I remember a lecturer at university talking about the difference between education and training.
Training, he argued, teaches you how to do something. Education teaches you the principles behind something, and the ability to think something through.
Much of the ‘education’ that happens in schools and colleges is in fact training. My friends who are doctors may not like this, but they’ve all been through an extortionately priced 7-year memory test.
Training is easier to sell than education, because students emerge with a defined skill. Employers say they want those skills. Employers think they want malleable, ready-to-work doers, when what they need instead is thinkers. When seeking new recruits to his agency, David Ogilvy once commented that above all else he looked for a ‘well furnished mind’.
I think there are three levels of learning: learning about things, learning about underlying patterns, and learning about yourself. These things ascend in order of difficulty.
Learning about things is easiest and most tangible. No difficult questions are raised about who you are and where you’re going. The trouble is, the things you learn are only useful for a fixed period of time, either to you or to someone else.
Learning about underlying patterns is more difficult, because it involves looking further into the past than most people are willing to do, in order to project into the future.
Learning about yourself is the biggest enigma of all. To learn about yourself, you first have to pull apart who you really are. You have to analyse strands of your story, and question assumptions you’ve made about the world. Your own ego can stand in the way of this, offering comfortable self-indulgent delusion instead.
The Buddha once commented that to find answers to the universe, you first have to look within.
I’m running a training webinar next Friday, called the Story Selling Manifesto. On the call we won’t get too bogged down in the how-to specifics; you can read all that in my forthcoming book. What we will address are deeper underlying patterns, and self-learning. I’ll explain why storytelling has suddenly become important, and under what circumstances it should be used.
Until you know why you need to tell your story, what’s the point in learning how?
If you still need to, register for the call here. It’s on Friday 3rd March, 3PM UK, 10AM US Eastern. Yes, there will be goodies for sale. But you’ll get a ton of insight too.