Lessons learned for life (19): Three things we learned wrong

Much as I’d love to translate most of what Dr. Cherry Vu writes on Facebook, I just never get time. Follow her there and use autotranslate, it’s not too bad. Here’s one I just had to share:

When you go to school, you learn three things that you didn’t know, until one day you realise that you have been “thought programmed” since childhood:

1. You have learned that success is determined by the approval of others

2. You have learned that failure is shameful and not the way to success.

3. You have learned that how you think and interpret depends on those in authority. For example: Teachers/parents have the right to evaluate students, bosses have the right to evaluate employees… according to their own metrics.

Yes. Those are exactly the beliefs we are programmed with and we carry that with us into adulthood until we realize it’s all bullshit.

Neuroscience has researched how brain development, school systems, and pressure of conformity all combine to create a society where the immature are regulated and controlled easily. Everything is arranged intentionally.

This reminds me of the concept of domestication in The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz: During domestication, you learn that you need to act a certain way to be accepted; and because that’s not who you are, you start pretending you’re not like that. You form an image of being perfect, but you can never reach that ideal, and so you continue to pretend.

In short, to unlearn what we have learned, let’s try to think differently about the three things above:

1. Success is defined by yourself: Whatever you aim for, achieving it means success. You don’t need the validation of others to feel successful.

2. Failure is a part of life, you have to fail many times to achieve a certain level of success. Remember, if you see someone more successful than you, it’s probably because they’ve been more bruised and in pain than you.

3. Everyone can be wrong, whether it’s parents, bosses or teachers. You need critical thinking to think and interpret problems in life. Don’t automatically accept it like sheep.

I have done these things, and when I erased old thoughts and old beliefs, when I had the ability to think, learn and evaluate independently, I found myself becoming a completely free person.

Please try it!

Excerpt from Cherry’s upcoming book Live an Agile Life