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Suffer, little children…

Since probably about 2010, I’ve been toying with an idea that I consider very important. I can’t really remember the thing that sparked it initially, but I’m sure a lot of it had to do with my experiences in the world of adults – the world of employment – as well as my experiences at the various educational institutions I’ve attended.

That I think there are vast, fundamental problems with education systems, is no secret to anyone who knows me. Thus, what I started thinking about, was a school to teach children to focus on their creativity. Somewhere where kids can discover what their true passion is, and live it, so that they don’t end up the way most of us do – doing jobs we hate to get some money at the end of the month to simply survive.

I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I feel that, if that’s really all there is to life, I really don’t want any part of it.

I started thinking further about how utterly useless and misdirected half the stuff was that I’d learned in school. I started thinking things like, “If only I’d had computer science classes in school,” or “If only I’d had art classes in school.”

And then, I discovered this video, and all these random little thoughts  solidified into one big idea:

Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 TED Talk on “How Schools Kill Creativity”. If this video doesn’t work for you, for some reason, you can also view it here on the official TED YouTube channel.

See, one of my problems in school was that I was actually quite good at mathematics and science. Not only that – I enjoyed these subjects as well. As a result, everyone kept “guiding” (read: pushing) me in the direction of the sciences, engineering, etc. The trouble was that nobody bothered to look at the fact that I was also really good at art and music and loved writing. I’m not even going to say too much about that – if you watch Sir Ken Robinson’s talk up there, he expresses precisely what I experienced growing up.

And it’s nobody’s fault. Nobody did this with malicious intent – it’s simply the way of the world (it’s messed me up more than pretty much anything else in my life though). This cycle of fear we all get raised to respect.  Continue reading Suffer, little children…

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Reboot – Part 2: To Reinvent or Not

I’ve wanted to “work for myself” for a very long time, possibly since the first job I’ve had. I’ve never functioned well in office environments. Around 2007 – 2008, I tried freelancing as a web developer (as I was formerly employed as exactly that) and ended up hating it so much, that I’ve more or less lost all interest in web development.

What do you do when roughly the only trained skill you have, becomes something you’re not interested in anymore? I harboured dreams of developing stand-alone management applications that I could then sell to clients – a complete software suite that, unlike CMS-based websites, would not necessarily need my continued interaction with the client (aside from support calls, etc.). I certainly had the skills to execute this and yet, it didn’t happen.

What I kept telling myself the problem was (and at least partly, it was), was the inability to make money from such an idea until I had a finished product. In other words, in the couple of months it would take me to develop something like this, I would have no income, but I would still have rather significant expenses. Part-time job? Working on the project in the evenings? I’ve tried that in the past and it just didn’t work for me. I tend to get so involved with the other work that I do, that I end up not having the energy or motivation to work on the project (also, part-time jobs in South Africa generally don’t pay enough to augment this kind of process – the other thing you’re doing would need to bring in money at the same time too, in order to keep up with rent, groceries, etc. So full-circle – the thing I’m doing isn’t currently bringing in money that I can survive on. The End… :/ ).

And this is precisely how the cycle has gone for me, probably since 2005. I get to the point where I realise the job I’m doing doesn’t fulfil me, I need to focus on my own projects, then I quit the job and focus on my projects, but before long, I panic, since there’s no “security” in my own projects… Continue reading Reboot – Part 2: To Reinvent or Not