4 Aspects of Formal Education That May Be Crippling You

4 Aspects of Formal Education That May Be Crippling You

- in Life

The common path for most of us growing up is that we should go through formal education, get good grades and then get a job that will pay us well and take care of us into retirement.

It is not hard to see that this path is no longer valid in this day and age. I believe more people are beginning to accept this where before they would not have.

In some parts of the world, however, the message is still being preached by national leaders to the detriment of the country. That advice did work in the 20th century but with the way life has evolved with technology significant changes have taken place in every aspect of life including education and professional development.

I read an article the other day about why successful people did not do well in school and it became apparent that there is something wrong with the school system all over the world. Some might call it a conspiracy but what is for certain is that it does more damage than good in the bigger picture of life.

Let us look at a few ways that it damages our society:

1. Theory focused

In traditional education for the most part we learn from textbooks telling us how things ought to work by following formulas. Textbook learning is a necessary part of learning to help you understand the basics of a profession or trade. The Bible does say,

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

The only problem is that the theory is not supplemented enough by practical learning. Only a few subjects like the sciences and music have some level of practical education. The majority of subjects have little to no practical aspect.

The practical aspect of education is important for dealing with real life scenarios and therefore theory alone will not suffice. As a result most students do not develop their full potential to bring about new innovations in the world.

2. Fear of Failure

In traditional education failure is seen as a disgrace and this has one of two effects on you when you go through the system i.e. you will either shrink back or become a workaholic to avoid the prospect of failure. These are two different forms of motivation that are influenced by the fear of failure.

Not that you should be too enthusiastic about failure but you are to use it as an opportunity to learn from it. A classic example is Thomas Edison who learned more than a thousand ways how not to create the light bulb. In the process of so doing he then found out how to create it.

In a formal education setting you may get limited as to the number times of you can attempt something if it does not seem to be working. What if Thomas Edison did not do the thousand experiments that he did? Most likely there would be no light bulb to talk about today.

See failure as a learning opportunity. Successful people are those that failed the most and the faster you fail the quicker you will realize what works.

3. Conditioned to not think for yourself

In a formal education system the teacher or lecturer’s word is law. Ideas about a subject matter tend to be imposed on the students. The masses as a result are subconsciously conditioned to follow orders from a young age and not to think for themselves. This is what leads people to settle for formal employment and take orders all their lives.

The school system in a sense was created as a way to control people to just do as they are told without questioning anything. You may call this a conspiracy but it is a topic we will discuss in another post. Are you settling for less than your best by giving up your thinking to someone else? That is food for thought.

You can do more with your life by taking the time to think of a better way and acting on it. You’re able to do more than you are doing right now. You will surprise yourself in the process as you discover hidden abilities.

4. Stifled creativity

Closely related to the previous point when orders are shoved down your throat it stifles the creativity and innovation in you. The formal education system tends to get comfortable with the status quo and resist change. Successful people thrive on innovation that is why they cannot stand environments that stifle their creativity.

Traditional education goes against God’s mandate for us to be creative beings since we are created in His image. You may be in an environment like that today but in your spare time work on creating the vision you have for your life. That is how some successful people started out.

The Bible says do not despise the day of small beginnings. Everyone starts somewhere and grows from there. A lesson that comes to mind is that you should not overestimate what you can do in a year and underestimate what you can do in five years. Let your creativity shine through step by step and eventually you will create a masterpiece with your life.


Jim Rohn once said, “Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.” Supplement your formal education by attending seminars and other learning opportunities then following through with action.

How has the formal education system affected your professional development? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Sija Mafu is an Online Enthusiast and Personal Development Fan. As as a devout Christian, his vision is to see young people take responsibility for their lives and create bright futures for themselves, their families and society at large.

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