What’s missing in education?

missing piece blue

I got up before 5am today (summer here is rough on sleep) and started thinking about formal education and how it fails to educate people in the most important ways. There are three really important areas I feel formal schooling lets people down.

All of them are things that took me until my mid-30s to figure out, and I have had one of the best educations available -private school, famous university, and post-graduate study. I don’t remember any of these being addressed at any of my educational institutions, yet they are probably the most important things in terms of having a happy and productive life.


The importance of exercise, how to include exercise into your life, the benefits of lifting weights or doing bodyweight training, basic nutritional information, healthy and unhealthy diets, how to watch out for sugar (poison, basically), dangers of processed carbohydrates, benefits of protein and fats.

Being healthy through a combination of physical exercise and a balanced diet is the foundation to a happy life. It should be a core part of compulsory and continued education.


How to budget, the power of interest (both on debt and savings), different investing options, the pros and cons of home ownership, how to use credit responsibly, how to build up savings and passive income, deferring purchases, how to think about money.

Being financially secure through an ’emergency fund’ of cash savings and having an income-producing portfolio of investments accumulated by saving every month won’t make you happy -but it will ensure that money problems do not make you unhappy.


Identifying things you want to achieve, breaking them down into manageable goals, doing self-directed research, and working consistently until completion are incredibly valuable skills.

We live in an age of increasing and decreasing opportunity. It is probably easier now than ever before for people to start small side businesses and have a shot at creating value for others and an income for themselves. At the same time, traditional employment where you get money in exchange for doing what you are told is shrinking alarmingly. All over the world young people are finding it harder and harder to find jobs that pay well and provide security.

An entrepreneurial mindset and the ability to set up and deal with your own projects is one way to provide employment security. Unlike in the past, setting up a side business in the age of the internet has minimal costs and little financial risk.


Now, I don’t think schools can magically teach these things to every student, thus leading to a utopian future where we are all healthy, financially responsible, productive members of society 🙂

However, I believe that giving every young person a solid grounding in the three areas above would at least give them a chance to build upon them later in life. At least when I went through school and university these things weren’t even touched upon.

My top recommendations for further reading: Mark Sisson (Mark’s Daily Apple) for health, Andrew Hallam (the Millionaire Teacher) for wealth, and Sebastian Marshall for productivity.

Nice post Ben. Right on the money.

Thanks Greg 🙂

13 Aug 2013, 2:29pm
by Joel Laurier


Ben, Great food for thought. Like you, I received little of the “survival facts” in school. I did learn how to make goals but it was never followed upon. My teaching partner do try to teach the value of health and nutrition. I see many other Japanese teachers taking a personal interest in it and “living it by example” rather than preach it. I think it works best like that.

I agree that people need to ‘wake up’ by themselves, and having real examples around them helps. Still can’t help thinking that the basic facts/habits could be covered in school so as to give everyone a head start and make them aware…

However, having failed miserably to indoctrinate family and friends, I am very aware this is not just a case of telling people once 😉

I think another is communication. Guys are taught to suck it up, where in fact they should be encouraged to talk. Might help mitigate broken relationships, substance abuse and domestic violence. Tough nut to crack though. Interesting post Ben, thanks.

Hi Simon

That is definitely another one. I can see schools addressing this slightly. There is increasing focus on presentation and communication skills, and while it’s not quite there yet, teachers and schools are thinking about it.


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