6 Ways How School Sucks Entrepreneurship Out Of Children

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It’s about time we take it seriously

Every year, our education system forces ambitious kids to pursue the wrong careers.

It raises them with false values of success that often scars them for life without them knowing about it.

It’s not about how much money kids make or what they do that matters. What matters is how they think about life.

While still in school, students learn the principles on which their environment operates, often subconsciously.

Consider the story of Robert Kiyosaki’s rich dad and poor dad. His biological father, aka ‘poor dad’ was poor not because he made less money.

Early on, Robert noticed fundamental differences in the way his “rich dad” and his “poor dad” thought, spoke and acted.

He noticed that his poor dad was poor, not because of the amount of money he earned, but because of what he thought and believed about money and, consequently, his actions.

Here are some mental-models and principles that bog down the entrepreneurial tendencies in our children

1. Instant Progress

We want instant lunch, instant cure, instant miracles, instant salary, instant success — instant everything. This instant civilization, we have obsessed with, has made us grow a tad too impatient in virtually everything about life. And, of course, that doesn’t serve us so well.” ― Boniface Sagini

In a traditional school, the way to succeed is simple. Prepare for an exam, give the exam and then get the results a few days later. Students also have a fair idea of what the questions would be after studying past papers (or leaking the paper itself).

Real-life and entrepreneurship are rarely like this.

While you may be able to learn from others’ past mistakes, you definitely cannot expect instant progress or even feedback.

In business, implementing a strategy takes time and the results may take months or even years to show.

This is why many smart, MBA-types often don’t succeed in entrepreneurship. They simply don’t stick around to bear the fruits of their labor.

They instead go for a cushy job where they operate in a school-like environment — have a weekly review with your manager, get judged on performance evaluations, and so on.

The schools are not preparing kids for the uncertainty that they’ll face when they come back to the real world.

2. No Space for Creativity

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” ― Rumi

Often time, students are just following orders from teachers or doing things because “that’s how they’ve always been done.”

But we can’t blame the students for not being creative. They simply do this to avoid facing repercussions that their not-so-well-behaved peers face.

The system is rigged — it’s set in a way to reward kids who do as they’re told to do and punish those who try to think for themselves.

No wonder why many successful entrepreneurs weren’t good at school.

Even if they didn’t drop out like the Zuckerberg’s of the world, they spent their time working on what they thought was right rather than going to useless classes that didn’t serve their purpose.

3. Always Taking No for an Answer

What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head? You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a hundred and forty six other things — Harvey Specter

This is an important psychological hurdle that many of us need to overcome. In school, whatever the teachers say has to be obeyed.

If the teacher says no, you cannot have it your way. And that’s that.

In a way, it leaves a permanent impression on the students’ minds — when a person says no, there’s nothing you can do about it.

And we all know, people who take no for an answer, don’t go far in life.

Whether it’s our personal relationships or careers, we’ll always face rejection and we have to negotiate our way out of it.

‘No’ often means no *at this point in time, *not forever.

4. Lack of Autonomy

“The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without: to follow one’s own path, not that of the crowd.” ― Nicholas Tharcher

Children are forced to abide by the schedule set by schools.

This does nothing but sends the following message — “You cannot manage yourself so let us do that for you.”

As a result, when these kids grow up, they need a manager, or a boss telling them what to do.

Real-life hardly works that way though, even if you’re in a corporate job. To excel, you need to learn how to go above and beyond what you’re told to do.

And to do that, you need to manage your self.

By taking away the opportunity to exercise autonomy, schools don’t teach kids the importance of task-planning that is key in any career.

As an easy alternative, students can be allowed to study the subjects that they want to study at their own time. I’m not saying that they should be given complete autonomy to run the show at their mercy.

But we can at least start by letting them decide which class they want to go to first thing in the morning and what time do they want to have lunch.

Everyone loves the feeling of having control over their lives. And by giving this feeling to our kids, we’re not only making them happier but also preparing them for the world outside the school bounds.

One size doesn’t fit all. As humans, there are a wide variety of differences between each one of us. Some kids are fast-learners, others are only good at math and not science, some are good at art and cringe on the thought of math.

It is our responsibility to provide space for children to account for these differences and move ahead. If students were given such levels of autonomy, most of them can complete their school at least 2 years before the stipulated time.

Most of all, they’ll learn how to be the captain of their own ship.

5. The Resume Is Their God

“You are not your resume, you are your work.” — Seth Godin

Since most colleges and schools are focused on getting the best job placements for their students, they send a signal as to what’s important in life.

Most kids focus on getting internships, certificates, winning competitions, and even pursuing social causes to build an image of someone who they’re not.

I’ve seen many people contribute to social causes and NGOs only to include it in their resume and show recruiters/universities how much they care about societal issues.

Everything they do becomes a means to the greater end of building their resume.

The problem is, that the resume means sh*t. Companies with smart recruiters know that being graduated from a certain college may get you in the door, but it’s not a ticket to success.

Many people I know don’t even care about resumes. When I was hiring for my own startup, I never looked at what they’ve done.

I was more interested in what they can do and how well they can do it. If they prove that they can do it well, I don’t care if the person was home-schooled or went to Harvard.

6. Financial Literacy

A person can be highly educated, professionally successful, and financially illiterate — Robert Kiyosaki

It doesn’t matter how much you make, what matters is how much you keep.

While students run behind brand names and huge salaries, they don’t have the slightest idea of what to do with that money.

Most times, they spend it on useless desires never really thinking about how to prepare for the future and make their money grow.

They end up working for money but never learning how to make it work for them.

A lot of kids don’t have the proper discipline to even maintain a budget. They don’t know how to invest. They don’t know who to trust.

Again, not because they’re dumb. But because they were never taught.

I, like everyone, wasn’t taught about money in school or college. But I took responsibility to learn about it long before I started making money.

And now that I make some, I know what to do with it and how to make it work for me.

Final Thoughts

There’s not much we can do about these issues until people in the system step up to change it.

But if you’re someone still in school or university, it’s important to abandon these beliefs. They don’t serve you well and often destroy your chances of success further.

Analyze your life and see if you still carry these beliefs around and then drop them.

If you never learned about money, then pick up a book and do some research.

If you went for a corporate job when your passion lied somewhere else, start a side hustle.

The best time to start was yesterday. The second-best time is now.

Are you serious about becoming the best version of yourself? Get your free 5-day email course to Master The Art Of Personal Transformation

Written on September 7, 2020