“What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul”
~Joseph Addison, the 17th Century British Politician, Writer, and playwright
One of the most under-appreciated facts of life is education, continued education to be more precise. Starting immediately after birth, education, in a majority of cases, lasts only until the time one starts to earn a livelihood.
The feeling of accomplishment suppresses our urge to continue honing our skills. No wonder, for many, their first job proves to be the last as well. They do feel and often displayed with a sense of pride their retirement gift of a gold watch for life-long service for the same organization.
The above scenario might have given a sense of high achievement to those working hard in the days gone by. However, with due regards to those that served with distinction and total dedication their singular employer, I must highlight the pitfalls in present-day changing dynamics of technology taking over a majority of human functions at a break-neck speed.
Employment is slowly losing its relevance. This is especially true in the case of Generation ‘Z,’ those born between the years 1991 to 2001. Although they count among the millennials (born between 1981 and 2001,) this group has adapted technology more or less as its mother tongue. These individuals resist control and dominance. They do not like being given directions and will not let anyone exercise control over his or her freedom, habits, tastes, social circle and/or way of working.
What do you get when you marry Free Spirit with Advanced Technology: Free Birds out to explore the Outer Limits. They have the innate desire to go beyond the norm. They are keen to educate themselves per their own free will and not in a classroom setting. The resulting Open University concept is a living proof of this changing dynamic.
When we take a closer look at this change, it is not hard to deconstruct the equation and learn from it. The need of the hour, for all of us, passed the above age, is to make education a life-long ‘mantra’ and start re-inventing ourselves. I am not suggesting here that we need to compete with them for fear of losing our own jobs. On the contrary, our continued education will empower us to understand their approach to any given situation in a more agreeable, rather than confrontational, manner.
New technology knocking at our doors in the shape of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is hiding many a little secret in its bosom. To understand the same so we could use them as essential tools of further growth demands some sacrifice. It is this effort, coupled with a keen desire to stand on an even keel with the younger generation that will help us pass on to them the invaluable experiences we have gathered in our own lifetime.
An even more important contribution of continuing education lies in preparedness we build within, to handle challenges. The good news is that we can all do it, with little to no diversion of our finances and or time off from work.
Many institutions offer online courses for a nominal fee in almost every imaginable field. Majority of these courses require four to six hours a week of our time over a couple of months. Once you have the Certificate of Completion, an immediate sense of pride turns into better job opportunities.
The way I see it, learning from our suffering and hardships is a very valuable part of our education. It helps strengthen our resolve and makes us stronger in the face of adversity. At the same time, learning to educate ourselves further, especially at a time when the majority in our own age group is least prepared helps hone our skills for more challenging opportunities. It prepares us for advancement to act as a viable bridge between generations.
It is this sense of connectivity on both ends, like a formidable bridge, that creates a semblance of an outstanding sculpture carved out of a block of stone that others failed to see through and carve. It is up to us and no one else to decide whether we want to live like a block of marble that finds comfort in its current situation or to allow continued education to carve a delightful sculpture out of our personality that benefits masses through the combined wisdom of both experience and knowledgeable updates.
History is replete with quotations from our predecessors expounding on the importance of learning until our last breath. The current trend of the olden days’ mind-boggling science fiction coming to fruition makes it imperative for us to pay heed to those words of wisdom and make learning a continuous process. Failure to do so will have nothing but a drastic downturn in our fortunes, with no one else to blame but ourselves.
ADOPT IT & KEEP FORGING AHEAD, FORGET IT, & LOSE IT ALL