“The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”
— Carl Jung
I didn’t like school very much growing up. I wasn’t a bad student nor did i excel. Early on I understood that I could coast by simply listening to the teacher during class.
Everything that was going to be on the test was basically talked about during class so I didn’t have to “hit the books” that hard.
This gave me an abundance of free time to devote to fun stuff like video games, hanging with friends and watching TV.
Coming out of that experience I found myself lacking one crucial thing however.
One would think that having a curriculum at school should’ve rubbed off on me but it didn’t. Since I didn’t practice it in my spare time it seemed more like a “school specific” kind of thing.
Also, given that I didn’t like school, opposed conformity and seldom felt stimulated in that environment (with the exception of music and computer science) it didn’t feel like a thing I’d want to cultivate.
This became kind of tough thing once I graduated high school. Suddenly I kind of had to be structured and organized both when it came to work and life in general.
I struggled with this for several years and often found myself blaming my environment rather than looking at how I could benefit from changing myself.
In my mid-20’s I started understanding that having curriculum of sorts could actually benefit me.
Having an external schedule and knowing when to do what liberated me from zipping from one thing to the other and eliminate a lot of wasteful time pondering about what to do next.
At school I could rarely understand why I was doing the things other than to live up to other people’s expectations.
The difference was that now I was able to direct myself to do things that were either fun or of some tangible benefit to me.
As with anything else there are also dangers with this kind of efficiency.
We seldom remember to give ourselves breaks in the schedule. That’s one major thing that I forgot to incorporate.
I found that getting things done can be addictive. There’ve been more than a few times that I pushed myself too hard. Just tick one more item off the list or keep working for one more hour despite it already being 1 A.M.
It can also become too rigid. Be sure to leave some room for improvisation and spontaneity. Things will inevitably get canceled or go awry. It’s ok, it’s not the end of the world.
While we can feel disappointed we can also view it as being given the gift of time. Now we get to do something else instead.
Not only does a curriculum give you a blue print of what’s coming up, it also gives us the opportunity to look at what we’ve already accomplished. I find this both rewarding and important.
The reason is that while we have 10 things left to do, often we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the 5 things we’ve already accomplished.
Also, doing more stuff doesn’t always yield the best results. When we’re focused on the numbers the quality often suffers. I’d rather do 5 things well and give myself a break than having done 15 things poorly.
Be careful about this though, perfection is an asymptote. Are you just using “I’d rather do it well” as an excuse? Look at yourself honestly.
If that’s the case then you might do well in going to the other extreme and getting 25 things done for a while until you find the right balance between getting enough things done at a good enough level.
If you could design a curriculum for your own school of life, what would it look like?
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!