Most of you would agree that there are many valuable things we should have learned in school but we never did. We couldn’t do so because we were busy doing other things or there was no realization that these things or skills were important.
Today, I look back to realize there are many things I could have done differently to approach my college, career, and relationships. And it’s just not me. Almost every person I talk to holds a similar feeling.
From where I see, the root cause of this problem lies in our system of education which indeed is very ineffective. The only thing we were taught in school was the significance of good grades. It’s a terrible feeling now to look around and know we are living in a world where the good grades are quite less valuable. It was not just us but also the existing students who are being prepared towards a future that practically doesn’t exist. Further, our educational system fails us miserably in turning into happy and healthy adults which according to me is the essence of education.
Too much of thinking into this matter has led to the emergence of some common patterns in our lives as a student that refrain us from learning what we should be doing ideally in our school days:
1. Understanding your own self
Every individual has his/ her own set of low points in life. Similarly, there are strengths and weaknesses specific to every individual. All this requires a thorough understanding of your own self. This is something that can’t be determined by some form of external validation.
Also, there is no one-fits-all system that works but unfortunately our education system works on it. There is no emphasis on helping students understand their true potential or psychology.
Because I was always a topper in school days, I was made to believe that the only and best career choice for me was a doctor. As a result, I opted for Medical in 10+1. At that time, I was not in a position to understand things in a manner I can do today. This includes understanding my own interests, strengths, and weaknesses. It was one decision taken back then in 2002 that holds its repercussions to date.
Understanding who we are- what drives us and what brings the best in us, what restricts our performance, our external environment, and our future goals is critical to making important decisions in life so that we don’t end up growing as screwed individuals. For us, this starts automatically in school when we are made to opt for our career at the tender age of 16.
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2. Need to be liked by everyone
It starts right when we are in school and plagues us for the rest of our lives- we long to be liked by everyone around us. The perception of others becomes so important to us that we even forget our happiness and goals in life.
One of the things life has taught me is there are things much more significant and liberating than the need of being liked by others.
When we stop seeking the approval of others in everything we do, we tend to stop wasting our lot of time and energy in doing something more meaningful and productive. Instead, we show up in the world as who we truly are and not how others want us to and with this self-acceptance increases automatically.
I spent all my school years in staying popular and ahead of everyone else. Thus, all my energy and effort was wasted in seeking validation from those who have no relevance in my life.
I look back to realize that there were so many other things I could have spent my time on- learning things I was passionate about or gaining a wide variety of skills than just focusing on grades in order to remain a topper.
It’s alright to accept who we are and we must learn to own up your stories. We should change ourselves only if we feel there is a need for change and not because others want to see the change in us.
3. Loose boundaries
Now, this is really important. Out of fear of upsetting another person, we often end up doing something we don’t want to or we tolerate behaviors that ideally we shouldn’t. And then in cases like mine, we don’t follow our dreams because it might just not bring happiness to people around us or because our dreams don’t align with their expectations.
We, often, have loose boundaries without realizing that they actually reduce our self-worth. With these lose boundaries we make our well being toxic and it haunts us for the rest of our lives. It is important that we are taught in school to give wings to our dreams and let them fly. This even reinforces self-care which is one of the core principles of living a happy and contented life.
4. Outcome Orientation
Because the grades and ranks determine everything in our schools, we automatically get driven towards net results or final outcome. In the process, unhealthy attachments, disappointments, and expectations often get created. Even more, what happens is that young children stop taking any action and this eventually becomes their way of life.
How I wish I was taught to focus on the process rather than the prize. If that would have been the case, I would have focused a little less on course syllabus (most of which I don’t even remember) and more on things that were happening in the outside world.
By being process-oriented, outcomes generally exceed our level of expectations. This, in turn, increases our confidence, willpower, and determination to do more in life.
Do you think you’re like a majority of other people who didn’t learn most of these things in school? It’s never too late for anything. Give yourself a chance now. You may now use abundant resources available on the internet to hone your life skills and make yourself a better person.
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