We are all brainwashed and trained at an early age by parents, teachers, and society to believe that getting a job is what we are supposed to do. Maybe this was a good thing to do in the 50s, 60s, and even 70s. I’m not sure.
But things started changing rapidly in the 1980s with technological advances and the first big wave of corporate downsizing. Corporations no longer provide lifetime employment and technology has enabled anyone to start a business from anywhere.
What is true today is that having a job is not a good way to build wealth or achieve financial security. Unfortunately, our schools still train people to be good workers. They are not equipped to teach people to be great entrepreneurs.
Bill Gates said at the 2005 National Governors Association meeting that “High schools are obsolete…Our high schools were designed 50 years ago to meet the needs of another age. Until we design them to meet the needs of the 21st Century, we will keep limiting – even ruining – the lives of millions of Americans every year.”
Schools teach children to sit still, be quiet, memorize information, and take tests. Schools teach children that they are worth more when they get an “A” versus a “C”. These are not skills and beliefs that make people good entrepreneurs.
Schools give children the message that they don’t know what is best for themselves. They must look to the teachers and administrators to decide how they will spend their time. It doesn’t matter if they are enthralled with a book or science experiment, when that bell rings, they better stop what they are doing and hurry on their way so they are not late for the next class. It doesn’t matter if they are hungry or thirsty – they must wait until lunchtime to nourish their bodies. And it doesn’t matter if they are tired, they can wait until they get home to rest.
These are the lessons that I learned in my 23 years in school, college, and graduate school:
Lesson #1: My worth as a human being is determined by my performance. This has grown into an adult belief that I am not OK unless I am getting A+’s in life: important jobs, promotions, lots of money, big house, etc. (After all, our culture tells and shows us what material possessions you need to prove to the world you are getting A+’s.)
Lesson #2: I must look to outside authorities to show me how to live my life. This has grown into an adult belief that my inner intuition, feelings, and body sensations are not to be trusted. I lived my first thirty years in my head, practically cut off from my inner world.
Lesson #3: Life is NOT supposed to be fun. I have lived my life with the belief that life was full of struggle and hardship, that work is not fun, and that I have limited choices.
Schools condition us to look outside of ourselves for answers and guidance. Schools show us that we are not responsible for our own well-being. School conditions us to ignore our inner guidance systems.
Some of our most innovative contributors to society were not model students – remember Albert Einstein?
You may be thinking, “C’mon Debra, lots of kids don’t like school. It’s not the end of the world!” And I say, “Well, why can’t we create a school system where children love to learn? Why can’t we trust kids to know what is best for them?” This won’t happen until adults start un-brainwashing themselves from the lessons they learned in school. Adults need to stop passing the misery onto their children.
I intuitively knew what was best for me at a young age but wasn’t even permitted to express this knowing. I spent most of my 20’s following society’s false promise of happiness and most of my 30’s trying to unlearn the destructive lessons that were force-fed to me in school.
The good news is that it is possible to seize control of your life by undoing destructive social brainwashing. But first, you must get clear on which false beliefs you still hold and replace them with positive fear-free beliefs. It is a journey worth embarking upon.