Note: This is a special contribution from Nischala. More details about her and this post after the big reading!

Life lessons no school really taught

I have always been an ACADEMIC STAR – Right from Nursery School way up until my Management Degree. Over the years, I gained knowledge on a wide range of subjects, upgraded myself on a variety of skills, accomplished several things (some intended and some unintended) and achieved successes in many dimensions of life, which were / are important to me…

Today, as I step back and ask myself if I learnt the Most Important Lessons of LIFE from the educational institutes I went to… Honestly, the answer is NO.

So, what are those Lessons of Life that NO SCHOOL really TAUGHT ME?

1) How to be a LIFELONG LEARNER?

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

We all learn a lot from the schools we study in. But do they teach us how to be a LIFELONG LEARNER? I figured this on my own and I guess it’s the same for many of you. Continuous focus on learning is VITAL in the journey of life – You have to make it a personal PRIORITY and focus on LEARNING all along the way. Only then, is life exciting, enriching and evolving.

Does any school really teach you this? Probably NOT!
Would it help if they did? Absolutely YES!


“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

Effective Communication can sometimes be the ONE and ONLY thing that can help you in your transition from good and great in anything in life!

And while there is no mantra for you to be the PERFECT COMMUNICATOR, the following definitely help:
i) Be clear on what you want to convey – Most times, the problem stems from here!
ii) Try and gauge you’re audience profile and moderate your communication message and style accordingly
iii) Aim for short and simple messages – They ALWAYS work!

Does any school really teach you this? Probably NOT!
Would it help if they did? Absolutely YES!

3) How to deal with CHANGE?

“The only thing that is constant is change” — François de la Rochefoucauld.

While change is definite and integral to our daily lives, the reality is that most of the times we are all unprepared to deal with change. In most scenarios life teaches you how to deal with change – usually based on experience; many times the hard way. And sometimes we may NEVER accept the change!

And do we learn how to deal with CHANGE at school? Probably NOT!
But had someone taught you ways to identify potential changes and deal with them, would it have made life a lot easier? A re-sounding YES!

4) How to build and nurture RELATIONSHIPS?

“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.” — Anthony Robbins

In the journey of life, if there’s one thing which will help you sail through the trying and difficult times; it is the quantity and quality of your relationships – both personal and professional.

The BEST part is that it’s never too late to start – So here and now, you can build new relationships or revive old ones. And then of course, you’ve got to nurture them along the way so that they grow and blossom along the way!

And does any school teach you this? Probably NOT!
Would it help if someone taught us this? Definitely YES!

5) How to manage your PERSONAL FINANCES?

“A penny here, and a dollar there, placed at interest, goes on accumulating, and in this way the desired result is attained. It requires some training, perhaps, to accomplish this economy, but when once used to it, you will find there is more satisfaction in rational saving than in irrational spending.” — P. T. Barnum

Personal Financial Management is the most important dimension which will determine the quality of your life today and into the future. Formal education definitely enables you to earn. So who taught you how to manage all that you earn? Who taught you how to invest, when and where to invest / re-invest? Who taught you when to exit from an investment? For most of us, we are learning with each mistake we make.

Does any school teach you this? Probably NOT! And the truth is that the wealthiest people I know figured this by themselves.
Would it have been a boon and blessing if some school had taught this? Definitely YES!

6) How to handle FAILURE?

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

Over the years, I’ve realized the following about failure

Failures are vital for life,
Failures are definite in life,
Failures are definitely stepping stones….to your chosen destination

Does any school teach us how to define failures, accept failures, deal with failures, and learn from them! Probably NOT!
Would it have been easier to deal with failures if some school had taught us this? Definitely YES!

7) How to deal with LOSS?

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” — Rumi

In the journey of life, we all deal with many kinds of losses in life – Loss of people (temporary and permanent), Financial loss, Loss of jobs, Loss of friends, Loss of peace of mind, Loss of health, Loss of memory, Loss of appetite, Loss of passion, Loss in motivation, Losses in business, Loss in relationships,… And we all find many different ways to deal with these losses.

Some of us take the learning’s from the losses; give it a positive spin and forge ahead wiser. But some of us let the loss take over our life. And then there are some losses which we may NEVER accept or come to terms with.

But did any school teach us how to handle LOSS? – Probably NOT!
Would it have been useful if some school had taught this? Definitely YES!

8) How to THINK?

“A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Over the years, what I’ve realized about life is this – How you think about yourself, people and the world is eventually reflected in how your life eventually turns out. And hence, it important to create and fuel positive, powerful and purposeful thoughts! And to keep at bay negative or de-energizing thoughts. Several times many of us are simply not aware when the cause for negativity in our life is due to negative thinking.

Again, did any school teach us how to consciously create positive powerful and purposeful thoughts? Probably NOT! We all come across specific teachers, mentors and guides in our life who make us realize the importance of the RIGHT and POSITIVE THINKING!
Would it have helped if someone taught this? Definitely YES! And the earlier, the BETTER!

9) When and How to say NO?

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” — Josh Billings

If there’s ONE thing which many of us find hard to say, it’s these 2 simple letters – NO. And try as much as we want, we simply can’t get ourselves to say NO! And when you say YES to everything, life is steered through a course which you don’t necessarily like. Personally, I really felt truly LIBERATED when I started saying NO!

Does any school really teach us how to say NO? NO!
Would it have helped if they did? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

10) How to cultivate and enhance SELF-DISCIPLINE?

“Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear—and doubt. Self-discipline allows a pitcher to feel his individuality, his inner strength, his talent. He is master of, rather than a slave to, his thoughts and emotions.” — H.A. Dorfman

Anyone I know who achieved anything worthwhile in life will vouch that one of the key reasons was due to Self Discipline. And yet self-discipline is a dying virtue today. Sad but true! Along the way, I figured out a way to be self-disciplined about the things that were important to ME!

Schools definitely enforce some level of discipline in our life, but do they really teach us to be self-disciplined for life? Probably NOT!
Would it have helped if they did? Of course YES!

11) When, How and How Much to JUDGE?

“Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.” — Wayne Dyer

If there’s one activity which many of us indulge in on a regular basis – It is that of passing JUDGMENT! We judge everything – People, animals, nature, trees, flowers, food, weather, technology, automobiles, organizations, institutions, governments, policies, movies, books, products, services, blogs,…. and of course OURSELVES!

It’s almost as if passing judgment is a need in life, a part of life and way of life.. And what I’ve realized is that passing JUDGMENT is probably one of the most time consuming and energy draining activities you can indulge in – especially mentally and emotionally! And if you step back and ask yourself “What do you really get after passing JUDGMENT?” Most times NOTHING really!

Does any school teach you if you are qualified to JUDGE? When, How and How Much you should JUDGE? Probably NOT!
Would it have helped if someone taught you this? Of course YES!

***Continuing on page number 2 : Life lessons 12 to 22

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  • Summer Handzlik

    Awesome read. #1 and #3 are so important.

    • Nischala

      Thanks.. Glad you liked it.. Do share in your network

  • Ericka Verderber

    EVALUATE ME doing the lessons – more pineapple questions should help.

  • Kim Vallee

    Several are taught by parents, others must be for school…

    • Nischala

      Most are taught by life experiences – Nischala

      • Piyush Aggarwal

        nothing better than just living life as it comes. learnings comes on its own.

  • Mia

    I still need to learn some of these. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nischala

      As long as you are open to learning… you will.. And the fact is we all need to learn and improve these through life

  • Chris

    hi Nischala, great post, really. Three page length… And a lot of helpful tips.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Nischala

      Glad you liked it.. Do share in your network

  • Johanna

    An awesome post with some great life lessons which are mostly only acquired on our journey through our time on this earth after our schooldays. A great read and today I’m going to “Breathe”.

    • Nischala

      Glad you liked it Johanna.. Yes! Focus on breathing increasing your sense of awareness.. Once you are aware, you are in better control of your thoughts, feelings and expressions.. It almost transforms your life.. Nischala

  • Fran Aslam

    Liked reading the post. Outstanding lessons, especially for those who are ready to learn and improve a solid and goal oriented life. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nischala

      Thanks Fran for reading and your kind words.. Its something I look up once in a while and shows me areas that I need to improve on.. We all learn grow and evolve.. Yes! You need to be open and make it a priority to learn.. Nischala

  • Manish

    Great post Nischala. I wonder why they don’t teach these at school….guess a few things can only be learnt through experiences.

    • Nischala

      I’ve had a lot of twitter activity which suggests that schools across the world will see how to include this.. till then, we learn through experiences.. nischala

  • Pratishtha SK

    This is so true! I have always maintained that no schools give you real life education.

    • Nischala

      Life experiences are undoubtedly the BEST teacher – Nischala

      • Bobby

        Yes you are right.. experiences makes man perfect

  • Kids Ahoy

    Wish they’d teach kids more of these in schools! Life skills to prepare them to have rewarding lives.

    • Nischala

      Earlier you learn these, better the quality of life – Nischala

  • Fame

    This list inspired me. Yes, you are right no amount of education will teach us about these things, I specially like the life long learning part and the Gandhi quote.

    • Nischala

      Glad you liked it and it inspired you.. Part of the reason why I write is to make a positive difference .. Hopefully this will be the catalyst for positive change – Nischala

  • Nizam

    Wow! This is really awesome and inspirational. Well the quote “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” by Winston Churchill and “compliment is verbal sunshine.” by Robert Orben are really wonderful. Thanks Nischala for this wonderful post :)

  • Suchismita Pai

    Great post Nischala. This is something we all think about and yet continue with the same rut. Recently we were having a discussion about how no one knows when to stop chasing the material things because we are taught how to look for markers of success but not the markers for happiness. Wish people would do more of that. Maybe they will be inspired by posts like this!!

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  • Pauline

    Lovely list. How to learn and think is so important. I had so specific classes in advanced maths I don’t remember anything about because it was just about learning by heart and writing it all down the next day. I wish school made kids more curious and willing to learn how things work, not just how to get a good grade.

  • John Ng’etich

    how i wish everyone would see from this light from as young as possible. Have always thought that its not about that good grade but the kind of life you develop into. Thanks Nischala

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