Humans are, by nature, curious creatures. Our hunger for education is intrinsic.
Every time a random question pops into your mind and you quickly ‘Google’ it to get an answer, you are actively in search for knowledge. Every time you observe and inquire about what someone else is discussing because it has piqued your interest, you are actively looking for answers. Every time you overhear someone talk about anything, you’re educating yourself on that particular topic. Curiosity is a very interesting and natural thing that, in my opinion, has been tainted by academia and the never-ending quest for the right degree.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to love about school – most of us are just not in it anymore. In fact, I really loved it before I dropped out and I still see the value in attending, especially when your career depends upon you acquiring a degree. I just think that sometimes, the pressures of general (higher) education stomp on our natural inclination to learn.
The kind of knowledge you acquire outside the confines of your college campus is very different from what you learn in it. Sure, there’s a lot to learn in school. But do I necessarily need someone to guide me through reading a textbook? How much do I really absorb from memorizing and regurgitating information for a test?
That’s what I think happens to our natural curiosity. It is squished to death by grades, degrees, and other forms of pressures that turn education into an obligation, and strips away the desire to learn something new, which is always amazing. Maybe that’s why so many entrepreneurs never finished college. Maybe they realized they could learn more about their particular field of interest, on their own time, and that they could more readily apply their newfound knowledge to whatever, whenever they needed to.
Have you ever experienced the high of really being interested in something and taking the time to learn about it? From reading articles on a topic to observing your favorite apes at a zoo; there is a natural curiosity inside of us that if used correctly, could be the most powerful fuel for a well designed life.
Feed Your Inner Question Mark
Whether or not you actually finished college or dropped out to live in your parent’s basement, there is still a little flame of curiosity – untouched by society’s pressure – burning bright inside of you. Should you ever feel like life lacks purpose, look within and blast that baby up so hot it scorches your insides.
If we believe that life is a path to self-discovery and the result of a bunch of experiences and adventures can be beneficial, why wouldn’t you want to go and explore things that pique your interest?
Is your brain so burned out from your 9-5 that the idea of reading three chapters on astrology makes want to turn off and watch some bad reality TV? And what if you were to die tomorrow? What if you died no more experienced than the person you were yesterday?
There is so much to learn in this world, and it’s a shame that curiosity has been diluted by semesters, letter grades, and a constant stream of tests that only measure your ability to memorize lectures and PowerPoint slides.
Not to mention, there is nothing sexier than a well-rounded, well-versed woman. When you train your curiosity muscle and get comfortable educating yourself on new topics, you’ll be a lot more flexible and relatable during social interactions.
I’m not saying you need to wake up tomorrow, go to the library, and from then on live your life as an explorer who questions everything. Turning off and simply being in a state of peace is healthy, too. Still, just imagine how much you’d be capable of if you gave into your natural sense of wonder.
So What Now?
We live in an age of information; access to classes, reading, and even knowledge-filled gurus exists right at your fingertips. Questions, answers, and education are all within reach. You have complete control over what you learn and have direct access, as close as your smartphone, to unlimited information, on whatever it is that interests you and more. You can access websites, take free online courses, watch tutorials, and download apps to educate yourself. You can walk to the nearest bookstore and without pulling out your wallet, you can spend all day walking up and down the aisles skimming books written especially for you.
You have to make a conscious effort to feed your curiosity and imagination, because without them you are just a little robot, living your days in stagnant air. You were built to explore, to learn and to grow and with all the resources out there, there’s absolutely no reason you should opt to turn your brain off every night just to wake up and do it all again tomorrow.
Do yourself a favor and make your life worth living. There is so much beauty in the world and so many lessons left behind by those who have already lived and experienced it. There is a history to admire, a future to ponder, and a present to appreciate.
If you die tomorrow, you’ll die knowing you read that astrology book you had always wanted to read.
Tips on expanding knowledge your way:
- Try coursera.org, iTunes University, or browse the web for tutorials on things you want to learn to do.
- Make a top 3 list of things you want to learn and every time you cross one off, add another.
- Make it as much of a priority as you do any other hobby. Once you make it a habit, you’ll see exponential growth.
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to teach yourself?