Education & Career Trends: School-time tips you need to unlearn in professional life

3 min read

Edition: June 12th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

If you hold on to everything you learned at school, you’ll may be disappointed in your professional life. (Image Credit:
  • Excerpts from article by Samuel Leeds, published in

When you start out in business or a job, there are several lessons that you were taught in school which you will have to unlearn. If your job is to learn a task and follow someone else’s process, then school is great preparation.

School teaches you how to be a good employee, not a good entrepreneur or intrapreneur. If you hold on to these ideas, they will prevent you from reaching your full potential as a leader.

There are many things that you can learn in the traditional education system. However, there are others that will limit your mindset if you carry them into the world of entrepreneurship and innovation. It is important to weed out these limiting beliefs while retaining all that is useful.

Here are 3 school-taught lessons that you need to unlearn as an entrepreneur or intrapreneur:

1. Don’t copy

  • In school, you’re taught that copying is cheating. But in the business world, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.”

Tony Robbins, personal-development coach
  • This doesn’t mean stealing someone’s copyright! But you should take inspiration from business formulae that others have had success with, try and master them, and put your own spin on them.
  • Most things have been done a million times before, and you can learn from the mistakes of others.
  • It means that while it takes many failures before success is reached, those failures don’t all need to be yours! Find people who have been there before you and learn from them. This can be indirectly (by reading their books or learning about their businesses) or directly (via mentorship or training). 

2. Learn everything before implementing

  • In school, you’re expected to learn everything about a subject before you go out into the real world and start making money doing it.
  • In business, the opposite is true: You need to learn then implement it, before you worry about the other things. Only once you’ve implemented something have you truly learned it.
  • Many people procrastinate and make excuses for themselves by claiming they have to learn everything about a topic before they take any action.
  • Businesses are complex, and you’ll never be able to learn it all. You won’t be able to understand it properly until you get started.
  • Learn exactly what you need to know to begin, and then begin. Keep learning, reading, attending trainings and masterminds throughout your business life, and get better as you go.

3. Don’t make mistakes

  • In school, more often than not you’re penalised for making mistakes. In business, you sometimes learn more from your mistakes than your successes.

“Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from.”

Robert Kiyosaki, author, Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • Whenever things go wrong in business, there will always be a lesson. Never stop learning and growing.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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