This article is an extract from a topic “Creating Value” which I presented in a forum. Here we looked at different ways an individual can create value for himself and education was a credible pointer to creating value. But, who is really an educated person? Before we looked at education, we talked about creating intellectual value. In this context, intellectual value is seen as the ability to think through a situation and come up with a decision that could stand the test of time. Below are the excerpts from the discussion.
Speaking from the lay point of common sense analysis (not a scientific claim), the mind is the store house for the raw materials (thinking, perception, judgment, appreciation, memory and consciousness) we use in producing our total self. It is also the production plant itself. All other forms of the self entity are dependent on what the mind is able to produce. The mind is our logical self as opposed to the biological self made up of the organs and systems in our body. The mind works with these organs especially the brain in manufacturing the concrete exhibition of the total self. It is the quality of the content of the brain otherwise called intelligent quotient (IQ) that determines what is transmitted to the mind; that which is transmitted to the mind becomes thoughts; such thoughts determine our spoken words and our spoken words metamorphose into our actions; into our behaviour and ultimately our character which is the practical representation of our total selves.
Some experts believe that the brain was created empty while others say it had an innate ability to assimilate right from birth. Whichever one it is, the most important fact is that learning does not occur without a conscious effort to observe and study phenomena. Once a baby is born, it becomes conscious of its environment; it learns to recognize faces and voices. This simply means that learning starts from birth. As the child grows, it becomes more and more conscious of more and more things in his environment. He begins to explore; his five senses develop more even as movement aids him to reach things far off. He wants to touch everything; he wants to see everything; he wants to taste everything. That is where quest for knowledge begins. These actions help to build experiences and thought processes of the mind. That is how the child grows to a certain point when he begins to exert influence on the environment and the environment begins to influence him too. He begins to receive formal and informal education; his intellectual self begins to develop. At this point, it is the amount of his own effort that would determine the amount of education he gets.
It is the amount of value we place on our intellectual self that produces our character. Intellectual value, no doubt, is the most sought for of all self-values- (spiritual self, social self and physical self). Only an intellectually developed person can assert himself physically, socially, and spiritually. The process of creating intellectual value is simply called education. So, who is an educated person? He is the one engaged in the continuous process of acquiring knowledge that develops the mind. When the mind is left undeveloped, the person’s intellectual status- thinking, perception, judgment, memory and consciousness are all limited. It is pertinent to note that going to school is quite different from acquiring education. It is possible to acquire education while going to school; it is also possible to go to school without acquiring education. An educated person is he who demonstrates a high level of understanding, sound judgment, critical thinking and a high level of consciousness. Creating intellectual value for oneself involves developing skills that create opportunities and the ability to harness such opportunities. Such skills include problem solving skills, leadership skills, communications skills, and inter personal skills. Developing intellectual values propels the development of role playing abilities; as a husband, as a wife, as a manger, as a father, as a mother, as a friend as a pastor etc. Effectiveness at every role is largely dependent on the amount of value you place on your intellectual self.
Education should not be limited to the four walls of the classroom, but must be extended to studying events, situations and people around us. It involves, reading of books, using the internet, listening to news, attending seminars, symposia and summits as well as analyzing and learning from your own practical experiences.
In this part of the globe, so much emphasis is laid on certificate education rather than intellectual abilities. We therefore, spend so much time acquiring certificates without acquiring education. We believe that acquiring university education is where it ends. When we obtain a degree or any formal education certification, it is just the beginning and not the end. It is a foundation we must then build on; remaining there and operating at that level is like living in an uncompleted building. The universities and other higher institutions of learning may not have the opportunity or the capacity to bring out the potentials in us. They lay the foundation for us to do that. Jim Rohn says’ “formal education can bring you success but personal education will bring you fortune” We place so much emphasis on formal education negating the importance of semi-formal education such as seminars and trainings as well as acquisition of skills. It is not about if you attended university, polytechnic or monotechnic. It does not matter if you read online or offline, full time or part time. What matters is your ability to develop your self and find your way to the top of your career.
Reading is one of the easiest ways to acquire knowledge that propels us for higher achievements. Reading can change our attitude; it can develop life-changing virtues in us, it can open our eyes and our minds; it can bring out the best in us; it can open our eyes to opportunities that we hitherto never knew about; it can actually guide us towards harnessing such opportunities and changing our entire life. He who does not read is the same as he who cannot read.
It is our intellectual value that determines our approach to issues in terms of employment and relationship; promotion and growth apply to us as we grow intellectually. When we know our intellectual value we can open mindedly address issues without jeopardizing our relationships, our career and other life-goals. Education does not end. Learning only ends in grave.