What does opting out of school look like?

Kindergarten, primary school, high school, university, work, retirement.

Something profound happens when you step off that expected path – you suddenly see how much time you’ve spent living in someone else’s construct. And it is just that – a social construct.

At the same time, you realise just how much control you actually have over your own life. That you can play an active part in constructing your own world on your own terms. You just didn’t – no, couldn’t – see it before.

We give up a great deal of freedom by living that version of life. We hand it to someone else to decide what we learn, when we learn it, where we learn it, who we learn it from, who we learn it with…we shouldn’t underestimate the impact living that way through most of our formative years has on us.

If you want to test that impact, just ask the next person you bump into if they woke up to do something they enjoy today. Or, if they grudgingly got out of bed for a job they don’t like, again handing over control of who they spend time with, when, for what and why. Statistically, there’s a greater than 75% chance the response will be the latter.

It’s comfortable in that construct, of course. It’s clearly defined and laid out before us, and we’re trained and guided on how to live and succeed against its internal measures every step of the way. But neither we nor our children played any part in building the system we’re asked (required) to spend most of our young lives in, and with more than three-quarters of the adult world feeling less than enthused about work every day…well, that system is clearly producing the wrong results.

As a child right now there is about a one-in-four chance you’ll grow up to work on something that engages you. That gives you meaning. That gets you out of bed in the morning. Or, at the very least, is something you’re not unhappy doing.

Those odds simply aren’t good enough. Together, let’s turn the tide.


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