I’m persuaded that the Singapore education system is an unimaginative and un-innovative one. One that is based on rote learning. One that advocates answering questions based on heuristics as opposed to deep understanding. It’s interesting that I actually better understood ‘academic ideas’ through real-life applications, as opposed to the school.
Solve Life Problems with a Multi-Disciplinary Approach:
I thoroughly enjoy Charlie Munger’s approach of using multi academic disciplines to figure out life and business problems. You can read about his multidisciplinary approach in my recommended readings.
I’m not going to make my blog look like your University textbook. In fact, I take Richard Feynman’s philosophy on knowing the name of something compared to understanding something.
If you aren’t able to explain something simply, you don’t really understand it at all.
Hint: He won a Nobel Prize. I’m pretty sure you should listen.
Okay, to name a couple:
Statistical significance: Statistics
Letting digital advertising campaigns run and measure it by the number reach/impressions before making any adjustment to them. In life, for every 10 people you meet, if six people think you’re awesome and four decides you’re an asshole. You’re still doing alright.
Premack Principle: Psychology
Using the desired behaviour as a reward to condition another desired behaviour. If you reward yourself with a run after eating healthy, you’re essentially applying the Premack principle. You can mix this up. I reward myself with exercise after completing publishing articles like this one.
Variable Reward Schedule: Psychology
Variable rewards are more emotionally rewarding than fixed rewards. This is why entrepreneurs get more ’emotional highs’ because they are variably rewarded for their work as compared an employee drawing a fixed salary.
This is crucial in setting key performance indicators, incentive structure in a company.
Survival of the fittest, Darwinism: Biology
If you want to get ahead in the dating game, it’s understanding and accepting that a part of mating choices is by picking out the ‘fittest’. It’ll incentivize you to strive to become your best self and accept that the dating game is a somewhatcruel, unfair game.
First Principles, Popularized by Elon Musk: Physics
The first principles approach is the art of boiling any problem down to its fundamentals and reasoning your way up from there. I used the first principles to tackle many problems in my life. I used it to beat politics in bureaucratic systems, namely the military.
There wasn’t any physical limitation that says I couldn’t walk in a Lieutenant Colonel’s office to negotiate as a corporal after exhausting all possible channels. Everyone said no, you can’t do it. I did it anyway.
On the School System
Honestly, I found the Singaporean school system boring and a drag after primary school. I thought I was the odd one out for years. If you asked anyone during my secondary school and JC years, I was a shit student. I wasn’t least bit interested. I had a really active mind though. I remembered trying to break down martial arts system during my physics exams. (Read: I failed miserably)
In hindsight, I wasn’t interested because the school curriculum was heavily reliant on regurgitation and it was optimized for grades. Not learning. You’re learning to game a system, as opposed to the actual art of learning.
I took up a Diploma in Economics during my first year in University. The majority of students weren’t really interested in economics, they were more interested in getting the graphs right so that could score in the exams. On my end, I wasn’t interested at all in Economics.
However as I self-educated through books, I found myself fascinated by multiple ‘academic ideas’ in their application to business and personal life. It’s a much more fun way to learn and problem solve. I figured I wasn’t a good student, I was a better learner.
I’m also convinced that heavy memory work isn’t actually necessary or a judge of intelligence: which are the majority of Singaporean styled examinations. In a digital economy where you have access to information through mobile phones twenty-four seven, your ability to interpret and filter information is much more important than memorizing.
I’m able to write and debate in a certain way because of my ability to take in huge chunks of information at a go and filter them according to application and needs.
It sure isn’t because of my ability to memorizing.