self education

Joi Lto in an all famous Ted talk advocates for learning over education. He says “education is what they do to you, learning is what you do to yourself”.  In the modern world we have seen time and again a group of armatures making something completely different and change the way things are done. Furthermore, nowadays we don’t need a lot of resources to make something meaningful. We just need the drive and a general idea about what we want to achieve. “Compass over maps” meaning it is better to have your true north or an idea about what you want to achieve rather than a detailed plan of how to achieve it. You can figure it on the way. Joi Lto concludes his talk by saying that instead of stressing about trying to predict the future, we can just focus on now, build and improve constantly, instead of waiting to have all the resources or to have everything figured out. Use of simple tools and focusing on being connected, always learning and super present. You can find the full talk here.

In this post I share some of the people that have embraced the essence of self-education. All they have is curiosity, urge to learn and keep improving constantly. These kinds of people are called autodidacts and they are all over us today. There are famous people in history who did magnificent things through self-learning.  Leonardo da Vinci and Charles Darwin are some of the most famous examples. In the current times, it is almost a necessity to constantly undertake self-education if you want to be excellent in your craft.

Julius Yego: Yego is referred to as the YouTube athlete. He learnt how to throw javelin by watching YouTube videos. In 2015, he became the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in a championship event and went on to win silver medal in Rio Olympics in 2016. The guy shares his amazing story with  Go Pro.


Sean Parker: Sean co-founded Napster,a peer to peer file sharing internet service that mainly focused on sharing music online. The company was however shut down for copyright infringement. He went in to found Plaxo, an early social media platform and he was later pushed out. He then joined Facebook in its early days and became the founding president. He made his fortune here and is now focused on his foundation which aims to find cure for cancer. Sean Parker did not go to college but spends time gaining knowledge about his areas of interest.

Meet 15 year old kevin Doe from Sierra Leone who made a community radio generator.

In Kenya,  we seen on TV young people making unconventional airplanes, cars etc. Take John and Benjamin,  two 21 year olds who made a limousine out of an old car. They say in this article that, they found online material showing that a limousine could actually be made by stretching a normal car. Armed with information from online sources and curiosity, the two who are students from Nairobi Technical Training Institute have made a functional limousine from a Nissan B14.
Serena and Venus Williams at 12 and 14 already knew that somehow they would end up playing Tennis.

Nassim Taleb says that “Knowledge gives you a bit of an edge, BUT tinkering (trial and error) is the equivalent of 1,000 IQ points. It is tinkering that allowed the industrial revolution”.  More and more universities are undertaking massive open online courses (MOOCs) and therefore the trend towards self-education is set to grow. The area of computer science is registering high level of self-learning. Nowadays there are open courses from MIT open courseware and other online learning platforms such as Udemy, Khan Academy, Code Academy, Coursera. If you want to start a children’s school, Peter Diamandis suggests that you should aim to instill more curiosity, imagination and help them to become more confident in their abilities and when they are more confident,they are wiling to work harder and be more creative. Education should instill more curiosity.I hope as a country we forge this path.

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