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The 3 Things Elon Musk Knows About School That All Students Should Copy

The 3 Things Elon Musk Knows About School That All Students Should Copy

Elon Musk (the real-life Tony Stark) has become a technological icon of our era, and he represents the pinnacle of both big thinking and the successful execution of game-changing ideas. So we shouldn’t be at all surprised that recently, he decided to disrupt traditional education, in his own backyard.

Now, we can’t all go out and design our own school, and hire our own personalized teachers, but here are 3 things we can all emulate, as students, when it comes to educating ourselves:

1. School should focus on problems, not subjects

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    “It’s important to teach problem solving, or teach to the problem and not the tools.” ~Elon Musk

    As Socrates discovered long ago, true discovery happens when we present ourselves with intelligent questions, rather than adhere to pre-determined answers- and this couldn’t be more true for students.

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    As Elon recognized, teaching students by giving them answers to problems that they haven’t yet had a chance to explore (or even understand) destroys creativity, narrows the mind, and leads to boredom.

    This is why he’s designed a “problem focus” into his Ad Astra school’s principles. I call this the Goldilocks Principle:

    Give yourself a question or set of answers that are too easy and you’ll get bored.

    Give yourself a problem that’s too complex or difficult, and you’ll get overwhelmed.

    But give yourself a tough problem- one that you can see yourself ultimately solving- and you’ll unlock endless motivation to find the answer.

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    2. Schools should be student-paced

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      “Some people love English or languages. Some people love math. Some people love music. Different abilities, different times… It makes more sense to cater the education to match their aptitudes and abilities.” ~ Elon Musk

      The complexities of the human mind make it such that students don’t fit into a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits all mold when it comes to learning. This is why you can have one student in class who is disengaged because they’re light years ahead, and one student in class who’s disengaged because they have no idea what’s going on.

      But that DOESN’T mean that their potential for learning is any different – and in order to make the most of that potential, a student’s education should ideally be individualized and paced in a way that takes advantage of their current interests and ability level.

      Without a huge bankroll, though, this can seem difficult to execute within the context of traditional grade school and college education…

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      But with the advent of YouTube, MOOCs, and other flexible learning arrangements, try to think of some ways you could customize your learning experience to fit your interests.

      Super interested in Quantum Physics? Take a dive down that rabbit hole.

      Not so thrilled with 19th century British history? Nothing wrong with just doing the bare minimum and moving on…

      3 . Schools should be so interesting that students WANT to come every day

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        “The kids really love going to school.” ~ Elon Musk

        Instead of watching the drudging droves of unsatisfied children walking into school each morning, imagine a world where kids ASK their parents to take them to school, and sprint into class, brimming with energy for the day’s activities…

        Well this is what Elon hopes to maintain at his school, and it’s a model we should try to emulate. Just think of how much FASTER you learn playing your favorite game or sport, than listening to a boring lecture in a class you don’t care about.

        And it turns out, from a psychological perspective, the first two component’s of the Ad Astra model, contribute to this level of educational enjoyment. The more you can (1) focus on interesting problems to solve, and (2) cater the process to your interests, the more exiting you’ll find learning, and the more productive you’ll be.

        Featured photo credit: Heisenberg Media via flickr.com

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        7 Reasons You Won’t Start Studying Until It’s Too Late, And What To Do About It The 3 Things Elon Musk Knows About School That All Students Should Copy 10 Ways for Students to Crush It Next Semester 20 Funny Things Everyone Can Do Every Day to Get Smarter 10 counterintuitive quotes on learning that will make you a better student

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        Last Updated on January 2, 2019

        Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

        Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

        The end of the year is the time when everyone tries to give you advice on how to live healthier, look better, and earn more money.

        It’s understandable if you find yourself lost among all the tips and opinions. Sometimes you no longer know what you truly want to achieve next year – and what’s just imposed by society.

        To help you out, we’ve made this article about the things you should remove from your new year’s resolution list – instead of adding to it – to make your daily life more harmonious and peaceful.

        So just make sure you cross these off your New Year’s to-do list – your body, mind and soul will be thankful.

        1. Stop Buying Meaningless Gifts

        We all know the sense of obligation – when we have to buy a gift for an event or celebration that’s already tomorrow, but we still have no idea of what to give.

        Take these tips close to heart for all upcoming holidays, including birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.:

        Stop focusing on the material objects

        Instead of focusing on what material object to give, think about the emotion you want to evoke[1] in the gift recipient, and then pick a symbolic gift that can support or represent that emotion. For example, you can gift coziness by presenting a “comfort set” with warm socks, tea, candles, etc. Or give motivation by presenting a beautiful planner or notebook.

        Plan gifts in advance

        We know this is easier said than done. But if you try to plan which gifts you’ll need in the upcoming months (try making a list three or four times a year), ideas will more likely come to mind and you’ll avoid that last-minute shopping. Not to mention, you’ll be able to keep an eye on sales to get the best prices.

        Suggest a better way

        If you’re tired of exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays, initiate a different approach. For example, draw names among family members and agree that each one only buys a present to that one person they got. Alternatively, you can agree not to share gifts among adults, and only give presents to kids of the family. Or, ask friends to donate to charity instead of buying a gift for you.

        Go for common experiences instead of exchanging gifts

        You can agree (with your partner or the extended family) to go on a common trip, dinner or another activity, instead of spending money on gifts.

        Sometimes you’ll have to be the one who initiates breaking the rules that have been accepted in the family for years. But if you suspect that you’re not the only one in the group who’s tired of gift-hunting, you’ll surely find support for your suggestions.

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        2. Don’t Exaggerate with Diets and Fitness Resolutions

        It’s no secret that TV shows, article headlines, and ads (not to mention our healthy diet-obsessed friends) make us feel like we need to look better, slimmer and younger than we actually are. But going on yet another diet or starting a fitness plan with the wrong motivation rarely leads to great results.

        If you are like many people, you have probably signed up for an annual gym membership at least once in your life – only to drop it one month later.

        How do you balance a good resolution for a healthier life without pushing yourself into commitments that won’t last?

        Here’s what you can do:

        Set a healthier pattern

        For example, do meat-free Mondays or reduce meat consumption to three days per week (less saturated fat for you and better for the environment). Or choose to eat only healthy food at least three days a week or only on weekdays (e.g. make sure your meals contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, and protein). This way you’ll already have a healthier diet while still being able to treat yourself with a snack on weekends or parties.

        Get a fitness watch

        Fitness watches like Fitbit or MiBand are tiny accessories that will count your steps, calories burnt and will serve as an excellent motivator to move – or to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

        Find a physical activity that you enjoy

        Even if you are not that fond of doing sports, you can definitely find an activity that you’d do with pleasure. Think about what you’d like – from taking up Nordic walking to pilates or even exercising at home.

        Try intermittent fasting

        This is an alternating cycles of fasting and eating. For example, stop eating at 8 pm and restart not sooner than 12 hours later. This approach has been proven to have numerous health benefits, in addition to weight loss.

        Skip cabs or driving to work and opt for cycling or walking instead

        You’ll burn calories, breathe some fresh air, and save money – win-win!

        3. Put a Cap on Your Daily To-Do List

        In today’s busy world, planning your day in a stress-free way is actually an art in itself. It’s natural to want to be a loving parent, a diligent employee, an active member of the local community and probably several other individual roles.

        But playing all these roles requires energy and meticulous planning. How not to lose yourself amidst all the appointments and responsibilities? And – most importantly – how to still find time for relaxing and recharging yourself?

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        These daily planning tips will help you have more stress-free days:

        Leave bigger intervals between meetings

        If you schedule too many appointments or chores in a day, you’ll probably end up late at some point, and as a result – more stressed. There are many different reasons why people are late, but poor planning is a major factor too.

        Plan time to relax

        As weird as it may sound, you should try and schedule your resting time. For example, if you only have one free evening this week, and a friend tries to squeeze in a meeting, feel free to say no. Don’t feel obliged to specify the reason for your refusal, just say that you are busy.

        Try to be a little pessimistic

        We’re often packed with plans or running late for errands because we tend to be overly optimistic – about the traffic, the time it takes to do things, etc. Instead, try an opposite tactic — assume you’ll hit traffic or the meeting will take longer.

        Try waking up earlier

        Sometimes even waking up 30 minutes earlier can give you the much-needed head start for several errands of the day. But remember to get enough sleep every night, even if it means going to bed earlier.

        Plan your day the day before

        Chances are your day will be much better organized if you pack a lunch and lay out an outfit before going to bed.

        Designate a time for checking emails and social messages

        If you start checking your messages between appointments, you risk getting lost in a sea of messages that need replies. Designate a time for this activity or do it in case you arrived early to a meeting.

        4. Let Go of Unhealthy and Time-Consuming Habits

        If there’s one thing we should get rid of in the new year, it’s the habits that steal our time, provide instant gratification but don’t offer any value in the long term. Or even worse, leave a negative impact on our health.

        Here are some common (and pointless) habits along with tips on how to get rid of them:

        Binge-watching TV series

        Even if most online television platforms offer you lists of “Best TV Shows to Binge Watch”, being addicted to series is a major time-waster.

        You can manage this addiction in several ways, for example, watch one episode per day (or a few per week) as a reward, only after you’ve finished an assignment or done a house chore. Or try replacing this habit with exercise or reading a book – this will be hard at first but should stick after a few weeks. You can also try to track how much time you spend on TV or movies – seeing how much of your life you are wasting might urge you to do something about it.

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        Running on coffee

        Being a coffee addict is kind of a stylish addiction nowadays, but it’s not that innocent as it may initially seem. Besides addiction being a problem in itself, drinking too much coffee (more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day) may lead to nervousness, insomnia, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat, and even muscle tremors.[2]

        As a solution, try switching to tea or edible coffee – a more sustainable, healthy, and productivity-enhancing alternative. For example, Coffee Pixels are solid coffee bars that generate a more even energy kick throughout the day without the coffee-induced abstinence and dehydration.

        Procrastination

        Fighting procrastination requires some serious willpower. If it is a problem in your daily life or work, try ”eating the frog” in the morning – get over your biggest or hardest tasks first, then tackle everything else.

        Alternatively, use time tracking software to monitor exactly how much time you waste on unproductive actions, websites or apps. Once you know exactly how much time you’re spending unproductively, try to limit your time on social media, for example to just 20 minutes per day.

        If nothing else works, try bribing yourself — promise yourself to do something fun or pleasant when you finish your assignment.

        Whichever habit you want to give up, consider using some habits building tools to make a contract with yourself and reward yourself for milestones achieved.

        5. Stop over-consuming

        We live in the age of consumerism – huge manufacturers with their promise of a comfortable life on the one hand, and growing environmental threats – that are the direct result of our modern lifestyle – on the other hand. There’s only one solution – try to consume less whenever and wherever you can.

        Before making additional purchases, ask yourself these questions:

        • Do I really need it? Did I need it yesterday?
        • Can’t I buy it used or borrow it from friends?
        • Can I rent it?
        • Can I make it myself?
        • Am I buying the most sustainable version of this product?

        For example, check if the brand you chose is conscious about the environment, for example, are the products they manufacture energy efficient? Do they try to use less packaging?

        Also, if you often find yourself buying too many groceries, promise to buy only the amount that fits in one shopping bag (that you bring along). If you often forget to take your shopping bag with you, get yourself a 2-in-1 wallet with a built-in shopping bag for more eco-friendly shopping.

        6. Learn to Unplug from Your Phone

        Today’s world is crammed with information, and many people struggle to keep focus on what’s truly important. There’s just too much going on in the world – too much to read, to watch, to know, too many conversations to participate in.

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        But how to refuse the temptation to check the phone and start using social media in a controlled, not a compulsive way?

        Some tips for managing your phone-dependency:

        Spend only a limited amount of battery per day

        For example, start your day with 50% battery life, and manage your phone usage so that you’ll make it till the evening.

        Block distracting apps and notifications on your phone and computer

        Choose one-hour, two-hour or longer blocking sessions and enjoy the positive impact this will have on your mood and productivity.[3]

        Set your phone on flight mode

        When you start doing an important task that requires full focus, set your phone on flight mode so that nobody can disturb you.

        Leave your phone at home or in the office when you go for lunch

        You’ll see that the feeling of being unreachable for a moment is actually very liberating.

        The Bottom Line

        As a new year begins, we’re all excitedly looking forward to what adventures await ahead of us.

        But this year, promise yourself this:

        Instead of having a never-ending list of tasks and commitments, focus on the truly meaningful ones. And cross-out all the rest without feeling guilty.

        Less is more. Make this year count. We’re all rooting for you.

        Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

        Reference

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