Posts Tagged ‘autodidact’

learning something for nothing

in the classic star wars saga the way to teach another the religion, and practices of being a jedi was through apprenticeship. in most cases in history the apprenticeship is free. the learner typically lived under the patronage of the teacher, it was an all expenses paid education, well at least financially. it would be difficult to find a decent apprenticeship these days for pay. regardless one of the best benefits of learning is that it is so fundamental and inherent, that it’s free.

free education is mostly spoken of as some ideal, but the reality is that it is not an ideal but something real very real. being an autodidact means that you learn for free. learning is one of the few  abilities that we are actually born with. previously in the autodidact post i stressed that learning has happened far before formal school systems existed. the free price tag is one of the greatest benefits of being self-taught.

the cost benefit of the college student is insane. looking at the chart below (from a columbia university study) you see that the college graduate’s salary contributes more financially to the system. this is a cost benefit to society, having a productive member contribute ideas, new thinking, and consuming products.

well college students pay time and money into the system for that benefit, but it is possible to get the same benefits without paying the money. the autodidact knows this, but the cost is not what drives them, it is the learning itself.

this idea is becoming more and more prominent due to the web, the hope is that it becomes highly practiced. in my autodidact post i listed sites that led in open courseware. the new york times recently did something similar in it’s article learning something for nothing.


one gift from the autodidact

previously i posted about what an autodidact was; someone who is self-taught. one quality of this type of person that i mentioned was the disposition or the willingness to learn. speaking for myself, i have always had a disposition for learning. question is, if you don’t have a disposition, how do you get one?


developing a disposition is possible, but it depends on what you are trying to learn. based on what we know about motivation there has to be ownership involved. you must feel like you have the greatest benefit from what you are learning. starting in a place of interest would be a great idea.

finding interests could be a difficult task so prepare to try and fail. interest is only gaining access to what could potentially make you feel purpose while learning. purpose is the key.

this young man is the prime example of having a purpose. this is william kamkwamba the boy who harnessed the wind. william on his own learned different aspects of physics, and irrigation. going to a library he set out on a quest to make his village better, something he achieved. this is a picture of his windmill which brought power to a village that had little.

william is an autodidact that distributed his disposition into something that gave purpose. people in his village thought that he was insane, but soon realized that he was embarking on something that would change life for their village.

think of the gift that is in this story what does it mean to be self-taught, to direct your own learning? well, it means that what matters to you takes you to new heights of understanding.

devising a world take over could not happen without the disposition for learning.

Categories: autodidact Tags: ,


as a minimalist the idea is to possess little, and give more. hence the quality of possessions is critical, you have more money free to ensure what litle “stuff” you do buy is of quality. no matter how you slice it you have things that you need as necessities. so in a way those things that you have should be “versatile.”  good decision making is a must as well. i hope to give you an idea of what i mean through a lesson my dad taught me when i was just a boy.

the lesson

my dad was always a good cook, and as a boy i admired how he a man could go from working with cattle to working in the kitchen, doing what was percieved then and sadly still now as woman’s work. one evening as he was preparing supper i asked to learn to cook. i cannot recall exactly what he was cooking but it was definately the meal of a seasoned chef. my dad told me, “in the morning i will teach you to cook.”

the morning

a father taught his son that morning to cook an egg. why? well at the time i did not know but not only did i learn to make an egg scrambled, fried, and boiled, i also learned a great life lesson.

  1. be versatile, which means the egg can be adapted many ways. as i had more lessons in cooking i understood some of the foods that people eat in the black culture. a common theme amongst slave quarters were receiving scraps and finding ways to make meals. the manipulation of the egg is similar. and by starting with that as a foundation, i understood a key thing about cooking and about life. anything can be versatile.
  2. there’s more than one way to do something. the egg represents the fact that there is no one way of getting to a desired outcome or destination. in most cases there are far more than two ways to acheive an outcome. the egg allows you options, and it allows you to do something with flare, or just plain and simple.

my father taught me a great life lesson that morning, one which i will give back by teaching my daughter, and any kids to come after. it means a lot that a simple lesson can have so much significance. make sure the things you own are as versatile as the first meal i learned, and make sure you are thinking about every possible way you can to achieve something and even understand something that is important a key in decision making.


i have been waiting for some time to do this post. have you ever heard the word autodidact? this word is a big part of my life, and a major reason for my rise from nothing. if you want more on my background read the soul searching article.

what is an autodidact

“i felt so inspired by what my teacher said, said i’d either be dead or be a reefer head, that’s not how adults should speak to kids….” -jay z

an autodidact is a word for a person who engages in learning without the formal structure of school. an autodidact is self-taught, and or more clearly their method of learning is self-directed.

think about the idea of learning itself. we learn all the time, everyday, and have been doing so for a very long time. the term itself was derived in ancient times from the fact that people who lived in isolation for most of their lives could still discover simple truths without any formal education.  think good will hunting, and if you have never seen good will hunting there is a trailer below, highly recommended.

having the disposition

the important thing about learning is not the actual act of learning but having a disposition for learning. as i am currently conducting a formal literature review on critical thinking, the research shows that it is more effective to measure critical thinking skills after you have measured critical thinking dispositions. learning is no different, and a disposition simply means you must be willing to learn. to what degree are you willing to learn?

are you truly open minded, truly. well no one is truly open-minded, but to what degree do you have a disposition to learn new things. having a disposition for learning will only move you forward.

how do autodidacts learn?

if you are here that is a great example of self-directed learning. it is you experiencing minimalism through someone else’s experiences that may lead you to some form of enlightenment. your learning of being a minimalist is self-directed, and therefore you are practicing a quality of being an autodidact. however being an autodidact by definition is more than just subscribing to a couple of blogs, and reading a few books. by definition let’s not forget that you must have some type of structure that would allow for retention, of a topic. you must structure your own learning to accommodate any goals or objectives you have.

it is also common for an autodidact to gain knowledge of let’s say something like agriculture not through class, but possibly going to work a farm. in the movie batman begins we see bruce wayne go into the japanese underworld to understand those criminals he wishes to influence. it’s the age old tale of the apprentice and the master, old school education. bruce wayne gets a perspective that is un-tainted and as a result fully understands what drives poverty and crime, and can therefore combat those things where they need to be combated. it is a lesson in information literacy.

information literacy

have you ever heard of someone agreeing with someone else for no good factual reason. it is probably because that person does not have a high degree of literacy when it comes to deciphering information. part of being an autodidact is opening your mind to things that you have convictions not to accept, and by doing so gaining experiences that you would not have gotten otherwise.

information literacy is always asking why, and learning how to find answers on your own. not settling with a statistic that you hear through the media, but rather researching it on your own to see why. it is also knowing how to find information, like being aware of how google’s search engine works opposed to other search engines. for a more clear definition of info literacy watch this video.

open courseware and online tutorials

in the age of the web, it is easier to access information. many prominent universities are now publishing full courses, and majors on the web. google open courseware some time. there are also credible professionals who give youtube tutorials on a variety of topics. here are a couple of resources that you can use: