Reading time: 4 mins
This blogpost is the sequel to piece that I wrote awhile back called 3 Subjects You Hated In School But Will Make You A Better Person. Period.
There’s a lot of changes happening in Education and The Marketplace at the moment. There’s lots of arguments on whether modern education is still relevant and whether the education system needs a massive makeover to keep up with the huge technological and social challenges that we face in the near future.
As I have previously blogged before, we are now living in the Information Age and the 40-40 plan (40 hours of work per week for 40 years) is dead. As a teacher, I have felt often that we are not preparing our kids for the Real World – although it’s great to learn about how many wives Henry VIII kicked it with, it will not help you land that dream job (unless you are Tudor historian).
In my short life, here are 3 subjects I believe that you may have hated in college (6th form/upper high school) but if studied can make you materially successful…
I just wanted to be honest: there have always been 2 groups of people that I have been scared of: clowns (have you ever seen Stephen King’s IT?!?) and psychologists. Everytime I meet someone who turns out to have studied psychology, I get the heebee jeebees as I feel that they can ‘see through me’ and they are studying my every movement. I feel like they reading my mind like a pre-Logan Professor X…
But of course this is not the case. Us human beings are a complex lot. We a mass of walking contradictions: thinking that we are rational but doing exactly the opposite and the scary thing is that most of us don’t understand why we are doing them! Understanding psychology gives you the unique ability not only to understand others but yourself which can help you safely navigate and progress through your college, your workplace and life.
Malcolm Gladwell popularised the ‘10,000 Hour Mastery Theory’ but he also mentioned that the secret sauce to becoming a rockstar programmer, athlete, politician and well… rockstar was a great dose of Emotional Intelligence. You can be as talented as you want but let’s be honest, no one wants to work with a douchebag and eventually this will call your downfall (please reference Julius Caesar, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair or… Son Goku…).
Understanding other people’s motivations, gaining leadership skills and how to deal with conflicts will be a skill that will never go out of fashion and in fact take you right to the top.
2) Economics/Money Management
Money is like sex. Everybody does it but no-one talks about it. I’ve always found it interesting that in school, we can learn about all the cultures of the world, unravel the mysteries of nuclear fusion but our National Curriculum doesn’t offer a simple class on what debt is and how to select the right credit card. I would take it a step further, putting on my conspiracy theorist tin-foil hat on, that The-Powers-That-Be don’t WANT us to know how to handle money (more on that on a future blog).
This is not to rant against the dangers of our Post-Modernist Capitalist society but we must face the facts… Until World War III destroys the world and we go back to exchanging hair brushes and goats, money as a means of exchange is here to stay OK?
Considering that money is such an important part of our lives, I slowly realised that in order to get ahead, I needed to have a very basic understanding of how things like mortgages, debits, credit cards and balance sheets worked.
And no you don’t have to be Warren Buffet either.
Understanding how to make a household budget, shop around for better deals on your bills, save 10% of your income and invest safely are absolutely vital to you and your family’s financial future. Don’t skip money class.
Whenever someone says the word ‘sales,’ images of a balding middle-aged car salesman, selling you a dodgy ‘motor comes to mind. ‘Sales’ has become a dirty word and it feels… sleazy.
But from a very young age, we are learnt how to become professional sales people. Have you ever:
- persuaded a friend to watch a film that they weren’t to sure about. That’s sales.
- Talked your boss into giving you a promotion. That’s sales.
- Asked someone to marry you? That’s sales.
- Got your Mum/Dad to come to pick you up in the middle of the night? Sales, sales, sales – you get the picture
In fact I would argue that every single day, everyone of us is selling. But sales are not about tricking the other person to buy something that they don’t want. In fact, great sales are just the opposite: Great sales are about understanding the other person’s needs and meeting them. That’s it. If you meet the other person’s needs again and again, they will give you more money/benefits/time/love or any other value you can think of and everyone is happy.
I worked in retail/sales jobs for almost a decade before I became a teacher and I still use a lot of my training today – selling education to the students.
Don’t ever stick up your nose to retail job – For me it has been the best education in learning how to understand people (point 1), how money works (point 2) and taught me how to sell (point 3).
Thank you for reading! Are there any subjects that helped you progress in life? Write a comment below or tweet at me @karlwebdev.
Thank you as always and see you next Thursday!