Self Taught: Intro to Autodidacticism

“We do not need to attend classroom training programmes for everything. Observation opens the windows of knowledge around us” –Sukant Ratnakar, Open the Windows 


 The practice of self education; teaching and learning by oneself with no instruction or institutional guidance.

 Self-taught people are everywhere. The autodidacts. The people who, by their own effort and use of tools, have learned skills and acquired knowledge. 

In some sort of way, most of us can say that we have learned something on our own. Whether by reading books or buying the tools to perform a certain task and going for gold. At some capacity, we’ve all taught ourselves using the resources that we have.

One who takes the label of self-taught, however, is set apart from the rest by achievement, not by knowledge obtained. Excellent examples would be people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and all these kids under the age of 16 making millions of dollars using blockchain technology. No higher form of education. Just taking the knowledge, grit and resources they had and putting them into their dreams and innovative ambitions. 

What it Takes:

Can anyone self-educate? The life of the self-educated isn’t an easy one. It takes a different kind of person. Gluttons for pain, some may say. Being told what to do and how to do it is easy; we all know how hard it is to wrangle ourselves into subjection. 

Discipline is key. Having a routine, having a goal, having a plan and sticking to it. That’s a real challenge. Consistency and hard, integrity filled work are key. Even if your time to learn or practice is spread out, keep it in motion and in proper time. A real benefit of self-learning is choosing your own schedule. Some, however, lack the necessary discipline to carry out their desired plan.

self-taugh Self-Learning

Slacking off is easy. Procrastination is always knocking on the door. Without the structure that formal education offers, self-learners are required to prioritize time and energy if they are going to accomplish their desired goals. If it doesn’t matter to you that much, it’s probably not going to be learned very well on your own. 

This is where autodidacticism shines. Very specific and very determined focuses of study. No one’s going to dive head first into extensive study and thought if they don’t need or really want to. When one intends to self-educate, there usually lies under the surface the will to not only “pass the class”, but to be able to start a whole school of thought on the subject. The will to be the master. 

The will to be a master will drive the student to dig deep into their studies. What is the truth? The whole truth? What is this that I am learning to the fullest, farthest and deepest extents? Resource choice will not be limited nor biased in those who seek to master their trade. These folks take what they can and use it.

Applied Tools and Knowledge:

It’s, in my opinion, not exactly accurate to call autodidacts “self-taught”. Self-learned, maybe, but not self-taught. I say this because, though there is an absence of formal teaching and a student-teacher relationship, knowledge comes from somewhere. The self-taught don’t come up with whatever they’re pursuing, they only look into and work in it using the resources available to them.

Learning this way is seen as less credible than institutionalized education because there’s no accountability for where the information comes from. Living in the day and age that we do with the internet and all the various resources readily available, that social stigma is quickly disappearing. We live in the age of information. Forget the price tag of universities, there’s numerous valid and credible resources online and elsewhere to indulge in for free or very low cost.

Self-Education Using Resources

Even before the internet, even before books, there were autodidacts. People who took what they knew, what they had to learn, and the tools they needed. They went forth and learned, and applied. People throughout time have changed the scape of humanity with their achievements and going beyond traditional educational boundaries. 

“That Which You Can Believe, You Can Achieve”

Achievement. Throughout the ages, autodidacts have been marked by their achievement. It doesn’t matter what you know, if you can’t share it with others.

Without an institution the only way to make an impression in your field is through achievements. InnovationOpportunistic Advancement. Putting your self-learned knowledge to work.

Through hard work and taking your goals seriously enough to invest time in them, anyone can change the world. Anyone can completely change their career field. Anyone can make themselves known in a school of thought. All it takes is an open mind, discipline and creative application.

 Use what you already have, and pursue more- push past the barriers that institutions have created. Look beyond the horizon of what is offered. Self-teaching can either be very eye opening, or very limiting, depending on how you go about it. A lifestyle of autodidacticism calls us to push the limits, to attempt to see the more full scope of things. Think, question and learn- if you’re brave enough.

    Written by SMH from on October 8, 2021

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