What you can’t learn from formal education
by Joe Kalis
When I think back on high school, the most immediate memory I have is that I slept a lot! I’m not even sure how I made it through without more detentions or how I managed to achieve a 3.0 GPA, but I did, and I’ve got the high school diploma to prove it! Perhaps it was my wit and charm…perhaps I somehow mesmerized my teacher’s into thinking they should give me passing grades. Or, maybe I actually did try a little bit.
Regardless of how I got through it, it was not memorable or impactful.
I couldn’t count on one hand how many teacher’s names I remember, and there certainly isn’t much specific knowledge I can attribute to learning during my days at Lincoln-Way High School in the south suburbs of Chicago (I’m not blaming my particular HS, i’m sure most are the same).
I’m not mad. I’m not bitter. I just wish there was a better way to engage our youth.
College wasn’t much different. I managed to squeeze a 4-year education into 5 years, and had a great time while I was there. I learned a lot of life lessons, met some cool people, held some random jobs, and actually met my wife during my bonus lap in 2003-4. But again, I was so bored. The institution of “education” was just…blah.
Do you ever feel the same about your years of formal education?
$30,000 of debt later, I’m on the road to adulthood…armed with a college degree in business management and entrepreneurialism, and no promise of any success. It was up to me from that point!
Off into the job world I go, starting in 2004 with my first job at Trader Joe’s (stocking shelves). Well, it was certainly a fun job with my fun shirt and island music, but nowhere near going to help pay off my student debt or get me closer to my dreams of corporate or business success! After I realized I had more in me than being a stock boy, I moved on to sell cable door to door for Comcast. This was certainly the break I was looking for! No. Two more jobs after that that I got let go of, and I ended up at my current gig with a industry-leading SaaS company that has been extremely enjoyable. Amazingly enough, in just 2.5 years, I finally achieved the goal that my college degree had set me up for…I became a manager!!
9 years and 5 jobs out of college, and I achieved my “goal” in corporate America. Here’s the funniest thing…what got me there was most certainly NOT my HS or college education!
Over these same 9 years, I had learned to utilize books, audios CDs, and websites to personally educate myself in the areas of personal growth, financial responsibility, people skills, leadership, communications, human relations, etc. I met and associated with dozens of amazingly successful people, and learned how they lived their lives.
WHY DIDN’T THEY TEACH ME THIS STUFF IN SCHOOL?!!?
You can’t teach what you don’t know, I suppose. How much further along would I have been if I were taught how to be successful instead of being educated?? I’d say by the 5th grade, kids have just about as much “general” knowledge as they need. They can read, write, and interact with other humans. Basic survival stuff. So in the next 11 years that the average person takes to finish junior high, high school and college (not even counting graduate, medical or doctorate schools)…how amazingly well prepared could people be if they were taught success principles in all the areas I mentioned above, instead of the ridiculous “general” education that we are put through?
I’m not suggesting it’s too late to do so at age 22, but how much stronger would our country be if we encouraged kids to LEARN instead of being educated? I’ve made it my life mission to help open eyes of people to the amazing potential they have, even though our society tends to tell them otherwise.
Have you found a way to improve your life through learning about success through others? Leave a comment with your experience, I know your story can help others realize the greatness inside of them!
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