3 Subjects You Hated In College But Will Make You A Successful Person

Reading time: 4 mins

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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…

1) Psychology

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…

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You don’t have to be this man to read minds…

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?

scrooge-mcduck-warehouse

If you tried to do this in real life, it would really, really hurt…

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.

3) Sales

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.

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No. Don’t buy a car from this man.

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!

Karlwebdev

3 Things You Should Do When You Are Rejected – And Why Its OK To Be Bummed

Reading time: 4 mins

nero thumbs down

Well no matter how bad it gets at least you don’t have to face the lions…

We Regret To Inform You…

3 weeks.


It was 3 weeks ago when I wrote that application form. It was for a coding internship at a world renowned media organisation that tackled issues that I cared about. This was the perfect job for me – my golden ticket into the world of Tech. When I submitted the form, although I fought it, my mind started thinking about prepping for the Assessment Centre… then passing the interview & getting the job… meeting my new colleagues… going out for ‘Happy Hour’ and talking about which Star Trek Captain was better James T Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard?


3 weeks of wondering, wishing & waiting.


Then the email appeared. This is it. I opened it & here’s what it said:


“Dear Karl,
          Thank you for your recent application for the ________ internship (so far so good) but we regret to inform you that your application has been unsuccessful…”


My heart sank as I read them say something about ‘keeping my name on the system’ and wishing me ‘all the best.’


To be honest, I’m not made at the organisation – considering the possible thousands of apps they received, I’m grateful that they let me know. But I really wanted that position – like a little 4 year old kid wants McDonalds… and it hurts.


But according to the ‘Motivational Brigade’ it would be because ‘I didn’t want it bad enough so I didn’t manifest it.’


Nonsense. As I grow older, I realised that something’s just won’t work out no matter how hard I try.


So… What do you do? Drown yourself in Ben & Jerrys & give up? Nope. Here’s 3 things I think you should do…


1) Feel Bummed Out

 

“Hold on!” I hear you say. Didn’t you just say being depressed is not the answer?

 

It’s not. I’m saying to call it what it is. If the situation sucks, it sucks.

 

In our hyper-positive, ultra motivated world, we’re bullied into thinking that we should ‘stick a smile on our face and always be happy’ or ‘push through the pain’. But ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. This is like seeing a friend break a limb and then telling them to ‘dust yourself down and walk it off’ – that ain’t happening.

 

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These are the only 2 that can live in Lala-land… Not anyone else

If positivity causes you to deny the situation then that is delusion. Unless you’re Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling, don’t live in Lala-Land. See it for what it is, what it is, mourn what it could have been or what you lost. Give yourself some space.

 

2) Take A Break

 

Apart from learning to code, I’ve also been hustling to whether I could find any internships of paid work experience. Like Gollum with his ‘precious’, I was constantly researching and analysing all the possible routes in. Michael Scofield would have been proud.

 

But after the rejection letter, I decided to take a break. Taking a break doesn’t mean quitting. Sometimes you need to take a break to restore your strength. As I wrote in a previous post, we are not machines – our bodies need the right balance of work and recovery. Sometimes in pursuit of our goals, we forget about about everything else – and risk being burnt out. Taking time out can help with Step 3…

 

3) Take Away The Lesson

 

After taking Steps 1 and 2 will help it easier to take this step. What did you learn? How could it have been handled better? Now for some people, they do this by expressing gratitude or seeing the ‘Silver Lining.’ In our culture, many believe that every bad thing, if you look hard enough, has seeds of good in it. But me being me, I look at things differently: there are loads of different meanings in the same situation both good and bad and ultimately it’s YOU that draws meaning from it. Depending on how big, traumatic or sudden it is, this can be a life long process.

 

Although I’m disappointed by not getting the internship, on the cosmic-scale of things, it’s not Earth shattering. But when facing the bigger challenges of life, death, sickness or relationships, although there maybe pain, I don’t look for the positive, but look at the learning. Learning from difficult situations may not be instant either – sometimes these processes can take weeks, months or even years – but don’t be too hard on yourself, that’s all part of being human. What I have found is once I have fully absorbed the learning then the positivity tends to walk walk behind it.

 

As always, thank you for reading. Do you agree with these steps? What would you add? As always, drop a comment below or hit me up @karlwebdev.

 

See you next Thursday!

 

Karlwebdev

 

The Simple Word That Can Vastly Improve Your Life

Reading time: 4 mins

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Even the Former US President could be stopped by this word…

The Magic Word

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a legend about a word that was so powerful, that it stopped bullies, conserved your time and energy and even helped you feel happier in your life. But alas, as time moved forward and technology became advanced, that word started to fade away, only to become legend…
I recently discovered that word and want to share that discovery with you!

 

The magic word is… No. That’s it.

 

But in our daily lives, many of us find it really difficult, uncomfortable and even rude to say that to a boss, a colleague and even a family member. For some people, ‘No’ is akin to a swear word.
But what I have realised is that as our lives get more complicated and busier than ever, saying ‘no’ is absolutely critical to our long term success and happiness.

 

3 Reasons Why We Must Say No More

 

1) Stress and Overwhelm

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Yeap. This is how I feel during morning rush hour too.

We live in stressful times.

 

 

Many people say that ‘multi-tasking’ is the answer but more and research is showing that multitasking is more likely cause us to burn-out rather than be productive.
Our brains were not designed to handle so much information and we are suffering for it. A lot of personal development books today focus on time management, productivity and ‘getting more done’. But don’t confuse doing more with being more effective – I still make that mistake.
At one point, I was a full-time teacher, a part-time events manager, aspiring coder and caring for a sick relative and I totally burnt out. My health was poor and I was chronically exhausted. It took me awhile to realise that I was not the T1000 and I was a human-being that needed to rest.
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Even the T1000 said ‘No!’

Sometimes by doing less, we feel guilt as if we are ‘letting the team down’. But the opposite is true – if you push yourself to the point of having a nervous breakdown or severe illness, you won’t be no good to anyone. Sometimes the most caring thing you can do for others is to look after yourself.

 

2) Opportunity Cost

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Yeap. Poor woman didn’t even 1p. Painful!

If you went to the Self-Help section of your local bookstore and picked up just one of the books, 9 times out of 10 it would full of fluffy statements like “follow your dream” or “you can do whatever you set your mind to – if you want it back enough”.

 

Although they are some seeds of truth in these statements, they don’t really give the full picture. As I mentioned in a previous blog, humans have the great ability to oversimplify things known as ‘abstraction’. Which is great in some cases but can case great problems in others. Most humans find it extremely hard to accurately see all the pros and losses of a future event.

 

For example, looking at the average superstar CEO/artist/entertainer/athlete, most people wouldn’t mind having the money and apparent freedom from a ‘normal’ deskjob. But could they handle the pressures of fame, like no privacy, public shaming and humiliation, the lawsuits, never knowing who you can trust and the gruelling hours of practice/performance that will keep you #1? Although there are many positives in their life, the tabloid papers remind us the extreme downsides as well.

 

Every time that you ‘yes’ to something, you are in saying ‘no’ to something else. Everything that you do costs, in either time, energy/health or money. And there are no exceptions. Most of us make choices without counting the cost. Saying ‘no’ allows us to make choices on our terms rather than someone else’s.

 

3) Focus

jean-claude-focus

The perfect image of intense focus.

Guys I really struggle with this one: I think that my focus DNA is faulty.

 

I have noticed this is my journey learning to code. If I create a 2 hour block to code this is what usually happens:

 

a) Start coding (20 minutes)
b) Come across a challenging piece of code & wrestle with it – then wonder why I bothered trying to learn it in the first place (20 minutes)
c) Watch YouTube/surf the web then feel guilty and try again (30-45 minutes)
d) Loop

 

After a ‘2 hour session’, I walk away feeling proud of myself when in reality I did 30 minutes work.
Saying ‘No’ is not always dealing with external factors or people. Sometimes the person that you will really need to say ‘no’ to is… you. Sometimes you will have to say ‘no’ to the distractions, being comfortable, trying to make sure that everyone is happy and enjoying short-term pleasures for long term gains.

 

Former British Prime-Minister Tony Blair once said “once you decide, you divide”. The word ‘decision’ comes from the latin word ‘caedere’ which means to ‘cut off’. Every time you decide you completely cut off another part.

 

As I wrote before, my Old Man used  to like to garden and he would often prune the flower bushes. The Old Man would explain that in order for the actual flowers to be stronger, we would have to cut off additional leaves so that they didn’t take up extra resources. The word ‘no’ does not have to be a swear word. The word ‘no’ can be used as a powerful tool to cut off the unproductive things in your life that take up your natural resources so you can focus on what really matters.

 

Thank you for reading! Do you struggle to say ‘no’ like I do? Where can you insert more ‘no’s’ in your life? As always let me know what you think by leaving your comments below or tweeting at me via @karlwebdev.

 

See you next Thursday

 

Karlwebdev

 

My 5 Favourite Blogs About Life

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Hello People!

This blog will be the last blog of January 2017… Where has the time gone?!? January is often the month of reflection and this is where a lot of people make (well.. at least certainly try to) make changes for the better.
Although my main passion is technology, I have wrote blogposts about many different subjects and one of my favourite topics to talk about is this weird and wonderful thing called life.
Here are my 5 favourite posts that I have written about life that I have written and I sincerely hope that they help make a positive change in your life experience.
1) 2 Ways to Totally Mess Up Your Life – My 1st ‘life’ blog and this is really where I made the commitment to explore my passions. You only have one life. Don’t use it up doing things you absolutely hate.
2) 3 Subjects You Hated In School But Will Make You A Better Person. Period. – If you master these subjects, they will take you far, young grasshopper…
3)  3 Ways Social Media Kills Your Relationships – And How To Save Them – Research has said time and time again that the quality of your life is determined by meaningful relationships. Please preserve them.
4) Stop Bullying Yourself – With the alarming growth of anxiety and depression diagnoses around the world, I think it’s time we stopped beating ourselves up but patching ourselves up.
5) The Simple Exercise That Busted My Stress & Boosted My Happiness – It’s surprising as a culture how obsessed we are with getting things done and being ‘efficient’. But what is equally important are the things that we DON’T do…
Guys again thank you for reading! What did you think? Were there things that you disagreed with? As always comment below or tweet at me @karlwebdev.
Thank you for reading and see you next Thursday!
Karlwebdev