The things taught in schools & colleges are not an education but the means of education — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Schools provide us the platform to emerge as a student and flourish as a responsible adult. But sometimes I wish that I had known some of the things I have learned the hard way a bit earlier. Therefore these few things should definitely be taught in school.
In high school, I was a piss poor student.
Upon entering high school I could immediately tell that this was not the game that I was going to win in life. Some kids got straight A’s… and I could tell that I wasn’t going to be one of those kids.
I invested as little energy as I could into my school work to get passing grades, and decided to dedicate the majority of my attention towards women and dating.
For some reason, even at that age, I knew that the education and self-awareness that I would receive through intimate relationships would pay dividends later on in life.
While I don’t regret for a second having half-assed it in biology class, there are a few things that I desperately wish had been taught to me in my formative school years.
Here they are, in no particular order.
1. All forms of sexuality are normal
The sexual education that we receive in our years of required education is quite abysmal. While I was generally satisfied with the amount of knowledge I got from elementary and high schools regarding sex (along with what my parents taught me in the same years), a whopping 33% of people in the US between the ages of 18 to 29 reported not having any sex ed in high school.
Whatever you enjoy sexually will be unique to you. There are billions of people on the planet and there are also billions of different sets of sexual preferences.
While media/mass marketing efforts would have you believe that there is a very narrow set of acceptable things that you’re allowed to like, in reality, you’re allowed to like it all.
Do you enjoy soft, slow lovemaking, 100% of the time? Go for it.
You love being bitten, spanked, held down, and ravaged? That’s fine too.
You get off on speaking in a whiny little girl/boy voice while your partner has sex with you? All the power to you.
Whatever makes your nether regions tingle, it’s all fine and acceptable.
2. Take the stairs, not the escalator
We live in a world of instant gratification. In many ways, this is beautiful and so much fun.
- Want some food? There are places in the world where you can click the play button on a website, and a flying drone will deliver an avocado to your doorstep.
- Want a boyfriend/girlfriend? You can swipe right on Tinder, go on a date tonight, and literally find yourself in a relationship within a week of having the thought.
We live in ridiculously amazing times. But this culture of instant gratification comes at a cost. When we don’t have to work for our outcomes, our self-esteem and sense of self-efficacy suffer. Our self-esteem is born of our actions. And if we increasingly have to DO nothing in order for our results to form, then we will increasingly lack any depth of character.
Put simply, in order to be healthy, happy, well-adjusted individuals, sometimes we need to struggle.
We have to intimately know the tension of wanting something and not having it quite yet. We have to know and enjoy the climb. We have to fall in love with the journey itself.
I strongly advocate for the mindset of ‘take the stairs, not the escalator.’ In other words, if there are two options ahead of you and one is overly easy, and the other will require a genuine effort, it’s usually better to engage in the set of behaviors that will challenge you.
It takes heat and pressure to make diamonds. Rocks in a rock tumbler eventually become smooth, precious gemstones from banging into each other. The hard path eventually leads to an easy life, and the easy path eventually leads to a hard life. And other cliches about struggling to be a necessary part of life.
The gap between doing honest, hard work in your life and constantly taking the shortcuts and immediate gratification is the gap between feeling like a resilient bad ass who can handle anything that comes their way in life, and being a person who is constantly terrified that their life is about to collapse and they won’t have any say in the matter.
I am not saying that you should seek out suffering arbitrarily. You don’t need to whip yourself through life. I am simply saying that you should be conscious of whether or not your life is entirely void of struggle. Because if it is, then you will be worse off for it.