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What Kind of Education Should You Get for Today's Market

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Wrong question to ask. It’s way too short-sighted.

Why? Because today’s market is just that -- today’s market, and because your life is more than your pay check and you are more than your work.

Education seems aimed at specific goals, often relating to work, and that’s a good thing. But let’s look at learning, learning for the joy of learning, because life is more than work and you are more than your job. (Balance.)

When I was in high school, I asked my father why I had to learn Latin. I saw no earthly purpose in learning Latin. But then I saw no earthly purpose in learning algebra, or geology, or actually even in high school.

He replied, “For your own edification.”

I got the drift – “for my own good” – but never really looked the word up. Seemed like a lot of the things I didn’t want to do those days, like get 8 hours sleep, eat breakfast, make my bed, and practice the piano, were “for my own good.”

Well, here's what it means,
Main Entry: ed·i·fy. Etymology: Middle English from Late Latin aedificare to instruct or improve spiritually, from Latin, to erect a house, from aedes temple, house.

1 : archaic a : BUILD b : ESTABLISH
2 : to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge; also : ENLIGHTEN, INFORM.

So there you have it. You’re building a foundation, constructing a temple, enlightening yourself. You’re improving yourself – perhaps in spirit, character or even soul. For which, of course, there is no price.

"The advantage of a classical education," said Russell Green, "is that it enables you to despise the wealth that it prevents you from achieving."

Now here's the question -- Are you educating yourself only in order to make money, or are you learning in order to build a foundation for your life?

Your work is only part of your life. It’s smart to get an education that enables you to earn a living, but why stop there? Why starve at a smorgasbord?

Studies show that the trajectory of those who die in their 5th and 6th decade is school, then work, then retirement. (Siebert) Lifelong learning, on the other hand, builds resilience and contributes to wellness and long life. Furthermore, I contend, it’s a life you’ll enjoy living longer. Jobs come and go, as do careers, and people. Learning ... is forever.

Learning, says David Christensen in his book “Inner Victory,” is a thirst to know more, to know better ways, to know why.”

“You must learn day by day, year by year to broaden your horizon,” said Ethel Barrymore. “The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens.”

Getting an education: $100,000
Getting a promotion: $40,000
Learning: Priceless

P.S. Thanks, Dad! About this -- and so many other things -- you were right. Res ipse loquitur.

About the Author

©Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, The EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc , here to assist, inspire, support and transform your experience of yourself, your life, your relationships, your career and your world through the magic of emotional intelligence competencies (EQ). Take The EQ Foundation COurse to get started. Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for FREE ezines. 210-496-0678.

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