You don’t need lessons, pt. 2

(Read part one of this series here!)

Vincent Van Gough took ONE art class during his entire life.

The rest was self-taught.

Pretty shocking, huh?

Similarly, many notable innovators have agreed that lessons weren’t critical to the successful execution of their ideas.

Take Edison, for example.

He went to school for only three months. His teacher thought he couldn’t learn because he had a mental problem!

From that day forth, Edison realized, everything he needed to know about science would be learned from reading books and tinkering with chemicals and telegraph equipment.

Lessons, shmessons!

Now, I don’t mean to reduce the value of having a solid foundation in your area of study. Inventors, innovators, artists and entrepreneurs still need to be brilliant at the basics.

The challenge is to maintain balance.

I like what pacemaker inventor Wilson Greatbatch said:

“I don’t think the problem is too much training. The problem occurs when your training is too narrow and you get yourself on a rigid path of thinking and lose flexibility. Me? I got a masters degree, but the rest was osmosis.”

I also like what Apple founder/creator Steve Wozniak said:

“Teachers were largely a negative influence on me. I read very widely when I was a small kid, and that had the greatest influence on me. We live in a culture that makes it difficult for creativity to express itself properly. I believe in life long learning and self-education. After all, if you could solve all problems with textbooks, there wouldn’t be any real invention.”

How do you balance lessons and being self-taught?

You don’t need lessons. Just go.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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