I’ve got a mashup of ideas in my head, but that’s not new. Here are the pieces bumping together right now:
- I just finished the Seth Godin’s book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
- This month is the 28 th anniversary of my graduation from the USAF Academy
- I saw this video from TED where Rory Sutherland mentions placebo education (If you much skip ahead, go to 2:40 minutes into the video).
All three touch on education. By most measures, I had a very “good” education. I studied engineering, learned logical approaches to problems solving, and definitely learned how to fit in and follow the rules. If you watched the video, I also had quite the placebo education. Like Rory said in the video, I learned how to deal with details of Reality and not the world for Perception.
Or, did I?
It is about other peoples’ reality and my reality. It is about other peoples’ perceptions and my perceptions.
I used to joke that it took me over a decade to un-learn everything I had learned at the academy. At the time, I couldn’t explain it any better than that. I just knew I had received a good technical education by other peoples’ measures, but not a well rounded education by my measure. I knew there we holes in my education, but didn’t know exactly where they were. Rory has clarified this further for me. At the academy, I was taught (and I guess I learned) to deal with reality in many different ways – technically, logically, practically. But, not in a perceptual way and definitely not in a feeling fashion.
Interestingly, I did learn about perceptions, though it wasn’t in the curriculum. To survive the academy, you had to create the perception you were “squared away” with a perfectly neat uniform, a “tight-as-a-drum bed, and an “un-flappable” demeanor.
- Perception: Perfect parade uniform. Reality: Uniform shirt beneath my jacket cut off below the ribs to keep me cool in the summer parade.
- Perception: Perfectly made bed. Reality: Single sheet used for “show bed.” Sleeping beneath the sheets was impossible.
- Perception: Calm demeanor while preparing to parachute out of an airplane. Reality: “Holy Shit!”
“Thank You!” Rory Sutherland for helping me understand I was formally educated to deal with reality and continually told what a great education I received. All the while, informally educated to deal with perceptions. It only took me 28 years to figure it out.