School is a generally accepted thing to do for the first 18 years of life. But then what? After leaving high school, or college, or grad school there is no longer an expectation of learning and a structure to encourage it.
How much of a 30 year old’s week should be spent learning? How about a 50 year old? Zero feels like the wrong answer, but I suspect for many people that’s exactly how much time they spent actively learning like they did growing up.
Running wasn’t really a thing 50 years ago. From Vox:
The men profiled — the piece only featured men — said they ran in the morning because police became suspicious if they ran at night. The biggest theme was self-consciousness: The Tribune cited neighbors who “only see folly in the sight of a grown man running.”
And yet now there are as many Americans running as there are kids in America.
We lack the structure for this to happen to education overnight, but it’s starting. Moocs like Coursera are one piece of the process, but they mostly ignore the social pressure that makes a college student drag herself to class even after a long night spent partying. A curriculum can also be hard to find. There is an abundance of online ways to improve your Mandarin, but which is the right thing to do right now?
I’d like to see most people spend four 3-hour dedicated learning blocks every week. Two can be during the workday learning how to better do the job, and the other two can be after work on any topic. This is more than most people’s exercise commitment, but I argue that it’s far more important.