When I was in school, I always had a B average for my grades. I can remember distinctly getting 80s to 90s on all my subjects. This continued in high school when I always had second honors and was in track 2. When I got into College, the trend continued and I finished with a 3.20 GPA. I always think back to my time in school and wonder if it was a waste of time. If I can’t even remember most of the stuff I learned, what was the point?
I learned how to get by
One of the biggest things I learned in school was that I was smart enough to get good enough grades with ease. It was easy for me. With this ease, one thing I didn’t learn was hard work.
I learned to bullshit my way through school. If you have a head on your shoulders, this is pretty easy. This was one of the reasons I didn’t do as well in math. There’s isn’t any bullshit in math, you either know the formulas and can solve the problem or you can’t.
I was always leaving assignments to the last minute. There were two reasons for this. First, I would get them done in a satisfactory manner. Second, I was always wondering what the point of it was if I wasn’t interested in the subject matter.
This would give me a lot of free time every day. I thought this was great but I never used it to it’s full potential. Time management certainly wasn’t catching on with me. In retrospect, this was pretty bad. Through school, I never learned to work hard every day to achieve a certain goal. Only sports taught me this.
Blogging requires you to work every day by sitting down and writing. I essentially had to learn this on my own because I was so used to just cramming my assignments into a couple hours of work.
What your grades mean
Getting poor grades means one of two things, you are either dumb or extremely lazy. Getting poor grades is actually kinda bad because failing classes requires you to take extra time during summers to do it over again. If you are just dumb, I’m not sure what the answer to this is. But if you are extremely lazy, you can easily fix this by just trying a bit harder.
One of my friends is a super smart guy. He can fix computers and do all that programming stuff that I can’t even understand. He showed up to the SATs hungover and got something like a 1450. However, he failed multiple grades in grade school and high school. He would have to go to summer school all the time.
He was a case of not caring about school at all. On one hand I can’t blame him too much because I didn’t care about it either. At the end of the day though you have to analyze your situation and play the game.
I always thought that people who got exceptionally great grades were dumb as well. Why spend all that energy and time for a minimal return. The reason I thought this was because in the back of my head I always wanted to do my own business, so I didn’t see any point on relying on your grades to get into a better college.
Past a certain point I always thought schooling was a bit pointless if you wanted to do your own thing. Problem was I just didn’t know what my own thing was going to be.
One thing people with great grades had figured out was work ethic though. Even though I thought the work they were doing was pointless, the fact that they had the will to sit down and crank out work was impressive. It’s this skill that they had that was the most valuable thing about them, not their smarts.
Get what you want
You get from school whatever it is you want at the end of the day. Whatever it is that you want to do in life should shape the direction you take in school. The problem is that most of us have no idea what we want to do in life, so we wind up getting taught everything.
Assuming you want to be an entrepreneur, school doesn’t offer much beyond the basics. Everyone needs to be able to read, write, do basic math, and have an understanding of grammar in order to get through life, but if I’m going to be a writer, does it make sense to be taking up time with trigonomics?
Perhaps the reason that no one knows what they want to do in life is because we don’t have to think about it until college time. That is 12 years of potential wasted time before we start to think for ourselves. A possible solution to this is to offer different curriculums to different people. Allow kids to choose their own path early on.
Start of public education
The origins of public education in the United States are very interesting. Essentially public education was instituted to produce workers for the factories of the industrial revolution. Despite the world being a vastly different place, the education system hasn’t changed all that much since that time.
They wanted people smart enough to run the machines, but not smart enough to wonder why. This is why modern education cut out logic and rhetoric as subjects. The ability to think and formulate your thoughts coherently would not only pose a potential risk, it also wouldn’t be cost effective.
What this means for the entrepreneur is that you should think twice about traditional schooling. If it was set up to produce factory workers, it may not be best suited for your needs.
How I learn stuff
When I was in school, the process that was used to learn stuff was memorization. The teachers just expected you to retain knowledge from books without telling you how to go about that. Because I only needed to retain the information for tests, I would often just try and remember it after a night of studying. This worked alright but I never remembered it past the test.
Be honest with yourself, do you remember the specifics of all those years of learning math, science, or grammar? I have lost a majority of my knowledge of those subjects. I attribute this to learning the wrong way for all those years.
I have never faired well with learning stuff by reading it. I needed to physically practice it over and over until it stuck. I became aware of this late in high school when I took a typing class. The class was very simple, and yet it was the most important class I took in high school. In it we would just get our typing book out each day and do the exercises. The exercises had you repeat a certain motion over and over until it was in your muscle memory of your fingers.
At the beginning of the class I was fumbling around trying to get it right. After weeks of doing this though I started to get really good. The teacher really didn’t care how long it took you to get it as long as you were doing the exercises every day. He knew that it was only a matter of time of simple repetition until it was second nature.
This was in stark contrast to the way they tried to teach typing in grade school. There they tried to have us memorize the keyboard and take tests on what letters went where. If you asked me today, I still have no idea where the letters are, but it doesn’t matter because I’d rather have the ability to type.
This same phenomenon happened when I was doing karate. We learned techniques and basics. The basics were taught first because you can’t do techniques without knowing how to punch or kick. After they taught the basics, they would teach numerous techniques to do if faced with a specific situation.
Would it surprise you that I have difficulty remembering most of these techniques? Because the basics were so simple, we worked on them over and over again until we got them right. They were drilled over and over until they were second nature. People who worked more on the basics were always better at sparring because techniques are rendered useless most of the time against another trained person.
These two examples made me think about the way we learn stuff and how I would do things differently if given the chance.
Education for entrepreneurs
The only way to learn how to be an entrepreneur is to get out there and try different things. I would start out without any expectation in mind other than to get the experience of creating some kind of company.
If you are starting out, take a few hours to learn the essentials, then actually do it. Give it a serious go for a while before trying something new.
The important thing is to do stuff and keep drilling until you get it right.
I feel as though we get in a mode of trying to read everything and memorize the topic before we get started. This doesn’t get us anywhere though. The best education for entrepreneurs is to take action over and over, and if that means you aren’t perfect, oh well.
Entrepreneurs need to have taking action become second nature.
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