Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Three Rules for Educating the Sith

Some people are like Jedi - they get their power from being patient and methodical. In school they don't demand to know what trig is used for - they learn trig and ace the test and move on.

Other people are like the Sith - they get their power from passion. For these people jumping through hoops without a direct goal is maddening. 

Traditional education is fine for the Jedi, but toxic to the Sith. 

If you are Sith, a great education isn't - can't be - about diligent study. It has to be about a series of projects that excite you, and as a consequence you - and only you - are qualified to compose that curriculum. 

There are 3 important rules to keep in mind when organizing your curriculum (your specific series of projects):

1. Your passion will shift targets (though for most Sith, the periodicity is pretty constant). Only choose projects that you can complete before your passion shifts. For some this window of passion is only a few hours, for some a few months. Be mindful of your feelings.

2. Your passions will often have nothing to do with one another. Be strategic. Keep a long list of skills necessary to be qualified for jobs you're interested in doing at some point in the future, and from among the projects you're excited about, choose ones that overlap with that list. If nothing seems to overlap well, resist the urge to handicap yourself by using a technique or tool that doesn't fit the challenge - this will only enrage you. Pick a short project, so you can get through it before you come up with a project that does overlap well.

3. Sometimes you will need to do something you're not passionate about. Learn the mind tricks. Practice looking at situations from lots of different angles. Often there is a way to contextualize the boring work you have to do as a part of a larger effort you are passionate about.

It may seem that the Sith are at a disadvantage compared to the Jedi - and in many ways they are - but if you are Sith, you can compensate for that handicap, and if you do it well, over time the skills you learn doing projects you're passionate about can grow to match the skill set of your Jedi peers, and you - unlike them - will have an enormous portfolio of interesting projects to show off.

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