and Tony Robbins talk about how much of the personal development
ideals designed to enhance your life over the last few decades was
born of an outside-in perspective. The idea is that something external
can make you happy. Buy a new car. Achieve something. Earn a new
title. Adopt a new personality trait. And so on.
Yet if this approach works at all, it is temporary. Usually, it
The same can be said about technology. While it isn't hard to marvel
over the technological advancements over the last few decades, we
have paid a price for these advancements.
dependence - sit down with a child doing advanced mathematics.
He'll likely use his calculator for everything, including the easy
arithmetic. When asked to do anything in his head he'll look at
you with a puzzled look as if to say "How old are you? We don't
do it that way anymore."
specialization - there is so much to learn that one can't
"learn it all", thus we choose our specialized function
and do it to the best of our ability to the exclusion of all else
obsolescence - if the function we choose can be downsized
or eliminated altogether through technological advances, we're back
at square one
local optima - the division of labor is getting so divided
that even rudimentary knowledge in any other field is "too
much to ask" of our employees. We have engineers who haven't
a clue what marketing is, marketers who can't read an accounting
balance sheet, accountants who can't spell "research and development",
etc. To top it off, the boss is also clueless in every field he
hasn't personally worked in and when he asks questions regarding
performance, he gets the same answer from each department "We're
fine, it's the damn ______ department that can't find their ass
with both hands.
All this was supposed to be fixed with technology, not made worse.
This is not to say that the emperor has no clothes. Quite the contrary.
Computers do make our work more efficient. But the learning curve
to use (and troubleshoot, and fix, and maintain) the technology
keeps growing and growing.
The new version of every software program is always more complex.
After all, who's going to pay for an upgrade if there aren't any
new features. So every new word processor, spread sheet, database,
etc. comes complete with a manual almost as large as the program
itself. This is progress?
GBD.com without it costing you a dime. Learn
taking advantage of all the marvels created with the "outside-in"
approach, we should first learn to use the equipment we have to
the best of our abilities. No, I'm not talking about that 286 PC
fossil in the attic. I'm talking about your brain.
In manufacturing production, you learn to always focus on the bottleneck
of your production line. That's where the money is. Increase throughput
of the bottleneck and the whole line increases output.
For example, if your line consists of five machines A,B,C,D,E, and
all the inventory in stock-piled up behind machine B, what good
will it do you to increase the production of machine D?
Imagine some slick salesman meeting with you telling you that he
can DOUBLE the output of machine D. He tells you that instead of
handling $10,000 worth of widgets a day, you'll be able to handle
$20,000. Impressive? Sure, if machine D is your bottleneck. But
since it isn't, you won't see a dime of increased output.
Now apply this model to the brain. The supporters of "education"
completely miss the boat with this one. Thousands upon millions
upon billions of dollars are being spent improving employees' and
independent individuals' "education". But what does this
mean? It means they sit in the same style classrooms as when they
did in high school. It means they are being taught using the same
inefficient didactic teaching methods we've been using for decades.
It means the same "cram for the exams" studying habits
that worked so poorly the first time.
What is the real bottleneck here? Is it "education" meaning
just more data and maybe a few idealistic models created by PhD's
who haven't been in the field in twenty years? Or is the real bottleneck
learning how to learn? How much of our potential is being tapped?
If we were all running near the maximum capacity of our minds, I
would agree that the next place to look is formal education.
But the empirical evidence runs quite the contrary. We're not even
close to utilizing what's between our ears. Image streaming and
photoreading are just the tips of enormous icebergs that most people
refuse to even consider, let alone learn to tap.
Not that the incentive system in place is encouraging us to do any
better. We're still giving the most money to school systems that
perform the worst. There's no accountability in handing out diplomas
- if the child still can't read by grade 12, it's now society's
problem and not the school's. If you try to test the children, you
get sued for discrimination. And if you're the best teacher in the
world, you still get paid less than some tenured asshole who only
got into teaching to avoid the Vietnam draft.
What do we do? We circumvent the system, create our own network
of people who are looking for a better way, and help each other
help themselves. Then we help others.
And for God's sake, let's leave government(s) out of it this time.