Never stop learning
"You squandered $ 150,000 on an education you could have gotten at the public library for $ 1.50 in fines for delivering your books late."
- Matt Damon, The Indomitable Will Hunting
You go through the forest walking and you meet a lumberjack, furiously beating a tree with his ax. He has all the muscles in tension and his body is bathed in sweat by the effort, but even so the blows hardly affect the trunk of the tree. You realize that the problem is that the ax is dull, so kindly indicate it to you:
- Excuse me, your ax is dull. If you took 10 minutes to sharpen it, surely it would be much easier to cut that tree.
- Impossible! I do not have time for that, I'm too busy felling.
Surely the lumberjack's stance seems absurd to you, but that is exactly how most people behave today. They believe that their education ends when they leave the university, that they are ready for the workplace for the rest of their lives. However, the reality is that the world is constantly evolving and, if we want to keep our ax sharp, we can not stop learning and updating ourselves at any time.
I think many people stop learning because they believe that education = university. That's why, when they see that they need new knowledge, they sign up for a master's degree. They do not realize that they can usually learn the same thing but better, faster and cheaper by reading books by authors with practical experience in that field, testing what they have learned in the real world and receiving feedback.
When I was studying Computer Engineering at university, there were things I did not understand. For starters, I felt a deep disconnect between what they taught me and the real world. Why is Software Engineering teaching me a person who has never shiped software in their life? Then, I had to invest hours and effort in subjects that did not interest me and that I knew beforehand that they would not serve me at all. Finally, there were subjects that I thought would be very useful in the future, such as web programming, but I could not learn because there was no class on the subject.
Therefore, discovering that it was possible to self-educate was for me how to discover the Holy Grail. I could learn about any topic directly from the world's greatest experts, at my own pace and for only a few euros! Since then, I have read dozens of non-fiction books on a multitude of subjects, from finance to psychology, and I have learned important things that I would never have been taught in college.
I'm not going to tell you not to go to university, but I'm going to recommend that you do not study any master's degree (unless you want to do a PhD and dedicate yourself to research). If your intention is to create your own company or work for one, you will get much more out of your money, time and effort if you read the best of your field and apply their teachings in your personal projects.
If you already have a job, do not stop learning. Read continuously about the latest trends in your field and, if you have not done so yet, read the classics as well. What you learn will have a great impact on your daily work, which, in the long run, will result in a better position and a better salary. Also, in case they kick you out, you'll be much more prepared to get ahead because you will not have been outdated.
Finally, there is a series of general skills and knowledge that are fundamental and that you should learn as soon as possible. Here are some of them:
English. ESSENTIAL. If you still do not know English, you may consider yourself illiterate.
Social relationships. This skill is worth its weight in gold. Whatever you do, you will have to relate to others.
Finance. I have seen many people have a hard time and lose the fruit of years of work for not having a minimum knowledge about investments and how to manage money.
Negotiation. A skill that is used continuously and that goes far beyond the business world. You negotiated with your mother the time to return home when you were 16 years old, and you negotiate with your partner the place where you are going to go on vacation.
Psychology. How does the mind work? How do we make decisions? Why do we do things that in the sight of anyone do not have any rational sense? Having a basic understanding of this will help you a lot.
Read at least one nonfiction book every two weeks. Choose among the following:
- Books of experts with practical experience in your field
- Classic books in your field
- Books on general skills
- Books on any other topic that interests you
Apply what you learn in your work or in your personal projects.
Share what you learn through your platform