Two thoughts on learning

Derek Sivers delivered a speech at The Berklee School of Music in 2008 that I came across the other day. There were two points in the speech I wanted to discuss in brief. You should read/watch the original, it’s thoughtful and concise. He numbered his points, here’s numbers two and three…

#2 : Do not accept their speed limit. Berklee classes set a pace the average student can keep.

If you do the minimum to graduate, you’re leaving so much on the table. I don’t know anything about Derek’s socio-economics pre-college. But not everyone comes into school at the same level. That does not mean these people are lesser than anyone else. If you can test out of half your college courses, that’s great, if your goal is to leave college as fast as possible… and maybe your economic situation necessitates that. Having courses set at the median speed allows less privileged people an on-ramp. If you are one of these people, you can still change the world. Remember plenty of great artists are self-taught, and there are plenty of musicians who succeed with only an innate understanding of arranging, or can’t even read music.

#3 : Nobody will teach you anything. You have to teach yourself.

This is the number one thing no one teaches students. A great teacher can present you with the right information at the right level for you to understand it. But ultimate skill is to teach yourself to learn. Teachers can help, but you are responsible for doing the work. You can learn from almost anything, and very rarely will you come across something that spells out exactly what you need to know. You need to trash about in your own context to learn the material. You have to push through the discomfort to get to the other side.