a human being to change a diaper, plan an invasion, kill a pig, rob a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort a dying person, take orders, give should be able. Give orders, cooperate, work alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, fertilize, program a computer, cook delicious food, fight skillfully, die bravely. Specialization is for insects.
That single, breathtaking list of skills, from Robert Heinlein, the American writer once called “the dean of science fiction writers,” still inspires me. It reminds me of my childhood hero Batman, self-reliant and expert in whatever he does. I think of Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance Man whose interests ranged from painting and sculpture to architecture, geology, weapons and defense systems design, robotics, the arts of cooking, optics and fireworks displays.
He was the Swiss Army Knife of a man.
I can only do five of the 21 things on Heinlein’s list—taking orders (not so well), giving orders, collaborating (with few people), working alone (easily) and cooking a delicious meal (ever). also). I was able to change diapers, but those kids are young adults now. I only know one knot and I can’t skateboard or roller-skate. Can I console the dying? I’ll never know. write a sonnet? never tried.
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I’m equally impressed by the things I do well and the things Millennials don’t. For example, none of them can feed themselves. Someone else irons their clothes. He doesn’t really have handwriting and his reading is limited to short and scrollable things. They stumble into life using directions from Google.
Lately, a new question has been chewing on my brain: Why? Why should I be able to use a theodolite or carve barbecued meat? Why learn anything?
Dr. Sugata Mitra, winner of the 2013 $1 million TED Prize, caused a stir when she said in an interview that, “Knowing is obsolete.” Why stay informed when all the knowledge is available in seconds through a Google search? or capable or capable Why is a skill important?
It is the time when people make promises to themselves for the next year. Here are some ideas, they are all about living life like you are a Swiss army knife and constantly learning new things.
There’s a mundane list of things worth knowing because they’re really useful and your mom isn’t going to be around forever. This includes things like-
– the Cook
– press clothes
– Plan nutritious meals
– Keep the bathroom spotlessly clean
– remove stains
Plant healthy plants
– Learn first aid for burns, cuts, sprains
– Listen well, and know when to speak
– Travel alone in a country whose language you don’t know
Did you do badly? Fear not, Google swears you’re in the 90th percentile and well within the norm.
A better reason for a lifelong education is emerging in a world where machines are taking over what was uniquely human, including writing and painting. Due to which people lose their jobs. What happens to pilots when their airbus can fly just fine on autopilot? Turns out he could get a new job flying a drone with a console – provided he goes back to school and learns the skills to fly a drone.
Worldwide demand for drone pilots is expected to grow by 51.1 percent over the next five years, with drone sales projected to reach more than $16 billion by 2030. Salary is very high but flying airbus is not enough. You must pass drone school, literally with flying colors.
Whatever you’re doing now, a machine will probably do it better and sooner. What new skills will you have learned to be employable by then?
One of the most compelling reasons to learn something entirely new in 2023 is coming from gerontology. Research is showing that people who learn for the joy of learning live longer. Einstein said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”
If you can’t think of what to learn, go wild. Pick up macrame. Or pick a language, any language, preferably something you’ll never need. Why not Norwegian? Download an app, and start learning it.
Scientists know that your brain’s neurons multiply in real time as you learn something challenging or new, a process known as neuroplasticity.
More importantly, learning new skills and topics staves off cognitive decline, improves memory, keeps spirits up, and promotes health, postponing or preventing conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. One study believes that one year of formal education can add more than six months to your life.
In 2023, I will continue with the learning list I started in 2022, which includes sign language, Spanish, at least 20 new knots, the art of debating, the piano, and how to draw a human figure.
However, one of the most bizarre and interesting things I’ve been learning about is writing with my left hand.
One day, some day, I intend to write with both hands simultaneously, essays with the right hand and poetry with the left. After all, pianists do different things with both hands without thinking, why can’t I?
What unexpected skill are you planning to learn in the coming new year?
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The views expressed in this column are those of the individual and do not represent the views of the paper.