Building on yesterday’s topic (http://bit.ly/reDgnB) of the 10,000 hours it takes to master a skill, an article I read this morning had me thinking about the other end of the spectrum. According to Metro’s “Just Google it: Students” article (http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/learn/article/968308–just-google-it-students), students use Google more than twice as much as any other research method, which leads to the fear that “poor research skills could hinder their future careers.” (Ironic, as in the same article they used “pour” instead of “pore” — but hey, who’s checking?) Probably true — I come from a unique time in history where my journey through high school was accompanied by a transformation of my research methods from using encyclopedias to encyclopedias on CD-ROM, to search engines, and now the ever-ubiquitous Google rules all, but can be tamed if you know how to search.
But I needed to start with the fundamentals first before I could be able to know how to look for things on Google. So I guess that leads to a bigger question —
It’s been a while since the focus has been on making things that last. Instead we focus on making them cheaper. Easier to attain. Better than the next person’s. Individual through conformity. Whichever way you look at it, our priorities have definitely changed.
We want to get rich quicker. Lose weight faster. Do chores in half the time. It’s all about the quick wins with as little effort as possible.
But what does this teach us for the future? What does it teach everyone to come after us?
You start with bad lessons, bad habits and bad ideas, and they develop misguided kids into worse adults, never knowing the way to do anything properly and teaching the same piecemeal lessons to whoever they have to pass the knowledge to next. And what does that leave us with? Lost knowledge. Lost skills. Lost culture. Maybe even a lost population?
So do yourself a favour, and learn how to do things the right way the first time — it won’t only be doing you the favour; I’m sure you’ll get it back to you one way or another. The long way’s a pain in the butt more often than not, but the scenic route’s often worth the drive.
–Casey E. Palmer