School Should Teach Us These Eight Simple Things (Yet It Doesn’t)

Tim Denning  On Medium Dec 29, 2021 · 6 min read

Harvard is now officially a school for stupid, rich people.

Successful businessman Balaji Srinivasan said this recently. It took me by surprise. The comment came after Harvard University announced that in 2026 no SAT or ACT requirements are needed.

Whether or not you believe in higher education or traditional schools is irrelevant. The point is that education is transforming out of necessity.

Another issue is that teachers get paid poorly. Their role in society isn’t valued highly enough.

That’s why many of them are going online to find other ways to teach and get paid to do it. My US friend on Twitter left his job at a public school to teach online. He now makes more than $20,000 a month teaching online courses.

An education transformation is inevitable.

Here’s what isn’t normally taught in schools (and should be).

The way to make money and hold onto it

School gave me zero financial education. The basics of investing are a survival skill, thanks to record-high inflation. Most adults still don’t understand the second tax of inflation.

Even worse, most adults still don’t understand how money gets created out of nowhere and enters the economy.

School did something bad to me. Schools in Australia up until recently allowed banks into classrooms to sell products to kids. They gave them bank accounts called “dollar mites.”

The schools got a flat fee plus a kickback commission as a sweetener. Many of the kids held onto these accounts for life because, despite what you might think, many people don’t change banks due to the friction involved.

The government finally stepped in to stop the selling of bad money advice to children. It still happens in many parts of the world. Once you have a six-month emergency fund, a savings account is the worst financial product in the world that pays you 0%.

Schools need real financial education, not bank-sponsored education.

A career that involves multiple professions

At the end of high school the career counselor said “you must pick one career.” She tried to force me to study a trade like plumbing. Unclogging poo in toilets made me vomit in my mouth, just a little.

I couldn’t decide on a career so I left the school and went to another one. Didn’t fix the problem but worth a try.

The choose a job and do-it-for-life days are over.

School kids get taught to do one thing for work when the reality is they will do multiple things to earn a living over their lifetimes. As the rapid rise of technology continues, so too will the yearly evolution of the work skills we need.

Schools need to normalize the multi-career path.

How to avoid being a victim

School doesn’t teach the downsides of the victimhood mentality that’s infected so many parts of the world.

We have too many victims. We have too many people begging for sympathy cards in return for a free ride.

Real life isn’t fair.

None of us gets a clear run of fair opportunities to step into. You make life fair by not giving up. By pushing through the oppressors, not begging them to step down or waiting for them to get voted out of power.

When you get slapped down by life, become the hero of your story. Own it. See it for what it is: a huge advantage, plus free motivation.

Basic social media skills

Social media isn’t just about pretty pictures of exotic locations or 15-second TikTok videos anymore. Social media is communication. Without proper online communication skills, you get left behind.

A class in social media would teach how to:

  • Send DMs
  • Leave proper comments
  • Post content
  • Tell stories
  • Write for an online age
  • Edit videos
  • Be nice to strangers (a lesson in anti-trollship)

The ability to hold two opposing ideas in our heads

“I’m right and you’re wrong.”

Wars stem from this fatal skill we learn at school. Deep thinkers that change the world can hold two opposing views in their head at the same time.

They can believe that making money online is bad because it can increase credit card fraud, while simultaneously believing that an online business can help a person buy their time back and work from anywhere they choose.

School should teach us to stop trying to be right — and to learn to make people think.

Overcoming fear

The subject of psychology is a class you can choose to take at most schools. It shouldn’t be a choice.

When you understand human psychology you understand the world better and how it works. Fear is a crucial lesson we can learn from by studying psychology. School accidentally pushes us towards the path of comfort when all the intellectual growth is found when we get uncomfortable.

Once you know what your fears are you can understand at a deep level what will likely hold you back for the rest of your life.

You can work on your fears. You can master them. You can make your fears your slave rather than the other way round.

I can’t believe school doesn’t force us to study fear.

How to unf*ck the environment

Tim Ferris made a comment recently on his podcast that the main thing that keeps him awake at night is climate change.

It’s the biggest problem of the 21st century. Governments globally are still snoozing on it. Yet the signs of the Earth getting warmer are now undeniable. We all feel them. We all experience the wild changes in weather that never used to exist.

School doesn’t go deep on climate change. You’d be seen as a weirdo if you dared bring up the fact that farming animals for food is one of the biggest causes of climate change on Earth.

Until we learn more about climate change, the urgency to fix it won’t be there. Every year that goes by, the damage becomes more irreversible. You and I will probably be fine. But what about future generations?

Climate change education must start in schools.

The advantages of failure and rejection

Schools are full of tests. Get a good grade? Good boy? Fail on a test? Bad boy.

Life couldn’t be more different. Life tests you. With business, for example, you’re supposed to fail multiple times. That’s how you learn what *not* to do.

Rejection is seen as bad too. Get rejected from your favorite prestigious university like Harvard? You should get upset. You should feel bad. Wrong. Getting rejected makes you want a goal MORE.

Rejection increases motivation.

Get rejected from every job you apply for, like I did when I got fired, and you’ll become the most direct, succinct, assertive, beautiful human.

Rejection isn’t failure. Rejection is redirection to a better opportunity.

How to have more than one income

You know, so we don’t lose our job and end up on the street.

One income equals enormous risk, yet this is the default path taught in schools. If you have one income then all it takes is a predictable recession to blow you over and force you into survival mode aka desperation.

Schools should teach us how to monetize the skills we gain more than once.

How to break the rules, not follow them

You do good on a test at school and you’re supposed to get all the rewards.

Those who are good at tests know how to follow the rules. But those who know how to legally break the rules get all the rewards in real life.

Following the rules stalls your life. Breaking the perceived rules turns on the turbocharger. It helps you see solutions others can’t. You find second and third doors the majority of people miss.

If there’s one necessary skill to learn in life, it’s that there are no rules. You make up the freaking rules as you go along. School doesn’t teach you that.