Abraham Lincoln once said: “If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.”
That’s what education is all about: preparing yourself to face difficult challenges!
Even though education is expensive, it’s worth the effort.
Education is not just a ticket for landing a worthy job; it’s a tool that makes life easier and more meaningful.
But before I tell you why education is so important, you need to understand what education really means.
What does education really mean?
According to Oxford, education is: “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.“
But that’s a pretty lightweight definition for such a profound word. Moreover, Oxford is addressing its formal meaning.
The education I’d like to share with you is the one defined as learning everything. From knowledge and skills to values and beliefs, education is about growing to become a better person.
In a nutshell, education is everything you acquire in life.
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” –John Dewey
Still not convinced?
Here are six reasons why education is so important.
1. Financial security
I want to discuss the practical side of education first.
Everyone is taking formal education not fundamentally for the sake of learning but for the sake of securing a career — a bright future.
As straightforward and mediocre as that sounds, that’s reality.
The first reason that makes formal education so coveted is its ability to prime you for your vocation.
People trust formally educated people more than those who are self-taught or who have learned through experience.
I’ll give you a real example:
There are plenty of business majors today.
The majority of them have gone to college to get a degree and learn the tricks of the trade to make a business successful.
They’ve studied for years.
However, there are also tycoons out there who have no formal training but have established several successful businesses.
To name one, Richard Branson – Founder of Virgin Group.
But here’s the concern: If you have no clue about who Richard Branson is, would you honestly partner with him knowing that he has no college degree?
Would you invest thousands of dollars in someone who only has experience?
The answer is likely ‘no’ if you answered it truthfully.
That seems negative, right?
But here’s how that applies to you.
Once you complete college, you’re going to have a sharper edge over everyone else who doesn’t.
You’re going to be that axe that old Abraham Lincoln sharpened.
You will be the preferred choice, thus allowing you to have a better income. Moreover, in time, your experiences will refine you and may propel you even further than Richard Branson.
Other than being financially secure, education can boost your confidence. And confidence translates to better opportunities.
A confident person can reach greater heights in life.
Confidence gives you the courage to pursue what you want to achieve, and it’s the very first step to actual execution.
You may dream about becoming a CEO one day, or you may want to close a million-dollar contract, but that will never materialize if you can’t take action just because you don’t believe in yourself.
There are several ways how education gives you confidence:
When you educate yourself, you become more knowledgeable.
The better your vocabulary, the easier it is for you to deliver your message.
Communication skills are heavily refined in school, where you are encouraged to participate in answering questions and discussing your assigned topics.
A confident person is always firm with his decision as he backs it with knowledge and data. That is a result of studying and research, which is education.
Education will help you weigh things logically. You will have a deep understanding of cause and effect, which makes you better at making decisions.
Education makes you mature. If you understand things right and your will to learn comes from a good place, you will grow and become humble.
Knowing that there’s an infinite pool of things to know about, you become better at accepting information — positive or negative.
Education allows you to accept criticism confidently in any situation.
Education protects you from everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.
As I’ve mentioned, education is every knowledge that you acquire.
If you educate yourself, you become prepared for whatever life throws at you.
In a situation where you have to survive, you are well-taught in school about how our bodies work. Given that to be the case, you should know that you need to source water and food as your priority.
Now, that was quite a crude example.
But we can take things one step further by at least knowing the laws of your country.
When you educate yourself on these laws, you’re less likely to get abused or exploited in your workplace or any public setting. Moreover, you will be aware of your rights, allowing you to fight back and stand your ground when push comes to shove.
Now, you can say that “I’m a cautious person, and I will never put myself in a position that I will have to deal with anything legal in my life.“
That may not be certain, but it shows great confidence that you have educated yourself well enough to avoid anything that may put you in such a situation.
Education is protection.
Education not only protects us, but it also encourages us to do what is best for everyone.
Educated people are advocates of safety, development, benevolence, and happiness.
As education provides security, more and more people will no longer have to resort to unlawful activities to survive. One less uneducated man means one less possible extremist to fight.
Being educated doesn’t mean you can’t have beliefs; it means that you understand that everyone can, and there’s no problem with that.
Most wars (even as micro as household fights) are caused by opposing ideas that could have been fixed through discussion, compassion, and the willingness to find a solution that would satisfy both parties.
5. A solution to global problems
Great minds, the likes of Jordan Peterson, strongly believe that educating everyone is the key to solving every problem on the planet.
Whether we’re talking about global warming, inequality, poverty, and even drug abuse, the answer is education.
Education is the enhancement of humanity.
The more geniuses we produce, the better technology we develop.
The better technology we have, the more solutions we create for our world problems.
Today, one company that reiterates this belief is Tesla, Inc.
Founded by a highly educated person, Elon Musk, the company provides an answer to reducing the carbon footprint on the planet.
Tesla manufactures electric cars that utilize clean energy. Furthermore, it has provided jobs for society and encouraged millions of other entrepreneurs to follow its path in going green.
Granted that the process is slow, but it is working.
The more Elon Musks we produce, the higher the chance of eliminating world problems one step at a time.
Soon, when everyone becomes a well-educated person, poverty, pollution, and inequality may be a thing of the past.
6. Building stronger relationships
Apart from becoming self-sustaining, education allows us to enhance our social skills and how we interact with one another.
Our connection with friends and family is one of the very foundations of happiness.
Through education, you become more sensitive to how people behave and how to respond to certain emotions by studying psychology.
It’s a tool that allows you to become more sympathetic or empathetic, which is a trait that builds better connections.
A society where people value one another will prosper easily.
That is why educating every individual can mean enhancing society — and this is true even on a global scale.
Educated people, as discussed above, are more likely to have a stable and comfortable life. That also means that they have more time to think about others and provide value not just for themselves but for their community.
In short: education is success
Whether it is formal, informal, or non-formal, education is the building block of success.
I’m not talking about my success or yours; I’m talking about us, as a society.
Its importance is immeasurable, and I believe that it is the key to making our world a better place — a place where everyone has a fair shot in life.
Getting better at learning
Education starts at home.
It starts when you finally agree to learn and not just take what you are fed in institutions.
To get better-quality education is to proactively search for knowledge and improve yourself by learning new skills.
Formal education is just another fancy word for getting educated systematically in a controlled environment.
What they teach at school is readily available online.
However, you won’t have professors to guide you, and it is up to you to force yourself to digest the information you get from educational materials.
If you’re still in school, whether primary or university, here are a few ways where you can enhance your learning and get ahead of everyone else:
Dedicate an hour to study what you like
Formal education has a system, and you can’t just demand what you want to learn from them.
However, the internet is free.
You can start by dedicating an hour of your time reading content that interests you, whether it’s about your hobby or something completely different from what you have in your curriculum.
Doing so forms a habit that encourages you to enjoy learning. Moreover, you will also discover yourself and drive you to pursue what you truly want in life.
Eliminate distractions at school
When you’re at school, everything that’s not teaching you something is getting in the way of your learning.
Your mobile device and toxic friends are two common examples. If possible, keep your phone locked during school hours and ask your friend to only talk to you during your free time (by free, I mean leisure time).
If your friends are serious about supporting you and are genuine, they would understand, even if they won’t take their education seriously.
Set goals to aim higher
Set objectives for yourself so that you can boost your learning. Don’t just wait for your parents to push you to do great.
By having academic goals, you can have a more defined path to your success.
Contrary to popular belief, goals won’t make your life miserable or harder; they will motivate you.
Read how to set your academic goals here.
The bottom line
Education is everything.
It is the way we approach our problems, the way we communicate, the way we build relationships, and the way we make the world a more beautiful place.
Making sure that we take care of our education is vital for success. And making sure that we educate others is just as important too. Our future depends on how educated our society is, and that is why education is important.