Last week I talked about Intelligence and what it doesn’t mean, as well as the misunderstood diversity of such an outstanding virtue. Well guess what? This same de-appreciation exists for the term “education” as well, almost on the same scale. Most people confuse this hugely significant quality with “academics” or schooling. These are NOT the same, and by no means equally significant to our lives.

Education, defined by Princeton University is “the activity of educating or instructing; activities that impart knowledge or skill”. Academic, defined by the same source is “an association with an academia or academy”, or in other words, an association with schooling, and higher education.

Education is the process in which we learn. Anytime we learn something new, whether it is how to negotiate deals with a banker, developing critical thought, learning new ideas from a book or an article (like this one!), or understanding why your doctor is giving you the medicine he is, we develop new strategies and tactics for future events in which we can use our previous learned knowledge to help new situations, or possibly, to teach others.

Academics, or schooling, are good to test your ability in how well you do in school. If this sounds less significant then you may have thought it’s because it is. Schooling contributes to your overall “education” or intellectual growth, but it by is no means enough. Let me take a minute and explain why.

First off, schools use “standardized tests” as a template to teach what they do. In school, you are not being taught your subject, as you are being taught the selection of that subject which will be on the standardized tests. If that made no sense at all let’s try this example: have you ever been in a class, let’s say… math (everyone’s favorite) where you or someone else asked the instructor something like “I understand how to graph the sin function, but what about the cosecant function?” to which your professor might reply “Oh, well you won’t need to worry about that, it’s not on the test”. Excuse me what? Am I taking calculus, or the part of calculus which you feel is most important? I have been in a class where I asked a similar question and the professor replied “Oh I used to teach that, but I found it too much trouble for most students”. Again, is this a subject I’m taking, or is it a selection of a subject which you find easy to teach?

Another problem is academia’s scale of intellect. If schooling is supposed to teach us to be “smart” or “intelligent”, it would then matter what they consider to be “smart” or “intelligent”, if of course their plan was to teach following these guidelines. So, what do they define this to be? Well only an analysis of the current academic system would tell us.

If analyzing the current system it is not hard to tell their teachings revolve around I.Q. based concentration repetition. Students (especially kids and youth) are taught to memorize subjects—this is different from understanding them. Here is the material, memorize it, and repeat it for the upcoming test. Those who do well at this are considered “smart”. Let it be known, memorization has nothing to do with intelligence.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of schooling and education, for more in depth information and a guide on how to educate yourself, check out my eBook Interpreting the Truth. (There is much too much to write in a blog).

In the book entitled “Self-regulation of learning and performance: issues and educational applications” by Dale H. Schunk and Barry J. Zimmerman they too discus this very issue:

“Self-education has been discussed for over two centuries as a way to encourage individuals to become educated on their own, primarily by undertaking personal programs of reading. A number of influential American thinkers, such as Benjamin Franklin (Benjamin Franklin Writings, 1868/1987) and Thomas Edison (Josephson, 1959), have stressed the value of self-directed reading experiences along with personal efforts to apply this knowledge on their intellectual development.”

In my eBook Interpreting the Truth “education” is one of the 8 essential qualities of intellectualism. This is the education of ourselves, and of our world. Yes we learn material in school, but we learn more outside, if only we would take the time to find it. Open your mind, begin to educate yourself in subjects you love, attempt subjects you know little about, begin to learn and educate yourself with intellectual nourishment.

Self growth and intellectual understandings are the goals of our lives—to become who we want and understand what we can is what we live for. Gone should be the days where Americans spend their time watching a T.V. sporting game all day and learn nothing—it starts with you my friend. Break this stereotypical pool of dementia and begin to become intellectual, make a difference in your life, and you’ll be surprised how many follow suit.

To finally become intellectual and learn all the essential qualities that will entitle you to live your life to the fullest, purchase Devin Ford’s Interpreting the Truth eBook at

Author's Bio: 

Devin Ford is author of Interpreting the Truth and owner of the blog at