“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~ Peter Drucker
It is the time of year when our future leaders are graduating from college or high school and are preparing to enter the working world and stake a claim on their future. At least some of them are. Others are just going to let whatever happens, happen. It’s sad when you think about it; just how ill-prepared we are for what the future holds whenever we set out on our journey to conquer giants. The main message I want to get across is this – the public school system or even major university has not prepared you for success, it has merely taught you how to learn. It has provided you with a very basic set of tools with which you are to build your future. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking now that you’ve completed twelve years in the public school system and maybe even four years at a university, that your education is complete. If you are willing to leave your future to chance, then you can accept that, but if your goal is to create the future you really want, then your education is just beginning.
We have a concept we call “continuing education” that can be as major as going back to school to attain an advanced degree or as minor as spending a few evenings getting better at scrap-booking. Either one is certainly a worthy undertaking but there is another form of continuing education that will produce far more results that either of these ventures, even pursuing your master’s or doctorate degree.
I’m talking of course about self-education. What you learned in school was good stuff and certainly has value but as Mr. Drucker (as a side note, I’ve also seen this quote attributed to Buckminster Fuller) said, “If you want to predict your future, you have to create it” and to do that you’re going to need more than just what you learned in school. One of the wisest quotes I’ve ever heard and one that has become one of my favorites is from the late Louis L’Amour in his autobiography when he wrote, “I left school so I could continue my education.” There is far more truth and value in that statement than most of this year’s graduates will ever know.
So the question becomes, “What is the best way to continue my self-education?” They say the first 3 years of life are our formative years and direct who and what kind of person we will be for the rest of our lives. I believe there is a second period of formative years and that is when we reach maturity – when we transition from student to adult. I had first written from child to adult but that isn’t accurate. The difficulty is, going from child to adult is not necessarily based on age. Some are far more mature in their early teens than others are in their forties. I’m talking specifically about those few years after we complete our formal education and begin our working lives. The habits we develop during those years are extremely important to our success. This is the time to create those self-educating study habits that will propel you far beyond your peers and allow you to create the future you desire.
It is a sad reality that many people finish high school, or even college, and never open another book. They will never attend a seminar. They will never take another step towards their own self-education. Their excuse will be that they simply don’t have time and yet, they will have ample time to keep abreast of who gets voted off the island. They will have plenty of time to spend countless hours playing video games. They will even find time to complain to their friends on the phone about how unfair life is and that they just can’t seem to catch a break. But they will never seem to have the time to invest in themselves.
With technology today, self-education is becoming easier and easier. Books on CD are often even less expensive that print books and can be listened to while driving or exercising. With cable and satellite television, we have hundreds of channels to choose from; many of which offer historical, educational and documentary material. The internet has a vast universe of information at our fingertips – or it has an endless supply of garbage. The choice is yours.
We have a choice to make. We can take our diplomas and call it a day. Job well done, now let’s let life happen and just deal with it – come what may. Or we can be proactive in our futures and take control of our lives rather than leaving it to chance. We can invest time in our futures. That time is going to pass whether you spend it reading a good book with valuable information that will further your career or spend it keeping up with the Karcrashians. Don’t just predict your future, create it.
- Ten Tips for a New Graduate Student (mediterraneanworld.wordpress.com)
- 10 Habits College Entrepreneurs Should Forget at Graduation (entrepreneur.com)