Getting off the hedonistic treadmill

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In the past few months, I attended a few talks and read a bunch about how education is changing.  Kahn academy is personalizing it and bringing it online.  The NYTimes did a profile on Summit Schools.

All of this focus made me think about what the current education system provided me.  On the positive end, I think going to an all girls school helped me feel entitled to ask questions.  It gave me the confidence to think that I was smart and if I had a question, it was justified to ask it.  However, on the flip side, our current education system teaches us to be hoop jumpers, which both helps and hurts us in the future.

In school and college, we’re taught to get As, honors, proceed to the harder class.  That creates a reward system consistent with human psychology to be happy about an achievement and then quickly return to your baseline happiness (and seek the next achievement).  How can we teach children to be happy with their personal advances for longer than a second?  Obviously, children benefit from continuing to push themselves to learn, but our system creates, or perhaps just reinforces our natural tendency, to always look for the next best thing: the next promotion, the next stage in a relationship, the next accolade.  How can we not only inspire children to strive but also remain pleased with past achievements?  Once students finish jumping the hoops of the school system, they replace those hoops with promotions.  When do the hoops end?  Or, even better, how can we end them for ourselves?

Dr. Halvorson suggests gratitude and variety.  I am curious, what have you done to keep yourself excited for longer about your accomplishments?  Or, slowed down your speed on the hedonistic treadmill?

Getting off the hedonistic treadmill

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