The 4 things that school should teach instead of “wherefore art thou Romeo”
This time, I write about the 4 things I think every human being needs to understand (disclaimer: I don’t yet), to stop life from kicking your a**.
Question: Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is about violence as much as it is about passion and love. Discuss.
A classic essay question that you would “discuss” at length although you and pretty much everyone else in the class knew one thing. That it was BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING.
Yeah I said it. And you know what, I would do it again.
This is what I thought “English” was. Because of this, I treated books like a bowel motion because my impression was that too much was not a good thing. It took me a while to realise that you can actually read what you want to read and that books can serve as not only as escape but, a source of wisdom from people who have trekked the same path you are on. Read my post “10 pages a day” for the full low down.
School needs to be a place where we develop the skills needed to win at life. Maybe there is a place for William in the classroom but, the reality is that you can live a fulfilled life without knowing Shakespeare’s work.
Nevertheless, as I see it, there are 4 pillars of life that you can’t live without knowing and therefore must be an integral part of the school curriculum.
Pillar 1: The ability to cook quickly, healthily and cost-effectively.
Did you know that based on Australian Government statistics, 63% (almost two thirds) of Aussie adults are overweight or obese and sadly 25% of Aussie children are overweight or obese?
I will pause so that, just like the Titanic … this also sinks in.
From an early age, along with 1 + 1 = 2, children should be learning that fat + sugar = a reduced life expectancy.
Pillar 2: Money, money, money
“[Many] Australians run out of their savings 13 years before they die” – Scott Pape, Barefoot Investor
This scared the sh** out of me. It did wonders for my constipation (see what I did there) but, made me terrified that despite a healthy colon, that some of us could potentially work our butts off for decades and still struggle to retire with the dignity we not only earnt but, deserve.
From a young age, schools and parents need to teach the basics of money and how to grow it like a redwood tree (tallest tree in the world). Leveraging superannuation, tax, property and shares amongst other things should be compulsory curriculum. Let’s face it, not everyone will need to solve for X but EVERYONE will damn well pay tax!
Pillar 3: Relationships and work life balance
“Nah can’t come bro, I got work…gotta pay the bills…you know how it is”
Quality of life is directly related to time spent with family and friends. This work life balance dilemma exists because although work puts dollar dollar bills in your account, it zaps you of the most valuable currency of all, TIME.
TIME and LIFE are essentially the same. If you have one, you most likely have the other.
I have no idea how to implement this into the school system. What do you think?
At the very least, I think AWARENESS is key. This awareness can be the difference between saying “YES” to that big raise which comes with 3 times the responsibility versus saying “NO” to the extra work in exchange for more time to spend with your loved one watching the final season of Suits, going for a walk with your mother, talking at Pancake Parlour with your friends until the early hours of the morning or working towards that next belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
How much money is actually ENOUGH and how much is taking away from valuable LIFE time?
But before you ponder about this, what if I told you that the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, based on 15 years of research, shows that once you are earning $70,000 a year, anything more doesn’t actually make you happier.
Well I just told you. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww snap!
Pillar 4: Happiness and mental health
There are 3 types of people I have met in my life; super happy, satisfied and unhappy or depressed. I have personally tasted all 3 at some point in my life and currently, on average, I dance between super happy and satisfied. There was a period where I was truly unhappy and at times, there didn’t seem to be a way out. Things are different now. I learnt that happiness is partly genetic but, it is also related to things that you can purposefully and intentionally do.
For me, a combination of meditation, a single Buddhist monk named Ajahn Brahm, ET the hip hop preacher (a Christian motivational speaker), inspirational books and inspirational videos (e.g. TED talks) not only allowed me to survive but, start winning.
Check out my post “Morning ritual: Compounding the effect of gratitude” for a sneak peek at one of my secrets to happiness.
I feel that many don’t even know that this stuff exists and some could really use it. I am sure we can all think of someone right now. It doesn’t affect everybody but, for those that it does affect, it is can be the difference between living a purposeful and happy life versus living a miserable and confusing life. Schools need to make an investment in mental health and actively teach the science of happiness!
I hate when people, including myself, complain. I can’t blame school for my shortcomings. The information is out there. So as I learn them through my research, I will share them with you and hopefully you will share them with others.
Obviously these pillars are not my areas of expertise and that’s why I would love your feedback. If you know about your food, put me in my place. If you know all about leveraging money, you know where to find me. If you know about acheiving balance, drop me a line. And if you know the secrets to living a happy life, [insert another way of saying contact me or share your thoughts).
As always, stay in school (it’s awesome despite it’s shortcomings), don’t do drugs and read my blog.
I would like to inform you that no English poets were offended in the making of this blog post.
Much love to you and of course, to myself.
P.S Got through a whole blog post without using a hashtag. #almost