Our world is ever-changing and what we learn as a result needs to change to stay current and be relevant. Hence, you need a plan for constant education and development.
I’ve seen a lot of changes take place from the time I was in formal education more than ten years ago. I realize that what I knew back then is hardly relevant today so I need to constantly learn new things.
It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at but the important thing is to realize that lifelong learning is imperative. What has struck me over the years is the education we receive – how it can help or set us back in the long term.
My experiences have taught me some things which I would like to share in this post. I’ve learned that there are things you must consider when developing your life’s education plan. This is the advice I wish someone had given me years ago:
Here are 5 things to consider when you plan your education:
1. Style of learning
This aspect of learning may sound trivial but it’s important if you’re going to maximize your learning capabilities. Traditional education requires us to sit in a classroom for hours reading what the teacher writes on the chalkboard. This is one aspect of learning which is basic for every human being. It’s important to learn how to read and write.
In my own experience from the time I went to school as a child this method alone doesn’t cut it. I don’t know about you but sitting in a classroom everyday was never really fun for me. It’s even worse if the teacher is boring and not that engaging with the students.
It’s easy to get the theory and pass exams with high marks but not much learning would have taken place. Other forms of learning that can enhance your understanding of certain subjects are listening to audios and seeing visuals. So while basic reading is the standard for most institutions consider the other forms to enhance your learning experience.
What you see and hear tend to stick longer with you than what you read only. This is why it’s easy to remember scenes from a movie you watched many years ago. This happens because what you see or hear gets tied with some form of emotion and you don’t forget easily.
Consider all the different forms of learning and see how you can incorporate them into your own personal development plan. The different forms of learning appeal to different people so work out what’s best for you.
2. Purpose of what you’re learning
Most people make the mistake of choosing any program just because everyone is getting a degree for example. Others choose degree programs based on what’s popular or can make the most money after they’re done with their studies. A few take the time to consider what they should study based on their life’s mission and vision.
The problem with not having a clear plan about what to study is that you may get frustrated later on. You may realize that you wasted time studying something that doesn’t add to your calling in life. The reason why kids don’t necessarily like school is because it’s not fun and doesn’t seem relevant.
Sadly we get pressured by peers to do certain things but that don’t really help us in the long term. That shouldn’t be an excuse because if you know what you want in life you must work toward it. Other people may advise but you must know the education plan you need to fulfil your God-given mandate.
Think of it like this- your vision should determine the subjects you must study, not the other way around. I’ve realized most people make the mistake of trying to create a vision around what they studied in school. Ask God to show you what His plan for your life entails and the wisdom to know what to study.
3. Practical application
One of the most critical aspects of education is practical application to daily life. If you’re not going to apply what you learn it’s a waste of time and money. The purpose of learning is not just to accumulate more knowledge but to use it in some form or another.
I have attended university and hold a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In the four years I studied that program the practical education I received wasn’t that great. Sure I got a couple of skills but I could have learned them in a different setting. What I know today about creating websites, content marketing, search engine optimization, etc. I learned through practical courses.
I also had a mentor in the early part of my career who taught me some of the skills. Since then I have been building upon that foundation through practical live or online courses. I think it’s a myth that if you don’t have a university degree you’re not qualified to do anything meaningful in the marketplace.
Learning just for the sake of acquiring knowledge is a futile exercise. You must be able to apply what you learn in a real-life situation otherwise it’s pointless. In relation to your vision think about what practical skills you need – that will help you know what to learn.
Some of them are things you’re naturally good at. Other skills you may not have but you have the willingness to do what it takes to acquire them. Take your time to think it through.
4. Value addition
While getting practical education is good understand that it must have a plan add value to other people. The ultimate purpose of all learning is to solve problems for other people. You get paid not for what you know but the problems you solve for people.
Sadly most people grow up with the mistaken belief that they should get paid based only on what they know. Increasing your level of education is surely a good thing. However, if it doesn’t teach you how to use your knowledge practically and solve problems it’s useless.
This is the problem some academic institutions have to this day. Some of the content has never been updated for years and is no longer relevant in today’s world. You have people boasting that they have a qualification in this and that yet they add no value to life.
To get paid for your knowledge it must solve real-life problems to help others achieve their objectives. That’s why understanding what God called you to do is important. Through the gifts and talents He has endowed on you there are opportunities to make money from them.
It’s better if it’s an area you naturally love and enjoy working in. Working for money alone doesn’t do you any good in the long run as well. Think about what you’re naturally good at that adds value to other people’s lives. That can help you determine what you need to learn.
5. Your chosen career
Ultimately it’s your chosen career that should determine the skills you must learn as you study. As I said earlier choose a career that resonates with you even if others don’t understand. It must be something you’re emotionally invested in because if you don’t love what you do you’ll quit.
Some people argue that you’d rather work on something that gives you money first. This may work for others and may work for you too. There may be seasons when this might happen. What I do know, however, is that if you remain outside your purpose long enough you’ll become miserable.
Not even the money you earn will be enough to keep you in a field that makes you miserable. In Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” he says, ‘Work to learn. Don’t work for money.’ Whatever work you do must contribute towards your ultimate vision and not just to make money.
If you’re planning to be a doctor for example, then yes you must go through the necessary training in university. If you’re going to specialize it’s another couple of years of studying and working at the same time.
If your goal is to run a plumbing company a practical course may do. Later on you may do some business courses or workshops to learn how to start and run the business. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. You just need to understand what works best for you because no one approach works for everyone.
The goal is to get to a point where money works for you and not you working for money. Some people will find this hard to believe but you weren’t created just to work for money. You have a greater purpose than you may realize and God wants to set you up to accomplish great things.
My prayer is that you seek God; and ask Him to lead you to a place of understanding of what He’s called you to do.