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Elementary, High School, University, did we have an option?

Have you ever wondered why did we go to school and studied for at least 12 years? Ask anyone about that, you will not find two people disagree on how the education system plays a crucial role in shaping the minds of the future generation and that it is meant to equip students with knowledge and skills to thrive in society, and so do I as well. However, there is a growing concern that the system may inadvertently create a generation of human robots employees, especially with the lack of financial education that leave students ill-prepared to manage their money and build wealth. That’s I truly believe, I mean think of it, you unconsciously subscribed to this system since you were 5-year-old, and you literally had no choice.

Comparison: Schools Vs. Job

Let's make a quick comparison to grasp the idea. Both schools and jobs have strict schedules with set arrival, leaving, and break times, just like they enforce rules and regulations (What to do and what not to do). Mistakes are penalized in schools through grades deduction, while in jobs, they might result in financial deductions. Moreover, school exams determine educational success, and job interviews determine employment success. All of these factors normalize the notion of adhering to time constraints, following instructions, and fearing mistakes. And so, we grow up and graduate conditioned to become obedient employees who dutifully follow orders.

Schools Concept Vs. Real Life

It is also noticeable how they teach us in school that mistakes are bad and that they must not happen, while it’s the human nature that people only learn by doing mistakes, we could walk only after falling many times, you can’t ride a bicycle if you didn’t fall while trying, same thing goes with even the stupidest game we mastered, let it be a video game or up to the hardest sports. Here is a piece of information you may or may not heard of before, and I hope as you read this, you write this sentence in a place that you always have access to, “Almost all successful people failed at least once before they could make it”, here is a small list from too many, and you can go search after me:

1. Walt Disney, he was fired by the newspaper editor for “lacking imagination and not having good ideas”

2. Oprah Winfrey, she was fired from her TV job as an anchor in Baltimore for “not being good enough”

3. J.K. Rowling, a broke, divorced and depressed single mother whose novel was rejected by too many publishers before we have the iconic Harry Potter

4. Thomas Edison, he failed 1000 times before he could invent the electric lamp that we can’t live without today

And the list can go on, and till date, we are still teaching our children that mistakes are failures, and failure is bad.

But why are we learning this? Let’s put it this way, would you a hire an employee in your company who will make mistakes? No, employees are not allowed to do anything wrong, entrepreneurs on the other hand are, and that’s why they are more financially literate, more successful, and by default, richer. Adding to what I said earlier, almost all entrepreneurs had at least one or two failed business before they could make a successful one, making mistakes in the failed ones make you learn and avoid them in future businesses, gaining big experience in “how not to do things” so you do them better next time you try. Failure and mistakes are part of the game and sometimes, are unavoidable.

Personal Experience

A similar experience happened to me when I tried to start my own business, tried to take all kind of courses and attend these business classes and I felt that I owned it, only to know that I have learned everything on paper but not in the real world, it’s a whole new game when you apply it. I had no debt at that time, and I ended up with more than AED 200K in debt after I started, which, praise goes to God, I could pay off in 5 years. But when I look back and think, was it worth it? My answer is always “Hell Yes!”, I would have done it over and over again if I had to go back in time, because the lessons I learned from that failure can’t be taught to me in a hundred schools, and I will not be able to learn it unless I tried.

To sum up, I think it is the right time for us to break free from the chains we were tied in by our educational system, and fly away from the restraints that were put in our milk to drink as kids, and try to do things the way we want, fall and rise fall and rise until we make it. If fear of failure is what keeps you away from living the live you want to live, it’s time to let go of that fear and remember that “Failure is only the first step to success!”.

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