Information to Knowledge to Wisdom

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Oflate, a new documentary on education system is making lot of waves in the USA. Its call Most Likely to Succeed. (You can watch trailer)

 

It takes a very narrow view of school education. The documentary is in the context of new education system being propagated by Tech Elite, where medium of instruction is thru Project based, group working methodology. The emphasis of using information technology as pivot for schooling system.

 

We know that our education system was built 100 years back at the height of industrial revolution. The object was to prepare qualified clerks to take up the vast jobs created by factories and administrative work. Over a period of time, our system has become instruction based, and a rot system. The objective is not learn but to cram as much as information possible with an objective to score good marks. For all parents of 21st Century, it baffles the way, kids are taught, it also prompts us to vent our frustration about not doing anything to change it. On one hand, even Bill Gates want every kid to learn, How to Code? and on there hand, still, our examination system mandates kids to remember lot of facts, that can easily be retrieved by googling.

 

So, in a sense, the kids should know where to find information, and should not remember the information. Some time, we wonder does it make any sense to learn languages, or is education useful in life.

On the far end of the pendulum, you have IB schools, focusing more on the project based learning. If you have watched the trailer or studied the Website, you will find idea very fascinating. Unfortunately, it will be long time before we can get opportunity to watch it in India. If you want a different perspective, watch TED talk by Ken Robinson (one of the most watch TED Talk) you will get a different sense on education.

 

In the information age, where Artificial Intelligence is taking over various small jobs including something like legal research or data analytics by small bots, certainly, the skills that may be required in coming days would be far more different than what is been taught now.

So, we should junk the old system and focus on education should be reduced, as we all know, how stressed our children are; unfortunately answer is not in affirmative. Why?

Because, What is the final essence of education?

 

Information to Knowledge to Wisdom.

 

The basis of all knowledge is information. Yes some rudimentary information can be retrieved using googling, if its not repetitive. Like finding the specific dates, some event happened in history but what if, you have to use computer, every time to convert Kilometres to Meters or even worse, to calculate 19X14. In essence, we must know the basic tool kit of information in real life, else you can’t take knowledge based decision. Think of making a decision based on marginal cost of an item or computing discounted value of a thing. The information, thus turns into knowledge, a basis for taking day to day decision. Mostly, all of our working hours or even daily life decision are taken alone and not in groups, ergo, life is not a project, though we learn a lot from working in a group, but that limited to certain degree of learning and should not be the basis of life learning.

Finally, Wisdom, how to achieve proverbial wit and wisdom. Computers are smart at processing information. They have no knowledge, may be super computers yes, but can it apply Wisdom. For a human being, wisdom comes from knowing the ones limitation and ability to look at things from multiple perspective, without being subjective. Ability to learn pattern from complex scenario, identifying the solution to social/economical/emotional problems by tool kit of understanding life. All these can only come from knowledge in true sense. A knowledge not only acquired from information but from experiences in life. Even a person who is 7th pass can have much more wisdom, than a Phd.

I am not saying education system is perfect or no changes are required, however, adopting new way of thinking blind side us with obvious requirements of a normal life. As for soft skills, the lessons of handwork, perseverance, resilience, problem solving etc are all learned by the exam based education system. The sad part is kids carry the burden of our expectation. And thats where we get answer, use our own Wisdom, get out of rat race, and keep expectation from schools, educators, system at very realistic level and finally lower our own expectation.

 

Work-Life Balance – Part 2

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Second Part on Work-Life Balance.

When you do one activity, you tend to short charge some other activities. To achieve something, you pay some price. The price is the cost of work-life balance. In economic terms, its called Opportunity Cost. If you are reading this, you are not certainly checking on Facebook or WhatsApp or if you are at office and not gone home or not attending to critical work on hand and if you do not have sufficient time on hand, the opportunity cost is known to you.

As video suggest, we human being are not hardwired to perform one task exceptionally well, but do multiple task with basic mediocrity.

 

If you listen to successful people, they say, Do One Thing, Do It Right, Have Focus, and do not get into mediocrity trap or monotony. Its human equivalent of Machine.

 

Not for a second, I intend to undermine the achievements of people, who give their life for sole purpose. But, they are driven. They are so focused, they do not worry about Work-Life Balance. Tell me one person, who have achieved monumental success and yet could manage Work-Life Balance. Don’t give me example of how great a dad Shahrukh Khan is…Its a crap, persona created by PR Firms. To be a Dhoni, you have to sacrifice not seeing your new born for few weeks. Thats the price he is willing to Pay.

 

Are you willing to pay price. If yes, than you don’t crib about Work-Life Balance.

If you are Not. Don’t worry about your next promotion, financial goals, fancy car. Be happy. And there is nothing wrong with it. Be content.

 

Unfortunately, 99.9% of people falls in between, because, we are not completely agnostic to idea of growth. If you have read the book by Chip & Dan Heath – Decisive, you know, ultimately Our Human Mind has two sides.

 

Emotional Self – That drives our likings,desire and decision.

Rational Self – Controls our behaviour with rationality.

 

Work-Life Balance is like that, our emotional side desires family, fun, happiness and our rational side, learning, growth etc. We are always torn apart between this too. Think deeply about it.There is no end to the debate. We have to make our own Peace.

 

I just spent, 15 minutes writing this. Ignored 1 call, recalibrated my little tight schedule for the day. Thats price I am willing to pay, because, at least I could sharpen my thoughts, my writing skills.

If you are interest, read book by our First Women Chief Justice – Leela Sheth – On Balance. Life is all about managing balance. It sounds truism.

So, is Work-Life Balance is an equilibrium? You try to achieve or Is it pendulum? you are trying to control form going extreme.

Work Life Balance

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We aspire to be the Best Father/Mother/Son/Spouse etc..Tend to be pushing hard to manage expectations of every one. We are also supposed to get time for ourselves. To avoid burning out syndrom, to learn new skills, to stay ahead of curve. And yet, we question, Am I doing Right? Am I managing my priorities? Few days, back I had blogged, its not Time Management but Managing Your Energy should be your primary goal. To add to this, I must state, Work-Life Balance is Non Sense. This is a luxury bestowed upon us, generations who do not have to worry about earning like our parents, who had to work hard to meet two ends meet.

Does Work-Life balance is critical or can you achieve it, or its just an utopian event? While we all agree that working towards any extreme either Work or Life is not healthy, but some amount of imbalance would always remain.

A short video is useful reminder. I am not passing any judgement, see it for yourself.

 

Decision Making : Fitness/Investment/Anything…

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Today, I read a very interesting article, drawing parallel on Investing and Fitness. Both requires,

Discipline

Regime

Very Strong will power

Resistance to temptation

Whether we like it or not, but the way we look at our fitness, it mirrors our investment style or any decision making process or vice versa. It all depends upon, at what angle you are looking at, if you are fitness enthusiast read the article from that perspective. Despite being very conservative, cautious and not so brawny about Investment or any other decisions we make in our life, we somehow aspire to have lean body, little fat and or chiseled torso. Knowing fully well that all these so called show off body could not be acquired by us or it looks only good in the picture, and rarely people have such fitness unless you are in Show Business. Similarly for investment or decisions, we aspire to get a supernormal return or a decision to be correct in every circumstance. In all the process, fundamentals are forgotten.

Like,

“People focus on growing their bank accounts, but they don’t want to pay attention to budgeting. It’s like a person who goes to the gym and presses 300 pounds, and then goes to McDonald’s.”

Money Saved equals to money earn. A budgeting, helping us save more, but we may control the desire of eating fatty food, but seldomly focus on Budgeting. We focus mostly on action, but some time Non Action is equally important.

Like,

“Just like you might be tempted to buy an additional bag of Oreos since they are ‘Buy two, get one free,’ saving in a well-allocated portfolio ensures you don’t chase the hot stock or mutual fund.”

Asset allocation, spreading risk both are fundamental to all investment decisions. Rarely we do recheck on risk allocation. Via Negative and optionality are two concepts that should be kept handy, sometime only by eliminating we get the result and if our decisions have redundancy built in, its much easier to navigate in difficult situation, as the chances of decision going wrong due to various random factors looms very large, and for want of redundancy, we may get stuck with a stale decision.

Like,

When I don’t have any willpower left, I will just do one tiny thing. I’ll do a few pushups, monitor my savings—anything—and this often replenishes a bit of willpower to resume tackling bigger and more important goals.”

To have a system that focus on larger picture is equally important. There are going to be days, when discipline may not work, we may give up to the temptation, better still to engage in the process is very critical. As Charlie Munger puts it, one must remain within the circle of competence. Question whether we have crossed our competence is to answer it.

So the ultimate answer lies in having consciousness and not make the process so automatic, we simply forget it.

Full Artilce on How to be Financially Fit

MIT Media Lab : Logo Design Process

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Do you wish to learn how creatively a logo can be produced, read the story on MIT Media Lab. They have recently changed their logo, only after three years. Interesting part is, logo is unique yet, very different for each of its individual unit.

Its difficult to describe the iterative process of logo design, but surely its very refreshing. How recombining the logic, a completely different result without disturbing the brand identity could be created. If you are interested in graphic design, surely you would not be disappointed. Also, i recommend watching 1 minutes Youtube video.

Read full story on Gizmodo.

Total Reading Time : 5 minutes + 1 minute Youtube Video.

Confusing Cause and Effect. (Means/Ends)

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A fever is a symptom. There’s an underlying disease that causes it. Giving you a fever (sitting in a sauna) doesn’t make you sick, and getting rid of the fever (in a cold bath, for example) doesn’t always get rid of the illness.

The New York Times bestseller list used to be a symptom, the symptom that a book was really popular. Now, it’s so easy to game and fake that some people have confused themselves into thinking that being on the list can actually cause your book to be popular.

It’s easy to be fooled into paying a lot to hire a salesperson who is leaving a fast-growing company. After all, it seems like hot-shot gifted salespeople are often the cause of a company growing fast. In fact, we often see that a fast-growing company seems to produce hot-shot salespeople (or programmers or whatever).

Does the really buzzy launch party make the movie good, or does a good movie get a better party?

Sometimes cause and effect can be flipped (enthusiastic people can become happy, or happy people become enthusiastic) but it’s often worth keeping track of which part of the process you’re trying to invest in and which part you’re working to create.

Spending time and money gaming symptoms and effects is common and urgent, but it’s often true that you’d be better off focusing on the disease (the cause) instead.

Courtesy : Seth Godin.

Actually, Some Material Goods Makes you Happy ?

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Common wisdom, alas for those who have disposable income in excess of their needs and wants is to spend money on Experience and Not on Material Goods. There are countless articles arguing precedence of Experience Over Physical Goods and in long run, experience provides you much deeper satisfaction than ephemeral existential joy provided by goods. For e.g. New Mobile will provide you fun only for few days, and after a while it would be life as usual, the craving would be endless, with every new iteration of mobile development, whereas experience of holiday with loved once, you would cherish for ever.

Despite reading the wisdom, we often discover, whether distinction between Material v/s Experience is so simple. The recent research now tries to provides an answer to the dilema. To get better Idea about what I have been writing, read the article published in the Atlantic…before proceeding further.

Now that you know, what I am talking, do you agree with the point?

I only agree partially.

Every physical goods at some psychological level, provides us the experience, so third category,  “buying goods that provides experience”   to my mind is a artificial distinction. I do not think there is any third category…Though, the psychological happiness of autonomy, competence and connectedness is very important, but when the Physical Goods provides us the experience, for e.g. Buying Guitar and After learning Guitar, we are not comparing the joy of buying v/s the experience of playing Guitar vis a vis  with any other comparable experience, but two un comparable events. After a while joy of buying Guitar would loose, if we don’t learn or fail to learn, in that case, it would have a negative psychological effect. But after learning, the hedonic mental state would provide a different ‘kick’ (sorry for using it ) and thus we are trying to compare the uncomparables.

For us Indian, the discussion is little boring…we still do not consider experience as important..and after reading the article in atlantic, my views expressed six month back..read here…have not changed.

Material Goods does give more pleasure than Experience.

 

Malcom Gladwell Interview

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If you have read books by Malcolm Gladwell, certainly you are likely to be the one, who indulges in mental gymnastic, intend to learn about how mind works. His books are both thought provoking and dishes out groundbreaking ideas. One of the most contested idea of 10000 hour rule in his book “outlier” is hotly debated. It says, you could master anything by working hard for long enough, though he never claims about genetics or inherently advantageous biological conditions found in few sportsman, its more of a rule of thumb applied in daily life. Though, new research contradicts the theory vehemently, however contradictions highlighted applies in the realm of sports/science and not to the daily life, thus, I still believe in 10000 hour rule. In fact, one of the word of wisdom of our elders : when you start your business, you have to wait for 3 years to turn profitable…it exactly the same as 10000 hour rule.

Recently a short interview published in The Guardian…Read Here.…gives snippets of Gladwellian thinking…worth reading.

Courtesy : The Guaradian

Nate Silver Blog

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As we all know, forecasting is a bad science. Mostly, all long term forecast by leading experts in the various field have not done better job than you and me. Mostly, we remember only those prediction which turn correct and conveniently ignore the bad ones. Its said that  predict for so long term, that people will never realise, whether you are right or wrong..My Prediction is : By 2025, we will be using Mobile to Control our Cars. Sounds Interesting…You can know, I am right or wrong not until 2025.

But there is some difference between, prediction by guesswork and prediction based on data analysis.

Nate Silve is author of various books, important being “The Signal and Noise”. He is a journalist and have specialised in using Big Data for Forecasting. If you have read about him, during 2009 Presidential Election, he predicted state by state result and his prediction was right in all state (50/50). His blog was published in New York Times known as Five Thirty Eight.

Now, he has started independent website of the same name. Fivethirtyeight.com and expanding his prediction/forecasting methodology to Science, Economics, Sports and Life.

If you are interested in grappling with interesting Idea, its worth read. Just for fun read the interesting thoughts on his methodology.

 

HBR : How to make your self work when you don’t feel doing it

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Interesting read on HBR…on procrastination. Many a  time, we just don’t feel like doing lot many things…neither we could push that last ounce of energy that forces us to do something. This moments are very common place, it could be day or task or some unpleasant work..mostly, we don’t feel like having  motivation to do it…

The reasons could be endless…The articles illuminates the basic of what prevents that positive burst of energy, and how to get over the stumbling block…Its very academic but worth reading..

Read Here…