“Machines will be smarter than us. So if we keep teaching our kids how to memorize or calculate faster, they are going to have no jobs.” - Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba
“Competition is for loser. If I compete with you, I’m a loser. It means I’m not helping anyone in a new way. Instead, you have to invent your own category.” - Peter Thiel, author of Zero to One
“Nobody has any clue how the job market would look like in 2040. So we really don't know what to teach the young people, whether in school or college in terms of careers. It's quite obvious that what they're learning will be completely irrelevant by the time they are forty or fifty. So they will have to re-invent themselves again and again and again throughout their lives. Which is why I think the most important skill they must have is the ability to keep learning and to keep re-inventing themselves throughout their lives. Not to build this stable identity that will serve them from now until they die. They have to somehow find it in themselves the ability to keep changing. You have to change if you want to stay relevant.” - Yuval Noah Harrari, author of Sapiens
These are not my quotes, but you need to read them again. They will inspire you to change the way you think and do things. They will guide you into the future. However, it is not a walk in the park. There is work to be done. “What is the work?” you ask. Read on.
Evolution is Inevitable
I am going to ask you something.
Why are you being educated?
Your parents send you to school. You attend classes, you learn math, science, history.
Have you ever asked why you want to be educated, what is the point of being educated?
What is the point of you passing tests and getting degrees?
Is it to get a job, marriage, or status? Perhaps, settle down in life as millions and millions of people do?
Is that what you are going to do, is that the meaning of education?
Do you understand what I am talking about?
This is really a very serious question. The whole world is questioning the basis of education. We see what education has been used for. Human beings throughout the world - whether in Singapore or in Russia or in the United States or in Europe or in this country - are being educated to conform, to fit into society and into their culture, to be part of the social and economic stream, to be sucked into that vast stream which has been flowing for thousands of years. Is that education, or is education something entirely different?
Can education see to it that the human mind is not pigeonholed into that stream; so that, with such a mind, you can be an entirely different human being with a different quality to life?
Are you going to be educated that way?
Real education means that a human mind, your mind, not only is capable of being excellent in math, science and history, but also can never, under any circumstances, be drawn into the stream of society. Because that stream which we call living is very corrupt, immoral, violent, and greedy. That stream is, our culture.
So, the question is how to bring about the right kind of education so that the mind can withstand all temptations, all influences, the bestiality of this civilization and this culture. We have come to a point in history where we have to create a new culture, a totally different kind of existence, not based on consumerism and industrialization, but a culture based upon a real quality of mind that is entirely different, a mind that is not greedy, not envious. But one that is extraordinarily active, efficient; that has a real perception of what is true in daily life.
Seek And You Shall Find
I asked my 11 year old student: “Do you know what you want to do when you grow up?”
“I think I want to be a teacher,” she said.
“How do you know?”
“Well, my parents are both teachers, so I think I'll be a good teacher.”
“Has anyone asked you to teach?”
“Did you try teaching?”
“I don't think I'm old enough to do it. I haven't finished school.”
“So you're willing to waste your time not knowing whether teaching is the right career for you because you're still in school and not old enough to do so? What if you don't like teaching?” And I kept adding, “Can you find ways to volunteer and teach little kids on the weekends? Why don't you do that instead of drawing or piano? Perhaps, during the summer?” I'm sure you know where this is going.
Fundamentally, this is the reason why education begins in a child’s home. We must allow children to explore and discover their lives at a young age. Otherwise, they will be loitering into a meaningless life cycle of school, eating, exercising, homework, playing video games, and sleeping. And by the time they're done with school, they'll have more things to worry about - work, marriage, mortgage, and their own kids.
Let me remind you, getting good grades and going into famous schools is not the point anymore. The point is: find out what you are good at and what you love doing. Once you figure that out, is there an entity that will have trouble living without you when you seek to earn a living. Because if there is, you'll be able to make a living.
Unfortunately, given our nature, good listeners are hard to come by and truly rare these days, so you’ll most likely turn a blind eye in the next minute or two. And that’s okay. I couldn’t care less.
One parent said, “There are too many problems that limits us from doing things with freedom.” And I said, “Actually, more often than not, there are problems as long as we are alive. In the morning there is the problem of laziness. Traffic jams create problems when commuting to school. Bullies create problems. Too many homework triggers stress and that creates problem. And on and on.” So lesson number one: solve your OWN problems first. “In the end,” said another parent, “everything depends on us, the parents.”
Remember: for every problem, there is always a solution. And the only way to find the right solution is to “DO”.
It takes courage to change one's mind. It will take an even greater power to change the way society thinks. Of course one may ask, “How can we do it?” While this is a completely logical question, more important is the question, “Do we want to do it?” If the answer is a clear “Yes,” accompanied by commitment, one can certainly discover the solution to the problem.
The solution to every problem is already in front of you. The desire for an answer is what leads to misunderstanding the problem. There has to be a distinction between solving problems for the ease of suffering and the fulfillment of desire.
And you can quote me on that. If I caught you plagiarizing, I will travel back in time to when you were a high school freshman and pull your pants down in front of the prettiest girl in school.
I’m done! You can go back to work now.