Suppressing Our Human Superpower

Apparently a lot of people got offended by my last article about school. As a parent I worry about the education system. Though, I’m slowly realizing that it’s in my hands now. I think education is very important. But the current system has focused on one part of the brain while excluding the side we need for the future.

Do you remember going to school? Well, it was built to teach us to be great workers. It’s a fact, that’s why it was built. It taught us that if you memorize something long enough you will pass the test. If you do that very well you may get into a great school and one day be hired by the best companies. It worked for many but it’s not working so well these days.

Today Google’s got all the facts. We don’t really need to memorize, we just “Google” it. Computers are much better at storing memory than us.

School was about obedience, to following the rules to precision because that falls in line with the factory model. A robot is the perfect student for school. It would pass with flying colours.

One thing is for sure, school never taught us to step outside the box. Stepping outside the box was bad. That’s where all the dropouts and misfits went. We needed to sit down, be quiet and get to work. This mentality has made us terrified to take a chance. I know because I’ve spoken at colleges and universities and the fear is ingrained.

The current system has worked for the economy for a long time. And it’s still working in many industries but we’re starting to see the changes. The problem is the way we work is changing. The goal isn’t to create workers anymore, it’s to create innovators. The reason in my last article I said school needed a revamp is because teaching people to become innovators is the complete reverse of what the school system currently does. I can’t imagine how many Elon Musks we’ve suppressed because they were distracted in the class, thinking about flying to Mars.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Albert Einstein

We now have the internet, we have technologies replacing humans with AI, robotics and automation. That means people are losing their jobs and wondering why it’s so hard to find another one. The school system that has always been there to validate your worth with grades means nothing anymore. It’s just a meaningless number for a changing job market. The luxury schools, the degrees and accolades is all marketing using scarcity (here’s a book on that). These accolades are meaningless to the next generation. We are slowly moving away from the analytical and into the creative. The arts are very important for kids because it helps build their sense of imagination – the human superpower. They get to express themselves and push boundaries. Artists take chances and change the status quo.

We need more artists. We need problem solvers who aren’t going to be punished for making a mistake. We need parents to not worry so much about grades or getting into the right schools. Love your kids unconditionally for who they are (regardless of grades) and they will have the judgment to figure it out when the time comes.

Also published on Medium.

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