Traditional education might be important to you, and in our society, but there’s nothing quite like experience. Education, like everything else, can be improved, not just by working within our current system, but by going outside it to find better, more inspiring, more enjoyable and efficient ways to accomplish the same goals. Whether you are in elementary school, finishing college, a professional, a work around the clock parent, or retired, continue learning – create opportunities to grow, gain new perspectives and be open to change. Get connected, not just online, but in to your community – near and far. Ultimately the lessons you’ll learn and the people you meet along the way will better serve all you do, and all you are.
Volunteer. There are many amazing charitable organizations doing great things that run on the support of volunteers. Find whatever cause is important to you, and search online to find others who are already working together to make positive change. Volunteering is a great way to get connected to a cause, get involved with community, make new friends, and learn new skills. (And it feels really good to give back. Try it!)
Farm. If you love food, then you should to experience going back to the roots. A day on a farm will help you gain an appreciation for what’s on your plate and what it took to get there (and that makes everything taste so much better!). Once I started to grow my own vegetables, I stop wasting food in my kitchen – that single carrot takes a lot of time and love to get onto your plate, so eating and using the whole thing became a challenge I was up for, and now enjoy. Planting seeds, harvesting crops, caring for plants and animals, and equipment too – a farmer’s day is long and physical, unpredictable and incredibly rewarding (for us all!). Get to know your farmers, support them, and you will forever change your approach and perspective to eating well. I always say, “Keep your friends close, and your farmers closer.”
Serve. The lessons you can learn and skills you can develop from serving at a restaurant are endless, but include memory recall, face recognition, multi-tasking, coordination, sales, customer service, conflict resolution, and more. As a server, you get out what you put in, you learn to work with a team (because your income depends on it), and you get to see what people are really like (note: a person who is nice to you but isn’t nice to a server, isn’t really a nice person). If you are an entrepreneur, or want to be, think of this as bootcamp training.
Try. Try new stuff. Take up yoga, try your friend’s favourite restaurant, reach out to someone you would like to meet and offer to buy them a green juice (instead of the typical coffee), intern for a company that you can contribute to AND learn from, the opportunities are endless. Don’t worry about what conventional society thinks we should be doing to learn…think about what you want, and try it. Your worst case is that you learn that you don’t like it, and have to try something else. Sounds sort of fun, right?
Watch. If you haven’t seen this TED Talk about what happens when a 13 year old is “unschooled”, watch and get SUPER inspired. I certainly was. Hackschooling is a term we should all get comfortable with.
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. ~Bucky Fuller