Why Sales Jobs are Better Preparation for the Real World than University

Why Sales Jobs are Better Preparation for the Real World than University

I got my first job in sales when I was ten years old.

Each day I would trudge through my neighbourhood streets, ringing doorbells and pitching subscriptions for multi-packs of crisps. I only earned 20p for each sale, which is probably why I threw in the towel after four afternoons.

I don’t look back on this experience as a failure or a waste of time. This position would kick off a lifelong interest in sales, and the lessons I learned from it stayed with me well into adulthood and influenced every area of my life — not just my career.

False Promises

Like most kids, I grew up hearing how a university degree would change my life. It would open up career opportunities, help me connect with peers, and give me the experiences I needed to succeed in the world.

As you might have guessed, none of those promises came to fruition. I spent more time unlearning what they taught me instead of applying what I had learned.

Take creative writing. You might think that studying this in school would have practical applications in sales, as both are about building a cohesive narrative and telling an interesting story. This wasn’t the case at all.

Writing courses at university focus on the structure and form of writing, completely ignoring the reader. In the real world and in sales, writing is all about the reader. I was shocked to hear that my post-school writing wasn’t cutting it, and that I had to re-learn how to write for an audience, not for a professor.

I ended up drawing from other experiences in my life to improve my communications and sales skills. As it turns out, random conversations with strangers about crisps taught me more about sales than all my years at university. School did the opposite of preparing me for the real world. 

Learning by Doing

The informal and entry level jobs I had as a kid showed me that if I wanted something, I had to go and get it myself.

Sometimes that meant doing something outside of my comfort zone, like knocking on a stranger’s door and striking up a conversation. Not only did this help me be more comfortable with talking to people, it also taught me to present and persuade.

Rejection is also part of the sales process. Working these jobs showed me that I couldn’t let a missed sale put me off. I had to go back and try again with the next person, putting into practise whatever lessons the botched sale could teach me.

By contrast, university taught me that failure is a bad thing. It doesn’t matter what you learn in class, only that you do your homework and pass the tests. Nobody cares if the things you “learn” help you in real life.

This was a critical lesson I had to learn outside of university: in order to succeed at something, you have to do it, not listen to lectures about it.

We’re All In Sales

Even if you aren’t interested in a sales position, learning good sales skills will directly impact your day-to-day life.

When deciding with friends or family what to watch on Netflix, you pitch your preference in the hope of convincing others to agree. Essentially, you’re selling your idea to your mates, and if they buy it, you get to watch whatever you want.

If an accountant thinks their ability to do their job well would be improved by adopting a new software solution, they will have to convince others within their organisation that this is a good decision. This is sales, too.

And believe it or not, getting what you want from your parents can also be a form of sales.

How Sales Skills Can Help You in Life

Most people look at entry level sales and retail jobs as being pointless. My experience has been just the opposite: they’ve prepared me more for success in the real world than any class I took at university.

Spending time in those roles teaches you to be resilient, to communicate and connect with a wide variety of people, and to present things in an attractive light supported by convincing arguments.

Those aren’t just skills that can help you sell crisps, they’re skills that help you become a better communicator in all areas of life.

You can learn these skills right now. If you have a retail or sales job, or if you find yourself talking to a lot of strangers, think about how you present the ideas you’re “selling.”

Consider the listener’s perspective — are you giving them the information they need? The emotional hooks that interest them? Put yourself in their shoes and share with their perspective in mind. And don’t be afraid to have a “missed sale.” That’s all part of the process.

This is real learning, and you’re picking up valuable skills. Don’t let anyone tell you an entry level job is pointless. Sales skills translate into many areas of life. The best way to build them is to get out in the world and start practising.

John Alexander Adam writes for Universal Owl on topics relating to finance. An entrepreneur, he has one successful exit behind him. John has almost 10 years of experience as a writer and editor on consumer finance, investment and tech topics.

He currently writes and consults while studying for his purple belt in SEO and conversion science. In his spare time, he enthusiastically pursues hobbies he’s not very good at, such as football, squash and raising a small child.

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Financial Wisdom for Young People: How I Built Wealth By Investing in My Mind

Financial Wisdom for Young People: How I Built Wealth By Investing in My Mind

Are you the kind of person who spends hours researching the lowest price for a 500 pack of AA batteries? What about savings? Do you diligently sock away a percentage of your income each month without question?

This outlook might sound like the very definition of financial responsibility, but it won’t bring about financial security. Why? Because the problem isn’t about money. It’s about your mindset. 

More Money, More Spending

When I was 26 years old I lived in Sofia, Bulgaria. Purely by chance, I ended up taking a job as a real estate broker just before a massive housing boom swept the country. I was suddenly making more money than I had ever made before.

I didn’t rush out and buy cars, designer clothes, expensive champagne, or anything like that, but I still managed to burn through my salary as soon as it came in.

Most of my spending was on little things. I used taxis like public transport, travelled a lot, picked up the tab at the bar and in restaurants, etc. Food and entertainment weren’t really expensive, but because I spent without thinking, money never sat in my account for very long.

This attitude towards finances is careless and irresponsible. It doesn’t build anything for the future; not investments, not savings, nothing. It’s like turning on the tap and letting the water run straight down the drain.

Scarcity Begins

It didn’t take long for my money tap to run dry, and when it did, I was really, truly broke.

I was also annoyed with myself for having frittered away the considerable sums I’d been earning for close to three years. Like most people who find themselves in this situation, I vowed I would never go broke again.

I went back to London and crashed in my brother’s spare room. The only job I could get was a lower profile job in sales. London was far more expensive than Sofia, so I cut my expenses to the bare minimum. No unnecessary purchases, no travelling, no social outings. Paying for the Underground was painful enough.

This was the beginning of my scarcity mindset towards money. I was so worried about not having any cash I tried to save everything I could. That seemed like a smart plan, but it didn’t really put me in a better financial position in the long term, it just slowed my progress towards going broke.

Natalie Bacon has a wonderful summary of some of the thoughts someone trapped in a scarcity mindset might think. They include:

  • I don’t have enough money to do anything I want.
  • I have to work more hours to make more money.
  • I either have to do what I love or start making money.

Holding a scarcity mindset doesn’t mean you earn more money; it just stops you from losing what you have quite so fast. It’s better than a spend, spend, spend mindset, but not by much.

Finding Abundance

A few years later, I sold a business I was a shareholder in. The ensuing financial windfall helped shake me out of scarcity mode. It was just enough to let me survive off of part-time contract work for a few months without dipping into savings.

The benefits here were twofold. First, I wasn’t working 10-hour days for the first time in years. This gave me a chance to relax and collect myself. Second, I suddenly found myself with plenty of free time.

And what did I do with these extra hours? I invested in my future.

I spent a little money and a little time on online courses that taught me skills I was interested in learning. I wasn’t hoarding cash out of a fear of going broke, and I wasn’t blindly spending on transient everyday expenses, either. I used my money to invest in something that would pay back even more time and money – myself.

Just like that I had switched to an abundance mindset. I could finally see that money was a tool to help better myself, not something to be held onto out of desperation.

My focus now is on taking responsibility for my own life both personally and professionally. I exchanged the symptoms of a scarcity mindset for the attitudes of an abundance mindset:

  • I don’t have to work harder to create more money.
  • I can love my work and create a lot of money.
  • Giving money feels good (I love paying for a new course I’m excited about).
  • Debt means nothing about me.
  • Money is fun.

Investing in Yourself

How can you escape the scarcity mindset and move to abundance?

One method I found useful was to try something out, see if I liked it or learned something valuable, then decide if I would continue. That’s it. No pressure to succeed, no guilt for spending money, and no fear of failure. Money spent exploring my own curiosity one book, article, or online course at a time was money well-spent on my future.

Take a lesson from my wasted years and start today. Think of your mind as an asset, one that’s worth building up for long term rewards. Focus on developing your skills and, even more importantly, your mindset. Invest in yourself and don’t get sucked into the cycle of thinking about how much you “need” to earn, save, or invest every day.

You’ll almost certainly earn a lot more in the long term if you can break free from, or never fall into, the scarcity way of thinking and living. 

John Alexander Adam writes for Universal Owl on topics relating to finance. An entrepreneur, he has one successful exit behind him. John has almost 10 years of experience as a writer and editor on consumer finance, investment and tech topics.

He currently writes and consults while studying for his purple belt in SEO and conversion science. In his spare time, he enthusiastically pursues hobbies he’s not very good at, such as football, squash and raising a small child.

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Exercise for Enjoyment, Not Achievement

Exercise for Enjoyment, Not Achievement

Remember recess? Bet you couldn’t wait to meet your mates in the school yard to mess around with a ball. And don’t get me started on the joys of playing in the sand in kindergarten!

Physical activity in our early school years tends to be pretty casual. You look forward to it because, well, it’s fun to run around the playground. Later on, exercise turns into just another class. It’s “physical education,” not recess, and if you don’t do it right you’ll get a bad grade.

This isn’t what exercise is supposed to be. We should enjoy physical activity in and of itself, not be forced into PE classes where we do things we have no interest in.

Exercise and Achievement

Most schools have pre-set physical education programs that funnel in students and force them to participate in sport. They’re then expected to embrace exercise and love it for the rest of their lives.

There is a subtle achievement mindset young adults are compelled to embrace when it comes to institutionalized exercise. Too often, it’s about faster times, heavier weights, and being better than peers. It doesn’t matter if you hate every moment of it; you’re only after the results awaiting you at the end of your session. Students who don’t excel often feel shame compared to their sportier (and normally more popular) classmates.

How often do you actually enjoy something you feel pressure to achieve results in? Almost never, right? It’s no wonder so few adults enjoy exercise. They were taught from a young age that it’s a chore to slog through, not an activity to enjoy.

Exercise should not be a means to an end: to lose weight, to get in shape, to impress that boy or girl you like. Exercise should be play. You should look forward to hitting the field, the pool, or the courts, not look forward to it being over with.

Let me tell you a couple of stories that explain how I learned the value of sport as play.

Choice Makes a Difference

When I was in middle school, PE was mandatory. We changed into uniforms and were split into groups: girls played their sports and boys played theirs. It was so dry and regimented that I’m not sure “fun” was ever part of the equation.

Being forced to play a game I didn’t want to really rubbed me the wrong way. If I skipped any class more than others, it was PE.

In high school, I could choose what I wanted to do during my hour of PE. Here, I finally found something I loved: tennis. Suddenly I didn’t want to skip PE. I actually looked forward to it! I wanted to learn how to power serve and perfect my back swing.

Choice made all the difference in the world for me. When I wasn’t forced to “enjoy” some arbitrary activity, I could actually relax and have a good time. And you know what? You never had to remind me to get out to the courts on a sunny day.

Running for the Goal

A couple of decades later, my 12 year old daughter announced she was joining the track team. I was thrilled, as I had been a runner for a long time. Every day after school she ran with her teammates, and every day she came home feeling inadequate and disappointed that she couldn’t keep up with them.

I supported my daughter’s efforts throughout this. I reminded her that it wasn’t about keeping pace with or outperforming anyone. It was about improving her own abilities day by day and having fun doing it.

After another week or two, she came home in tears telling me how much she hated track. Running around in circles was boring, and if she couldn’t even keep up with her friends, what was the point?

I could see my daughter was no longer doing this for herself. Somewhere along the way her curiosity and enthusiasm had been replaced with a fear of failure that caused her a great deal of anxiety. Moreover, she felt like she was not meeting my perceived expectations as her mother, an experienced runner.

This was a lesson for both of us. Modern education doesn’t allow for individuals to explore any of their interests. It’s about conforming to pre-set schedules and standards, even in PE. This instills the expectation in young people that they should learn to enjoy what options are available to them.

Don’t like basketball? Too bad, that’s what we’re doing in PE. Push through the pain and get better at it.

I didn’t want my daughter to internalize this lesson. I told her she was free to explore any physical exercise she wanted to. She doesn’t have to enjoy what her friends do, what her mother does, or even what the school says she should enjoy. She took that to heart and later discovered a love of volleyball.

Exercise to Feel Good

It’s hard to have a conversation about exercise without talking about the benefits. Yes, it helps you lose weight, feel better, be more creative, etc. But if you’re forcing yourself to be active just for those benefits, you’re making things a lot harder than they need to be. And you’re missing out on all of the fun, too.

You can build an effective exercise routine that lasts for a long time simply by focusing on what you enjoy. Ditch the achievement mindset, and forget about pushing through the pain. Find your own personal motivation for wanting to get out there, and follow that every single day.

If you don’t like what you’re doing, try something new. Try a few things. Try a million things. There is no failure, just a failure to try.

Exercise isn’t about hiking the tallest mountain or spending half your day at the gym. Give yourself the freedom to have fun and do what you enjoy.

Shannon Llewellyn is the health writer for Universal Owl. A Cordon Bleu chef who always enjoyed writing on the side, she recently made the transition into writing full-time.

Her spare time is mostly taken up with running, meditating, yoga, and being grandma to Sammy.

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Here’s The Problem With Age-Based Segregation in Schools

Here’s The Problem With Age-Based Segregation in Schools

I dropped out of school when I was 16. I was a smart kid and I always got good grades. School bored me, though, and so did the people there. I was ready to grow up and move on to something that challenged me and satisfied my curiosity.

When I told my parents I wanted to withdraw, they were horrified. They weren’t concerned that I was throwing away my life or career prospects. Instead, they were worried that I wouldn’t be properly socialized if I left school.

Properly socialized? In those classrooms, with those people? I wasn’t interested in chatting with my peers, nor did I learn anything from talking with them. 

I don’t think I’m the only person who had this experience, and yet we expect young people to learn social skills from these rigid, monotonous environments. In what universe is an artificially uniform environment the best way to socialize a young person?

What it Means to Socialize

Same-age socializing is supposed to make it easier for kids to learn from each other by encouraging imitation. The idea is that because they’re developmentally similar, they’ll have an easier time mimicking their peers, thus helping them learn how to get along in the world.

Imitation has its place in our developmental lives, of course. By watching the behavior of adults around them, children learn how to eat, wash, talk and think. The problem is that putting children in groups of people their own age just makes the groups default to the lowest common denominator of human behavior, often involving bullying, neediness or other forms of immaturity. In other words, a typical 16 year old is not going to learn much from being around peers of their own age.

There’s a shocking lack of evidence that socializing with others of the same age generates any kind of real benefits. Educators have known for decades that cognitive development is enhanced when kids interact with different age groups in the classroom, even when those groups are years apart.

The video below is an adapted talk by Ken Robinson, an outspoken proponent of educational reform. In it he discusses some of the many failings of the modern system, including the fact that we send young people through school in batches grouped by age, as if the most important thing about them is their “date of manufacture.”

Students Don’t Benefit from Same-Age Classes, but Schools Do

School is supposed to prepare us for the real world by teaching us the skills and knowledge we need to thrive. This clearly isn’t working, as we’ve discussed before in our articles about how school infantilizes teens and encourages a toxic, achievement-oriented mindset.

Same-age classrooms are yet another realization of this failure. In the real world, we meet people of different ages every day, converse with them, and hopefully learn something from those interactions. Nowhere in an adult’s life are interactions regulated by age, and the reason is pretty simple: age isn’t that important.

One of the reasons schools insist on maintaining age-based groupings is because it helps them control students. The more conformity that’s in the classroom, the more young people are pressured into subverting their individuality. The message children receive is that they just need to copy the actions of the “good students” to pass the class.

And remember, “good” in this case simply means obedient – not innovative or thoughtful or any feature that would benefit a person in the real world.

As educator Frederick Burk wrote in 1912, the age-based classroom concept actually has a lot in common with how military officers marshall a company of soldiers. It’s designed to promote obedience and conformity, not provide the best environment for learning or socialization.

What a 12 Year Old Taught Me

Knowledge travels from those who know to those who want to know. Older people tend to have had a greater variety of experiences and are usually seen as being more knowledgeable. But that doesn’t mean that younger people can always learn something from their elders, nor does it mean you can’t learn anything from younger people.

Well into adulthood, I suffered a severe leg injury that left me temporarily unable to walk. When I finally went to physical therapy I couldn’t even move my leg, let alone put weight on it. Recovery was slow and arduous. It took a severe toll on my mental, emotional, and physical health, so much so that years later I still encounter remnants of that trauma.

One day I ran into a kid in the physical therapy office. He was about 12 years old, hobbled on a weak leg just like mine, and had to rely on his mom to open doors and steady his gait. We immediately bonded over our similar injuries. 

The kid explained this was his third leg injury – his kneecap tended to slide out of place. This recent incident happened while going for a walk in a National Park. His parents had to carry him down a long trail, then he had to endure a bumpy multi-hour ride back to town, wincing and screaming as his kneecap bulged out the side of his leg.

A few weeks later I was carefully making my way out of physical therapy, angry and frustrated with my lack of progress. It was one of those days when I was ready to throw my crutches into a ditch and give up. I used to hike, bike, run, and lift weights. Now a trip to the grocery store required heroic levels of effort.

This kid walked up just as I was knee-deep in self-pity. He obviously recognized the state I was in. He stopped and gave me a speech about how injuries work, about how the biggest obstacle is usually mental, not physical. He then promised me that I would get better, just not that day.

He didn’t say anything revolutionary, but the way he delivered the information, with me knowing this wasn’t his first major injury, affected me deeply. I was three times his age but he still had plenty to teach me.

Imagine if some random adult was given a text about recovering from severe injuries. Would that lesson have affected me as profoundly just because it came from an older person? I doubt it.

A Better Solution

What would learning look like if we let go of artificial class structures and taught based on evidence and real-world effectiveness?

First, a good learning environment wouldn’t bother dividing young people by age. There are both practical and social lessons to be learned from mixed-age class groups, and schools could take advantage of that. This would provide real and meaningful social interaction with students of all ages.

Next, instead of choosing an adult to be the teacher based on arbitrary academic qualifications and making them the sole source of information, a better learning environment would utilize people who teach from experience. Imagine that: mentors you could actually respect because they had been out in the world and accomplished things.

You can start doing this right now, even if you spend your days in a same-age classroom. Actively seek people of different ages to learn from. Ask them questions, share your mutual curiosity, and enjoy the benefits of their experience. Doing this will automatically expose you to a variety of different ideas and perspectives.

On a more practical level, you can also find people who are good at something you’re interested in and learn directly from them. A 14 year old who lives and breathes circus arts might be the best juggling teacher you could ever hope for.

Above all, don’t let the fact that we’re accustomed to age-based education shape the way you think about learning. People throughout history have naturally passed knowledge from the experienced to the inexperienced. It has nothing to do with age and everything to do with curiosity.

John Bardinelli writes philosophy content at Universal Owl and edits both psychology and finance articles. He has worked as a professional writer and author for nearly two decades.

His main areas of interest include philosophy, technology, science fiction, and history. When John isn’t writing, he’s either exploring quiet corners of the natural world or sitting behind a cup of coffee in a cafe.

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Why The Achievement Mindset You Learned In School is Toxic

Why The Achievement Mindset You Learned In School is Toxic

If your school was anything like mine, you sat through countless lectures on the importance of achievement. I heard the same speeches again and again from parents, teachers, chaplains and headteachers.

Whether it’s grades, playing a musical instrument, or competing on the sports field, young people are told over and over that they must focus on goals and success for the sake of their future careers. After all, what could be more important than achievement?

Would it surprise you to learn that I think this obsession with achievement is a toxic attitude that does more harm than good?

What’s Wrong with the Achievement Mindset?

I was raised by two teachers in a goal-oriented family in which academic achievement was everything. My parents stressed not only that I had to do well at school, but I had to do better than other people as well. 

When I studied something, it wasn’t because I was curious about the world. If I’m really honest with myself, I studied hard because I wanted to shore up my ego. To put it another way, I just wanted to feel worthy. I remember being ashamed around age 12 when I got 90% on a Geography exam. I felt I should be doing better than that. My peers noticed that I took failure personally and, in the way only children can, bullied me mercilessly as a result.

It wasn’t only me who felt this way. In fact, the school system encourages us to equate our worth as people with our academic results

Think about it for a moment. Someone who gets good grades is called a “good student,” implying that they are hardworking, morally upright, and a good person. Someone who struggles or does poorly in any subject is called a “bad student,” implying that they are lazy or stupid, and even that they are a bad person.

Even for us “good students,” equating self-worth with achievement is a terribly dysfunctional way of thinking. I actually know a number of people from my time at Cambridge University who are still traumatised by their school experience years later. For me, it took a lot of self-reflection and a memorable talk with an ex-girlfriend to learn that I am more than just my work.

The Achievement Mindset Infects Everything

It’s bad enough that this mindset sucks the joy out of learning and puts pressure on students academically. But that wasn’t enough masochism for me! I also applied the same toxic mindset to my hobbies.

People who know me know that I played the French horn for years, most recently as principal horn in my local orchestra in Berlin. It might surprise you to learn that I have always hated practising my instrument. I only wanted to get the notes right so as to feel like I had played well after a concert, not struggle and fail as I worked out how to play.

If my aim had been to achieve proficiency at the French horn, then practising wouldn’t have been an issue. I would probably have enjoyed it. Instead, I was focused on the results of playing well rather than the process of getting to that point. It wasn’t about getting good at the instrument; it was about executing a perfect performance and earning praise from others. As my horn teacher put it:

“You’re only as good as your last concert.”

I am sad to say that this attitude led me to miss out on much of the joy of practising my craft for its own sake. Even today, I am so easily sucked into the achievement mindset that I no longer wish to play my horn in orchestras.

Real Motivation Comes from Within

Having shared my struggles with the achievement mindset leads to the following question: why do so many people think that focusing on achievement is a good thing?

One reason is that getting good results is motivating. If you want to get good grades, you’ll push yourself to work harder, right? That’s somewhat true, but it’s only half the story.

Psychologists distinguish between two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. The achievement mindset is an example of extrinsic motivation. You want to do well so that you can get validation from outside of yourself, such as winning a prize, getting a good grade, or receiving praise from other people.

Extrinsic motivation isn’t good for you in the long term. It leaves you dependent on others to shore up your ego. If you ever stop getting this validation from others, your motivation crumbles.

If you want to be happy, cultivate intrinsic motivation. Here, your motivation comes from within your own life, not from someone else. You work at something because it interests you and you want to learn more. You want to master a new skill and are eager to pursue it no matter how much work you have to put into learning it. 

Intrinsic motivation is motivation no-one can take away from you. And it’s the complete opposite of the achievement mindset.

How I Broke Free

So we’ve learned that an achievement mindset pushes you to seek your reward from the end goal, not the process itself. It also sets that reward outside of yourself, making you dependent on external sources to feel good about the things you have done.

How can you break the pattern and focus on utilising intrinsic motivation instead?

There’s no perfect answer to this question, but I can speak to my own experience. The key for me has been to focus on systems and habits instead of results. Let me explain.

Through life experience, I’ve learned what I value. Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list:

  • Eating healthily
  • Sleeping deeply
  • Having time at the end of the day to rest
  • Avoiding toxic relationships
  • Being my own boss

Let’s take the first item on that list: eating healthily. Ok, so I’ve identified that this is a value of mine, and that it’s important to me. The next step is to create a series of habits and systems that makes eating well easy and predictable. 

Note: my attention is not on eating perfectly every day (= achievement mindset), but rather on creating the dietary habits that align with my values (= intrinsic motivation).

Stage 1 of this journey for me was to cut out processed foods as far as possible. I started reading labels and taking pride in avoiding buying foods with added sugar. I learned that if I don’t buy them, I don’t eat them. This was easy to do and felt good. But I still missed meals some of the time and even still ate junk food occasionally.

Stage 2 was copying a system I learned from an ex-girlfriend. She had a habit of cooking food the night before and taking leftovers to school or work the next day. I noticed that I lacked the willpower to cook every day, and started copying her system. It was easier to take those leftovers and eat them instead of junk or snacks. But I was still sometimes too tired after work to cook every day.

Stage 3 was to learn about meal prep. These days, I go shopping on Saturday mornings and prepare a huge batch of food on Sunday evenings. I then eat this food over the next 7 days. I find that I save time, money and energy this way — all while eating better more of the time. 

I am sure that I will continue to refine my dietary system over time. But if I were to try to abstract some general principles of breaking free from achievement mindset out of my personal experience, they would look something like this:

  1. Know yourself well enough to know what you value.
  2. Establish a regular system or habit that helps you get what you value. It doesn’t have to be perfect; just start somewhere.
  3. Test your system against reality. Inevitably, you’ll fail a few times and learn from those experiences.
  4. Make a better system on the basis of your learning. Take pride in making your habits as functional and aligned with the real world as possible.
  5. Repeat and improve your system over time. This will help you acquire a feeling of competence, or self-efficacy as psychologists would say.

Rid Yourself of the Achievement Mindset

It is my contention that everybody learns the achievement mindset in school, and those who deny this are probably the ones who suffer from it the most. The achievement mindset is so ingrained into our culture that it’s hard to even become aware of it, let alone rid yourself of it.

Learning to motivate yourself with systems which reflect your values will help you infinitely more than trying to impress other people with your performance. But before you establish habits or systems, the key to starting this journey is to become aware of how the achievement mindset manifests itself in your life:

  • Are there areas in your life where you focus too much on the goal, ignoring the steps you’ll take to get there? 
  • Do you beat yourself up for being a “bad student” in any area of your life?
  • Are you addicted to the high of “achievement” in any area of your life?

Consider if there are areas in which your focus on achievement is holding you back. If you do that, you’ll be one step closer to ridding yourself of this toxic mindset.

Geoff Walters is a six-time entrepreneur and founder of Universal Owl. He has been fascinated by the subject of personal development for ten years, and enjoys passing lessons from his own life experience to younger people.

Areas of interest include wealth creation, nutrition, chess, classical music, psychology, communication and languages.

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