Sometimes I wonder why we bother going to school. To learn, of course. Well… yes, but why is it that we have to go to a building specifically designed for this purpose? Why can we not just sit at home and read books? Whatever it is that is taught in school can be learned out of a book.
In fact, it almost always is taught out of a book. Teachers and college professors alike will assign books that they will teach out of and then later assign to read from. So why not cut out the middleman? Why waste time going to school to learn when we can do it from anywhere else on our own time?
One answer is obviously that most people will choose not to bother with learning and as a result, society will suffer as a whole. Secondly, it is important for people to form mini-societies when growing up in order to learn the importance of social interaction and influence.
Therefore, the chance of the world getting rid of schooling institutions is zero. But don’t think for one minute that what schools have to offer is all the knowledge that one needs in order to live a life of prosperity. In fact, the most important lessons one will learn will be learned outside of the classroom. Here are 10 things you won’t learn in school:
1. People are only looking out for themselves.
School can be rather competitive. Students compete for grades, compete for their teacher’s favor and compete in sports. However, nothing will teach you the importance of competition as when you enter life after school. With technology getting more and more advanced, the world is getting smaller and smaller. This means that the competition is getting bigger and bigger.
While in school, you only had to worry about your fellow classmates. When out in the real world, you have to now not only worry about everyone else in the country you live in, but now often have to compete with the rest of the world. If you think good grades were good motivation, wait until you see how money motivates people. Outside of school you will learn that people will cheat, lie and even kill for money.
2. The importance of being patient and staying positive.
School is set up in a way where we are only made to make short-term goals. Each year is split up into semesters and our only goal is to get good grades by the time that we get our report card. We get assignments, we complete them and then after three months or so, we get assessed on our work and reap the rewards.
Real life does not work this way — nothing worth doing takes only 3 months to conquer. Outside of the classroom, our goals are much more long-term and can take years to transpire. We quickly learn the importance of being patient and keeping a positive mindset in order to survive. If we don’t, then we quickly lose our cool and make dumb, rash decisions.
3. The importance of self-improvement for the sake of self-improvement.
School teaches us that we must improve in order to succeed. Life teaches us that we must improve in order to live. While in school, we learn because we must learn in order to keep up with the curriculum. This in itself is important when entering the workforce; it teaches us that slacking can often at times produce poor results.
However, after we graduate we often find that work is not only what life is about. We learn that we should not just improve the skills that make us better at what we do, but also improve the skills that make us better people.
4. Doing things for the love of doing them.
Doing things because we must do them just doesn’t quite fly in our adulthood. We may need to sometimes do things that we would prefer not to do, but being adults makes us feel as if we have a right to decide for ourselves what it is that we ought to do.
Life teaches us to start doing things not because others tell us to do them, but rather because we want to do them. We learn that the easiest way for us to become successful is to find what we love and to spend as much time and put as much passion into it as possible.
5. Friends aren’t as important as we thought.
Friends are great to have, but people grow in different directions and life often removes those that once were closest to us. Having a handful or less of friends is crucial, but understanding that you can always make new ones is also important. Life teaches us that with friends or without friends, we remain who we are; our friends don’t make us, we make us.
6. The importance of networking.
School can teach us how to make friends, but life teaches us the importance of powerful acquaintances and how to make them. When in school, our possible network is at a minimum — we just aren’t exposed to enough people, not to mention people that hold power in the real world. Once free to roam about in the real world, we quickly learn that getting ahead in life often depends on whom you know and on how good of terms you are on with them.
7. Some things are simply out of our control.
The classroom is a small environment with few variables. If something goes wrong, we can often quickly fix it or avoid it entirely — we have control. After leaving the classroom, the variables multiply exponentially. We no longer have the control we once had and often at times find ourselves at a loss of even figuring out from where the issue is arising. Dealing with such circumstances for long enough teaches us that if we find things to be out of our control, there is no point of getting hung up on them — so we let them go and focus on what we can influence.
8. If we don’t adapt, we don’t survive.
The school system is static, unchanging. Life is everything but. Things, situations and circumstances are changing constantly and more often than not, without any warning. After falling a few times on our asses, we learn that if we want to survive and prosper, we must adapt — and do so quickly.
9. We aren’t Superman or Wonder Woman.
Tackling task after task in school, playing sports and getting involved in extracurricular activities, for many of us comes easy. Doing this for long enough gets us feeling that we can take on the world. But then we meet the world. All of a sudden our superhuman powers disappear and we become overwhelmed.
We come to realize that there is a lot more “maintenance” required than we first thought. Laundry doesn’t do itself. The apartment doesn’t clean itself. Bills pile up and we are the ones that have to pay them. Free time quickly becomes a cherished commodity.
10. Less is more — quality over quantity.
Doing more in order to get ahead may have worked in high school, but getting a real job most often doesn’t allow for the same strategy. Some people may appreciate quantity over quality, but with the changing times, this sort of thinking is becoming extinct. We may find ourselves having to redo the same project several times, cutting out the excess fat, in order to produce something worth selling.
Paul Hudson | Elite.
For more from Paul, follow him on Twitter @MrPaulHudson