One of the benefits of being a blogger, is getting to know and learn from so many young people. I love it! Our interview today is with Scott H Young, who has been a leader in the personal development field since his teenage years. Scott is a recent college graduate, who is author of the video course, Learn More, Study Less.
Scott describes himself as "a speed-reading, vegetarian, holistic learning, productivity hacking recent university graduate. And, for the last five years I've been experimenting to find out how to get more from life."
1. For our readers who don't know you can you tell us briefly about yourself and how you got started.
I've been a blogger for over 5 years, writing about learning and life philosophy. It really just started with me journaling the answers I've found in my own life, and then it grew considerably.
2. With the economy the way it is do you think attending college is the best way to learn? It means so much and there aren't many jobs.
College is an interesting choice, because the tuition inflation and exodus of middle-class jobs means it's a riskier bet for everyone, even if it is still the correct choice for many people.
Education (whether inside or outside of school) is becoming more important, not less, in a modern economy. This is because technology and outsourcing are slowly eliminating all the previous "medium" skill jobs which require some education, but not much. That means people need even better skills with even more knowledge to excel.
Now the question is whether college is the best way to achieve that. At the moment, for very ambitious people, I believe the evidence still says it is. However, I think we're on the beginning of a shift where the quality of free educational resources is going up exponentially. When self-education resources are on par or better than those at institutions, then I think you'll see a fundamental shift in both higher education and the trade offs of choosing an "uncollege" degree.
That's a big reason I'm doing my MIT Challenge–because I believe this mode of learning will be increasingly more common in the next several years.
3. My granddaughter is trying to get her score up for her ACTS. Do you have any advice for her?She's graduating high school in June.
My basic advice for doing well on tests is: never memorize what needs to be understood and spend at least half of your time doing practice problems.
4. What advice do you have for students of all ages?
Understand, don't memorize. Too many students mistakenly believe that their teachers want tons of memorized facts. While that can be true for some courses, the real value is to have a deep understanding of how all the ideas are connected. When you have that goal in mind, it becomes a lot easier to learn.
5. Each year you like to bring a new adventure and reinvent something about your life…in pursuit of the extraordinary. What are you currently reinventing?
I recently started my MIT Challenge, which is to learn MIT's computer science curriculum (a 4-year program) in 12 months, without taking classes. Computer science fascinates me, so it's a subject I've always wanted to learn. However, the main motivation is that I want to push my own learning abilities to the limit, so I can see if there aren't a lot of areas I can improve. I believe all of life eventually boils down to learning and understanding, so the better you can do that, the more you can achieve.
6. What is on your list of the "cool stuff" to do in your life time?
I don't have a bucket list and I've honestly never been a big fan of huge life plans. My feeling is that you should be growing enough each year that keeping a consistent long-term vision is difficult. Once again, figuring out what you want from life isn't a decision, it's a process of learning about yourself and where you can prosper in the world, so it's necessarily not something you can easily write down on a whiteboard and never return to–you have to go out and live to slowly discover it.
7. What has been a big fear for you this year and how did you work through it?
That I'll fail. That I'm headed down a dead end. That my perspective is wrong. Fears and insecurities are a part of life, and I have them just like everyone else. My feeling, I suppose, is that you work through your fears by learning more about yourself and the world. Knowledge is the antidote to fear and the way to learn is to go out and fail.
8. If you had 60 seconds to give the world a message, what would it be?
I've never been good at saying anything as important as an aphorism. Life is simple and complex, and rarely reduces down to a mission statement or a single epiphany. Perhaps that's why it's continuously interesting and adventurous, because there's never a point where you have it figured out, but you continue to live nonetheless.
Psychologist and blogger friend, Gail Brenner is offering a conference call "Moving Through Fear With Grace" this Saturday. Check out her video and sign up. Gail does excellent work, I know it will be worth it!