Your age is linear, not your mind

Linear killed your potential

I spent the first 12 years of my life studying, from the age of six in grade one to high school.

That's enough time to master a skill or two, from theory to practice.

But I graduated from high school with zero skills.

With only basic education after 12 years.

It's not me to blame; it's a shame on the educational system worldwide

I don't know any better, and neither do my parents.

Everyone's life outside of their home is planned by a bunch we call the 'government’

Some systems are designed to serve the interests of the designer rather than the user of the system.

By the age of 18, I should have a skill or two that I can monetize and live off.

In ancient times, people at this age led armies, won wars, and built empires.

The system is meant to slow you down and prevent you from unlocking your potential. It's designed to create followers and workers, not leaders.

Imagine if you started learning a skill or two at the age of 10, practiced it at 14-15 years old. By the age of 20, you run your own business, and by 25, you are a mogul.

With such mastery, money and burning desires you are unstoppable. Anyone would cap that powerful energy to monopolize control.

In the modern world, at the age of 18, most of us are only equipped with basic learning, lacking the specific skills needed to navigate life.

This type of system has its impact, slowing down progress in life, limiting our thinking, and leading to linear (straight line) and closed-loop learning.

These frameworks limit human potential, interest, and capability.

The way you learn it impacts the way you think.

Straight-line (linear) learning is on a macro level when you aim to acquire a skill or knowledge to become something specific, such as becoming an accountant.

Closed-loop learning is on a micro level when you aim to improve something, like enhancing a product.

The problem with linear learning is that it leads to tunnel vision on a macro level.

If you study a major at the University, for example, to become an accountant, you might end up spending your entire life in that role.

Your career progresses in a straight line, counting the number of years of experience, without acquiring additional skills to make you more than just an accountant.

This linear thinking prevents you from considering how to move to a higher level or become multidisciplinary.

Even if you believe that's not true and you manage to move up, it's not about moving in roles or titles; it's about unlocking new heights for yourself.

Constantly thinking in a straight line to achieve milestones limits your horizon.

You finish high school as a milestone achieved without any specific skill. Then, you complete university as a milestone without acquiring a skill.

The third milestone is getting a career at age 22.

It's at 22 when you start building skills in one major for years to come. All these years are a waste without unlocking your potential to shape you.

Following a straight line drawn by others results in a linear, tunnel vision approach.

Linear is for physical movement, not for expansive thinking.

Problem with linear learning

From the micro level, closed-loop learning to improve from feedbacks leads to loop thinking only.

Loop thinking is limited to the direct surroundings of the problem, and you improve only what has a direct cause.

This makes improvement slow over time. With loop thinking, you focus on one to two direct causes because that's what you see.

Improving one or two causes doesn't make it perfect, but it's sufficient for the product or service to continue serving its intended purpose in a mediocre way.

Only after awhile you uncover and discover another cause so you take loop thinking again to improve it.

It's slow progress, taking time to figure things out and costing you, whereas you could figure things out earlier and be ahead in your game.

Problem with Closed-loop learning

In my career and learning journey, I have always employed different frames of learning to unlock my potential, acquire knowledge, and enhance my learning experience.

This framework has helped me think differently and expand my horizon.

I call it network learning, and it has helped me become a multidisciplinary designer, enabling me to solve and improve problems faster.

It's a framework that opens your horizon, allowing you to look at things from a 360-degree angle.

Whats the network learning framework?

I believe and see that everything is part of a network. There are components in the network that have direct relations and those that have indirect relations.

They interact with one another, complement one another, rely on one another, etc.

You have to identify these components and establish connections and links between them.

Study them, learn from them, and shape a set of skills that make you greater than you are.

To achieve higher roles in your career, become multidisciplinary, or improve products and services.

You need to draw the network of components so that you know what you need to learn to achieve higher goals.

Here is an example of network learning at the macro level:

If you want to learn how to write, you should identify both direct and indirect components that can make you a great writer.

You identify the direct components you need to learn:

  • Identify topics to write about.

  • Cultivate knowledge and expertise to share.

  • Practice writing daily.

  • Reading

  • Develop a writing framework, including an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Doing these alone is not enough to become a great writer. If you only stick to these practices, you become a writer and you miss achieve greatness.

Here are the indirect components you need to identify:

  • Understanding human nature.

  • Mastering the art of capturing and retaining attention.

  • Familiarizing yourself with sales principles.

  • Developing insights into effective marketing strategies.

  • Learning the art of storytelling.

  • Recognizing the nuances between writing a book, crafting emails, creating posts, etc.

  • Acquiring skills for preparing engaging presentations.

All of these components exist within the network; you have to identify and link them together.

Through the network framework of learning, you unlock your potential and gain multidisciplinary expertise.

You can write and influence, deliver keynotes, create compelling presentations, tell engaging stories, persuade effectively, and excel in sales and marketing.

Linear learning will make you a linear thinker and confine you to becoming a writer only.

Let's apply the network learning at the micro level when improving something; it's the same concept.

When you face a challenge or problem, you need to identify both the direct and indirect causes within the environment where the challenge arises.

Understand how the direct and indirect causes impact the problem. This way, you gain a holistic view of your problem and learn what needs improvement.

Instead of focusing on one thing and improving it, you concentrate on multiple aspects to enhance overall improvement at a faster pace.

For example;

If you have a problem with an old technology, and it's the main challenge you are facing, focusing solely on that may only solve 50-60% of the issue.

Most problems have indirect components you need to identify, such as:

Do people using this technology need training? How will they use this new piece to communicate with others? Is there a need for a new process? Are there systems in place to support the new technology and people?

Based on the challenge, it's essential to frame the boundaries of all components involved directly and indirectly.

This is how you identify areas for improvement, allowing your progress to reach advanced stages.

Network learning framework

This is how you expand your thinking and horizon, using a network framework.

It enables you to see the big picture, unlock new levels faster, and stay ahead.

Everything is a network, interconnected or linked through others.

One node impacts the other, informs the other, relies on the other, and collaborates to build blocks with others.

Apply network learning at the macro level to become multidisciplinary or unlock higher levels

At the micro level, use it to enhance specific aspects. It's a way to broaden your horizon and leap many steps ahead.

Unleash the greatness within you through your thought process; the way you think is the way you operate.

The better your framework of thinking the more you master the game.

The game is not two teams and a ball. Its training, enviroment, incentive, support, food, and fans.

Life is a series of blocks; each set you identify, unlock, and master propels you to a new, higher level.

Completing each level establishes the foundation for identifying the next set.

Thanks for reading!

Ahmed Bousuwa

P.S two things I can help you with:

finding opportunities and designing the blocks of the solution. within any area: transformation, improvement, innovation, strategy, or product.

on a project you are working on, need help to set direction to reach desired outcomes