Learning Beats Education Every Time

Let’s say your assigned task is to build a bridge.  

Education is getting all the tools and training before you build the bridge.  

Learning is building the bridge while you walk on it.  

Education often happens in artificial settings.  Learning often happens in real-life settings.

Education is linear.  Learning is circular.  

This isn’t a diatribe against education.  Instead, it’s a nod toward real-life.  For example, real-life leadership settings don’t often follow a sequence of a + b = c.  Instead, real-life leadership settings often look like a + b = 72.  Real-life is unpredictable, surprising, fast and challenging.  Education can’t prepare for the unknown challenges that have yet to happen. This is why having the mindset of a learner is a superior way to think.  

“What have we learned?” is a helpful question from the world of education.  

“What are we learning?” is a far greater question from the world of learners.  

Think of it as a current challenge.  Instead of trying to figure it out and find a solution, simply ask the question: “What are we learning?” Ask of it yourself, your team and your customers. Not only does this take the pressure off of trying to find a solution, this question and mindset counterintuitively help you find the solution.   

Should you pursue an education? Absolutely. But don’t be lulled into thinking that your education has prepared you for the unexpected challenges of tomorrow.  Have the mindset of a learner.  Ask, “What are we learning?” This is how to build the bridge as you walk on it.

David Butler challenged us to always have the mindset of a learner and innovator in last week's podcast. Missed it? Listen now.