The late Nelson Mandela was famously known for being an active promoter of education. He believed that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
Usually Mandela’s quote is used to promote primary education, but in this post I want to stress the importance of continuing your education as an adult. In particular, in developing a person’s critical thinking, presentation and orator skills.
Critical thinking, gives us the means of assessing and analysing the world around us, enhancing our ability to judge well. It enables us to form solid beliefs and judgments.
When people are able to think critically about the information available to them – via the media, governmental agencies, social media, the people in their surrounding – the chances of being manipulated or misled are greatly reduced. Moreover, if a person can logically organise their thoughts and ideas, and is able to present them clearly to others, constructive discussions will take place.
Education & Politics
With the current political scandals and uprisings that are taking place in Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria we are reminded that education is the key to eliminating global inequalities. When you delve deeper into these protests you can find an interesting trend: the uprisings in Venezuela, Ukraine and Syria were started by or for the educated sector. In Venezuela the uprising against the government’s inability to control the sharp rise in violence was started by a group of university students in the state of Merida. In Ukraine the uprising took a more serious note once the students joined the protests for a closer integration with the European Union. And in Syria, the unrest began when locals gathered to demand the release of 14 school children who were arrested and tortured after writing an anti-regime slogan on a wall.
In the past social and political changes have been inspired by people, just like you and me, who used their critical thinking capabilities and developed their public speaking skills. For example, Martin Luther King and Emmeline Pankhurst, challenged the status quo through their radical and innovative way of thinking and the way in which they presented their ideas to the public.
Education & Business
In the work environment critical thinking is also of great importance. It pushes people to look at a situation and weigh all possible solutions before coming up with a final decision. It is a long process that requires input from people with different opinions and expertise within the organisation. The benefits to critical thinking are aplenty – a classic business example, of a person changing the rules of the game is Steve Jobs. He took the original chunky design and function of the mp3-player, and transformed it to a user-friendly attractive device. In essence, he changed the way we treat, engage and listen music. Critical thinking can foster new and different ideas as people look beyond conventional solutions and look for new effective ideas. These new ideas can create potential business spin-offs, unearth interesting business opportunities and create new working methods.
Take control of your Education
- effectively analyse and question the information and data in your organisation;
- reason your arguments clearly and convincingly in meetings, team-projects, with your boss, etc.
This lethal combination can open interesting career paths.
As an ending note I will return to Nelson Mandela’s quote: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change YOUR world”