I suppose this is going to be a “Back To School” blog post with a twist. (The inspiration for this blog post came from a book I really recommend reading called “Black Box Thinking” by Matthew Syed. The book explores different ways of thinking about things – and it uses interesting, and sometimes horrifying, real life stories as a starting point.)
The first thing I wish I had been taught at school was – it is OK to be yourself. You don’t have to compete with everyone else. We all have different talents.
The second thing is – before you can expect others to accept you you have to learn to be comfortable spending time with the one person who can turn into your best friend for life – yourself. School forces us to interact with people who may decide to make life extremely difficult for us. If you can actually spend time with your own thoughts in silence you will learn to become comfortable in your own skin. This will end up being more useful than you think.
The third thing is – failure is a learning opportunity. I couldn’t care less about the difference between “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset”. There is always an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Not only that but things you find difficult at first may just have a special key that – when you find it – will make it simple for you and only you.
The fourth thing is – Don’t be so busy trying to achieve the impossible that you don’t take time to see your previous achievements. This may sound crazy but I only realised exactly how good I am at acting almost exactly like a “normal sighted” person when I was in earshot of a Consultant who turned round to my Mum (after testing my sight to see if I was actually eligible for extra help at Secondary school) and said “Get her out of here – she is wasting my time”. Until that point I had been convinced I would never be like my friends.
The final thing is – qualifications are not as important as everyone wants us to believe. It is the personal experiences as well as the things like empathy, being non-judgemental, caring, honest, reliable, etc, which will be the most useful to you.