About 4 years back, I was just finishing up my third year of university. I came back from an internship with fresh web programming skills. Going back to school was tough because I always felt drained and always questioned whether there was any value to me spending time here. I was a little less poorer than before (thanks to the internship), but still a poor student, both financially and knowledgeably.
Few months back from today, I took a Education course. One memorable class, we watched a TED talk by Ken Robinson titled “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” There were some interesting thoughts in that talk. What stroke me was that Ken mentioned “we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it.” Let’s step back to the past to a 6 year old me, still picking his nose and wetting his bed from time to time, I had some embarrassing moments, but I was creative. I love to draw, and everyday I would pick up a pencil and a paper and draw whatever came from my imagination.
Fast forward us 2 years, I would stop picking up the pencil and start writing and learning the multiplication tables. All valuable skills, but the common structure of mathematics, sciences, and languages were hammered into me until I graduated high school.
Cameron Herold gave a Ted Talk focused on raising kids to be entrepreneurs. He told stories of how he had his kids tell him stories for bedtime instead of the other way around and how he use to collect golf balls in the bottom of ponds because there was value in that. Now, that is creativity.
In both talks, important points were highlighted, but the note of passion isn’t quite given its own spotlight. Albeit, it was hinted at through Robinson’s recollection of Gillian Lynne and Cameron’s memory of collecting hangers. My own definition of passion is the natural force that motivates and propels an individual to start and/or continue a series of actions.
Stepping back to my third year of university, I created a youtube channel and worked on it for about half a year creating a series of lectures on subjects that I personally found difficult in university. It’s was called CourseHack. We stopped working on it because our passion for it fell through. Surprisingly enough, it now has about 4,400 subscribers compared to 1,300 when we stopped. Right now, I’m working on a platform called MealShelf that allows grocers to list their products. Customers can find out what their local grocers have for them and the price. That is where my current passion lies.
It is the passion that makes life quite fulfilling and fun. It brings people to you because instead of sitting on the couch, you are working on what you strongly believe in – whatever that may be. Truly, I think it does breed happiness. As I rethink about my experiences so far, we do need to learn to be strong and know when to let go of something when we are losing the passion. For example, take CourseHack. We stopped because we didn’t want to do it anymore. There were no regrets because we tried it and we left with both positive and memorable experiences.
To tie this all together, a lot of people are fine with going to school, take a 9-5, work till your 65 and retire. However, life is pretty boring if things are all planned like that. School, as it is now, kills passion. Without passion, there is no creativity (I would never have given entrepreneurship another shot if I didn’t try it with CourseHack). Without creativity, there’s no entrepreneurs.
As we step back and take a look at the goliath struggle of job searching for new graduates due to supply and demand, we can pinpoint what may be the root of the problem – the structure of the education system. Recently, I completed a curriculum with an accelerator called Spring. In terms of valuable skills, I definitely got more from Spring in 2 months for $500 than I did with university for four years and $40,000.
To conclude, if you’re thinking of switching careers or which career path to take, then know where your passion lies. It might make for a better choice and a better world.