Revolutionizing Education and Maximizing Your Potential

September 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm
filed under Education
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For the most of us reading this article, it might be a bit late to try to maximize your potential, because you’re probably at work right now, and it’s a boring job that takes up most of your time and gives you ZERO satisfaction. You’re stuck and unhappy. Since you spend the most of your day at your job, if you are not doing something that you have passion for, you’re probably not too happy about it. And to be able to have passion for something, you must be good at it.

For example, most professional basketball players are tall. They actually kept up with basketball because they have passion for it. And their reason for passion is that they are taller and are naturally more suitable for basketball. So a simple example like this may hint that the most of the time, your natural talent in something determines what you have passion for, so what someone needs to do for a living should just be something he/she is naturally better at. We can’t LOVE something we’re not good at. We just can’t – nobody likes to fail. At this point, everything I’ve pointed out is pretty standard stuff, but what I’m trying to point out is that talent and passion are actually the same thing. Too many people try to separate them and tell you that you should do something that you like. Nope. You should do something you’re good at, because if you’re good at it you will like it. Most of the time.

Okay, so the problem is…you may or may not have grown up realizing that you are actually better at something, and no one actually helped you explore that option. Your parents disapproved of it, and your school probably didn’t have the right courses or effective teaching methods. Even if you finally found a major that you liked and pursued it in University, their teaching methods are not suitable for you. Every person in this world learns differently.

I actually know math geniuses who can’t spell words because they don’t see letters the way most people see them. They see each letter as a different number, and the way they make sure they’ve spelt a word right, is by adding all the letters together to see if everything adds up to the right number for that particular word. For example, the word “good” can be perceived as g(9)o(1)o(1)d(6). This word adds up to 17, and if it doesn’t add up, it’s not spelt right. This is the computer checksum system!  These math geniuses are considered stupid or “Low IQ” by the standard education system. This is not fair, because the education system we have now is only catered to 1 type of person. Einstein was a victim of our education system as well. How is it fair that a lot of kids are thought as “stupid” by their parents, peers, teachers, or the world, just because our education system is flawed? This has discouraged so many of us and has compromised us of our happiness.

So we have 2 serious problems here.

  1. Our education system (both from parents and schools) do not put substantial emphasis on the discovery of natural talent.
  2. Even if a talent is discovered, our current education system is flawed in that its teaching methods only cater to very few types of people.

Okay, so continuing on.

Without the proper customized education, you are probably better at what you’re good at, but not good enough to make a living out of it.

There’re a lot of luckier ones out there where they have extreme talent in something, and they need less work and training. But study shows (and also books like Outliers), that there are actually not geniuses, just people who had the chance to explore their “talents”. This said, even if there are geniuses, it just means that it might require more work for you, but definitely also possible to reach the same level of expertise in something.

So, let’s just assume that if you are able to maximize your talent, and you are able to pursue a career that makes use of that specific talent, then logically you would be a happy or happier person than you are now since you are doing something you are passionate about. So, not only on an individual level everybody is happier and richer (since you are good at what you do), as a society or globally, the economic production is maximized, the progress of technology is faster and overall – the world probably would have a better distribution of wealth.

Okay, so now we’ve determined what needs to be done for a person to be happy and all that good stuff. Let’s figure out the exact methods to achieve this.

Right now, our early primary education teaches someone like Einstein and Michael Jordan the same curriculum. Obviously, in college or university you get to branch off to what you want to do, but sometimes that’s already too late, or most people have not gone through proper sorting process to know what they should or want to do. Therefore, we have to start early. Maybe as early as first grade. So just like in Harry Potter, where when a new kid enrolls in Hogsworth, the kid is sorted into one of the four houses by this magical hat called the “Sorting Hat” that is able to magically understand what the child is like.

Every child in our society should somehow be able to go through a program where he/she has the opportunity to find out what he/she is good at. For example, instead of inflexible exams, children get to engage in different simple activities that are integral to more specific job choices when they grow up. So a child who shows specific strength in a certain attributes might go through other follow-up activities to confirm the results. Follow up processes could consist of detection of the brain frequency to monitor to see how a child is feeling while he is engaged in a certain activity. Perhaps if a child’s brain frequency is detected to reach the Alpha Frequency (8Hz-13.9Hz) during a certain activity, which means that the child’s on super learning mode, which also indicates that the child is doing he/she is good at.

Okay, so a couple of blind spots I might’ve missed.

Q: What about general education? What about all the general math/science/history/language skills that should be taught?

A: All general science, math, or other stuff should and will be taught, but of both lesser emphasis and in context to the chosen major. Sometimes it might even be easier to learn when all this general knowledge is taught in relevant context.

Q: What if a majority of the people all want to do the same thing, don’t we end up having a lot of people in 1 field but very little people in another?

A: This is possible in any scenario. Whether in our current education system, or in a better education system.

Q: Isn’t choosing for them kind of like forcing them onto something? Isn’t this like a gamble? What if the method is wrong and we place all the eggs into 1 basket?

A: The lack of choice might not be a bad thing. For example, people get divorced so easily because they feel like they have a choice, so maybe along the relationship, when they feel like the relationship is falling apart, they don’t make more effort to keep it up. They just start another one and hope that it’ll be better this time around. A study shows that the couples in India are happier than others. Maybe this is because their marriages are mostly arranged, and they had no choice. They also couldn’t get divorced. Imagine if someone stuck a gun to your head and asked you to do something. Your life depended on it, what would you do? If you were so poor you had no other choice but to become successful. Therefore, you don’t see many rich kids succeeding. Usually you see people who needed to succeed, succeed. Therefore, all that crap I just said, points to 1 thing. In MOST cases, less choices is better than more choices. The only case where more choices is good is with coming up with improvements or invention of new technologies or methods.

Q: What if a child shows the same level of talent across all attributes? How can he choose?

A: Perhaps the child would have to go through a longer period of limbo stage to determine what he/she should be doing. This limbo stage could be the general education we have right now.

Q: What if some people are just not good at anything?

A: That’s really inevitable to be honest. Life isn’t fair. The world can only be ALMOST perfect. Perhaps with this group of people, they would just go through the general curriculum perhaps.

Anyhow, any comments are welcome :)

Also, Sir Ken Robinson makes a really good presentation to reinforce my point at his gigs at TED. Enjoy.

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