These are 10 Lessons School Never Teaches You about Life. “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” Did you ever hear this kind of famous quote from Albert Einstein?
Kind of funny isn’t it? That one of history’s greatest geniuses would suggest that what you learned in school might not actually be the most important thing? But, considering how smart he was, I’m willing to believe he might’ve been right.
Knowing the functions of stomata might be essential in appreciating some aspects of climate change, or if you’re gunning for a career in the field of biology. But this knowledge definitely won’t help you file your taxes, something that most of us, for whatever reason, are never taught in school. And no, I’ve never heard of the IRS cutting anybody any slack because they simply didn’t know HOW to file their taxes.
So, what are some important life lessons that you’re not going to get in school? What do you have to learn through actual experience, that you can’t just copy down off a chalkboard? In Today’s video, we’re going to explore just that, so those of you still in school get a better picture of what the real world is like, and those of you already finished with school can brush up and see how much you really know.
1. Perspective Is Key.
We usually look at life from a single point of view, and school doesn’t do much to change that. In school, you learn that Hitler was a really bad guy, and everything he stands for should be abhorred. If he won the war, the world would be a very dark place right now.
Now, that’s definitely true, but the Allies did some nasty things as well, While we often think of them as the good guys, they were the first side to ever use nuclear weapons, which has influenced nearly every war fought since. How’s that for a little perspective? I’m not arguing that the Axis was good and the Allies were bad, though. The point is, in school, we don’t always get to explore the other side of the coin, because we’re quite often only shown one side.
In real life though, where you have to juggle friendships, work, and romantic relationships, it’s important to be able to understand things from all sides, not just your own. Let’s say your boyfriend didn’t show up for a date? Sure, you have every right to be angry.
But you should also realize that there might have been a very good reason for that, and hearing his side of the story first might help you feel a little less upset. There are going to be times in life where your side of things is truly the most important for your own development and happiness, but if you can take other people’s side of things into account, and have an open and honest dialogue with them about how to meet your needs and theirs, things will go a lot more smoothly, and you’ll end up seeming a lot less selfish. Which leads us to our next point:
2. Not Everything is About You.
Have you ever had to sit through a conversation with someone who cannot stop talking about themselves? I’ll bet it made you want to grab them by the shoulders and say “LISTEN! THE WORLD DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND YOU!” We’ve all been around people who don’t understand that everything isn’t about them all the time, and we can probably agree they don’t make very good company, whether you’re at dinner, a party, or just trying to unwind on the couch after a stressful day.
Because we’re living life looking out from our own two eyes, it often feels like everything that happens around us must be about us. But think about this, that experience is true for everyone else you know as well. If your partner is in a foul mood you can’t understand, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that it must have something to do with you.
Maybe her boss made a swipe about her performance at work and it hurt quite a bit. Of course, sometimes people’s bad moods will have something to do with you, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is always the case. The egocentric bias is a state of overthinking everything, because you think everything is all about you.
Psychologists argue that we think like this because we are attempting to give our lives a coherent narrative, where everything happens for a reason around us. But this kind of thinking will take you down a rabbit hole, where you think every word said around you is about you, and every time you walk into a room, the attention is on you.
This is not healthy, and force you to package yourself into a more acceptable person, when really, most of what’s going on is solely inside your own head. If you suffer from egocentric bias, try this: for a couple of days, do something radically different with yourself.
For example, if you are the kind of person who is usually the loudest in a room, be quiet. On the first day, a couple of people will notice and ask you why you are undergoing a sudden change in behavior. After a while though, no one will even notice that you used to be loud, because they’re too preoccupied with their own lives, and what other people think about them.
Everyone has their own issues to worry about. Try to avoid thinking of yourself as the biggest issue other people have in life. You definitely aren’t. So, now that we’ve taken all the attention off you for a second, let’s get into another key lesson:
3. Good Friends Are Very Important.
There is nothing as valuable as good friends. This is yet another lesson that you probably won’t learn while trying to have the best grades in the class. Good friends make everything worthwhile.
Would you like to sit alone, drinking cheap booze and complaining to yourself about the government or your least favorite political figure? Well, drag a couple of friends along, and the proposition starts to sound a little more fun, right? Without friends, the mundane, day to day happenings in your life can take on a depressing, somber tone.
Things feel much more oppressive when you don’t have good people to spend quality time with. On the other hand, with a few good friends, even life’s biggest challenges are that much easier. Life’s victories feel better, and the losses are less crushing. Life is all about experiences, and having people who are present when you are going through things, good or bad, is a definite plus. Which brings us to our next point:
4. You are Responsible for your Happiness.
While it’s wonderful to have good friends, it isn’t your friends’ responsibility to make you happy. It also isn’t up to your family to help you feel good. Your happiness is predicated entirely upon you. So, to define your happiness, you need to understand what makes you happy and then intentionally try and bring it into your life.
When you give someone the power to make you happy through their words and their actions to you, you also give them the power to make you unhappy by doing the opposite. Giving your happiness over to someone else will make you feel weaker, and less confident in your own ability to provide for yourself.
In an ideal life, only you can decide how happy you get to be, and no one else gets to determine when you are happy and for how long you stay that way. You are the master of your own destiny, and you get to decide what makes you happy, how you’re going to achieve it, and you won’t let anyone else take it away from you.
5. Your Job Title doesn’t Define Who you are.
A lot of emphasis is placed on how much you need to study in order to get into a good college and pursue a worthy career that will make you very wealthy. Getting a high paying job is definitely a plus, and there’s nothing wrong with pursuing the title that comes with the job.
However, it is not necessary, because the truth is; most people out there hate their jobs and would rather be doing anything else. When picking a career, don’t go for one just because it will give you a prestigious title and a fat bank account.
Go for one that will make you want to get out of bed in the morning, excited at the prospect of going to work, whether it comes with a prestigious title or not. If you simply go through the motions, and accept the responsibilities other people force upon you, caving to pressure from your friends, family, or society to get a “good” job, you might end up doing something you absolutely hate, and whatever money you make won’t be worth as much, because you’re going to be miserable from 9 to 5 every day just to get it.
6. Independence is Liberating.
The celebration of independence days in different countries all over the world is quite a big deal. Do you know why? Because on that day, the people of that country had a chance to think and act for themselves, fully and truly. Socrates said, “To find yourself, think for yourself.”
While school gives you some of the tools you need to be able to handle life on your own, it doesn’t show you how liberating independence can be. Schools create a system of dependency on our teachers, parents and fellow students. You’re spending most of your time trying to get the “right answers” to the “right questions,” without deciding what is actually important to you in the long run.
You study a lot of subjects you’ll never end up using, and constantly defer to other people as if they’re intellectually superior.. Real life, on the other hand, teaches you how liberating independence is. The ability to ask your own questions, make your own decisions, and understand the consequences of those decisions, can only truly be learned through experience.
7. You Have Absolutely Nothing to Lose.
When you get bad grades in school, you may have to repeat a year. When you miss a class or create a ruckus, you get suspended, or worse. These are all consequences of our actions when we are in school. Therefore, before doing anything when we are younger, we compare it to what we have to lose.
Life teaches you a different kind of lesson; you have absolutely nothing to lose, especially when you are uncommitted. Would you like to start a tech company in your dorm room? Sure. Go right ahead. What will you lose if you do? Nothing. What will you gain? I don’t know, and neither do you. But you can easily find out by doing it, instead of worrying about what you have to lose.
When you understand that you can take on any risk with no fear of losing something, you start to look at opportunities and your passions differently. After all, you might end up gaining the world from following your dreams. Just Ask Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk.
8. Sometimes, Collaboration is more Important than Competition.
For much of our early lives, we are rewarded for being the most competitive in the group. The best debater gets a trophy, and so does the guy who does well in the science fair. When competition is rewarded, we all strive to be the best at something or even everything.
Life teaches that you are not always a self-sufficient being. On big projects, you will need the help of other people. You could be incredible at coding, but crappy at writing official emails. So what happens when you need to send an email seeking an audience with someone who could help sell your incredible software? You look for Pete, the guy whose emails always get a response. It’s important to know when you’re good at something, but also important to know when you can get help from somebody better.
9. Food and Sleep are Medicine.
When you are having a bad day and your brain’s equilibrium is all screwed up, a nap and some food can do you a whole lot of good. School teaches us to power through the tiredness and any anxiety we may be experiencing from all the work we are supposed to do.
What you might not realize is that the exhaustion may be messing up your productivity, and reducing your output. Food fires up your metabolism and sleep rests your brain, allowing your subconscious to decompress all the details you’ve absorbed throughout the day. When you wake up, you will feel energetic, and likely, you will get more done than if you had powered through it the way you did in high school or college.
10. Life is not Fair, Get Used to It!
You have privileges so many other people don’t enjoy. Similarly, there are privileges enjoyed by others that you will never be able to enjoy. It is not planned; none of us had a choice in what life gave us when we were born. Sometimes, you’ll work as hard as you can, expecting the rewards that are promised to anyone who puts in the effort.
However, you might not end up receiving those rewards, and this will make you question everyone who ever told you that working hard will get you results. Things will happen to you that you have no control over. People will walk out of your life when you need them the most. Sometimes, you will be unable to pay your rent while your friends or rivals are dining in an expensive restaurant. You could even sleep on the streets because of crappy circumstances.
That’s life. Sometimes, it’s totally and absolutely unfair. But, accepting this fact and finding the beauty in life anyway. Well… That’s one of the most important lessons you can learn.
Thank you guys so much for reading… Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. What do you think are some other important life lessons you never learned in school? Don’t forget to rate “Why do hospitals have particle accelerators? From TED” and share it with your friends.
Credit: Practical Wisdom