So much more than the room you’re sitting in

When you’re a kid, not learning in a lesson or not being interetsed in the subject or topic being taught can happen when you don’t like the person teaching you.

At a young age some people totally rule out subjects like Math, Science, History or Art simple because of who the information is coming from.

But when you get older, when you’re at the age where you’ve picked the subject that you study you focus much less on who is teaching you because the stakes are higher and you’re choosing to be there.

In England you choose your GCSE subjects at 13, you’re A-levels at 15 and your Degree at 17. By the time you get to University, so much has changed. You’re studying something that you have picked for yourself and you’re now paying to be there.

When you’re 12 and don’t like your History teacher, don’t pay attention and perform poorly in class you can always say ‘Well, I don’t even care about this class, it’s boring’. Not much happens as a result of you getting a low grade when you’re 12. You have to be in school because it’s the law however, it’s free.

Now let’s skip forward to being 19 and doing a Civil Engineering degree. If you choose to not pay attention because you don’t like your Structural Engineering lecturer no one is going to force you to listen or make an effort.

But you could end up failing the module or even therefore failing the course overall. This might mean you have to resit an exam or you could end up changing your entire career plans. Nobody had to go to university, it’s a choice and it costs around £9000 every year.

The older you get, the less it matters who the information is coming from because you realise that it shouldn’t have really mattered in the first place. Overtime, you also realise that your end goal will always be so much more than the room you’re sitting in, the module you’re learning or even the course you’ve chosen to study.

You might need driving lessons

One of the biggest surprises I’ve had since starting work is the fact that I have to be a driver (drive your career, propel things forward in your desired direction), as in steer my own ship.

In school you do what you’re told and you can’t really defer from what doesn’t interest you in fact it’s discouraged and sanctioned. But in the workplace it’s almost the opposite.

You’re rewarded for going after what you want and if you don’t take the initiative to be a driver, well you’re doomed.

I’m really starting to understand what Godin means when he talks about cogs and Linchpins.

If being a driver isn’t in your nature you might find yourself feeling discontented at work, wondering why you’re career isn’t going as you thought.

The only choice is to change.

Maybe, you don’t know how.

Or maybe you just need to learn how to drive.

And if that’s the case know that driving lessons are available.

What do you mean, you don’t know?

I don’t know was one of my most used phrases during my school days.

It was an easy 3 words to use in situations where I didn’t want to participate, like class.

I’d sit daydreaming, ruminating or just quietly paying attention. Then all of a sudden a teacher would call on me for the answer to a question.

Perhaps I hadn’t heard it or maybe I didn’t want to think or join in because after all my hand wasn’t even up.

So, I’d almost immediately respond with I don’t know even if after some thought I might have had an answer to contribute.

I never wanted to offeranything because on the occasions that I did, my hand would be up.

And so when I used to say I don’t know it just meant that I didn’t want to offer, join in or engage.


This phase of my life was around 10 years ago at a time where I found it incredibly difficult to use my voice.

These days I’m more commonly heard saying I’m not sure and I’m much more willing to contribute something and be wrong instead of saying nothing at all.

If you find yourself using I don’t know as a regular response ask yourself why because you might find that it could actually be replaced with the phrases ‘I don’t want to think’.

And if you don’t want to think then you might be a lazy person or you might be scared of being wrong.

Either way there’s something to work.