How to Be an Educated Man. An educated man is a man who comprehends that education is a lifelong process. Therefore, to become one, you need to consistently work at broadening your mind. An educated man is literate, cultured, and aware. He knows what is happening in the world, appreciates the arts, and comports himself in a decent manner.
Here’s Harvard University’s list of skills that make an educated person
- The ability to define problems without a guide.
- The ability to ask hard questions which challenge prevailing assumptions.
- The ability to quickly assimilate needed data from masses of irrelevant information.
- The ability to work in teams without guidance.
- The ability to work absolutely alone.
- The ability to persuade others that your course is the right one.
- The ability to conceptualize and reorganize information into new patterns.
- The ability to discuss ideas with an eye toward application.
- The ability to think inductively, deductively and dialectically.
- The ability to attack problems heuristically.
- Follow the daily news. Find a newspaper that you like, and read it daily. With the advent of the web, this is actually a very easy task. Reading your local news is not enough, so try to focus on news at the country and world level. You want to know as much about the wider world as possible. You can even try reading several different daily newspapers. You might want to read commentaries on the news as well. Having view over different opinions is important for creating a general overview of what is happening in the world.
- You should read a variety of publications. Don’t limit to yourself to one country’s newspaper. Here are a few significant international publications:
- The India Times
- Le Monde
- The Asahi Shimbun
- The New York Times
- The Guardian
- Washington Post
- Take notes about key areas. Jot down notes about areas of the world that you are interested in. These notes can be a solid foundation for your later research. For example, let’s say that you have just read an article about ISIS. If you write down details about the countries ISIS occupies, such as Iraq and Libya, then you can find out more about how the current situation started.
- Stay critical. Do not necessarily take everything you read at face value. Notice the biases and omissions of different newspapers instead of simply taking in talking points.
- Listen to news radio. Tune in to a news radio broadcast. The BBC and NPR are both good places to get solid world news. Since both are publicly funded, they may not be as biased as other news sources. News radio is also helpful because you will receive guidance on how to pronounce names of important regions and people.
- Read current events magazines. Magazines like Harper’s Magazine, The Atlantic, The Economist, Der Spiegel, and The New Yorker are good places to find out about what’s happening in the world. You can probably find copies at your local library, but you can also opt to subscribe to the magazines you enjoy. These magazines will give you details about the events you have read about in the newspaper. They often run long-form articles that focus on a specific region or topic.
- These magazines have online versions as well. Peruse their archives and don’t simply focus on the news of the day. A piece on classical music from the 1930s might lead you to a composer you’ve never heard of before. The more of these articles you read, then the more you will broaden your general knowledge.
- Writers in these magazines often write books as well. These books supply even more information about the topics that you have read about in magazines.
Go to museums.
Look at art pieces and engage with what you see. Try to take your time with several pieces. As you look at these art objects, try to comprehend what makes them special and individual. This should take time. Art appreciation is about contemplation.
- Engage with each art object with a different lens. A painting is different from a photograph and vice-versa. You should not look at a contemporary work in the same way that you would look at a classical one. Therefore, a contemporary oil painting deserves a different way of seeing than an oil painting from three hundred years ago. Remember that periods matter, as do movements.
- Take a tour. The guide will tell you important details about significant pieces of artwork. Listen carefully, even if you have seen the piece before, you might find out a novel fact about the artwork or the artist.
- See if they have take-away guides. These can also give you vital information about the museum’s collection.
- Read literature. Immerse yourself in both contemporary and classic literature. Fiction can make you more empathetic by showing you the perspectives of other people.
- Start with classic literature. For example, Plutarch’s Lives is a compendium of stories about Greek and Roman men who lived interesting lives. Each story examines both the positive and negative qualities of these men. Observe the characters in these stories, and absorb the lessons in these tales.
- Read philosophy. Philosophy will give you the tools to discuss questions about morality and free will. By reading philosophy books, you will be able to examine your own life and thought more clearly. This can aid in decision-making.
- Read foundational works of philosophy. Start with Plato’s Republic. This fundamental work of philosophy consists of dialogues between Socrates and his students as they attempt to figure out what the perfect society would look like. As they design their hypothetical city, they discourse on free will, morality, and belief.
- Take copious notes. When you read these books, make sure to keep a notepad handy so you can scribble down notes about the themes and ideas in these texts. You don’t want to get bogged down in every last detail. Writing down the most significant portion of what you’ve read is a great way to avoid becoming lost as you try to tackle these important works.
- Watch films. Try to watch art-house films. There are many excellent films out there. Take the opportunity to watch a few of them. If it helps, try to pick one director and watch as much of their filmography as possible. Then, read criticism about films that you have seen. When you do this, you will be able to pick up on how that director decides to edit and shoot their films.
- Read criticism. Read magazines like Sight and Sound and Cahiers du Cinema. Both have contemporary art-house film reviews and essays. They also publish articles about older, classic films by film scholars. The AV Club is also a great resource on films both old and new. Individual critics’ websites can be helpful as well.
- Listen to music. Of course, you probably listen to music. However, if you don’t already listen to a variety of different genres, you should try listening to a type of music that you haven’t listened to before. For example, if you mainly listen to rock music, you should try listening to classical. Or, if you only listen to classical, try listening to rock music. You want to have a diverse range of musical tastes. This shows that you are willing to explore.
- Talk to people who are reasonably educated. Get into conversations with people who have learned, whether through school or work, a great deal about life. Speak to them, and try to understand how they obtained that knowledge. Ask them questions about subjects that you don’t understand.
- Talk to people from a variety of professions. Education takes its form in a variety of ways. An educated man realizes this. Your mechanic can as knowledgeable as your professor.
- Go to public lectures. Find out if a scholar or writer is giving a talk in your neighborhood. Go to the talk and listen to what they have to say. Often, after a talk, a question and answer session is held. Not only will you learn about a subject, but you will also be able to ask the lecturer questions directly.
- Again, try to take accurate notes. This will make it easier for you to come up with good, stimulating questions that will allow for an invigorating discussion. Of course, don’t tire yourself writing down every word. Remember, you just want to mark down key concepts and ideas.
- Stay open-minded. During the course of your conversations, you will almost certainly end up disagreeing with the person you are conversing with. Try to understand their viewpoint. This does not mean that you need to agree with everything you hear. This would be foolish. However, an educated man does not dismiss someone based on a disagreement. Actually, arguments and debates show that you are willing to entertain ideas that are different from your own. They help you to develop your own point of view.
- If you disagree with a perspective, you could say: “I see why you would think this. However, I have a different take on the matter.”
- Keep your composure. The mark of an educated man is a calm exterior. Don’t be quick to anger. For example, don’t start screaming because someone has angered you, simply react calmly and try to resolve the issue. You don’t necessarily need to disguise your emotions. You might be angry but don’t let that feeling affect the way you behave.
- If you find yourself becoming angry, try to center yourself. Meditation is a good way to do this.
- Speak in a level tone of voice. Don’t raise your voice. You should still talk to people, but you do not want to be loudest person in the room, as this can make it seem like you are trying to call attention to yourself. However, you don’t want to be too quiet either. If you are very quiet, you may seem timid. An educated man will aim to strike a balance in his speech.
- Be humble. An educated man is well-mannered and gentle. Try to avoid seeming arrogant or braggadocios. Contribute to the conversation by putting forth your point of view, but do this selectively. After all, you don’t need to show off your learning in every social situation.
- Ask questions. When you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation. Don’t be afraid to do this. This shows that you are willing to learn. It is better to make a mistake while learning something new than to remain in ignorance due to a fear of embarrassing oneself.
- An inquisitive mind is an intelligent one. If you did not understand a point, say: “Would you mind explaining your last point again?”