Connecting the dots vs. collecting the dots


Yesterday I spoke about the need to place some emphasis on Education over Academics. We all lose when the majority of us associate reading with tests and grades. Little wonder people avoid it. They are not aware that the cram and regurgitate thing is only good for the four walls of a school, after then it’s a waste. Pure nuisance.

See, the goal of information isn’t knowledge but transformation. Every time you come across new knowledge, the question on your mind should be, “what am I going to do now and how am I going to use this information?” At least that should be happening in your sub-conscious.

When access to information was limited, students needed to load themselves up with facts. But now, when we have no scarcity of facts or the access to them, we need to load ourselves with understanding – we need to be taught (and learn) how to think and not what to think. What we need now is to be equipped with just enough data and to turn that data into information, insight, leadership and progress.

Our work is not to keep collecting dots when there’s now Google, Wikipedia, over a hundred million blogs, over a billion websites et cetera. It’s a waste of time and energy to do so. Our work now is to connect the dots — to synthesize complex ideas and to invent new concepts. To ask new questions, challenge the old order and solve interesting problems. And that ability in itself is an important, rare and scalable skill — because once you learn the techniques, the dots can change but you’ll still be good at connecting them. That’s what it means to be educated. Not the cram and pour mentality.

30 years ago (or more), to be dumb was a result of a lack of access to information, product of bad teachers and inadequate exposure but today it has a new face. It’s now a choice that is made by individuals who choose not to see.

So, stay sharp and keep learning!

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