5 Things You Have to Unlearn to Succeed

Throughout history, education has been about teaching the next generation to do what the previous generation wants them to do.

1. Attending Class and Reading is the same as learning
Educators map out a path to learn something.  But, not everyone starts in the same place nor is destined for the same place.  You need to find course materials on your own and choose the sequence of those materials that works best for you. This means you can’t rely on someone else’s syllabus and you can’t rely on somebody laying out the steps for you.

In life and in the workplace, you need to create our own value.  You need to create our own learning path. You have to unlearn the habit of waiting to be told what comes next in your education if you want to take control of your adult life.

2. Grades are not the goal, learning is the goal
Living doesn’t give letter grades. I’ve seen people that did “C” work succeed and people that did “A” work fail.  Sometimes you get a promotion or if you’re good at sales you might win a trip to Hawaii for your family, but in general, the reward is the goal. There’s no letter grade for that because the only person who can judge whether you’ve learned anything is you.

The act of making decisions independent of letter grades is completely opposite to everything that school stands for, because if you’re doing work that is separate from earning an A, then you’re completely uncontrollable in the classroom as you start losing the need to even show up to the classroom.

So school teaches you that you should study what’s on the test.  And what is on the test is what some grader thinks is important.  In life and work, everyone is the grader.  Your boss is the grader,  Your customers are the grader.  Your friends are the graders.  And every boss, every customer, and every friend may grade the same effort differently.

3.  Learning happens all the time, not just in Classrooms
As you move through life you have the opportunity to learn.  Learning doesn’t just happen in a classroom or a training seminar.  Learning happens when you identify a gap that you need to fill and you fill it.

4. Saying something even when there’s nothing to say
Bill Gates tells a great story about his early experiences with IBM.  Apparently IBM paid Bill Gates’ young startup company, Microsoft, by the lines of code written.  This seemed the wrong approach to the young Bill Gates.  He wondered how it seemed logical to get a million dollars for a million lines of code but only four dollars for the same program that did the same thing in 4 lines of code?  He suggested that IBM was not rewarding the creators for being efficient.  Of course it makes perfect sense to paid programers on the lines of code written or grade students on the number pages written.  Because that is easy.  You simply count.

We see this in business meetings where people talk because they think they are being paid to talk.

The better approach is to on say, write, or do that which gets the job done.

5. Thinking that surfing the Internet is “cyberloafing” and that Game playing is a waste of time
Apparently human resource managers understand that not all game playing and surfing is a bad thing.  

Apparently it’s been shown that people who play at work during work hours on the work computer are higher performing employees. There are lots of reasons for this. It requires long‑term commitment and strategy, and it favors people who understand how to shift between different sorts of tasks that require different kinds of thinking.