The Future of Learning

I teach kids as early as three up to the blooming age of ten. What I’ve found is that when you’ve done all your homework correctly, you can produce Kindergarten kids doing second or third grade level work not only in English, but even math, science, and other subjects.

Of course the problem rises once you enter Elementary school: do you downgrade your child’s ability to blend with other students or keep moving-up independently?

I asked one of my competitive student about this matter the other day, and she told me that she would find another school which can meet and keep up with her level. Of course if it’s school work you’re looking for, this is indeed, possible to achieve. But are we growing up to master school work? Or are we preparing for our future?

I started working when I was sixteen and I think that was a little late. After achieving a certain level of maturity, kids should be exposed to work as early as eleven or twelve through various internships, volunteers, or mentorships. The work will not be necessarily for achieving a salary. Rather, to teach them how to develop emotional intelligence and problem solving skills to cope with constant change as they seek what it is they like or good at doing.

The traditional path directs us to accumulate knowledge during the first half-of-life, and then begin your career onwards. In other words, you are betting your life on a system that promises you a job. Will that job still be available in the future? Nobody has any idea. But we can be sure that in the future this kind of path will be obsolete - we’re already witnessing the drastic changes in the job market today as we speak. That said, should we teach kids to keep betting on the system? Or can we do a better job by teaching them how to constantly change and reinvent themselves, like a chameleon camouflaging to its surrounding in response to different conditions?

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It would be easy for young people in their teens to reinvent themselves into a completely new individual, but difficult for a fifty-year-old accountant who has two kids, two mortgages, and car payments. Likewise, a person who has never lost a job is more likely to enter a state of depression versus someone who has been trained to learn multiple skills, crafts or even jobs, and is able to adapt and cope with change.

My primary vocation allows me to take control of my time. However, it lacks security. The way I see it, I earn my salary by expending time. It is a public service. Perhaps one day this kind of service will also be obsolete. Therefore, it is my duty - as a husband and responsible individual - to add layers of security by creating multiple streams of income. In fact, given the nature of uncertainty, it should be in everyone’s priority.

Luckily, I’m not worried about the future and security of my livelihood - and neither should you - because the universe is infinite. It is constantly giving opportunities all around you. There is always something for everyone out there. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re anxious for the next big thing or where things are going to go because that mindset will close you off the opportunity.

The important thing is to keep learning, be aware, and know where to look for them. When you’ve become narrow minded with your occupation, you’re not going to be there to notice the opportunity.

Conditioning Determines Character

This conversation happened last night with one of my 10-year-old student. This is an important lesson not only for students, but for all parents as well. Remember that conditioning determines one’s character.


S: William, before we go into today’s lesson, I want to talk to you about someone who is in the foreign track of my school.

T: Okay, I’m listening.

S: I met this girl on the playground earlier today - she lives in the same community - and she was very unfriendly to me.

T: What makes you think that?

S: Well, I tried talking to her and she asked me whether or not I’m in the local track. After I nodded, she just didn’t look at me. I showed her how to climb the monkey bars and in return she said, “That’s nothing!” Why is she like that?

T: First of all, it’s not your fault. It’s not her fault either. It is her parents’ fault.

S: How come?

T: Parents have this imagined social distinction - how much money you have, where do you live, what kind of people you are, and all that. This division creates jealousy, envy, and greed amongst your surrounding. You see, this is another problem with school these days. You put a child into a good school, and you invite these kinds of people into the child’s conditioning. And when you go into the other end of the spectrum, and put the kid into a regular school, you have different sets of issues - illiterate students, uneducated parents who physically abuse their kids. This is why it is important for children to know the two sides of the world. Only then you can decide what you want to do - and it is usually neither of the two. So it’s a good start that you’re aware of this and you’re willing to talk about it with me.

S: It seemed she considers me like an ant.

T: Don’t judge anyone. It’s just your thought that is trying to convince you. So how’s your poem contest?

S: Well, that is another thing I wanted to talk about. I got top four but one of the student gave his poem to our English teacher thru WeChat, so he got in without any consideration. And the three of us must compete for the other place.

T: So only two out of four will be picked?

S: Yes, to represent our class and compete against the whole school.

T: Okay and why are you concerned about this?

S: Umm, I’m just disappointed that boy did what he did. I feel heartbroken.

T: What is your goal in all of this?

S: I just want to be in the top three.

T: Why do you want to compete and be in the top three?

S: Miss T. gives us extra points when we’re able to do well in competitions and things.

T: So your teacher actually encourages participation?

S: Yup.

T: And why are you chasing points?

S: (Shrugging both shoulders) Don’t know!

T: See? This is why I stopped competing after I realize that competition does nothing to increase my self-development. When you compete, you are conditioning yourself to be better than others. You get pleasure when your desire comes true, and you’ll be disappointed when it does not. When you compete, you have no idea what you want, and what is good or not good for you. You’re just following other people.

S: But if I don’t compete, what am I suppose to do?

T: You have to walk your own path. Swim your own race. When you compete, the people you’re competing against will do things that are outside of the rules. Some will cheat, while others know their ways to pat teachers or judges, and do other monkey business for that matter.

S: Well, I don’t want to do any monkey business. I just want everyone to do things honestly.

T: The truth is, the world is not perfect - as I’ve explained to you about the social distinction before. And now you’ve caught yourself in the midst of competition. But you know what, even though the world is not an honest and fair place, you can be fair and honest. Because if you don’t...do you know what will happen?

S: I’ll be just like them.

T: Bingo! Okay, let’s begin our lesson today.

Journey to the End

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I'm not afraid of death anymore. I believe a lot of the struggles we have in life comes from a deep fear of death.

This can take form in many ways. For example, we want to write the great American novel, or we want to achieve something because we love building things.

Perhaps, we want to build a great piece of technology, start an amazing business, or we want to be an advocate and make a difference. Most of that comes from this fear that we're going to die, so we have to build something that will last beyond us.

Obviously, there is also the obsession that parents have with their children. A lot of that is warranted by biological love, but also some of that is the quest for immortality.

Even some of the outlandish beliefs such as organized religion fall into that. Personally, I don't have that quest for immortality. Actually, I never have because I came to this fundamental conclusion that the universe has been around for a long time.

The universe is a very large place. If you study even the smallest bit of science you realize that for all practical purposes, we are nothing but a single bacteria to the universe. Your existence and my existence are minuscule like a firefly blinking once in the night. So we're not really here very long, and we don't really matter that much, and nothing that we do last.

Eventually, you will fade. Your work will fade. Your children will fade. Your thoughts will fade. This planet will fade. The sun will fade. It'll all be gone. The entire civilization that we just remembered now - like the Mayans or Sumerians; Do you know any Mayans or Sumerians? Do you hold any of them in high regard or esteem? Have they outlived their natural lifespan somehow? No! So we are here for an extremely short period of time.

Now, from here you can choose to believe in an afterlife or not. And if you believe in an afterlife, then that should give you comfort and make you realize that maybe whatever goes on in this life is not that consequential.

On the contrary, if you don't believe in the afterlife then you can also come to a similar conclusion in which you realize this is such a short and precious life. That it is really important you don't spend it being unhappy.

There is no excuse spending your life in misery. You've only got about seventy to eighty years out of the fifty billion or however many years the universe is going to be around. And whatever you're natural state is, it's probably not this. This is your living state. Your dead state is true over a much longer time frame. So when I think about the world that way, I realized life is just a game. Which is not to say that you go to a dark side and start acting unethically and immorally.

Quite the contrary, you realize just how precious life is, and how it's important to make sure that you enjoy yourself. You sleep well at night. You're a person with good moral standard. You're generally happy. You care about other people. But you can't take it seriously. You can't get too hung-up over it. You can't make yourself miserable and unhappy over it. You just have a very short period of time on this earth.

Nothing you do is going to matter that much over the long run. Don't take yourself too seriously. And that just makes everything else work.

Engineering Children via Genetic Screening

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I have a business proposition for you.

Imagine you’re the parent of a 3-year-old, and confused about what to plan for your child.

You start looking around and see that many other children are learning English as their second language. So you start collecting English books. A lot of them.

But did you know? What if your child has no talent whatsoever in linguistic? You would be wasting a lot of time and money teaching your child.

Now, there is a solution: talent and aptitude recognition through genetic screening!

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Each and every one of us is different - wait a minute! I think your author has said that more than a dozen times by now. With genetic testing, parents can better plan their children’s education and future.

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You can profile your child’s genetic marker for different talents and aptitudes. Using this information you can better guide your child to choose the appropriate activities and career, instead of doing by trial and error.

However, there is a caveat to all this. We don’t live in a perfect world. The test is done in a controlled setting. It is not absolute. In the real world, all variables - such as time of birth, living condition, different teachers and mentors, luck, as well as other innate and learned skills - will be combined together to determine our each individual uniqueness. And if you’ve been following my writing, you should know that talents are usually scattered. It will depend on each individual to determine their own path. Even if we live in a perfect world, and every children develop exactly the same abilities, they would unlikely enjoy equal success because they would be playing a different game.

Fortunately, we can still work together and make a lot of money establishing this business. If you’re interested, call me!

Now that’s done. It’s my turn.

There is an old Chinese saying: to be blind is worse than being illiterate.

I’ve been teaching kids for a while. Sadly, not many parents are aware of what’s going on with their kids. I’ve been writing for a while. Unfortunately, not many parents read them. While literacy is sometimes an issue, I call that ignorance. Do you see the same pattern repeating over and over?

People generally do not listen. They are so used to systems that they can’t stand-up without it. To a point where they would keep struggling for life rather than gain freedom. I call that stupidity.

Some of my students are very competitive. Whenever I grade their papers they do not like mistakes. But the lesson that I’m trying to teach them is that making mistake is part of learning. And you will screw up one day in your life.

See? This is how you end being someone who graduates from a famous college but have no idea about what to do in life except slaving for money, and filling your life with lustful products and expensive vacations.

But, on a few rare occasions, there are individuals who are completely fed up. They are tired of slaving. They want to be different. They want to live their own life, not someone else’s. Is that you? What about your kids?

School is reverse engineering. We use the process of reverse engineering when we want to duplicate or copy something. If we want to engineer a human being the correct way, we have to do it from the ground up. We don’t pick-up things because it is part of a system. Instead, we each should learn different things because it is in our individual nature to do so. Remember, everyone is unique.

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Determining talents and aptitudes via genetic screening is one solution. In fact, there are many solutions. I will not list you all of them because that would defeat the purpose of your learning. And I can’t provide you with a single absolute solution, because that would defeat the purpose of individuality.

True revolution starts from within the individual. And that revolt is different from parroting ideas around you. You may talk about change. But when? What are you waiting for? How long?

There are three kinds of people in this world:

  1. People who spend too much time doing and not enough time thinking what they should be doing.
  2. People who spend too much time thinking and not actually doing.
  3. People who think clearly, carefully, and act quickly.

Which one are you?

On Being Different

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“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb.


One student asked a shocking question, “Why do some Americans do not like marriage?”

Raising my eyebrows, I humbly replied, “Umm...perhaps some people are different. They like living by themselves.”

“So can I just live with my dog when I grow up?”

“I suppose you can if you want to be different. But I suggest you ask your mother first.”

 

That short conversation made me think as to why some people are different and why it’s okay to be one.

You know, I get misunderstood a lot! In fact, I’ll always be misunderstood by someone. Especially when I follow my heart instead of the crowd. After all, we each have a responsibility to determine what we are living for and invest our lives with meaning that we find significant.

One of the lessons of history is that following your heart can invite persecution from those who are too afraid to follow their own.

My duty isn’t to be understood or to impress others. It’s to be at peace with myself and treat others as how I would like to be treated, regardless of what they think of me. If I spend my life trying to impress others, I’ll die having never really lived.

I believe in doing good things and reputation will take care of itself. Besides, I inspire people by being different. Not by being the same as them.

That said, whatever makes you unique, is what makes you remarkable. Whatever makes you remarkable, is what makes you marketable. There’s room in the world for your individual uniqueness. It just might take awhile to find the people who will value it.

It’s a beautiful thing to be able to do what you love. It starts by having the courage to try. You have to start somewhere to get where you want to be. And if you’re fortunate enough to do the things you love, you should be grateful. Be grateful for the opportunities you’ve been given.

You can spend your whole life doing what you don’t want to do, and die. Or you can spend your life doing what you do want to do, and die. The end result is the same. The question is whether or not you’re going to enjoy yourself in the meantime.