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15 Things You’re Not Taught In School That Determine Your Success

15 Things You’re Not Taught In School That Determine Your Success

School teaches you many of the fundamental things you’ll need a basic grip on in order to be a genuine success during your life, including math, English, science, discipline, and socializing, to name a few. But not everything that’s worth knowing is chalked up on blackboards. At least, not yet.

Listed here are 15 essential life skills that determine your success yet aren’t part of a typical school curriculum, although they really ought to be.

1. Spotting a Scam

As a rule, schools don’t tend to teach children about how to spot the signs of a swindler, and getting fleeced at least once is currently the only way to learn about the incredible amount of scams that plague the world. Knowing a dodgy deal when you see one is something that comes in handy in today’s world, especially in a day and age in which so many are able to hide behind the shifting face of the internet. Teaching students to spot a scam can allow them to go a long way in life.

2. Negotiation

In most classrooms, there’s very little room for negotiation. Unless the teacher is having a particularly good day and decides to meet children halfway in terms of what the deadlines for that particular lesson might be, any attempt by a student to get a better deal for themselves is met by the teacher’s furrowed brow and an extended finger pointing towards the door. It’s a shame, really, since when you enter the big, bad world of adulthood, being able to negotiate is vital in order to help get you out of some seriously sticky situations. Negotiation strategies come particularly in handy in the world of business, and teaching children how to master this skill from a young age can end up having all kinds of benefits in later life.

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3. Self-defense

It’s never nice to think about, but that doesn’t stop the fact that there are depressingly high numbers of dangerous people out there in the world who one day might target you personally for a number of reasons. To stay safe, it’s important to learn the very basics of self-defense – both in terms of being able to protect yourself through the art of speech as well as physically, if it ever comes down to it. Self-defense is an integral part of life, and knowing how to shelter yourself from the evils of the world can boost your confidence, keep you happy, and allow you to live a highly successful life. 

4. Mental Health

Occasionally, schools will host workshops and activity days where various society health representatives will totter from classroom to classroom, but for the most part, the aspect of mental health is left entirely up to the school’s counsellor, if they have one. For the most part, today’s youth are largely kept in the dark about the specifics of mental health, with issues like depression being very poorly understood. Raging teenage hormones are not the same as somebody who’s dealing with depression, and high-quality mental health education is needed in every school in order to help everyone learn about the more troubling conditions of the mind.

5. Socialising & Networking

Managing your internet profile is about so much more than having a high number of “likes” on Facebook these days. It can be the difference between being offered a terrific job opportunity and facing an endless string of rejections. Keeping your appearance online professional and in check will make potential employers recognise your maturity as a person, and schools really ought to widely teach the art and discipline behind crafting your very own unique internet identity.

6. Emergencies & First Aid

Basic first aid ought to be taught at regular intervals in every school at every age. Science is consistently finding new ways to medically treat people, and some of the old breathing assistance techniques that you saw on television back when you were a kid are now considered archaic and even dangerous. Frequent, up-to-the-minute emergency reaction and first aid teaching in schools can go a long way to helping someone out if a serious situation occurs in the future.

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7. Household Repairs

As you get older, you’ll come to realise the absolute necessity of being able to perform basic household repairs. There are few worse feelings on earth than an appliance breaking down in your home and you standing ashen-faced with no idea how to fix it. A few basic tutorials in ordinary household maintenance could prove to be enormously expedient when it comes to moving into a first home.

8. Self-assessment

Taking a long, hard look at yourself and acknowledging what you’re truly good at, as well as what you are not so good at, is probably one of the most challenging aspects of life. Few people can truly do it. It takes practice, and being able to come to terms with what you need to improve on can make you a much better person in all aspects of your life.

9. Balance

School rightly encourages you to work hard at improving your academic performance, but what it doesn’t truly teach is the ability to balance your life so that you achieve high levels of gratification in every aspect – from having quiet family time, to working hard, to partaking in joyful evenings with your friends. Achieving a great sense of balance is paramount in order to live a happy, heathy life. Managing your time well will allow you to make sure the things that ought to come first do indeed come first, and not at the expense of anything else.

10. Cooking

There’s a reason why so many university students find themselves living on budget noodles for the entirety of their degree years. Money of course is a factor, but it’s also due to the fact that very few young adults have any real experience cooking by the time they move into college dorms. Serving up a mouth-watering meal isn’t just an art that can pave the way for success for an aspiring chef, either. Cooking is a skill that can impress friends, bosses, dates, and perhaps most importantly, keep you in good health. Cooking classes in schools do exist, of course, but putting a little emphasis on some tasty, healthy recipes could really help turn young children into terrific little cooks by the time they fly out of the nest. 

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11. Coping with Harsh Realities

Simply put: life isn’t fair. If you expect it to be, you’re going to be disappointed. Sometimes things will go your way, and on other occasions they won’t. It’s enough to make you want to claw your hair out, but by learning to cope with harsh realities, you’ll be able to live happily without succumbing to the pangs of stress that life can so cruelly impose upon you.

12. Money Isn’t Everything

It’s terrific to have a well-paying job, a big house, and a glossy car on your driveway. We know this because this is what school facilities drum into our heads from day one. It’s a simple equation: Working hard at school = Better grades = Better prospects = More money. But money isn’t happiness. On the contrary, cash can actually be toxic if handled in the wrong way and has the ability bring out the worst in people who are unable to separate it from joy. Wealth and happiness are two very different things, and schools ought to make a conscious effort to instil this in pupils’ heads before they depart from lower education.

13. Learning from Failure

Some teachers are absolutely exceptional at handling children who struggle to deal with even the simplest tasks. But learning from failure isn’t really what school is about. No, school is about doing enough so you don’t fail in the first place. A fine lesson in itself, but the fact is that at some point in their lives, everybody will fail.

But no failure is a catastrophe if you learn from it. Understanding what went wrong and why something didn’t turn out as planned can help you to curb your lifestyle so that it never happens again. It can and will turn you into a stronger, more successful person.

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14. Forgiveness

It can be tricky to say that you forgive somebody who has let you down. It’s even more difficult to actually mean it. Learning how to let the silly things go and move on with your life may be something that’s discussed in specific counselling sessions with people who have gotten themselves into extremely problematic situations, but otherwise, the act of forgiveness isn’t something that’s currently taught in schools across the world. It’s a process that requires patience and understanding. It puts you into someone else’s shoes, helps you to understand other people, and makes you a more successful person in life.

15. Expect the Unexpected

Perhaps it’s a little tough to teach this, but it’s a rule that everyone ought to live by in order to be a successful person. The world is an utterly unpredictable place. It’s a scary thought, but at the same time it’s also kind of wonderful, if you’re prepared for it. Putting yourself in the mindset that absolutely anything might be lying around the corner in wait can actively improve your personality and help you to deal with life when times get a little tough.

Featured photo credit: thecommentator.com via thecommentator.com

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Gareth Lloyd

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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