Self taught

With the exceptions of reading and writing, all of the most important things I know (and can do for that matter) have been 100% self taught.

Marketing, Public speaking, Entrepreneurship, Motivating others, Creative writing, Financial Investing, Surfing, Gardening / Growing vegetables, Weight training, Riding a bicycle…. everything.

I think the best way to learn is by paying attention and being curious. Which always leads me to observing others, reading and getting out there and having a go at things.

Observe, Read, Try. Repeat.

That’s it. I find that when the desire is there, the rest comes easy. Which is why I’ve always done much better at everything outside of my schooling. Things for which I had real desire. The unfortunate thing about this ingredient, is that it is removed from most of the development & selection programs in modern society. Instead, we say ‘Rote learn this’, then we might let you do something you care about. One great example is that Architecture University studies require physics as a prerequisite, and yet Architecture studies don’t involve physics, and architects never do the engineering function in building.

Startup blog advice: Don’t let a terrible system, reduce belief in your own capabilities. The stuff that kept you out, you didn’t really care about anyway. It was a rule built by someone else to protect themselves. If you forge ahead and teach yourself, the right people will notice. They will come searching for you because they understand not just the importance of what your know, but the value of how you went about learning it.

5 Comments Self taught

  1. Chetan Suri

    a fact…so very true…but mostly neglected……thanx a ton Steve…….for writing it down…..

  2. Andre Sammartino

    It’s “rote learning” Steve…

    I would also argue you are not “self taught”… it’s more “self learning”… you didn’t know how do it, so you couldn’t have taught yourself…you learnt through observation, experimentation, self-reflection and adaptation…

    Ahhh, the joys of pedantry…

  3. nigel

    Interesting post Steve. I’m curious, how does this tie-in with your start-up school and Uni lecturing? Are you saying that if people want to learn they will and formal education is a red herring. Also, any thoughts on the role of qualifications?

  4. Steve Sammartino

    Yes, I know it’s rote, but I wrote it in a hurry…. fixed now…

    Surely that is a play on semantics rather than adding to the conversation of the values of self learning as you call it….

    Ahh, the joys of blogging and comments….

  5. Steve Sammartino

    I think they key to education is teaching people how to learn. Not telling them what to do. It’s enabling a philosophy of mind, which helps the subject find the answers themselves.

    Most of the stuff I teach (certainly at Startup school) points people in the direction needed. Makes them look in places they never thought of, and encourages action over theory, which moves them up the learning curve much faster.


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