Your Genius Could Be Waiting at The Library
Ask any recent college graduate with a massive student debt load, and they will tell you that a leader’s education better be important!
I believe they are right. But how we obtain that education varies.
Historically, we trained under others who would invest time and energy to teach us the ropes. Today, it seems we are rarely at a job long enough to learn the basics, nevermind the finesse.
Do You Need a College Degree for Others To Follow You?
Leadership, after all, is about someone leading others. We can see a three-year-old child in the playground, inspiring others to do what they say. They use a variety of tools, some their mama’s are proud of, some not. (smile) But in all cases, we witness the impact one person can have over others. I propose that one of the keys to their leadership success is the confidence they display because they know something that others don’t (or possess the innate ability to convince them that they do).
If you have very little formal education or none at all, be encouraged. Great things were accomplished by people who took it upon themselves to learn every day. They may not have all the dates and formulas and rituals down pat, but people who have the desire to learn will see the reward.
The Controversial 20 Under 20 Program
Maybe you have heard of the Theil Foundation and their 20 under 20 program, which encourages some young people to forego a formal education and learn as a business entrepreneur. Their rationality, as presented by Allyson Dias, director of the foundation, is quoted below.
Leaving behind the safety of the classroom and choosing to build a business instead isn’t easy or glamorous. But our Fellows have found what we suspect to be true more broadly: young people learn best by doing things in the real world.
They may be on to something. As of June of 2018, their fellows were worth over 3 billion combined. They began the program in 2011.
People say that companies are looking for degrees. Companies are looking for results.
The Genius Of Self Motivated Learning
Learning to do awesome things without spending a decade in higher education is not new. Some of the world’s most brilliant people have learned on their own and changed the way we live.
Gregor Mendel – You may have heard of him as he is accredited with the discovery of how genetics work. Kind of a big deal, right? You may not know, however, that Gregor was an uneducated monk! He was born in the Czech Republic in 1822. Like many of the young leaders today, he couldn’t afford to go to college. So he went to the monastery instead. His awareness of duplication while gardening led him to study.
Of course, his work was sidelined as no one believed what he had to say, for two main reasons. One, what is he talking about? We have never even heard of such a thing! (Mendel’s discovery is a massive key in understanding human existence). And the other, well, no surprise here; he didn’t have a degree. So, in this case, he did not receive any accolades. Not until the turn of the 20th century. His leadership had a delayed response, that’s true.
Leaders Find a Way to Learn What They Need to Know
THE POINT ISN’T ABOUT HIS POPULARITY. The real point to my story is that he had eyes to see. He noticed something that made him curious, and he applied himself to learning everything he could on the subject, until he became the teacher.
Don’t underestimate the power of your self-education. Leaders keep learning!
Michael Faraday – This bookbinder, an uneducated man, started reading the books from work. He must have taken some long coffee breaks because Michael Faraday is known for discovering such things as electromagnetic induction, benzene, induction, benzene, and the shape of magnetic fields He discovered metallic nano-particles (thought to be the birth of nano-science) and more. (Source)
A Leader, A Woman, A Negro, and Uneducated
Rosa Parks – She was not the first black woman who refused to head to the back of the bus because a “white” person jumped on board. But she is the humble black woman who was smart enough to lead a movement that changed the USA and echoed around the world. It was Ms. Parks who recruited a humble preacher, one Martin Luther King, to help in her cause. She was fortunate enough to attend rural elementary school until age 11 and later enrolled in a teacher’s college for a short time before dropping out to care for her sick mother and grandmother.
There are many of the top universities offering free courses. YouTube, Linkedin Learning, Skillshare, and so many more, including our local libraries, we have no excuse. As leaders, every tool we need is available. There are free mentoring programs in counties, cities, states, and neighborhoods. You can be a leader who commands respect for what you know and knows how to use if you will take the challenge to learn, and learn every day.
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