What are the things you didn’t learn in school that have proven most value to you in life?
I’ve asked myself that question. I’ve learned much over the years and but am most interested in those things that have provided the greatest benefit; those things that have improved the quality of my life.
Currently we do not have kids, but I know once we have them, these are the same lessons I want my kids to learn. While they could learn them on their own, I feel responsible for guiding them in these lessons. What follows is a short list (in no way exhaustive or in any particular order) of those life lessons I believe will most benefit them.
Being able to talk to anyone.
The ability to engage a stranger in conversation is not only an important life skill but the gateway to rewarding relationships.
The power of a simple daily plan.
Know at the outset of each day the two or three important things you desire to accomplish.
The rewards of work.
Many divorce the monetary compensation of work from the discipline and reward it instills. Work should be more than transactional. There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment that comes from a job well done regardless of the pay or lack thereof.
The undependability of luck.
Life isn’t a lottery ticket. You can’t depend on happenstance and fortune to make your way. The only luck you can count on is the luck you make with your wit and hard work.
The value of lots of experiences.
Those who try little limit themselves severely. The more things you attempt, the more quickly you learn what you really value.
The ability to extract lessons from whatever happens.
No teacher will follow you through life to tell you what you should have learned from what happened. Reflection about what can be learned from anything that happens is the key to lifelong learning.
The willingness to confront facts and take responsibility.
You only get full credit when you take responsibility. Facing harsh facts is never easy by always essential. The question always reduces to “What can I do to positively affect this situation?”
How to handle money.
Money provides means but it doesn’t provide skills. While earning money is something almost everyone learns, learning how to handle it is too often neglected. The ability to save, manage and invest money is necessary for the accumulation and effective use of money earned.
How to be bigger than circumstances or the limitations of others.
Petty people are never an adequate excuse to be petty. The noble are those who can maintain composure and act with dignity regardless of their situation.
That is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and defeats, and to do so as quickly as possible. The ability to get back on your feet when you’ve been knocked down by life is crucial.
These are all lesson taught directly in word and indirectly in deed. The latter is most powerful.