The Gift of a Man
I heard a lot of things about my childhood; things that wowed the adult I am today and make me wonder “why was I ever sent to a school to be taught out of creativity?” Sometimes I look at my parents in astonishment and I ask within myself, “why will this beautiful ‘one’ succumb to the dictates of society and consciously throw their choice, heavily talented and equally gifted fifth child into the wilderness of western school system to be taught out of his numerous gifts and talents, and relegated to just one service the society may or may never eventually require of him?”
Rumour had it that I made the first meaningful, audible, understandable sound that appeared like a response to a conversation on the 40th day of my sojourn here on earth. My mama was scared but I wasn’t, I was too me to care about their feelings and I never stopped talking and communicating vocally from there until I was consciously sent to Primary School and taught by the system to keep quiet. I later found my voice back but lost the confidence I once innocently expressed and exhibited as a child. I became a procrastinator who delays his intelligible verbal reactions till it is a tad too late. I am still a less-confident and shy talkative till date. Interestingly, I found a new avenue of expression which is writing in a society where the ratio of listeners to readers is a million to one.
The Status Quo
It is no gainsaying that the natural order of the formal education system is designed to teach young minds out of their capacity to create, replacing it with only the ability to receive instructions and act in that wise. The educational system schools an average mind into a drone like entity instead of educating and helping it to develop its internal capacity to substantiate nothing, and create everything. Only a few survive this crass bludgeoning process with their minds intact. Very few get out of the system with desired sanity and the few wise ones do the unthinkable, dropout of the system and become a totally different institution on their own. This is true for all men that enter into the world’s educational system that constantly operate a process that kills the mind and replace it with a receptacle.
All over the world, the formal educational system was substantiated and defined during and around the War and Industrial Age, only a few nations of the world has been able to advance their educational system beyond the developmental goals of advancing industries and wars. Even today in the information age, the educational system is still tailored to the routines of old, and it seems like only those who drop out of that system forcefully, breaking the ‘status quo’ and all its whims that are now the definition of the new age. From Steve Jobs to Bill Gate, Michael Dell to Larry Ellison, a little under a third (32%) of all yesterday and today’s billionaires never got a college degree. In addition, three times as many billionaires have degrees in the Arts than billionaires who have degrees in Math, Finance or Science.
A while back I read a post titled “7 reasons not to get an MBA” and I liked it, I guess I found the eighth reason that was not included in that article and that would be “most billionaires don’t have one.” I also found an infographic with the actual numbers, courtesy of the market research firm Approved Index. A look at this will further substantiate my argument and give light to the fact that if becoming rich (as it is in today’s world) is the definition of being successful, the present educational system is not the key to wealth but “The Gift of A Man” and how he finds, grow and annex it in a way that makes it bring value to the lives of others. Don’t be quick to say I asked you to jump out of school because I also found out on Huffington that “more than half of male African-American dropouts are unemployed according to a new online analysis of unemployment data… in New York”. This in a way also confirms my suspicion that education is only a process that narrows the mind down to being employable, repositioning success as merely capacity to knick a job when other hand, education could have been a tool for nurturing the mind to open its gifts and share it with the others like the famous dropouts in the infographics did.
Trust me! My argument is not against education, it is actually for education but against what we have been presented with and made to define as education. Being schooled in purely academic terms is what the world currently defines as education. Only the process of becoming lettered or should I say, literarily inclined in a particular field or discipline to a phenol level and earning a certificate for it is referred to as been educated. The dictionary defines it as “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university”. This definition somehow expressly alienates those that acquired the genre of education defined as “informal” even in schools from being stoically regarded as educated, however education has nothing at all to do with being schooled within the four walls of a classroom, it is the process of gaining value driven, useful and applicable knowledge through any sane avenue available to man or any means necessary (my definition). Education is not synonymous with intellect, although they often co-exist, one is acquired and the other is innate and can be enhanced with concerted and directed knowledge acquisition processes.
Even a monkey, dog, cat or any other animal can be schooled to act or behave like a human, but no amount of education can make a monkey create. Monkeys have successfully flown rockets to space before now through education, but no family of ape will ever be gifted or intellectual enough to make fire or clothes to cover its nakedness instinctively. The creative energy is unique to humans and exclusive to our specie, it is innate and borne from deep within our mind, it is the gift God gave to man, defined in Genesis as “the breathe of life”, it is not the ability to breathe and locomote (animals do), but the capacity to create and recreate, the energy to be God himself on earth.
The gift of every man is locked within his mind. It is innate and universal, and it finds expression without efforts or conscious actions but however needs to be developed. It is important to substantiate the need to develop “The Gift” through education, instead of destroying it as it is in the current educational system, I will use very clear analogies and examples that blind can see and even the deaf can hear.
Everything created by man that does not exist naturally was not created by education, but by the human mind. The planes, cars, architectural designs, computers, TV, phones, compass, watches and even the pen and paper that forms the crust of the educational process was created by the mind and not education. It is therefore sad that the education that was borne out of the need to service that which the mind has created from its gift of imagination is now designed to kill the capacity of the mind to create or imagine.
An average child is born with the capacity to draw, paint, sing etc, but a few years journey into the existing educational system, the child is left with the struggles of connecting just numbers and letters with no complimenting arrangement for developing his/her natural capacity within the system. This seemingly harmless process tends to lock the gifts of every man that comes in contact deeper within instead of building a platform that helps open the gift and find expression, denying the earth and its fullness access to the creative and productive expose of the mind.
There is a unique gift in every man that God has placed within, waiting to find expression. Usually, the uniqueness of these gifts makes it universal and irresistibly relevant everywhere on the planet irrespective of language, culture or religion of where the bearer finds himself. It is possible to be pristinely educated and useless but impossible for a man that has opened his gift to be idle or without the demand of it.
“Electricity existed hundreds of years before Benjamin Franklin was born but his experiments helped establish the connection between lightning and electricity.
“Thomas Edison was referred to as a ‘scatterbrain’ by his teachers but he opened his gifts outside the walls of school, invented the light bulb without graduating a class as an electrical engineer and our world has been brighter ever since he did.
“Richard Branson got tired of the educational system at 16 and never looked back, he opened his gifts and never stopped; today he’s a sir, with hundreds of honorary degrees but more importantly, the CEO of a 360 chain of companies under the Virgin Brand.
“Henry Ford never saw the four walls of a school, but I doubt there is any man alive more educated than he was. He opened his gift and shared, gathered talents and rose to become one of the greatest innovators that ever walked the earth. I once heard him saying — “Thinking is the hardest work to do, that’s why so few people are engaged in it.”
“Larry Ellison dropped out of college twice and was told by his adoptive father that he would never amount to anything, today his gift is perhaps the database of every other organization in the world. In his words– “I have had all the disadvantages required for success.” I assume he discovered the true meaning of success as against the conformed definition of it within the educational system and jumped out with his gifts opened.
“David ‘Davido’ Adeleke is perhaps the rarest of example of a man who opened his gift. He dropped out of school to pursue his gift of singing when he could have easily cupped the degree and become the rich son of a billionaire that he was but instead, he realized the true definition of success beyond the classroom or comfort of his father’s wealth (I’m the father) and stepped out to get it. Today he’s acclaimed the first African artist to sign a global music distribution deal with Sony Music because he opened his gift, the same Davido that was told by his French teacher in High School that he will amount to nothing. I am definitely proud of my son.
From all of this examples and more relatively Davido’s, it became obvious that money indeed is not the definition of success; it is only more interesting to know that wealth and riches arrives with success as long as it is achieved by opening your gift. I don’t care who wrote this part of the bible, Samuel or Solomon but indeed “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.”
For some of us, our gifts are predefined for service. Our place is in doing exploit within organized systems from within and without. Being school educated does not kill the gifts, it only locks it away sometimes and it can be dug up and brought to fore if we look within. A thousand of us are endowed with gifts within the knowledge sphere, and capacitated by the process to enhance our gifts. These many are to open their gifts within organizations and create the impossible as members of a team of intellectuals or individuals within groups because some gifts are so big they need the energy of a thousand more and endless resourced to open it. After all, impossible in itself only says “I’m possible.”
For the rare species of gift carriers like me, our place is to create everything out of nothing and become institutions. Men like Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Larry Ellison, Davido Adeleke and Babaolowo dropped out of the academic systems to become institutions, such that the colleges and universities they dropped from instituted faculties and schools to study “The Gifts” they stepped out of the ordinary to open.
We all have gifts waiting to be opened, look into your mind, deep within you and find yours; and when you do, open it like you don’t care like Michael Dell did… “I had to give it a full go and see what happened.” – Michael Dell.
I’m Abidemi Babaolowo Oderinlo