Our world is moving rapidly past the level where what you learn in school is enough to distinguish you from the crowd. The world is now at a place where no matter your level of education, with access to relevant information, you can be whatever and whoever you want to be. This is where informal education comes in.
Please, before we continue, I want to stress emphatically that this is not a call to encourage dropping out of school, nor is it an article to discourage formal education. I don’t want anyone calling for my head on a platter; my name is Adanna, not John.
Recently, I listened to one of Bishop David Oyedapo’s tapes, where he said Michael Faraday only had two years of formal education. Yeah, you heard that right, just two years. He practically taught himself all those Faraday’s laws we crammed and even failed sometimes. To think that was donkey years before the invention of computers and the internet. Benjamin Franklin also had a limited formal education. He taught himself so much that he became one of America’s greatest presidents. He even invented the lightning arrester that I usually look for before I can sleep comfortably somewhere during raining season (I need a thunder buddy like Ted).
Informal education, unlike formal education, goes on every day, every minute. No holidays, no breaks nor end of school day. People argue that anything learnt outside of the classroom is not credible, that may or may not be true. Personally, I don’t think it’s true. We learn every day; good, bad and ugly stuff. I wouldn’t consider it non-credible if you are able to sift through the information you receive on a daily basis. Informal education to me is the kind of education that comes with thirst. A thirst to do better, to know more, to achieve more, to be more. It is the conscious effort to change your life by doing a particular thing you feel is the key to unlocking your potential. It could be in the books you read, the mentors you choose or the faith you explore. But it comes from a place of thirst.
We now live in the information age and informal education is gradually taking centre stage. We can learn practically anything on YouTube these days. Online websites such as Coursera, Allison, Khan academy and Wikipedia have answers to most of the things we want to learn about. That is why we see many people taking informal courses in areas very far from what they studied in school and doing major things with the knowledge acquired.
In this rapidly changing world, it is important to be aware of the changes. Equip yourself with multiple skills and read as much as possible. Getting an education is necessary, but it is important to know other things. Not only will this expand your knowledge, but it will also open your eyes to new opportunities, possibilities, and ways to make more money. King Solomon had twelve sources of income; do you think he got that by reading only his physics textbook? Get thirsty my friend! Read up on any topic that interests you, practice what you have learned, add it to what you learned in school and watch yourself become magic.
Informally educating yourself requires discipline, even more discipline than is required in a formal setting. It also requires that you become hungry for information, something like a cookie monster, but in this case, an information monster. The importance cannot be overemphasized. Informally educating yourself has many advantages, but one that stands out to me is the level of confidence that comes with it, which is key for almost everything we hope to achieve. You know the feeling when you teach yourself something? The “I actually did that” feeling.
If Michael Faraday and Benjamin Franklin could do it in their time, with little education, limited access to information, what is stopping you, the 21st-century child? In this information age with unlimited access to information? Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Take your time, find something that interests you and dive into it. With knowledge already gained from years of education and a little more mind-stretching, just imagine where you can be. Find your own hunger, the same hunger that inspired Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and others is inside of you. You are just feeding off the wrong things.
An MBA, B.sc, M.sc, etc are all important, but a GSD is even more important. GSD is an acronym for ‘Get Stuff Done.’ The stuff you learn every day is more practicable and helps you get stuff done. I haven’t been in a situation where a mathematical equation was what I needed to get things done. Get up and do the needful. This is the latent way forward, the future, and the only way out for folks who intend to live above the mind control and societal stereotyping that comes from merely being a product of organised educational institutions.
Stop defining yourself in the light of your formal educational qualifications; break out of the box and be all you can be.
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