Tag Archives: education

School doesn’t teach you anything (or does it?)

Lately, I’ve noticed an influx of people making statements like, ‘school doesn’t teach you anything.’

Or, ‘anything school teaches you, you can learn on the internet or in books.’

I know those people don’t mean any harm and, for the most part, I agree with them. Especially, when it comes to high school, but a little less so when it comes to college.

I think there are some key things that school (high school and college) teaches us that some people are simply skipping over. Statements like those are very black and white. Like most things in life there’s a lot of gray area to be discussed.

Here are a few things that school teaches us, or at least tries to, that would be difficult to learn anywhere else.

Social skills. In high school and college you’re forced to be around people all day long. You’re forced to be around your peers and others much older than you. You have to learn how to interact with the smart people, peers, authority figures and trouble makers. Skills like this transfer over to the work environment where you have to be, at the very least, on good terms with your co-workers and know how to navigate the waters successfully with authority figures. You need to know how to stay away from the ‘trouble makers’ at work. There are always employees that are slacking off. You don’t want to get stuck associating with them, and get labeled a slacker yourself.

Where else would you learn valuable skills like those? Where else would you learn the consequences of befriending the trouble makers, and getting on bad terms with the authority figures? High school and college is the answer. Learning those skills for the first time at your company could prove to be very costly (you might get fired).

Does high school always teach us these skills perfectly? Of course not. But it’s the best place to learn them at. Can you learn these valuable skills by simply chilling at home? No way. Come on. Social skills are one thing that school can teach us.

Learning how to make friends. When out in the real world you have to learn how to make friends. That’s how you get mentors, connections, romantic partners and live a happy life. People with no friends are usually people who aren’t happy. You have to know how to be friendly with your coworkers and bosses. You have to know how to get along with others. If you can’t make friends don’t expect to get invited anywhere on Friday or Saturday nights..forever.

In high school and college we are forced to be around people all day. We have to learn how to make friends if we don’t want to spend break time and lunch time alone wandering the hallways. Those people who could never make friends in high school or college probably struggled outside of school too. Did they eventually learn? Yes, probably. But, that doesn’t mean it was the preferred way of learning how to make friends. I’m sure they wished they had figured it out in their teen years (and most people do).

School forces us to work together. Remember those group projects and dreaded presentations? Those stressful assignments were teaching us how to collaborate with others. Collaborating with others is important in most work environments. Were you going to learn how to collaborate with total strangers at home? Nope. School taught you that.

School teaches us how to follow rules and work within the rules. I can, already, imagine some of you going crazy and threatening to close your web browser after reading that.

Wait, let me explain.

I know following the rules isn’t something that’s popular right now and I agree that we shouldn’t follow all rules. But, there are some basic rules that we need to follow to survive in society. We quickly learn about those rules at our school environment.

Even the mega entrepreneurs know how to work within the rules and follow rules (when they need to). Guys like Richard Branson and Elon Musk certainly know how to break the rules. But first, you need to master the rules before you can break them. These guys aren’t just breaking all the rules that they find, and get their hands on. They know every single rule, and they strategically break the ones that they know they can break.

If Elon Musk was all about breaking rules, then how did he secure government funding for some of his projects? He knows how to follow rules as well.

What happens to the people who don’t know the rules, or can’t follow rules? They end up in jail, mental institutions or other places where I’m sure you rather not be. Following rules isn’t cool at the moment, but we do have rules we need to adhere by to stay in society, and school teaches us those. Unless, you prefer to spend your days in jail?

If school doesn’t teach us anything, what are you suggesting we do? Are you suggesting kids skip high school and college, and instead stay at home learning material off the internet and reading books in the library/ bookstores all day?

Cool story, bro. Sounds like utopia to me.

What’s more likely to happen with kids skipping high school and college is, kids just roaming around all day. Having fun, chilling, drinking, smoking, unplanned pregnancies, and giving their neighbors headaches. A full grown adult can barely discipline themselves to read and learn all day to further their career. You think a 16 – 22 year old is going to do that?

Think about your mindset during those critical years. Did you want to voluntarily read books all day and learn stuff on the internet?

Before we throw school under the bus, we need to come up with a real alternative.

Conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories are everywhere and new ones seem to keep popping up all the time. Even though conspiracy theories are made up and false, it doesn’t prevent many people from believing in them and following them.

The harm in believing conspiracy theories comes from the fact that they make you feel as if life is hopeless, and encourage you to remain in your comfort zone. For example, a common conspiracy theory is that your vote doesn’t matter and that the election system is rigged.

I ran into a few co-workers who believed this theory and sited it as a reason why they didn’t vote on Tuesday, November 8th.

They said, “why vote if it doesn’t count? I already knew Trump was going to be elected.” Ridiculous, right?

I feel that conspiracy theories encourage you to remain in your most comfortable spot and that’s in your comfort zone. For many, going out to vote is a major hassle. That Tuesday night, after work, you probably had plans of hanging out with your girlfriend/ boyfriend, chilling with a friend, working on a project, going to the gym or simply watching some TV. Voting was definitely going to ruin your usual Tuesday night plans and replace them with waiting in line, reading all the propositions and voting.

If you believe in the conspiracy theory, then you get to stick to your usual Tuesday night routine (read comfort zone) guilt-free. It’s a way to justify your inaction, complacency and hopelessness. Why try, if it won’t matter? That’s the frame of mind that most of these conspiracy theories are hammering in. This is precisely why I refuse to believe in them and even listen to them.

Conspiracy theories are born out of the victim mentality. It’s clear when you analyze what they are encouraging you to do, and how they make you feel afterwards. Watching conspiracy theories on YouTube doesn’t lift your mood. On the contrary, they make you feel down.

I haven’t heard of a conspiracy theory that encourages you to take some sort of action. They almost always make you want to do nothing and remain the same. There was a time when I would watch those YouTube videos and become slightly convinced that they may be correct. Luckily, those days are over and I no longer give them the time of day.

I now follow advice from smarter people than me, and their advice almost always encourages taking action and keeping a positive state of mind. The total opposite of the conspiracy theories. I decided that I’d rather follow the advice of successful people, rather than the advice from anonymous people making conspiracy theories on YouTube.

You should buy experiences and avoid objects

You should buy experiences and avoid objects. While objects will continue to pile up and eventually hold you back, experiences never will. Experiences will live forever in your memory and you can take them everywhere you go hassle free. Experiences will add to the quality of your life and they won’t ever hold you back. An experience can be a trip, hanging out with a friend, going out on a date or visiting a new location. An experience can even be enjoying a cup of coffee at a coffee shop, or enjoying your favorite beer at a cool bar. These are experiences because once you drink the coffee or beer, you are in no way obligated to keep the paper cup or glass bottle with you forever. You simply toss it away and all you are left with is the memory of the experience.

If you buy too many objects, you will notice that they will continue to pile up and never go away. Objects will stack up in your home and eventually flow into your garage. They get on your way and become a hassle. They stay with you even after the excitement of the object has long been extinguished. Objects are shirts, shoes, jewelry, souvenirs, home decorations and movies. When you buy an object you get some satisfaction from it. Once the satisfaction from the object disappears, the object still lingers with you nearly forever. For example, if you buy a nice shirt you might get some satisfaction from wearing it around five times but after those few times you will no longer be receiving any satisfaction from it, yet the shirt will continue to take up space in your closet or drawer. It will take up space in your home, probably forever, because if you are like most people you will feel guilty about throwing away a perfectly good shirt.

When you decide to move, you will have to drag that shirt along with you. When you move you will have to drag all those shirts, shoes, decorations, random objects and souvenirs along with you. On the other hand if you had your favorite beer at a bar, once you finish the beer, you are done with the experience and you never have to physically lug it around with you forever or keep physical space for it anywhere. That is why you should buy experiences over objects.

Of course, we need some shirts, shoes and decorations. The point, is to not let it get out of hand. Keep in mind that every object you buy will be renting a piece of your home forever. Do you really want that additional object that much? Whenever given the choice, choose to allocate your money towards spending on experiences rather than more objects.

Sales is hard

“All salesmen are actors: their priority is persuasion, not sincerity. That’s why the word ‘salesman’ can be a slur and the used car dealer is our archetype of shadiness. But we only react negatively to awkward, obvious salesmen-that is, the bad ones. There’s a wide range of sales ability: there are many gradations between novices, experts, and masters. There are even sales grandmasters. If you don’t know any grandmasters, it’s not because you haven’t encountered them, but rather because their art is hidden in plain sight. Tom Sawyer managed to persuade his neighborhood friends to whitewash the fence for him-a masterful move. But convincing them to actually pay him for the privilege of doing his chores was the move of a grandmaster, and his friends were none the wiser. Not much has changed since Twain wrote in 1876.” -Peter Thiel, Zero to One

Sales is hard. It takes a lot of practice. I also think it’s easier to pick up by certain personality types. Those naturally charismatic people do extremely well in sales. You have to be smart and able to read social cues extremely well and fast.

Sales is hard but extremely important. A lot of people have a negative view towards selling and sales people is general. They seem to think that if the product is good, people will find it and buy it without the help of anyone else. I think this is wrong. Sales is extremely necessary. You need salesmen to go around showing people their company’s product. If not, how are these potential customers supposed to find it? Sales people are important. They do the tough job of finding those who could benefit from their company’s product and proceed to introducing it. A lot of times you may have a problem, that you don’t know how to solve. Sometimes there’s a solution, for your problem, in the market and other times there isn’t. This is what your sales team is for.

I once had a cold calling sales job. It was a mental job. You had to push through the resistance to pick up the phone. You had to get in the zone. After you learned to push past the resistance, you had another step to learn. That was, learning how to answer questions and objections on the fly. You have to learn to read the people on the other side of the phone instantly. Even after that, sometimes there is no sale. No matter how good you are. Of course, I never made it that far or to that last step. I just learned how to push through the resistance. Even then, it was a great experience and I now have a new found respect for sales people. The sales department, in all companies, is the most important department. Without them, there wont be a company for long.