7 Life Lessons School Didn’t Teach You | Summary and Q&A

May 19, 2023
Ali Abdaal
YouTube video player
7 Life Lessons School Didn’t Teach You


This video shares insights from successful individuals on lessons they wish they were taught in school, including the importance of action, self-care, task-centric career planning, cultivating valuable skills, and exploiting personal advantages.

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Key Insights

  • 💼 High-performing individuals have a bias towards action, taking multiple shots to achieve success, unlike the risk-averse approach taught in school.
  • 📚 School focuses on completing assignments within strict deadlines, but in the real world, success comes from consistently taking action and putting in lots of practice.
  • 🚢 It's easier to make progress and change course when you're already moving, emphasizing the importance of overcoming overthinking and taking action.
  • 💼 Investing in your own skills and knowledge offers higher returns than relying solely on market investments, especially early in your career.
  • 💡 Self-care involves respecting your goals and working toward them rather than always indulging in relaxation and leisure.
  • 🔍 Instead of focusing on job titles, consider the tasks and activities that align with your interests and fulfillment in a career.
  • 💡 Joining a small startup provides more learning opportunities and business knowledge than working in a large corporation, helping you become versatile and learn various roles.
  • 👔 Identify and exploit your unique advantages or skills, specializing in a niche area to create value and find success rather than attempting to be good at everything.


foreign school is great for many things like making friends and having fun and memorizing the quadratic formula turn to page 394. but it failed to prepare us for the real world where we've got to do things like manager finances and deal with Annoying managers and figure out what the hell to actually do with our lives so after interviewing a huge ra... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How can a bias towards action contribute to success in various endeavors?

A bias towards action is a common characteristic among successful individuals as it allows them to take more chances and opportunities. Instead of overthinking and striving for perfection, they focus on actually doing the work and gaining valuable experience. Through continuous action, they learn from failures and successes, iterate their approaches, and improve their skills. This iterative process helps them navigate challenges, discover new possibilities, and achieve their goals.

Q: Why is it important to prioritize learning and skills development in one's career journey?

Learning and skills development are essential for personal growth and career advancement. While school provides a foundation of knowledge, the real learning begins in the workplace or when starting a business. By continuously learning new skills, individuals can adapt to changing environments and stay competitive. Additionally, investing in one's abilities increases their value in the job market or as an entrepreneur, leading to higher earning potential and opportunities for success.

Q: How does task-centric career planning differ from title-centric career planning?

Task-centric career planning focuses on the day-to-day activities and skills required in a particular job or industry. It emphasizes understanding what tasks and responsibilities you will enjoy and excel at, rather than solely pursuing a specific job title or lifestyle. This approach allows individuals to align their career choices with their interests, strengths, and long-term goals, leading to greater satisfaction and fulfillment in their professional lives.

Q: What advantages can working for a small startup offer over joining a big corporation?

Working for a small startup provides unique opportunities for learning and growth. Unlike big corporations where employees often have limited visibility and limited roles, startups offer a more comprehensive experience of running a business. Employees in startups gain exposure to various aspects of the company, including finance, management, leadership, and decision-making. This broad understanding and hands-on experience can accelerate personal and professional development, offering a deeper knowledge of business operations and the potential to excel in similar roles or even start their own ventures.

Q: Why is it crucial to exploit one's competitive or unfair advantages?

Exploiting competitive or unfair advantages is a key aspect of achieving success. Instead of trying to be a generalist and meet everyone's needs, finding a niche that aligns with personal strengths, passions, or unique abilities can lead to greater opportunities for growth and recognition. By focusing on a specific area, individuals can become experts or leaders in their field, attracting clients, customers, or collaborators who value their specialized skills. This specialization allows for greater differentiation and a higher ability to add value, ultimately leading to success in one's chosen domain.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • High-performing individuals have a bias towards action, taking multiple shots rather than obsessing over perfectionism.

  • Self-care includes working harder towards achieving long-term goals, rather than solely focusing on relaxation and leisure activities.

  • Choosing a career should be task-centric, considering the day-to-day activities and skills involved, rather than being attached to a specific job title.

  • Joining a small startup provides more opportunities to learn various business skills and gain valuable knowledge than working in a big corporation.

  • The skills that contribute to financial success are often not taught in school, such as financial literacy and understanding economic systems.

  • Exploiting personal advantages and specializing in a specific skill can lead to greater success than trying to be a generalist.

  • Time management and prioritization are crucial for learning and implementing these lessons effectively.

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