Why does a class last an hour? Why does a TED talk last 18 minutes? Why does an MBA take two years?
Could it be that the default lesson length has something to do with the cost of switching rooms, which makes it inefficient to have really short lessons? Or the high cost of physical space, which makes it expensive to have really long ones… Perhaps length is a function of switching costs and bureaucracy structure…
One side effect of the low switching costs and high availability of choice on the web is that people are discovering things in 600-second bursts.
What would happen if we started to do this on purpose? Learn a math lesson, understand a social history movement, learn something about human nature, five minutes have gone by…
Or what if we chose to dive in really deep, deeper than the real world would ordinarily tolerate. Five hours on a topic that might only get three minutes on a typical curriculum… or a month-long interactive seminar designed to teach something that's almost never taught.
I don't think learning is defined by a building or a certificate. It's defined by a posture, a mindset and actions taken.
It's still early days in figuring out the best way to transfer knowledge. The length of a class ought not to be set in stone. (For the very same reason that meetings at work should never last an hour).
In an instant-on, one-click shopping universe, the idea of sacrifice is pretty alien. When the world might end tomorrow, when you can get what you want now, when debt is easier than ever to go into, why even consider sacrifice?
Because it's the single best way to achieve your goals. Satisfaction now almost always decreases the reserves we have to build an asset for later. Investing in something worth building always requires you to avoid getting what you want today. Sacrifice might mean giving up an expenditure, but it can also be the bold step of having a difficult conversation now instead of later.
Regardless of the goal, sacrifices make it more likely that you'll get there.
The journey toward that worthy goal, though, is a key part of the goal itself. We are never certain we'll reach our goal, one significant reason that so few people persist. But if the journey involves sacrifice, we're paying for that goal, the goal we're never sure to reach, every day.
The act of sacrifice, of foregoing one thing in our journey toward another one, one more generous, virtuous and useful, is actually a little piece of the satisfaction of the goal itself.
If it comes easy, it's not the same.
White space is your friend
No, you can't watch us work
Be open to things you didn't imagine
Be confident, not arrogant
Nothing takes a second
Don't be rude
Tell me the problem, not the solution
Decide who will decide
Have clarity of purpose
Bonnie Siegler has more than 60 in her delightful new book.