Turning base metal into gold

The industrial education complex isn’t interested in students whose talents don’t fit into what the examination systems require. Because it’s a giant factory. And if a student’s gifts don’t conform to the dictates of whatever core curriculum is in place, they’re kicked to the curb. 

Thiel’s book on startups summarizes it perfectly:

If we overachieve and end up learning something that’s not on the test, we won’t receive credit for it. But if we sit in a row and follow the rules and memorize facts and do exactly what’s asked of us, but a bit better than our peers, we’ll get an a

What a dangerous and disgusting way to condition people to enter the real world. And so, our mission is to engage in alchemy. To do work that can’t be categorized and cauterized. To turn base metal into gold, so to speak, creating something special and significant out of nothing, using only our imagination. 

Because despite our society’s deeply embedded factory mindset, we really do exist in a culture that encourages and attracts alchemy. It’s just not advertised. You have to dive into the nooks and crannies to find the entry points. 

But look around. Everyone who is making real progress in today’s economy isn’t doing something with a certified skill. Rogers actually predicated this more than thirty years ago. In his definitive treatise on human potential, he said we must face the fact that in dealing with human beings, a certificate does not give much assurance of real qualification. In every area, medicine, nursing, teaching, bricklaying and carpentry, certification has tended to freeze and narrow the profession, has tied it to the past and discouraged innovation. If we were less arrogant, he said, we might also learn much from the uncertified individual, who is sometimes unusually adept elsewhere. 

Further proof, that those working without a map, those willing to create something out of nothing, and those prepared to bring life to what might be, are the real a students.


What valuable skills do you have that can’t be certified by a governing body?


For the list called, “99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren’t One,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  



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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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