Five Things I Wish I Learned in School

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Oscar from Freestyle Mind.

I’ve never been a perfect student, at least not in the way that school expected me to be. I’ve always been told by teachers that I had the potential to easily grasp any subject if I simply wanted to, but that was not enough for me to follow the traditional path they were trying to guide me toward. The fact is that school was not for me because I considered it to be boring and impractical. That’s why I left school at 18 to work for myself.

After one year, at 19, I started my own company and I’ve been self employed since then. I can’t say it was successful from the first day and many things have changed dramatically since then, but I don’t regret my choice of abandoning school to follow what I truly wanted at that time.

Still, there are a few things I wish I could have learned when I was in school. Here are some of them:

  1. Learning new things is sexy. The fact that I left school didn’t mean that I no longer had a desire to learn. On the contrary, from that moment I had more time to study what I really wanted to. In a short period of time I taught myself lots of programming concepts and I also began reading books about business and self development; all of this after having to learn English (most books are written in English). I now consider myself a self learner and I’m always eager to learn new things.
  2. Failing is OK. When I was in school, failure was seen as something bad to be avoided at all costs. Instead I see failure as an opportunity to learn. Great inventors and geniuses did not make their discoveries the first time they tried something, so why should I be different? Failure is an integral part of success and should be seen as a reason to keep trying rather than an excuse to quit.
  3. Changing inside means changing outside. This is more on the inner level, but I think it’s one of the most important things I’ve learned. Changing your internal state automatically changes your external state. Let me repeat this again: being successful inside means becoming successful outside. We can’t succeed externally if we are not already successful inside. Mastering our inner self is the most powerful tool we have, and it really pays off to learn how to use it.
  4. There’s no limit. The only limit is determined by our imagination. We can do almost everything we can think of if we really want to. There are hundreds of thousands of examples of people who achieved their dream despite having been told it was impossible. Don’t be afraid of what other people say. See limitations only as challenges to conquer, which is what they really are anyway. Never give up on your dreams and one day you’ll see them come true.
  5. Step by step doesn’t always work. Even though I’m a technical guy, I know that step by step formulas don’t always work. One thing I missed in school was how to deal with unexpected behaviors. In real life things rarely work as they should, so knowing what to do when something goes wrong is often the difference between success and failure. The only way to get better at dealing with the unexpected is through continuous practice.

My goal here isn’t to convince you that school is bad (it’s not), but rather that you should take responsibility for your actions and figure out things for yourself. I acknowledge that my experience is probably very different from that of many, and that you don’t just go to school to learn things like this. Yet, I think that it’s up to you to take responsibility and act accordingly. Remember that just because everyone is acting a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t do things differently.

About the author: Oscar Del Ben writes about personal development and productivity. You can read his blog at or subscribe to the RSS Feed.

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