Blog 123. Business, Money And Your Career: How Your Schooling Can Influence Who You Become In Adulthood.
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How we educate our children needs reforming. The introduction of Internet and how we absorb knowledge has changed how we learn. Children are being given smart phones or iPads at an early age. New research suggests that screen time is literally changing children’s brain structure. As a result, we need to create more vibrant methods of educating our children. (In the section on Parenting, I have already addressed the damaging impact social media can have on children). We also need to recognise that this education must include an understanding of all the new job requirements, which we should certainly acknowledge has changed even in our own life times. Our methods of schooling is now outdated because it was based on industrial economies. This has changed. As a result, how adults work and how adults make money – needs a different mindset. And how we prepare our children to succeed in this rapidly growing and changing workplace is crucial – and it’s starts at school. How we encourage and how we prepare our children or grandchildren for what lies ahead is so important now.
Indeed, Malcolm X said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
And Jim Rohn once said that, “Life is a series of continuous preparations. We get ready for school by going to nursery school. We get ready for high school or college or university, so that we can be ready for our career, work life and adult life. Then we start dating to prepare for marriage. Then we get married and start saving so we can buy a house and start a family. Then we start saving for our kid’s schooling and our retirement. And then we prepare for death. We buy insurance, a grave-site and we set up a will, and so on.”
By understanding that each preparatory process influences the next, it is also worth remembering that every stage can also throw a few surprises. And no matter what stage we may have reached, how we cope, usually depends foremost on what our earlier experiences produced or taught us via our childhood, our schooling, our friends, our college or our university years, and so on.
And in particular, because children are like sponges, how we choose to educate them can be imperative to their success later on in life. Giving children a good foundation is therefore so important. Undoubtedly you will already know that this is why competition is often extremely stiff when applying to certain schools. In some cases, parents even have to put their children’s names down immediately after birth. In some cases, parents even change their religion and so on, to help push their children up the educational ladder.
But for some less well off, their education may sadly, never open stunning career doors. But even still, sometimes the relationships and friendships with either the teachers or fellow schoolmates can provide what they need to survive and succeed in adult years.
And for others, their school’s education may have produced a learning that may not have been “all rainbows and unicorns”. There can be memories that may bring back fond recollections, but there may also be those that some may prefer to bury and forget. Unfortunately, it is these horrid memories that often stand out and which become the gauge of one’s adult self-esteem and confidence.
Roald Dahl, once wrote that he was, “Appalled by the fact that master and senior boys were allowed to quite literally wound other boys, and sometimes severely.” It is of course not just boys that can be wounded. Girls can be too.
And he quite rightly alluded to the fact that, it is not just teachers but also other pupils who may say and do things that can be remembered for life.
Teachers or fellow pupils can be cruel. They can punish, they can tease, they can reject, they can ignore and they can wound with words of criticism and condemnation.
Worse still, if students are bullied, abused or even sexually abused, and so on, this will influence how they learn.
And finally the extent of sexual abuse is now being exposed. Sadly though, many pupils will have suffered and many lives will have been damaged as a result. Yet on the other hand, there are still those who just think that these so-called lessons “thicken a child’s skin”. And in some cases, pupils may have been forced into silence. Some may even have become complicit. They may have joined gangs or clubs. Although this may have helped create friends for life, it may also have proven to be the downfall of many.
(I also addressed the realities of Boarding School in the section strangely enough called, Sigmund Freud, which is worth a read if you missed it).
Either way, during the 12 years of schooling, whatever happens, how we are moulded – will fuse or merge with our earlier childhood experiences and this we take with us into adulthood.
Many of my clients were mostly unaware that their schooling had such a huge impact on their adulthood successes or failures. What happens and how we learn to relate in adulthood, can affect both our personal and business relationships.
And sadly too, many clients who come to see me, arrive with a low sense of self-worth which is often as a direct result of the messages, albeit subtle, that they may also have received at school.
Maxwell Maltz made a good observation, he wrote that, ‘Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on”. A great insight indeed.
And this is why it is so very important that throughout a child’s life we try to build their confidence and sense of worth so they may go on to achieve and make good choices to suit their life goals.
One aspect, which is often quite important, is the relationship a pupil may have developed with a teacher, which I alluded to earlier in this blog. This relationship can have a vast impact on any pupil’s confidence and self-esteem. How this is achieved usually stems from the confidence brought from home life via observations of parents and their relationships, their friendships and indeed, their career and attitudes toward their colleagues, and so on.
Or it could come from a teacher recognising a pupil’s learning potential. Sebastian Coe who was a track and field athlete, once said that, “Sport was an integral part of my school life. The most influential teachers were not necessarily the PE teachers, but the teachers who helped me in sport because they had an understanding of what I was going through”.
Being able to build a relationship with a teacher or an authority figure, implies being able to do the same later on in life with possibly even a boss or employer. It’s an important skill to develop and feeling comfortable in this role or having this ability is an important developmental lesson. Yet somehow the value of this interaction is not always fully explained, explored or indeed, understood.
Teachers can also open doors and they can offer new pathways of thinking or learning. And they can change someone’s life by focusing and encouraging students to think beyond their limits. Many pupils have stories that confirm this but sadly, many have also no experience of this at all. And this is a great pity. Sometimes or indeed thankfully, it may take someone, even a mentor later on, to open a door or to encourage a colleague to take a leap that they may otherwise not have believed they were capable of doing.
It is therefore important to think back on your own schooling. Try to remember the relationships you formed or the messages you may have gleaned about yourself. And no matter what those messages may have been, it may still be worth contemplating – so that you can build or work on what you learnt all those years ago – especially if they were negative. This may help you on your path of self-discovery.
Also, if you are a parent, it may be worth keeping an open communication with your children with regard any negative experiences they may be having at school and then indeed, at university or college.
Bullying and abuse is rife and the statistics are increasing – especially as a result of social media. Being aware and talking to children sooner NOT later, is imperative. This can help a child feel valued. However, you may find that you need assistance in doing this. There are many support groups out there geared for all sorts of issues that parents now have to deal with. This does not mean you are a failure as a parent. On the contrary, it teaches your children that asking and getting help is a positive and sometimes necessary way forward. And in today’s fast changing world this choice is imperative.
What is also becoming evident is that helicopter parenting and spoiling a child is not helpful either. This is because, “It is not what you do for a child but what you have taught them to do for themselves that matters now”. A quote by Ann Landers.
Sadly, we have lived through a few decades where ’me’ and ‘what I want’ comes foremost. Yet the very same ‘entitled’ young adults are now struggling desperately to cope in the work place – even if a parent has managed to open their child’s career door.
Tyne Daly said, “I think the 20s are a vastly overrated decade. We promise kids that once they get out of school, life will begin and their dreams will come true. But then comes the struggle”.
Most worrying is that we are now seeing suicide rates climb, along with depression, eating disorders and so on.
If this is you, or if you know of anyone struggling with the issues addressed above, please do ask for help. Know, that there are indeed, many support groups or therapists willing to help.
This is why it is so important to realise that what we learn from the foundations created in childhood is what we take into adulthood – into our personal and business relationships.
It is therefore so important, that we ensure that this foundation is solid. And the best way to do this is as Socrates once suggested that you get to “Know Thyself”. Until you understand your strengths and weaknesses, and what your behavioural patterns are – it may be hard to put yourself out there.
Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude. And if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
And this is another reason why education never really ends. It serves us well to prepare our self-esteem and self-worth – as this will influence our attitudes and our relationships, which in turn may either empower or disempower the next stage we may have to encounter.
Universities are worryingly – leaving people with massive debt. However, I am certainly not advocating that you don’t go. A university degree is a great asset as it can provide you with a lot more than just a degree. The people you meet, the contacts you make and the learning that teaches you to how to think differently, will always provide you with a great foundation for the life you will go on to lead. But in some cases this is all that is might do.
Sadly, few really land up working in the career they studied for. Plus, the job market is now changing fast. The jobs that might have been available at the beginning of a university or college career may have changed by the time a degree or diploma is achieved. This is why how we educate needs to change. So much can be learned via the Internet or indeed mentors, life coaches, and so on. And sometimes, this learning can be a lot more valuable.
What is crucial is not to ‘paint yourself into a corner’. Earning good money is one thing, but being unable to jump ship when you find yourself unhappy or unfulfilled – can result in many miserable years. Instead, be careful. Don’t commit too quickly to a large mortgage and so on, until you are sure that you are really happy doing what you do. And even then, make sure that you keep creating options for yourself. Keep learning new skills. Keep watching the trends. Be ahead of the curve not behind it. Read motivational books, listen to podcasts, keep ahead of the game and watch for gaps or opportunities. Never sit back. A don’t think your job will be safe. Things change. They always do. You just have to be ready and flexible.
A great book comes to mind which many of you will have already read which summarises the above. It is called, “Who Moved My Cheese?” It’s a small book and it takes ‘seconds’ to read. It describes change and the reaction to change – and it is a good reminder for all of us to remember the importance of being able to implement flexibility when things change, especially if we wish to succeed.
Also, it pays to realise that throughout life, doors often open which may not make sense at the time, but later and upon reflection, those same doors may lead to invaluable opportunities. This is a great reminder – never to question the opportunities, but to trust the learning they may provide.
So instead of being passive it is time to become active – so you can take responsibility for your education and your career. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. Become proactive.
And to refer to Jim Rohn once again. He taught that being successful is a choice.
So, if your self-worth was dented or your confidence destroyed whilst being educated – find a way to reverse this. Do not spend your life stuck in old belief systems, and do not allow yourself to find excuses. There are so many people who can help and there is so much knowledge out there now – that not succeeding over time – is no longer someone else’s fault.
© 2020 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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