A few years back, just after celebrating my first 29th Birthday (lol), I was doing my aimless rounds in the capital City of Kenya, Nairobi. You see, I had just graduated from High School with a mean grade of B-(Minus). Those days, after High School Graduation, It used to take close to a year plus for a High School Graduate to be admitted to University.
That same year, a Revolution was taking place in Kenya, as far as Education is concerned. A new way of thinking had been introduced, specifically regarding entry into the higher Institutions of learning. This new way is what was and still is called the 'Module 2'. In a nutshell, those students who were willing to pursue their studies and had not attained the cut off points to University were being offered another door of entry. The catch? Financial muscle. In short, it meant that as long as you had the money to pay for the program, even though you failed in attaining the cut off points, you still would be admitted in the Higher Institutions of learning and go ahead and obtain your degree.
Now, believe me, that move is laudable. Of course so much water has passed under the bridge since then....whereas we had only five public Universities in Kenya, there are now numerable. More and more people are exposed to these institutions of Higher learning.
That this was a positive revolution was not understood by the students who had attained the cut off points and already admitted. They inevitably took to the streets sighting betrayal....and guess what? I was caught smack in the middle of the fracas. Being a smart guy as I am, I joined the rioting University of Nairobi Students....no I threw no stone, but I was part of the crowd. It felt good to have that belonging, that 'comrade power', even though I was not yet admitted to that University. It felt good to be identified with the 'Degree people' even in their rotten state of throwing stones and causing mayhem in the city.
That, ladies and Gentlemen is the stereotype that I am up against in this post. A stereotype that says people are worth the academic papers that they wield around. A stereotype that makes the victims of the system to shrink back, attempting nothing worthwhile in life after they have been made persona non grata of the academia. Whether they naturally did not make it or they were lazy is another matter.
I was on Radio few Saturday's back talking about creating Personal Strategic Plans. A listener texted in and claimed that he had great ideas BUT could not accomplish them because HE DID NOT EVEN HAVE A DIPLOMA. That is a stereotype. Society has been so crafted that it does not celebrate peoples innate talents, and strengths, but gauges them on the basis of academic performance. Now, do not get me wrong. Academia is good. If I never went to school, I probably would not be able to communicate in the Queen's Language. I probably would not know how compound Interest works and so on.
However, the business of judging all and sundry on the basis of how many degrees they have acquired must stop. In fact the business of people judging themselves and robbing themselves of Success, Significance, Wealth, and Greatness just because they have no Degree or Diploma MUST stop!!
Spare me that Academia stereotype. There are people out there who are awesome, talented, passionate...and have no degree....but wait a minute. Do not read it that way. The correct way of looking at these people is this....instead of saying you have no degree...this is what you should say: I HAVE NO EXCUSE!!
- 20% of America's millionaires never set foot in College, training or Schooling.
- 21 of the 222 Americans listed as Billionaires in 2003 never got their College Diplomas, 2 never even finished High School!
- It is rumored that Bill Gates did not complete his University Education
- Did Zuckerberg drop out of University to create Facebook? I need to check that out.
- Moses did not go to High School...though he delivered one nation from another (he had excuses too)
'Yeah right....that is just American Data...' you might say. Last year I traveled with Coach Phillip Kambe of www.intelligent-performance.com to Nairobi for a motivational talk. When we asked the participants whether the richest man in Nairobi had a degree...they all burst out laughing!
It proves my point here. Let us not look down and churn away people that 'have no papers'. And by all means, let all those people shooting themselves down just because the society has branded them failures realize this: It is not that you have no degree...NO! THE CORRECT WAY TO SAY IT IS THIS: YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE!!
Phew...let me breathe now...the smoke that was coming out of my ears is now abating.We will pick this up in the next post.
Have a great day people, wont you?