How to Widen Your Space of Possibilities
Imagine that you are lucky and healthy enough to live past 90, and even more lucky to be still working in something you love to do. That means you have so many years ahead of you to accomplish and grow. I for example am 28 which means I might have 60 more years of contributing and growing.
Investing For My Future
This is encouraging, not only because I have so much time to do what I love, but also because anything positive I learn now will pay back dividends over the next 60 years. The quality of my life will increase in a compounding way just like a financial investment. For example if you learn to be 5% more optimistic and happy or 10% more hard working and increase your technical skills by 8%, then the quality of your life will be 200% better in 20 years! (I’m making up the numbers to make the point)
Increasing the abilities associated with learning will have the strongest impact on the quality of your life, imagine you were an infinite learning machine, you can learn about anything in the world (which is not too hard these day with online and offline resources). If you were 10% more curious, the quality of your life will not just be 200% better it will be more like 20000% better, because curiosity means you will keep absorbing new skills and understanding the changing world all the time.
Widening your Space of possibilities
This brings me to the point mentioned in the title, learning and growing your skills is a way to increase your space of possibility, the more you learn the better the possible futures you have available to you.
For example, over the last year I started learning about programming and game design, now my personal space of possibilities has widened, I can now conceive of making games about physics and making interactive animations that help people understand hard but truly beautiful physical concepts. I love people and I love making people happy, I’m excited about the possibility of combining physics and game design to make people happy. This is a future that I couldn’t conceive without the skill of being a learner.
Where Schools Go Bad
In my opinion one of the main things that are troubling with schools is that they set up learning as a compulsory activity that you hate to do, something that you only do for grades and money (Job). Because of that people usually stop learning when they don’t have to, which is very tragic because when people stop learning their space of possibilities, and by extension the space of possibilities for all of civilization stops growing.
How Our Modern World is Amazing
Our world is rich in information and learning resources. Stop for a moment to appreciate how awesome this is; given any subject at all that you are curious about, you can find resources to learn about that subject, you can find people to discuss it with and projects to practice implementing it, and even better you have the possibility of sharing what you did openly with the world, this is really cool and we should not underestimate what the internet has given us, we should use it wisely and help make it an even richer environment.
The abundance of learning resources makes our world filled with possibility, this is why so many of us are uncertain about the future. But for the learners among us, this uncertainty is heaven!