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The Adventure of Peak Learning

milford sound

For me it all started with a nagging thought in the back of my mind. I remember the thick college text books wrapped in clear plastic with pictures scrolled across the book covers. Each semester I unwrapped the package as if this was learning. Yet something seemed wrong. These books promised knowledge, but after each semester I was unsatisfied. Boredom. Drudgery. Stress. After the lectures faded from my mind, I kept wondering what was the point? I was exchanging a fortune for a diploma, but was I wasting myself?

 

 

We begin life being led. They teach us how to read, how to write, how to think, where to go, what to be. During our early years learning is packaged and given to us. Many never leave this stage. For others there comes a revelation.

For me it began slowly: questions, quiet whispers in my soul. Then, I woke up. My learning, my career, my journey was mine. Society had drawn a map, but the map was wrong. My family, friends, and teachers had all been leading me according to this map. Not anymore. I was climbing a mountain to reach its snowy summit and paused on the path to peek out. The fog had lifted. The air was clear. I could see for myself. After that moment, I was no longer led by the maps of others. I drew my own. I made my own adventure.

 

Puzzles with Missing Pieces

Where should I go with my new found freedom? I began to talk to a lot of people. I found that others shared my experiences. The real world was more like an episode of Survivor than the halls of Boy Meets World. Many people felt the longing for a deeper more satisfying pursuit of life and knowledge. I had spent so much time in school and yet so little of it was spent seeking knowledge that I desired to find. I write this blog to break off the shackles of failed paradigms and find meaning. Learning is an exciting journey. Drawing your own maps helps you navigate the broken bridges of life and find the hidden treasures.

Indeed throughout my time in school, few teachers bothered to bring me insight. They trained me to do well on tests. Expensive knowledge was pumped into me and honestly, it leaked out like a sieve. I almost felt cheated when I realized the lessons of life weren’t neatly wrapped in a beautiful textbook. It seems strange to me today how our world of education is so removed from actual learning. The classes I took in college didn’t carry over to the jobs I held in the real world. The knowledge that makes you an all-star in the hollow lectures of the classroom, leaves you feeling inept in the social world of business. My boss has never handed me a book that described the ins-and-outs of the complicated projects I’ve taken on. The pictures I’m given aren’t the prints scrolled on textbooks. Rather, life offers puzzles with missing pieces.

Learning is an Adventure

In my musings, I wondered what metaphor best describes real-world learning. Perhaps the Serengeti. You want to learn enough to avoid the lion’s hunting ground, the zebra’s stampede, and the hippo’s hefty bite. Or maybe, you’re on the grimy decks of a ship at sea as you fend off pirates shooting counter facts at your unfurled presentation? But I’m probably being overly dramatic. Amidst all of it I want to instill in you the adventure that learning can become.

Adventurous learning is essential to every part of your life. Your mind retains the exciting and dismisses the boring, and retaining information is everything in our information-rich world. The flow of knowledge can be overwhelming. The ideas stack up. The experts explain how to improve your career, business, or family. They counsel you to experience life while conquering it. They train you to eat healthy and offer you recipes for cake. Why not strengthen your mind, fine-tune relationships, improve yourself, find God, discover your destiny … the lessons stretch on towards the sunset, beyond the distant mountain, and past the oceans steeped in adventure. Indeed, today’s information-rich world requires a new type of learning or else you will fall prey to the teeth of a lion, the information-spouting pirates, or the treacherous path before us. 

For me, the days of braving the hot Texas sun with a 50lbs backpack full of textbooks is gone. However, the challenges of today loom larger than those of yesterday. Can you assimilate the infinitude of the internet? Have you read Amazon’s 800,000 kindle books? What you don’t know can be more important than what you know. So much to learn, so little time.

The Treasure Map

Here’s a humble attempt at building a ship to sail the vast expanses of knowledge. I worked on this treasure map for hours, before being told by my wife that it was over the top. :) In the spirit of finding my own path I decided to post it anyways. I hope you like it.

This map outlines many of the subjects that I employ as I seek to climb to the peak of learning. I'll be expanding on them in future articles, or you can learn more by taking my online course (here). Please email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with questions or comments. I enjoy the discussions I get from those who read my posts.

Peak-Learning

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of mountain by Paul Bica.

 
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