Childhood Lie #1: The School Hierarchy of Subjects


This is the first in a new series of short posts I’ll be doing. They’re all designed to share with you the discoveries I’ve made around the untruths we are subjected to in childhood, which risk leaving us in a seriously disadvantaged position. This is based on my own experience, many books and self-development writings, and my client’s experiences.

Every day there are ‘normal’ people wandering around in a fog, unsure about the direction their life has taken, because of these lies. I was one of these people until my mind was opened to what I’ve missed out on over the years.

Caution: do not read further if you want to remain in your comfort zone. If you are already aware of these lies then they will be no surprise to you. But if you are like I was, these things may open your mind to a journey of self-development, making it impossible to go back to the way things were.


I want you to reminisce back to high school. Remember back to the start of each year at the time when you are choosing your subjects (or sometimes this occurs at the end of the year). If your school was like most, you would have had certain subjects which were optional, while others you were forced to take.

Let me take a wild guess. You were forced to do some sort of science and some sort of mathematics. In English-speaking schools, you would have also been forced to take some sort of English language class (I assume other non-English speaking schools had the equivalent).

Then, if you wanted to, you could optionally participate in sports, trades (e.g. woodwork) and the arts (e.g. music).

So from a very early age you have been subjected to the subtle school mentality that certain skills are more important than others when it comes to your adult career. Why is this? Well I won’t go into it here, it’s mainly to do with the system being designed to service the Industrial Era, but I highly recommend you watch Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk “Do schools kill creativity?” (check YouTube for this).

Let’s pretend we all agree that making money is the most important career factor, as schools obviously must prioritise this consideration if they are based on an outdated system for getting a steady salary guarantee.

Below is Forbes magazine’s current list of jobs with the highest average salary. Purely for discussion’s sake, I surmised which high school subjects I believe best suit somebody to attain the job (note entrepreneurs cannot be included on this list because they aren’t employed by anyone, but I imagine a ‘successful business owner’ category would have a higher average income than nearly all salaried positions):

1) Psychiatrist, average base pay: $169,479. English would be suitable as would science. Health studies would be advantageous (though most schools put very little effort into these). Psychology would be the most important, yet it’s not available in high school so you have to wait for college/university. Most psychiatrists are self-employed consultants, so business management, leadership, empathy, motivational interviewing techniques and communication would all be skillsets in high demand. I don’t know many high schools that teach that stuff.

2) Physician, average base pay: $152,768. I’ll give this one to the current schooling system, science (biology in particular – even though it’s the ‘poor cousin’ of science topics), mathematics, and English would all be very suitable. You need a lot of University for this one.

3) Dentist, average base pay: $126,134. Similar to surgeon but again, as most dentists are self-employed, business and leadership education would be highly needed for success. I guess we are still waiting for those courses to be included in the high school curriculum: we can’t all be the head prefect or quarterback.

4) Sales Director, average base pay: $119,758. Sales is almost entirely based in psychology, which is not a subject available in high school as far as I’m aware. Being a sales director requires a finessed combination of salesmanship, leadership, and psychological empathy skills. It also requires much practice in real worlds sales. Which of these topics is even taught in high school? And on that note, when do you get to practice anything in real-life situations through high school?

5) Engineering Manager, average base pay: $117,552. Finally, those kids who could happily forsake Shakespeare for a metal lathe have something solid, to justify the likely financial success they’ll have using their skills. Of course, being a manager requires leadership skills too.

Most of the rest of the jobs on the top ten list require intensive IT knowledge. There is serious money out there in the digital world, and it’s being collected by pre-grad college students who have learned how to master internet marketing.

I don’t remember internet marketing being a subject available in school either. IT is there of course, but isn’t it optional? Of all the subjects we’re forced to take, IT isn’t one of them? I don’t believe any subjects should be compulsory after primary school, but if any it should be IT in today’s world. Or maybe economics. Or maybe just nothing.

So is it really still suitable to have children believe that some subjects like mathematics are better than others? What about the Arts? Are we going to ignore how much money an influential musician, artist, copywriter, advertiser or designer makes?

Unless you were born to be a mathematician, scientist or high school teacher, then the school system probably let you down. The great thing is, it’s never too late to start over and learn about that subject you wish you could have focused on in high school.

Why wait? Grab a book or start a course today.



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