(…we don’t need no education)
I’m working on a 15 to 30 minute lecture for high school kids. The idea is to teach them what they really need to succeed in the world that they have never been taught in school. Please read and give me your feedback. Also, I have a well-deserved reputation for slamming the public school system, so if anyone feels that I’m being slightly too belligerent let me know and I’ll ease off. Maybe.
Consider a poll of ten business owners: A mechanic, an architect, an engineer, a restauranteur, a bartender, a doctor, a dentist, a car dealer, a barber, and an art gallery owner. They are given the task of imagining the ideal employee for their company. Not just an average employee that shows up and gets their paycheck everyday. The absolute perfect employee, someone who is so good for business that the owner would adopt them and leave them their company when they retire. When visualizing that perfect employee, write down 5 words that describe that perfect employee.
Consider also a poll of the rest of the 95% of people who are not business owners but employees. They are given the task of imagining the ideal boss. Not just an OK boss that pays you on time and doesn’t make you work overtime. A boss so inspiring that you would volunteer to work hard, to take on extra work and to move into their house with them just to car pool with them. When visualizing that perfect boss, write down 5 words that describe that perfect boss.
Now there are three things I want to point out.
First, is that these lists will end up being mostly the same. Honest. Fair. Fun. Caring. Industrious. Capable. Loyal. Generous. Energetic. Enthusiastic. Encouraging. Respectful. Talented. Reliable. Open-Minded. Considerate. Kind. Patient. Secure. Appreciative. Adaptable. Assertive. Cooperative. Diplomatic. Determined. Ethical. Persistent. Optimistic.
The second thing, is that none of these attributes (with the possible exception of “capable”) are things that are taught to you in our schools. When have you ever been taught the value of Honesty in one of your classes? Even if you are the owner of an engineering firm, which would you rather hire, an honest man that is average at math, or a compulsive liar that is excellent at math? Have you ever taken a class or listened to a single lecture on “Loyalty 101?” Do not get me started on public schools and “Open-Minded.”
The bottom line, is that we are never taught the essential skills to succeed at life in our 13 years of compulsory education. For the most part, those of you who continue on to college will also never be taught the essential skills to succeed in your respective careers. And yes, these are skills, because these are all traits that can be learned. No baby was born honest, or fair, or especially generous (but most are born fun).
The third and final thing I’d like to point out, is that these words don’t just describe the ideal boss or the ideal employee. They also describe the ideal child, the ideal parent, the ideal spouse, the ideal pretty-much-everyone-you-would-ever-want-to-associate-with-on-a-regular-basis type person. Wouldn’t you want all the people in your life to be this list? Well, since you can’t change them, the best thing that you can do is to change yourself, and try your best to be this list.
I’ll probably close by providing a recommended reading list and offer a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People to any student that wants one. Anyone have any thoughts or recommendations?