The Encarta dictionary defines educating as the imparting and acquiring of knowledge through teaching and learning, especially at a school or similar institution.
Formal education is looked upon as the key to having a successful life by many people all over the world. Young people across the globe have it drummed into their ears by their parents, uncles and aunts “work hard, get good grades so you can go to university get a degree and get a good secure job”. Thus being the reason that many students enter the university and go for medicine ,engineering , law or accountancy , because these are seen as the prestigious courses that can get you a high income job in strong companies and the like. But is that really the only means to success?
I believe that everyone is born with something within them , which is essentially “the goose that lays the golden egg”. There are several groups into which these can be classified. One group of people “the intellectuals” are natural readers, they love to absorb and disperse information. This group consists of the doctors, lawyers professors and research scientists etc.Another group read less and do more, they are good with their hands give them a television that is inoperative and they would dismantle it examine it to find the problem and fix it, these are the “the technical” .Another group are those that come up with things from within themselves, I would call them “the creatives”, they are the actors, recording artists, sculptors, poets, playwrights etc. A completely different group is “the athletes” , they are blessed with physical prowess and excel well above their peers in sports. An individual from the athletes group, can never find fulfillment if he is studying medicine in the university, he may excel but deep down he’s know there is something missing in his life.
There is a belief that without a university degree one can not be successful financially and otherwise in life, but is that really true ? What about those that have learning disabilities, are they doomed to be failures? Dyslexia, a condition that causes the inability to read or write it is known as a special reading disorder, it occurs in 10 to 20 percent of the world’s population and it has different levels of intensity. One of the characteristics is having problem distinguishing the various sounds or phenoms that make up speech. Fluently, is rarely diagnosed and sufferers usually suffer the stigma of being labeled dumb or stupid and relegated to the background. Is there any fate for such people? If they can’t learn, read or write won’t they have difficulty making a living? Apparently, the saying “when God takes something away , he gives something else” rings true in their case. For the first time, new research shows that entrepreneurs are five times more likely to suffer from dyslexia than your average citizen, some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs such as Sir Richard Branson, and Anita Roddick of The Body Shop allegedly suffer from dyslexia. Branson whose Virgin empire includes Telecoms, Soft drinks, Air and Rail transport, Radio and a record company has a personal net worth of over £3 billion, he never walked the halls of a university. World renowned Public and motivational speaker Les Brown was labeled educable mentally retarded when he was in high school, today he earns millions every year from speaking engagements for executives of Fortune 500 companies It is said that Dyslexia forces people to hunt for creative ways to steer through life,ain’t that the truth.
As mentioned earlier there are different groups that individuals belong to, and parents need to discover what group their child belongs to and guide them toward that path. The blinders need to come off our eyes, the blinders that have given us tunnel vision, and brainwashed us into thinking that university education, is the only light at the end of the tunnel. Those in the intellectual group will acquires the degrees at the Universities . “The technical” would hone their skills by attending vocational colleges where they can learn to become world class craftsmen, electricians, blacksmiths, masons,H20 transportation engineers(plumbers), etc. Vocations which are certainly not in short demand. Those in the creative group need to hone their ingrown talent by attending a school for music and performing arts like Julliard where they can major in courses like dance, vocals, a specific instrument or music production. For the athletes they need a sports academy, much like Aspire, a school in Qatar that trains it’s students to be professional athletes, at the same time giving them an education to fall back after their professional careers end or they choose not to go that way. A similar school was portrayed in the Australian teen drama SWEAT.
The essential in life, is a basic secondary school education, which should be standard for every child , after they’ve crossed that bridge each should discover their path , which only they can tread. They question we should ask ourselves is, what would the world be like if people legendary producer Quincy Jones ,who have brought us some of our most loved songs .Football sensation Cristiano Ronaldo who has lead his Manchester United team to victory several times, and is carving his name in the football hall of fame. Crooner Frank Sinatra, a kid from humble beginnings went to seal his name forever in the history of music and has spawned a string of imitators in Harry Connick Jnr, Michael Buble ,movie visionaries Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott ,Alfred Hitchcock,Orson Wells are some of the greatest directors of all time.Quentin Tarantino , whose movie Pulp Fiction is listed as number 7 in imdb top 250 movies of all time, once worked as a video store clerk. What if they had decided to work blue collar jobs, because they felt they had no future without a university degree.
Some of the biggest companies in the world today, were founded by those who just had a dream. Some of them were dubbed stupid ,dumb or retarded by teachers. Some of them were doing great in school, but found no satisfaction from learning theories that were not applicable in the real world. Many of the founders of our most beloved brands started those companies out of a desire within them that could not be satisfied working for a pay check.
Now , don’t get this twisted, i am not knocking or discouraging formal education , i believe and encourage that every one has the minimum of a secondary school education, (high school education to the Americans, and O Levels to the Europeans) But from that point , each has to discover what they have the potential for, whether it be in the Art(music,acting, painting ,sculpting), a university education, business or sports.
However ,even amongst the professionals, many of them have come out of those in the much awed “prestigious” professions to enormous success using their gifts. Best selling author John Grisham was trained as a Lawyer, same thing goes for Michael Crichton , who was trained as a Doctor, he has gone on to become a best selling author and producer of the Emmy Award winning television show ER and many of his noels have been made into blockbuster movies including; Congo,Coma Sphere,Rising Sun ,Jurassic Park and the upcoming West World . Have you heard of the shows ;Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Public, Boston Legal, the man behind them is David E Kelley , who was working in a law firm when a t.v executive came across a script he had written, the rest is history.
Oscar nominated and Grammy Winner Will Smith had a full scholarship to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),but had no intention of going to College because of a dream he ahd to pursue. Friends cast member Lisa Kudrow , graduated with a BSc in Biology with an intention to pursue a career in research. We all know the success they have gone on to achieve , in the careers that their parents fought tooth and nail against.
There are several success stories of those that never got a formal education, one of them is hip hop icon Jay Z , one of the most recognized names in music. Born into a poor home in Brooklyn ,New York, he is a classic rags to riches story. Starting as a young hustling rapper on the streets from scratch he slowly began to build an empire that includes a chain of night clubs, a clothing line and alcoholic beverages, he is part-owner of the NBA team the New Jersey Nets is former head honcho of Def Jam Records and a long line up of endorsements, a club franchise, and real estate .He has a personal net worth of over $300 million and growing, not bad for a kid that never finished high school.
You may go on to say that, i have no talent to speak of . Paris Hilton happens to be one of the most recognized faces on television. The young socialite is a tabloid favorite parties with A list celebrities, she has no talent to speak of, has failed at both a music and acting career, but she gets paid more than some professional speakers to make appearance at social events. She has discovered and harnessed her exhibitionist talent and gets paid up to $100,000 to smile and wave for less than an hour.Even a blogger the self titled Perez Hilton( no relation) has turned his love for gossip into a money spinning venture. I’m not encouraging you to be the next Paris or Perez Hilton, my point is that every one has some form of talent, deep within them all you have to do is look hard enough. I mean look at the Spice Girls.
Today anyone that uses the internet is bound to have come across Yahoo, Google, and Facebook , these global companies were all founded , in college dorm rooms, and made their young creators billionaires before the age of thirty, so their is yet hope for the so called “nerds”(book worms) without musical or athletic talent
In conclusion I will continue to emphasize the need for a basic secondary school education, and then the discovery of one’s own path . I recommend two books, Start Small Finish Big by Fred Deluca co founder of Subways who started the franchise as a teenager looking for a way to fund his college education and Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki a man who is an expert in knowing how to make your money work for you. In his book he mentions his two dads, his biological father and his mentor. His biological father(poor dad) had a PhD, was a working man all his life and died with a burden of debt on his shoulders. His rich dad (mentor) was a high school dropout , who when he died left a million dollar fortune that included real estate and several businesses ,You do the math .