44 Things Nobody Taught You in School but Should

When I finished school I was ready to conquer the world. But the longer I was “in the world”, I realized I knew nothing.

Like really nothing.

School didn’t prepare me for life.

Yes, I can multiply and do some fancy math stuff. I can even write bad summaries of books I didn’t even want to read in the first place.

But I was never taught the real important stuff.

Here is my list of 44 things nobody taught you in school…

1. How to apply for a job

Well good for you, you finished school. But did anyone tell you what to do next? Did anyone teach you how to apply for a job? It seems giving a sloppy presentation about “The Hobbit” in high school didn’t properly prepare you for your first job interview. Good luck in the real world, buddy!

2. You don’t need a job

They are dying out anyways. Most of the stuff people do in their jobs can now be done cheaper and better by freelancers. Most startups are already cutting down on their employees and replacing them with temporary workers. They now hire on demand. Permanent employees are just too expensive. Most tasks can also be done faster and better by robots. They are more reliable. They also don’t complain about getting no raise every couple of months. Basic labor gets outsourced or replaced. People do stuff online now. Or on their phones. There will soon be little need for most people’s jobs. School doesn’t tell you that it’s a stupid move to plan on job security. There is no job security anymore. Choosing yourself is the new job security. Finding your unique value and offering it to the world is your only hope.

3. Your school education actually has very little value

I guess they didn’t tell you that little secret? When I went to my first job interview, I failed miserably. Not because I sucked. More like because the stuff he required from me didn’t match the things I’d learned in a decade of education. I didn’t meet the requirements of the real world. I had a Master’s degree on paper. But that didn’t help me here at all. Nobody even looked at it once. Ever. Five years of university for a piece of paper nobody even cared to look at.

4. Nobody cares about your grades in the real world

But your teachers. Why? Because it’s their job and they have to.

5. How to not beat yourself up about it

It’s really not a big deal.

6. How to apply for and get an apartment

When I came back from Australia I decided to move out of my parents’ home. It was about time. But then I realized I had no freaking clue where to get my own apartment. Why does nobody tell you how to find basic housing? I think that is something worth teaching. Good thing I had to learn the Periodic Table though.

7. How to pay for stuff

Yes, of course you’ll figure that out somehow. But why would you undergo “education” when you have to educate yourself in the end on your own anyway? Now you have to learn how to pay for gas, food, transport, home and all the other stuff you need to actually survive.

8. How to survive without a job

Nobody even considers telling you that there are other alternatives for “having a job, buying a house and raising a family and getting a dog”. Nobody encourages you to find your own idea of a fulfilled life. Whenever you find yourself not really resonating with the “American Dream”, you immediately feel alienated and excluded. This makes it especially hard for people who might still be a little insecure about what they really want out of life. Like me.

9. How to treat your body

And what to put into it. Nobody teaches you nutrition basics. I learned nothing about healthy food in school. Or why eating at McDonald’s three times a day is not THAT great. You’ll somehow have to figure that out later on your own when you slowly feel more and more exhausted after each fast food meal. You gain unwanted weight and feel tired and powerless a lot of the time. Then you do your research. On your own.

10. How to get into college

And what field to apply for. Very little time is invested into finding out your true strengths and interests. You gotta do this in your spare time. Hopefully you are not too much distracted by the “duties” school puts onto you. Still, nobody tells you where to go after school. How to select your college? If you actually even need college education. How to afford it? That’s something worth talking about lol. But how can you make such a drastic career decision when you have not yet found enough time to learn about yourself?!

11. How to get better education on the internet for free

I am sorry to say it, but most teachers suck. Not because they are bad at what they do. Although a lot are. But mostly because they don’t want to do it. They hate their job. You cannot inspire young kids if you are not inspired yourself. There are exceptions. There are some who love teaching. And coincidentally they are the kids’ favourite teachers. Now with the Internet you can learn the same (and better) stuff online. You can even attend free college courses. So who needs college nowadays? You can basically learn any language for free at sites like Duolingo. You can learn all the stuff you learned in school (and even more) on KhanAcademy. It’s all there. All for free. RIP schooling system. RIP controversial education. RIP traditional teacher.

12. How to pay your taxes

I’d been working for two years before someone told me that you need to actually submit a tax return form lol. I just didn’t know about it before. I didn’t know what to put on it. What you can do. I hired an adviser to not mess this up. But why would someone not teach me earlier? That would have made a good lesson. Just saying…

13. How to create and run a company

And if you should or should not. Just give me a general idea about what it takes to run a company. Invite people over who do it. Let them talk about what it felt for them taking the leap. What their daily routines look like. What they get out of it. If they like it. What they like about it. Just give these kids some different perspectives and alternatives to the ordinary lifestyle the schooling system imposes on you.

14. How to make a speech in public without shitting yourself

Yes, you had to do some talks in school. But what I feel really lacks in education is the reason behind why you have to do stuff. I never figured that out. Somebody could have easily told me the benefits of being good at talking in front of a crowd. What it might serve me LATER in my life. I might have understood. Schooling should not only be about teaching but also about inspiring. You have to ignite something within the child. Something it can relate to. “Read this book and present it to your class next week!” does not relate to any child. All you do is get these kids used to doing stuff “they were supposed to be doing”. Not cool. And again you alienate the ones who feel like “outsiders” even more.

15. How to come up with new ideas

Again, nobody tells you why this is important. I wish somebody in first grade told me to write down all my “stupid” ideas in a little book. Just to get into the habit of keep imagining cool stuff. And not losing faith. You might be able to create some of these things you came up with in the years ahead of you.

16. How to execute them

Show me how people turn ideas into real things. Show young kids that their thoughts are actually worth something. That all people out there start the same way. But then they take their “thoughts” and build real things out of it. Teach them these steps. Give them the tools they need to succeed in the real world. To survive on their own.

17. How to buy a house

And why you shouldn’t.

18. That it is OK to take time off

And travel the world. I can’t recall any time a teacher told me how invaluable travel experience is. Either they didn’t travel a lot themselves or they just didn’t tell me. On every journey I went, I grew as person WAY MORE than I could have imagined beforehand.

19. How to fulfill YOUR six basic human needs

Please teach these kids how they work. This is a good article to begin with.

20. How to identify problems in the real world

And how easy it is to solve them. This goes more along the “entrepreneurial” route and not everybody might feel like going there. But SOME will.

21. You can impact and enhance the world out there

You are not powerless. Everyday you can impact the people around you. More than you think. Go and save a life today.

22. How to really listen to people’s needs

Teach these kids how to build empathy. How to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. How to relate.

23. How to contribute your individual talents

My boss once said to me I am a generalist. I am good at a lot of things. But no real expert in either of them. I was mad at the time he said that. I felt like I have a lot of unique strengths I could contribute. There was little time invested in thinking about how I could incorporate them into the company though. Both mine and his fault I think.

24. How to make a personal budget and stick with it

Teach every child how to use YNAB. And they’ll have a better financial education than most adults.

25. The importance of reading books

And what their real benefits are. If you’ve got a BIG PROBLEM in your life. Go to Amazon and enter your problem and buy the first 100 books that come up. Then read them. And see if your problem persists. But nobody will do this. Because books are boring. People complain about the fact that kids lose their interest in reading. They just watch YouTube now. But the parents don’t read themselves. Kids just copy stuff they see. They learn socially. When I was young my mother inspired me to read. Whenever I had a question I asked her. She couldn’t answer all of them. I asked too much. Everyday I bombarded her with endless questions. I was very curious as a child (like most of them are). But she didn’t have all the knowledge I asked for. Nobody has. So she did something smart. She pointed me to a book in the self and said the answer is somewhere in there. I just have to find it. Then I read the book. Sometimes I found the answer. Sometimes I didn’t. But I learned the lesson she tried to teach me. “You don’t have to know all the answers. You just have to know where you will find them.” And the answer is somewhere out there.

26. The power of the internet

Sometimes I feel like a lot of people didn’t get it that the INTERNET is probably the most important invention of mankind. Like. Honestly. We live in the most amazing time ever. You can go to Google. Type a question. And have THOUSANDS of answers for your questions in a split second. Move back in time only 20 years and this was not possible. I remember when I had to give a talk about tsunamis one time in school. Back then I had to go to a library. HOPE they have books about it. Or anything I could use. They didn’t. Then I drove my bicycle to a friend I knew whose father had a lot of encyclopaedia CD’s at home. I skipped through hundreds of them in the hope of finding anything about tsunamis. There was very little information I could use. All of that sucks. It was time-consuming and just lame and ineffective. But now things have changed. Through the Internet. Best. Invention. Ever. Want to learn something about scuba diving? In 10 seconds you find yourself hundreds of tutorial videos or eBooks. All for free. All available. You can do that with ANY topic. And yet people complain about the limitations of their life. I would even say that if you have the internet you lost your reason to complain EVER again.

27. How to find books for your current life situation and problems

Whatever problem you have go to Amazon. Type in your problem and buy the first 100 books. Read them. See if the problem persists. Repeat until the problem resolves itself. If you don’t have money to buy the books, go to your local library. It’s free. If you have Internet access. Shut the fuck up and do a Google search. The information is there. You are just lazy as fuck.

28. How to find your strengths

And that it is absolutely ok to rely on them instead of your weaknesses.

29. The fact that you will never be any good at your weakness

Like. Ever.

30. And how other people (similar to you) “succeed in life”

31. That all you really need is to learn how to learn

Give kids a one-year education in “Let me Google that for you…”. And they are set for life.

32. To know how YOU learn

Again: not taught in school. But yet so crucial in order to become effective. Are you a visual guy? Or more like the reader type? Every person hiring you would be so happy if you tell them right up front: “Hey look, this is how I work best. This is how I can provide the best value.”

33. Meditation or just how to chill the fuck out

Give these people a crash course in how to handle their emotions and their mind.

34. How to identify your ego within you

It’s the main cause for so many problems.

35. That listening to the news is fucked up.

And it only represents a VERY SMALL percentage of the people in the world. The world is actually a pretty nice place. Follow the guys from A+ instead. They focus on positive journalism. Your soul will thank you later.

36. How little importance the opinion of others has for your own life

I still work on internalising this one. It’s a tough one. It’s hard.

37. That you are beautiful whatever anybody says

38. How to deal with rejection

Emotionally and strategically.

39. How to love someone

40. And again and again and again

After each new heart break.

41. How to get to know yourself first

How to disappear. And re-invent yourself. How to get to know you. What you really want. Out of life. And in general. It takes a long time to learn all this. Better start early.

42. How to be nice to other people

It goes a long way.

43. That it sucks to put other people down (you could be the last one)

And you don’t want to be that person. Listen to Nick Vujicic’s talk on bullying.

44. You are good enough

The list could go on.

But I am tired now.

I think it is good enough.

Stay connected:
  • Andy Williams

    how to proofread

  • Thomas Mondel

    how to learn and blog in a foreign language
    how to focus on the important stuff
    how to be less of a dick:)