Are You An Illiterate Of The 21st Century?

Are you an illiterate of the 21st century?

It is said that the illiterate of the 21st century are not those who can’t read nor write, but those who can’t learn, unlearn, and then relearn. With the dawn of the many different web technologies today, not everyone can catch up, although many are trying. There are a good number of people who succeed, and the reason they do is pretty simple.

So, are you an illiterate of the 21st century? Let’s find out!

Can You Learn, Unlearn, Relearn?

You find every reason to avoid learning new things

Freelance web designers and developers actually excel in this avenue, especially successful ones. Besides, learning new things is very crucial in their work. For example, a freelance web developer can’t possibly land a high-paying contract if he can’t write a good proposal letter. A successful developer doesn’t only know how to design schematics and code, he also knows how to market himself through writing and by promoting on the internet.


Sure, you know how to build websites from scratch, but do you know the basics of SEO, marketing, and writing? If yes, then that’s great!

But if you find every reason to procrastinate and avoid learning these things, no matter what the reason, a lot of developers will always be three steps ahead of you. 

Take the web designers and developers who publish their posts here on Onextrapixel as a prime example of all-rounders. Most of them are here to promote their business’ website. One writer is an accomplished web developer and yet he still regularly contributes to OXP and on other blogs.

No time to learn marketing? Outsource everything? That still works, but not as impressive as those who know a lot of things.

You still believe that “jack of all trades and master of none” is a bad thing

The truth is that jacks of all trades are valued more highly right now than people with a very specialized skillset. Another truth is that there are people out there who are masters of many trades. It is foolish to think that it is impossible. That’s just an excuse to be lazy.

Swiss Army Knife

I personally know someone who is an expert in web development (with over fifty recurring clients), a proficient deals closer (someone who liaises between two companies to help them close a business deal), and he also helps people build their businesses from the ground up. A truly diverse set of skills.

There are also web designers who can code. Gone are the days when web designers only focused on designing mockups on Photoshop. HTML and CSS is a must. Not only that, many web designers are also now proficient with server-side programming languages and scripting language like JavaScript.

What is your excuse?

You cling too much to standards and are afraid to experiment

It is pretty ironic when people tell others to think outside the box and in the end would just resort to proven ways of doing things. They fear experimenting because there’s always the risk of failing. Which results in years of using the same process or technique.


When HTML5 was first announced, a lot of developers expressed their disapproval. The same goes for CSS3. But in the end, they had no choice but to accept the change.

Same goes for the flat web design trend just last year. A lot of people sought for cleaner and faster websites, and flat design was the solution. Yet there were still a lot of bashers surrounding the trend, but it was a successful “fad” which introduced cleaner websites and applications.

There will always be people who will resist change, even the good ones. They would rather sit comfortably with their proven methods than venture further into the unknown.

But that won’t work well in the current speed at which technology advances. Remember the days when “typing” was a skill that companies valued? There were thousands of people whose job title was “typist” and they made a lot of money. Then the computer was invented and after just a few years, those who couldn’t operate computers were phased out.

It’s the same thing today. If you will just cling to the past, you will be left behind. You need to learn new things, unlearn the old ones!

You believe that you know everything there is to learn

The death of learning comes when a person starts to believe that everything has already been learned. This conceitedness closes the mind to learning new things. It’s like believing that the bottle is already full, and therefore must be capped shut, when it’s still halfway filled.


I am certain that you know someone like this. Someone who believes he or she knows everything. Hopefully it’s not you.

This mindset does not only hinder progress, but it also makes other people like you less. No, you don’t know everything. Knowing a lot would be accurate, but never everything.

Take a look at science. Most scientists claim they know very little about the things they experiment on, that there are more questions than answers, and that’s fine. Because that’s what science is all about. If these scientists proclaim themselves to have already learned everything, that’s the end of every development.

You get what I mean now, right? You can apply this to almost every aspect of your life.

Cooking, writing, people skills, designing, singing, and just about anything.

Are You An Illiterate of the 21st Century?

Do you believe yourself to be the master of your own trade, that focusing on just one skill is for the best since it’s been working flawlessly for several years now? And that learning another skill is just a distraction, or perhaps you don’t have time for it?

If your answer is yes to at least one of those questions, then yes, you are an illiterate of the 21st century.

But if daily you strive to improve yourself, when you ask more questions than you can answer, and venture off to new methodologies, then like the great men of old you can be considered the modern Renaissance man or woman, and therefore an educated person of the 21st century.


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