My sister is getting grief from parents, relatives, friends about ‘future career’. People are pushing education, as if a degree means something.

This is intended to be some advice towards others, and also a reminder for myself

Education is not the same as learning.

For example : I think we all know some variation of this person. He/She was terrible academically at school. But seemed to possess other skills like physical fitness, leadership, persuasion, sales skills etc.

They completely failed in school. Yet through educating themselves in their strengths, they became wildly more successful (than you).

What people seem to think is that having a degree means something. In fact it means almost nothing. What it might mean is that you can pursue goals…This isn’t great. Pursuing goals doesn’t mean that they are the right goals

The downsides of a degree

  • Entitlement
  • Leading to lack of learning. If you feel like you are intelligent and already know, you cease to learn
  • You forget most of what you ‘learn’
  • Most of what you learn to get the degree is useless
  • That time could have been spent on useful ‘life’ skills. How to be happy, how to manage money, how to find good relationships, how to be creative etc.
  • Jumping through hoops
  • Bankrupt your self/parents. Especially if doing a non vocational degree.

Not saying that degrees are bad. But if you are not academically inclined, there are better ways you can spend your time and money.

Choose Fields that you find easy

I’ll talk a bit about my experience. I wish I had this advice in school.

I have particular strengths. I can focus single handedly on task, I can learn independently, I work well alone, I like to create and solve problems. Combined with the fact that I pretty much spent my childhood on computers, the logical option was to do Computer Science. A field that I actually find intuitive and ‘easy’.

That didn’t happen. I studied something that maybe didn’t suit my personality or inclination at the time. Didn’t get in to medical school the first time round. Barely got in the second time round.

I didn’t focus on my strengths.

Luckily, medicine is a broad field and I also realised the importance of educating yourself. I read widely outside of medicine, realising that most of what I was learning was minutiae. There were other important things to learn too.

And now, deciding on specialty applications, what you spent the next 25-30 years of your life to make a living : I’ve chosen based on my strengths and interests rather than any outside expectation or coercion.

Interest alone is not enough too. You have to be good at it. I am fascinated by psychology and the mind. Psychiatry seems interesting, yet I know that I would be a terrible psychiatrist. It doesn’t suit my strengths.

So find what you are good at. What you naturally find easy, and are also good at. Something that feels less like work and more like play.

TLDR: Advice

What everyone needs to do is :

  1. Identify your strengths.
  2. Invest in your strengths

In identifying your strengths, read widely, do lots of different things till you find them. Pick up things that you naturally find easy and are also good at.

Once you’ve found some of your strengths, invest in your them. Improve and refine those skills.

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