Have you ever heard of the inoculation theory of education?
This is where people go through school or college, get a diploma, degree or whatever, and then use that to inoculate themselves from having to do any more studying. I member the late, great Earl Nightingale recounting a conversation he had with a young man, who had recently graduated. He told Earl he would never read another non-fiction book again. He was done with learning and wanted to start working.
The challenge with that extremely common approach was highlighted by Jim Rohn. Jim used to tell us:
A formal education can make you a living, but a self-education can make you a fortune.
I was a very poor student at school, but committed at the age of 21 to dedicate myself to life-long learning. I determined to read the books, attend the courses and do whatever was required, for me to be the best that I could be. Almost 25 years later, I am still a ferocious reader and am more committed to learning than ever. I can tell you with total certainty that my decision to embrace life-long learning, is directly responsible for every success I have achieved.
In my experience, learning, true learning, means more than just blindly accepting everything you read or hear from an expert. It means gathering information from the best sources you can find, and questioning what they say! Those you see online, accepting and agreeing like drones with everything their gurus tell them, are learning nothing. They are simply gathering information, of often dubious value, from people who are just as fallible as you or I, and treating it as fact.
I see the process like this:
- Read the books
- Attend the courses
- Listen to the audio programs
- Put what you have discovered to the test
- Measure your results and keep what works