My “What If” articles are meant to deal with highly speculative concepts.
This particular article was inspired by a job listing for a teacher for “disadvantaged youth.”
I thought: If those in charge really wanted us to know what we needed to know to “get ahead,” what would they teach us?
And I came up with at least three subjects that are not taught at most schools, but that have helped various persons make a mark on the planet (of some sort or another). These are:
- Esoterica. Mystical or Occult teachings and practices.
- Military Arts. Usually only taught to soldiers.
- Street Smarts. Stuff you pick up when forced to “live tough.”
If you can acquire some mastery of two or more of these subjects (I don’t know that these are the only ones, just what I thought of) and make good connections to some folks involved with those subjects, your career possibilities could open up substantially.
The accompanying diagram gives my rough estimate of what sort of “professions” education in these subjects would prepare you for. Not that I necessarily recommend going in any of these directions. But the fact is, people who seem to be doing quite well seem to know about this stuff, and “normal” people don’t seem to.
In the interest of seeing if this theory has any sort of validity, I looked up some biographies of some famous individuals on Wikipedia and extracted a few salient facts. Formal higher education played a major role in only one of these persons’ lives, and he is by far the lesser of these four personalities.
Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790)
Father: Maker of candles and soap.
Schooling: No higher education, learned via reading and apprenticeships.
Street smarts: Ran away from home to Philadelphia at age of 17.
Esoterica: Initiated into the Masonic Lodge in 1731.
Profession: Printer, polymath, statesman.
Criminal dealings: Had a son out of wedlock, and had to take his wife in common-law marriage, as she was previously married. But basically, he seemed to be an honest man.
George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799)
Father: Tobacco farmer and businessman. Slave holder.
Schooling: No university education. Got surveyor and military training.
Esoterica: Joined Freemasonry in 1753.
Profession: Surveyor and landowner, military officer, politician.
Criminal dealings: As a military officer, he killed native enemies of the British colonizers.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild (23 February 1744 – 19 September 1812)
Father: Personal supplier of coins to the Prince of Hesse.
Schooling: No formal education is noted. Learned banking by apprenticeship.
Esoterica: There is a persistent belief that Rothschild financed the work of Illuminatist Adam Weishaupt.
Profession: Banking for royalty.
Criminal dealings: Imported goods across Napoleon’s continental blockade.
Johann Adam Weishaupt (6 February 1748 – 18 November 1830)
Father: Professor of Law.
Schooling: Educated at a Jesuit school and at university.
Profession: Professor of Law.
Esoterica: Founded “Order of Perfectibilists” in 1776, became a Mason in 1777 and developed “Illuminism”.
Criminal dealings: Writings of 1784 considered seditious by Elector (Duke) of Bavaria.
This sampling is not sufficiently broad to prove anything. But I’m really just trying to make a point. The guys in charge of the “education” system: They’re not going to tell you what you really need to know!