and follow through with it.
Stick with a project when the going gets tough.
Effectively deal with disappointment, frustration, and setbacks.
Communicate skillfully with all types of people.
Build respectful, mutually beneficial relationships.
Speak effortlessly in front of others.
Manage money in a smart and responsible way.

The CEO’s and entrepreneurs I’ve coached during the last twenty-five years would love nothing more than to work with people who have these skills (regardless of the degree or school attended, by the way).

I don’t have a college degree. I think of myself as a lifelong student enrolled in a self-directed education program. I read like crazy – a variety of both fiction and nonfiction. I study documentaries and biographies of great thinkers. Keeping a journal for over forty-five years has taught me how to write. And I use the Internet as my own personal university, one that allows me to take virtual classes on demand.

As I shift the focus of our next retreat to helping adults to start or grow businesses they feel excited and passionate about, I’m even more aware of how much our kids need this kind of support, too.

I dream of a new form of education, one that takes high school graduates and helps them to find jobs first, to get out on their own, to foster an entrepreneurial mindset, and to develop an inner strength and spirit that’s not afraid to challenge the status quo.

It’s coming and not soon enough.


Life Makeover for the Year 2017(sm) is written and produced by Cheryl Richardson.© Copyright 1999-2016 Cheryl Richardson, P.O. Box 13, Newburyport, MA 01950, All rights reserved. Used with permission.

One Reply to “The Changing Nature of How We Learn”

  1. Percy Barbo

    Yeah great , I was in jail 5 years ago ( drugs and violence ) for over a year (drunks lagg) there are blokes in who can’t read or write , they have no skills other than selling drugs and debt collection.Most of them have been in and out and back in several times . Some make a buissness of doing time for crimes they didn’t commit and being paid by the purp . That’s their entrepreneurial extent. Jewish big business took over the music industry in the late 80s coincided with their investment in prisons , then they pushed gangster wrap to the top of the charts to create grist for the prison mill . Your dream is very noble my friend but until the real criminals who have run the surface of our world for millennia are 100% dead , you my man with your concepts have put yourself in their sites . Luckily for you Prime Creator has them in his her sites . Much healing and love is needed to be administered to the unforgivin so all can have access to what you speak of , not just the wealthy to which you refer , everyone deserves a chance , these absolute maggots in power make sure that so many of us never had a chance .