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12 Vital Life Lessons I Wish They Taught Me In School

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Being a millennial, I have very few regrets as I was fortunate to grow up in an education system that was entrenched in technology. My one frustration with the education system though is that it didn’t prepare me well for being an adult. School still skips the fundamentals of what we all need in life to be successful.

It didn’t give me the toolbox that I discovered later on which could have made me more successful earlier on in life. The one positive thing it did though was push me off the traditional path and towards entrepreneurship in the hope that something better must have existed compared to what I was being taught at the time.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not anti-education or anything like that, I just feel that the high school and university phases of our lives still have a lot of gaps. In this blog post, I hope to address what I think should be covered and the reasons why.

Below are the twelve vital lessons I wish they taught me at school:

1. Passive learning doesn’t work

I’m sure we can all remember days at school where we sit and listen to the teacher speak for two hours while we listen and copy notes from the whiteboard. The reason the vast majority of this information never get’s retained in our minds is that we are consuming the information passively.

Passive learning of information without emotion means that we will not get the results from what we are learning. Every thirty minutes of learning should have a change in state to allow our bodies to wake up and stay on the ball.

The second component to this idea is the need to link more emotion to our learning. When we learn a concept through a story that is emotional, we are much more likely to retain the knowledge and understand what the message is that we should be getting.

When I was studying, I found it hard to remember the stories I was taught because the stories were often outdated and not relatable to my classmates or me. Fast forward to the present, and I am learning new ideas every day because I link emotion to the learning process.

Even if the content I am learning doesn’t have any emotion, I will throw in some emotive YouTube videos every thirty minutes to anchor my state and create emotion.

2. You must develop yourself every day

In school, I never heard the phrase personal development. It was only when I was in my twenties that I discovered what it meant. The concept of developing yourself every day can really affect your success in life.

By taking small steps every day to be better than you were the previous day, you very quickly compound your results, your value, and your skills. The concepts of personal development have been around for a long time, and I would love to see these become part of the school system.

Even if you learnt no facts, no mathematics, and did no sport at school, I still believe you can be highly successful if you understand the vital content of personal development. It’s a big call I know, but it’s something I have seen first hand.

3. Money is not power

Society, the media, and school taught me that money is power, and it’s something I should strive for. I can vividly remember back to year ten when my high school careers councillor started talking about possible careers I might want.

She tried to lure me into different careers based on the promise of money. For those of you who are in Australia, you can probably guess what she recommended – become a tradie (tradesperson).

It’s true that in Australia tradespeople make a very good income, but a lot of them are also very depressed and unhappy in their occupation. Rather than trying to help me find my purpose, school just wanted to help me find a job or an income I would settle for.

With any negative comes a positive. For me, I discovered entrepreneurship because I didn’t want someone giving me orders or telling me how much I should earn. I liked having ideas and then testing them. I liked that my annual income was determined by how much valued I added and how good I was at pleasing customers.

Money will never make you happy: finding out your dream and then pursuing it until your last day on Earth will.

4. Giving is the lifeblood of your success

We’ve all had an experience where we watch an awesome movie and then the first thing we want to do is call our friends and tell them how great it was. The best thing often about an experience is not the experience itself; it’s the opportunity to share it with our friends, which is why social media has exploded.

This simple idea is very similar to giving. The look on people’s faces when you give something to someone that they weren’t expecting is priceless. You will feel better than you have ever felt when you do things for other people and put a smile on their face.

This philosophy of giving was not what I was taught at school. School taught me that giving was all about charity and only giving to large, not for profit organisations. The donations made to these companies are often invisible, and the person receiving the assistance never see’s you.

Worse still, a large proportion of your donation often never get’s to the person who needs it because it’s eaten up in administrative costs. Giving is so much more than just throwing money at something and hoping it will fix itself.

“The concept of giving is to create value for other people without expecting anything in return. It’s about doing things for the greater good and not operating from a mindset of scarcity” – Tim Denning

Giving is actually not about donations at all. Giving is what makes the world go round, and if everybody did it religiously every day then, the world’s challenges would be far fewer than they are right now.

Giving involves using the gifts you have been given to make people’s lives better. Whether that’s through a blog like Addicted2Success or some other means, there are limited ways for you to give back without necessarily going down the path of charity. I wish school taught me this.

5. The strategies you need are found in non-fiction and autobiographies

At school, there was always a strong focus on fictional stories. These stories can be great for the imagination; the challenge is the story is made up, making it hard to relate too. The books I discovered later in life were non-fiction and autobiographies.

There is no better way to be successful in life than read about people who have already done remarkable things and learn exactly what they did to achieve their goals. These stories highlight the barriers to greatness and show how failure is critical for any pursuit of success.

School should have books like Think And Grow Rich, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, and The Alchemist as part of the syllabus.

These books are named by so many successful entrepreneurs as being a significant contributor to their success. Imagine if all school children got the same benefit as a mandatory part of their education.
I wish I were made to read these books when I was at school.

6. How to make an income

School is a lot about the theory of how the world should work. The part that was missing for me at school was the practical steps to make an income whether that was through entrepreneurship or working for someone else.

In school, I was led to believe that if I wanted to work for someone else, I would be asked detailed questions about my education. The reality, after having interviewed for lots of high ranking corporate jobs, is that most organisations will never ask you about your education.

There are some specialised fields like medicine and law that will ask, outside of that; it’s becoming less and less relevant. It’s quite easy for any of us to rack up a huge university debt and get a piece of paper in a field such as business or marketing, but most other people can do that as well.

Don’t get me wrong, university degrees are great to have, it’s just that they will not be the saving grace that the school system makes out they are. Experience in business, passion, rapport, strong emotional intelligence, a good imagination, and the guts to have a go will get you much further. I wish I learnt this in school and not later in life. Better late than never.

7. The truth about failure

Failure is your real education. Failure gives you the mental toughness. Nothing is easy, and nothing can prepare you for the challenges you will face. School taught me to try and be perfect and get straight A’s. Perfection was my downfall because it’s an impossible requirement to meet.

It was only later when I studied electronic music outside of school that I learned that imperfection is where all the beauty is. Imperfection is what makes rock music so addictive and it’s the foundation of all popular music.

Failing on a maths test was the greatest lesson I learned in my school career. Why? Because I realised I had no interest in maths, and I was able not to waste too much time on it. Had I not have failed, I could have put hours of work into something I hated which is the recipe for disaster.

It wasn’t until after I finished school that I learned this lesson. I wish I had learnt it earlier.

8. You whole life is about salesmanship

Everything you do every single day revolves around selling something. You are either selling your business idea, selling a concept to internal stakeholders, selling the benefits of cleaning up to your children, or selling the idea of a holiday to your partner.

I never learned any sales skills at school and I wish I had. Learning how to sell and attending yearly sales training events has allowed me to communicate an idea, and get people to join me on my mission both in business and in my personal life.

9. Public speaking will put you ahead of the pack

School always made me think that public speaking was for politicians. To be an entrepreneur, thought leader, sales person, or just anyone that matters, you need to be able to speak in front of other people. The better you get at it, the easier it will be to get buy-in from other people to follow your vision.

I wish I had known about Toastmasters at school. I wish I were forced to do it. Since joining Toastmasters, I have learned why public speaking is so difficult and how to overcome the fear of audiences. With a little practice, it’s perfectly achievable to get good at it.

Forget about yourself, concentrate on delivering value to your audience, and not about everyone’s opinion. That pretty much sums up public speaking. Now go practice it!

10. Alkaline food will give you the energy you need

Thinking back to my school days, I didn’t have a lot of success with studying because I regularly suffered from low levels of energy and frequent colds. This was not uncommon, and many of my school friends had similar challenges.

If I analyse my school diet it consisted of zero water, lots of soft drink, pizza, pasta, sausage rolls, hot dogs, and ice creams. Unfortunately, not a lot has changed at schools although there is some awareness about soft drink nowadays.

In terms of nutritional education, there wasn’t a whole lot except for the lie that is the food pyramid which still appears in my doctor’s office when I see him once a year. Had I have known just how large the proportion of fruits and vegetables needed to be, and more importantly, just how good the benefits were to eating more from this food group, my health would have turned out a lot different.

There’s no point dwelling too much on the past (this subject has been a frustration for me), but it’s my hope that nutrition will play a bigger part in school life going forward. Thankfully, we have ambassadors like Jamie Oliver, who are carrying the message.

11. Advanced computer skills will give you a voice

In adult life, you enter a very noisy world where it’s even harder to be heard. The ability to be able to put together websites, create content, and share your message on social media is critical. If you can learn basic coding, then you will be even more ahead than the average person.

I was lucky that I first got onto the Internet as a kid in 1996. Before then, I had worked on MS-Dos and Windows 95 computers. This gave me an edge because a lot of my friends didn’t have this luxury. A computer allowed me to solve modern problems far quicker and hone in on my computer skills.

I was fortunate enough to be an earlier adopter of Google, eBay, and Amazon. These websites showed me where the world was heading at its part of what has allowed me to work in tech day-to-day. It was the gentle inspiration I needed at a time in teenage life when we have no idea what our future looks like.

While traditional education has an element of IT subjects, I still wish that there was an even greater focus on the more advanced computer skills that are needed in an ever-changing global economy. These skills during my own schooling would have been very valuable to me, and many of you reading.

12. Everyone should try entrepreneurship

A lot of my school life centred on the fact that I should work for someone else. The idea of starting a business was almost like a taboo subject that only suicidal base jumpers would dare try. I wish school had taught me that everyone should try entrepreneurship at least once.

Even if you choose to work for someone else, you are still an entrepreneur in a way because you have a small (or large) slice of someone else’s business you have to manage. You can’t escape entrepreneurship, and I believe it’s good to try it.

You can learn anything you put your mind to even if you don’t meet the wah wah entrepreneur personality type that is portrayed on TV. Hopefully, though, you like working with other people because you can’t do everything yourself.

What do you wish you learned at school? Are any of these above skills missing for you? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook. 

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How Your Friends Determine Whether You Succeed or Not

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Can anyone do without having friends? We all have our friends, we share ideas with them, talk together, have fun, and fight. Yes, that’s the baseline of friendship. But, do you know that aside from you, your friends can determine whether you achieve success or not?

There are two things in friendship which are the ability to ”love” and the ability to “influence”. This means you are loved and you are influenced. How do your friends affect your success in life? How are they one of the biggest deciding factors of your success? Let’s find out.

What type of friends do you keep? 

First, what type of friends do you keep? Who do you call your best friend? There are two different kinds of friends, good friends, and bad ones. A lot of people have lost their pathway to success and some have also found their road to success all because of the friends they keep, the people they mingle with. 

Who is your best friend? Answer carefully. Having a best friend means you find each other compatible and understanding. Analyze who your best friend is. If your best friend has not motivated you to do something positive, if who you call your bestie has never given you positive advice, lastly if your best friend has never informed and advised you on your shortcomings, then you don’t have a best friend.

This quote tells us “birds of the same feather flock together”. Countless people have changed from their good nature into a bad one all because of friends. One thing to note is, “negative people move with negative aura”. If your best friend is filled with negativity inside-out then you will surely be affected by his/her negative aura.

They influence your success with positivity or negativity 

The friends you keep can either influence you with positivity or negativity because your friends have the power to change your kind of person completely. 

This is how your friends influence you:

  1. They influence you indirectly with what they do
  2. They influence you directly by teaching and giving you advice 

Yes, that is how they influence you. For instance, you watch a movie and you like the way the actor walks. The question is if you truly like the way the actor walks, won’t you try to imitate the actor? Of course, you will.

Just the way you imitate the actor is the same way your friends can influence you with their character. However, the funny part is, they don’t have to teach you to do things like them. You just find yourself imitating and copying them gradually.

An important question to ask is, are you imitating a good friend or a bad one? If you imitate a good friend then you will be good, but if you imitate a bad person, you will surely become a bad person.

Everyone wants to succeed, a good friend will always teach, enlighten, and motivate you for success. A bad friend will only motivate you to do evil things (smoking, drinking, fight, envy,).

And you should know that things like that are a great enemy of success and even of God. So, if you have these bad elements in your life, how will you achieve success? There is no way!

And also, they can teach and advise you directly. But, what do your friends teach you? When you ask them for advice do they inspire you positively or teach you the bad stuff.? A lot of people have regretted lifelong decisions just by listening to the advice of friends. 

The company you keep has the power to influence and change you. Never forget that a positive influence will teach, motivate, and brush you up for success. While a negative influence will inspire you to become a bad person, change your good nature, and leave you with regrets in the end.

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The 3 Step Process to Building a Profitable Pitch

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As a communication coach, one of the top questions entrepreneurs ask me is how to deliver a winning pitch to potential investors. They want to know if there’s a magic formula to get an investor to say yes and buy into their dream and their business. (more…)

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The 4 Pillars of Wealth and Abundance

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Have you ever wondered what the formula for a wealthy and abundant life is? Many people have. Lots has been written about the subject of wealth creation and living an abundant life. It was a breaking point in my journey and pursuit of success when I found out that there is a clear path to achieve success in life. Thanks to those who have shared their journey, we can clearly see and follow the principles of prosperity. (more…)

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Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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why you should have a podcast
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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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