I wrote this the other day for a different purpose. I made a few more tweaks and thought I would post it…
One of the first questions we have to ask is what we want out of our education and lives. If the purpose of higher education and advanced self-education is simply to acquire the skills necessary to achieve a specific career goal such as a technical skill, then learning about the “arts” are not required. However, if the goal of our education is to produce an individual who has a well-rounded knowledge about the world and exposed to diverse cultures and backgrounds than classes about the arts, literature, and history becomes an essential component.
I look for educational opportunities that are interesting to me and expand my knowledge of history and of other people and cultures that differ from my own. My experience taught me that as we achieve higher levels in our career, our daily interactions with our peers and teams become critical. After all, great “managers” and leaders are compensated at a higher level than the people with the technical skills they lead. There are many elements to a great manager but having a well-rounded education that allows them to effectively interact with people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds is one of the more important points. If a leader cannot understand how to relate and interact with people on their terms, then they will never be able to build a successful team. This is one of the purposes of a well-rounded college or self-directed education.
For example: One of the common elements that you can talk to almost anyone about is music. Everyone loves music, and it can be a foundational element to begin a new relationship with someone. Having some level of understanding and appreciation of all forms of music can be used to achieve that initial connection to other people that starts building a sense of mutual understanding in professional and personal relationships. If you have no education in the history and multiple types of music, then you will not have that knowledge to have even the most casual conversation with someone new that can be that first spark of connection.