As much as we would like to plan and predict, a pandemic, a bank failure or a cyber war can bring the global economy crumbling to its knees. We’ve seen this happen in 2008, and then again in 2020. Who knows when the next black swan event will have us shielding for cover in our homes for months on end? 🏠
The amount of volatility in the world seems to have increased manyfold. The rate at which information travels across the internets means that a trigger event in one part of the world can influence people in another in a matter of seconds. Diseases spread faster than we can contain them. The madness of the last 12 months has shown that as a race, we’re just not equipped to deal with rapid change. We deny and we delay, and ultimately end up being the cause of our own suffering. 📉
Nature seems to be angry too 😠 Climate change and as yet unknown diseases are likely to hit us hard in the years and decades to come. And we don’t even know how AI will change the essence of life and work in the future. Well, we do, but not very precisely.
In short, it is imperative that we prepare ourselves — intellectually, emotionally and physically for a world that will change quicker than we can handle. For such a world, we need to train ourselves to adjust our map of reality so it corresponds to what is happening, as frequently as needed.
Alright, alright Ryan, what’s your point? 🤔
It is probable that a number of jobs that will exist in ten, and definitely twenty years from now, have not been invented yet. New industries seem to be getting created everyday, bringing forth creative destruction. Creative destruction is where old, outdated ways and methods give rise to newer, more innovative industries.
Creative destruction is the manmade process of creating economic value out of adversity, for adversity always seems to bring with it opportunity.
This means that rapid learning, rapid reskilling and a mindset that takes on new challenges will be crucial to survive and thrive in the future. Learning in school is usually unidimensional — it is driven by predetermined outcomes and hence does not allow for incidental learning.
As such, children start life with a focus on skills (most early years education pedagogies like Montessori etc focus on skills), and then after middle school, they are forced out of this skill acquisition mode and into grade acquisition mode. Most are able to focus on skills only post college, once the demands of the formal education system have been met.
But we know very well that it is skills, and the performance of skills at a level nearing mastery, is what brings us happiness, fulfilment and financial progress.
The world pays you for what you can do, and not for what you know.
But how does one become the kind of person who can enjoy throwing themselves into the deep end to learn new skills, regularly and as often as required?
Micromastery Course I conducted in April
Fortunately, there is a method. Robert Twigger wrote about it at length in his book Micromastery. This summer, inspired by some of the ideas in Robert’s book, I plan to take children on a month long journey where they will learn not only a varied collection of skills, but also the science of why the brain works in the way that it does.
I hope that this will give them a good grounding in how to explore the art of learning, how to sharpen their learning muscle and then to be able to make their own experiments for the rest of their lives. To be fair, having worked with children for 8 years now, I can tell you with certainty that children already do this — this is how they learn, intuitively and naturally. This course will help them build process and habits into their learning, through the use of the latest research into how the human brain learns.
To come back to the point I was making earlier — the most adaptable are those that can enjoy the process of learning, and can use efficient methods to get to mastery whenever they need to. Heard of a guy called Elon Musk? Well, Elon is basically a super fast, super efficient learner. But that doesn’t mean that it is out of bounds for the rest of us — in fact, it is very possible to learn as well as Elon does with the right mindset and exposure to ideas.
And what are my credentials to conduct a course like this? Well, without getting into the nitty gritties of my academic pedigree, here are the skills I’ve learned in the last ten years:
- HTML, CSS and a wee bit of JS to hack together simple websites 💻
- Cocktail making 🍹 (My Old Fashioned is pretty good!)
- Enough python to make simple games 🐍 (would love to learn more, time permitting)
- Jump rope tricks (this one’s a work in progress for sure) 👟
- Enough about bitcoin and blockchain to be able to teach it to other people 💰
- Went from never having written a blog to having more than 300,000 📙 people read my articles in the last 7 years ✍️
- Meditation 🔇
- Philosophy and pedagogy of Montessori and Reggio Emilia 🍃
- Canva 🖌
- The perfect scrambled egg 🍳 (to my taste anyway!)
- R programming for data analysis 📈 (again, definitely work in progress!)
- Experimenting with ideas in education 👨🔬
- DJing, albeit focusing exclusively on electronic music 🎵
To name a few. Point is, I’ve run enough experiments on myself to be able to help the children along in their experimentation. You might be thinking — some of these are really lame. And making a scrambled egg?! Really?
Yes, they are probably lame, but the process followed to gain mastery is the same:
- Find something you enjoy, or think you might enjoy
- Tinker with it yourself, start making and see how good you can get on your own
- Show an expert what you’ve made — how do they do it? What are the points of mastery that got them to that level?
- Incorporate expert advice / points of mastery to your own practice
- Repeat and tinker
- Experiment with possibilities / variations
- Repeat and tinker
Microlearning is great because it provides immediate feedback. Having immediate feedback loops ensures that you feel good about what you are learning (dopamine release), and also can course correct as often as needed.
So tell me, what aspects of microlearning do you enjoy?