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What we learned in school

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We’re talking about what we learned in school making a real difference in our success.

I self-taught myself to design databases and program because times were hard, the town I moved to for love was in double-digit unemployment and didn’t like strangers, I needed to make a living, I found an opportunity and I ran with it.

Professionally, I’ve written 1 book and published and/or presented about 80 professional technical articles or papers.
I was invited to speak at technical conferences in four countries and I’ve been published in 3 countries that I know of.

Generally, to present at major technical conferences, one has to submit an abstract that sells your presentation idea to the conference committee. There were a number of conferences where they just contacted me and asked me what I wanted to talk about because they assumed if it was worth my time to present it, it was worth their time to learn it.

I’ve published two different technical publications, been the editor of another, and a contributing editor for two others.

One US government agency designated me personally as a “unique, sole source provider” of the information that they needed, which meant they did not have put that particular contract out for competitive bidding.

A major international company invented a job for me because they wanted my unique professional skillsets. I turned them down because my current employer gave me a better deal. That included sending my wife, daughter and I to Europe for a month, most expenses paid, to write material for them simply because my wife needed to do research for her degree over there.

I wrote most of a report to a commission set up by the US congress on behalf of an entire branch of the US military, and I edited the other 40% of the report.

Oh, yeah, I made a bunch of money and after I learned about MMM, I invested enough to FIRE.

That’s a fair bit of professional success.

Those English classes where they taught reading, writing, spelling, grammar and textual analysis? I paid attention and I learned it! Plus I did lots of extra reading on top of my assignments. All that writing I did? It was a whole lot easier because of it.

Those math classes where they taught arithmetic, trigonometry, and algebra? I paid attention and learned it. It was invaluable in my programming work and in business. Ditto with the economics courses.

Those history, sociology, anthropology classes? I paid attention and learned it. It gave me a wide range of experience and lots of real-life examples to use when thinking thru “what could happen?” when I was designing a software or business system. It helped me communicate better with coworkers from other countries and cultures..

Those political science courses? I paid attention and learned it. I got better database design training from Political Science classes than programmers got from computer science classes. Socrates kicks butt!

History and Political Science also got me interested in simulations. Learning complex simulations meant reading complex game rule manuals and then turning those rules into strategies and tactics to win the simulation. Software language manuals were a cake walk compared to some of the simulations I worked with.

Shop class made it a lot easier for me to renovate real estate property for profit and to keep repair costs on my own home lower than otherwise.

Because I took the time to learn lots of things well, I had a lot of different knowledge and skills I could draw upon to improvise, adapt and overcome whatever difficulties were in front of me. I don’t compartmentalize what I know, I try to use anything useful I’ve learned in everything I do.

All those things made it possible for me to succeed and flourish professionally.

Not because I made an “A” or got inducted into some silly club in high school or college, but because I learned lots of useful
information and I then made use of it.

Lots of people I went to school with never bothered to learn much in school and, after awhile, they lost the skills and willingness to learn. They lacked the knowledge to recognize opportunities and lacked the habits to take advantage of them anyway.

That’s how “what I learned in school” was a major driver of the success I have achieved.$2m-to-$3m/msg2517236/#msg2517236

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