According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, education means to educate, while to educate means “giving intellectual, moral and social instruction”. This is usually done in a systematic manner in a controlled environment, with students/pupils, teachers and tutors, curricula and facilities. Intelligence, on the other hand, is defined by the same dictionary as “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.” However, for me, I have come to view these two terms differently, albeit slightly for intelligence. I choose to define education as “the discovery of self”, and intelligence as “the application of the discovery of self to add value to others and self”, in addition to the dictionary meaning. This is because I have come to observe that it is not in the giving of intellectual instruction and systematic learning that education lies. It is not in the acquiring of degrees and cramming theories and postulates that makes one educated. Rather, it is in the applying of knowledge into concrete results that add value to first, the society, and then to oneself that we can claim to be educated. This can especially be seen in the Nigerian educational context, where over 200 tertiary institutions produce an average of 600,000 graduates yearly. However, we barely create up to 100,000 jobs annually, meaning 500,000 graduates remain in the labour market yearly.
This becomes a frustrating situation: we have been told that having an education guarantees us a job. How come we have such astonishingly high numbers of unemployed graduates? The answer lies in the fact that these graduates had merely been given “intellectual, moral and social instruction”, but without having their intelligence developed. Worse, the environment and nurturing they need to discover themselves has been totally inexistent. Hence, rather than creating job-creators, we are creating job-seekers. Now, what is this ‘discovery of self’ I keep referring to? The discovery of self refers to the situation when one is able to recognize the innate abilities he has been born with, his talents in no matter how raw a form they are in. but even beyond that, it is about discovering where their passion lies. Having a talent isn’t enough, but having a passion about something. And in most cases, our passion is almost always linked to our talent(s). Additionally, our passion leads us to our purpose: that higher calling we are willing to work for, which God has predestined for us to do. It is that calling which will give us the greatest fulfilment and satisfaction, beyond what money, fame and power can ever do for us. Now this is the tricky part: how do we discover our purpose? One of my favourite sermons of all times was based on the theme: The Discovery of Purpose.
The preacher gave a simple 3-step approach to discovering our purpose: What is that thing or those things that comes to us naturally, in no matter how rough and raw a form? What is that one thing or things we can do for hours, without promise of pay, and lose ourselves while doing it? Whenever we dream about our future (and we all do that), what do we see ourselves doing or being? If we sit down and reflect on these questions, we begin to come up with rough answers to these questions and we find a connection between the three questions. Truth be told, the answers to these questions might be multiple. Like in my own case, I have always dreamt about being an entrepreneur, public speaker, teacher and politician / public office holder. I have dreamt or fantasized about politics since I was 9 years old, about starting a business since I was 10, running for public office and running a government since I was 13 and public speaking since I was 16. I started picking business tips, knowledge and following the stock market from age 12 and started business a year later, and I was pretty good at it from a young age. I was a high school debater and also convincing with words when I wanted to be, either speaking to one person or a group of persons. I started my consulting firm at the age of 22 when I discovered friends were always asking for advice as regards business ideas and strategy. And it goes on and on and on from then till now.