I’m always surprised by the depths that people will go to fool themselves.
People hate to hear the truth.
They want to hear the pleasant dripping of the rain on their tin roof but they never want to step out into the rain to feel it on their face.
That’s kind of an abstract metaphor. I want to start making fun of myself now. I’m such a loser sometimes.
Here is the thing…
Teachers are usually teachers because they have positive feelings about school growing up.
For me, going into a school is kind of like stepping into a boiling cauldron and waving to the witches as they drop tongue of frog and eye of newt into the rank concoction. I can feel my skin melting off but I’m trying to be cool about the whole thing (because logically I know witches don’t exist.)
Teachers don’t have that same reaction to school. In fact, they’re willing to go back to it.
We’ve certainly had different experiences with school. It makes sense we feel a little differently about it.
The Email That Prompted This Rant
I got an email from a student that got lectured by his teacher.
The student (made the mistake) of being honest with the teacher and the teacher decided to stomp on the student’s foot to try and hobble him.
The student talked to the teacher about how he found the class easy. The student admitted to not studying for the class. The student told me he was getting A’s anyway.
These are all things that I wouldn’t recommend telling any teacher.
Like I said earlier in this article, people don’t always want to know the truth. Common politeness dictates we keep our mouths zipped tight about certain subjects.
And the teacher dropped the metaphorical gauntlet and shot out the classic, “It’s not just about the grades. It’s about what you learn.”
Sure… it’s true… but how is what you learn measured…
The teacher then went into a rant about how the student needs to work hard in his class because it’s more about working hard than scoring high. The teacher apparently included a few rude comments that I don’t plan on repeating.
I know this seems rather innocuous but it’s important.
“Working hard” isn’t measurable.
It’s a feeling.
Learning Is Not Hard Work
Learning isn’t synonymous with hard work.
You can work hard and learn absolutely nothing. You can slack off and learn a lot.
The teacher made this poisonous lecture in front of a full class of students. And it is poison.
The only place where you can argue hard work is more important than smart work is in a factory putting widgets together. We’re getting past that point in history. Soon widgets will be the domain of the robots.
If you can find a way to get the same measurable results with less work then you’re a winner.
You’re making the world a better place. You’re innovating. You’re giving birth to the future. You’re a hero in my book. That means people have more time to do more good stuff other than that.
That room of students will now have the teacher lecturing in the back of their minds when they start trying to think of a better way. And odds are, they’ll never give the better way a chance because they’re so damn tired.
I Want You To Think
I don’t want you to work hard.
I think too many people try to work hard.
Working hard is stressful. It makes you less happy. It wears you down. It tires you out. And it makes you less effective at everything you do.
What if you studied less?
Would you get worse grades?
Believe it or not, my work in studying has mostly shown the opposite (for students that already study regularly.)
When students study less, they focus harder. They care more. They learn which strategies work, and which strategies don’t.
They improve their lives with less but better work.
Why Does No One Ever Talk About Easy Work
I work a lot of hours. I spent just about 70 hours a week on professional projects. By most folks definition, I’m hard-working. I’ve regularly been called a workaholic.
The thing is… I’m not a hard worker.
All the work I do is easy to me. (Okay… most of it… I’m human and fall into the trap of “working hard” once in a while but it doesn’t help.)
I don’t force myself to do it (most of the time.) I want to do it. I enjoy producing the results. I take pleasure from the stuff to the point that I’m looking for excuses to do it. I like it.
I don’t have to work. I want to work.
This is what I want for you…
I want you to learn the pleasures of studying and learning and even taking tests. This stuff can straight-up feel good. You can like it.
Does that sound crazy?
I get it. I would have never understood this while I was younger.
Want To Know How?
Meh… It’s easier to explain how to never enjoy studying, school, or taking tests.
If you study long hours every night, you’re going to hate studying.
If you struggle with concepts for hours without taking a break, you’re going to hate learning.
If you study for tests you’re already prepared for just so you can turn a 95 into a 96 then you’re going to hate it!
Okay… maybe not everyone. Somewhere out there you’ll find an exception to those specific rules but I’m making a point.
You can’t make something miserable in every possible way and expect to enjoy yourself. You shouldn’t even expect yourself to do something miserable begrudgingly.
Just don’t do it.
I know people will lecture you about hard work. I know people will tell you that you can do better. (You can but that’s your choice. And hell, better in one way usually means worse somewhere else.)
You have an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy your life. Deal with the measurable factors in class and your life will improve dramatically.
And fortunately, it will help you ignore the immeasurable junk that will just distract you from happiness.
Let me tell you (an inappropriate) true story…
It was high school Spanish class…
I was a Senior in a class of Sophomores. There was one other Senior in the class. Best of all –
She was smokin’ (as the old folk say.) She was gorgeous. 10 out of 10. Tight jeans. And she always sat right in front of me in class (gulp.)
We were the only Seniors in the class. By default… that made me the coolest guy there… And trust me… I’m never the coolest guy there.
But we’d talk. Sometimes in class she’d lean over. I’d continue to pretend me importa la espanol stuff pero… Seriousamente… 😛
Sure… I’d show up to class. But my brain rarely stuck around for the lecture. And that’s why you might not be surprised I was getting a C- in class.
It’s funny how that stuff that distracted me in highschool wasn’t so problematic in college where I took a double course load and still scored near the top of my class…
You don’t need to be perfect to score near perfect.
You just need to know how…