If you are at all socially conscious, you must be amazed at the number of challenges piling up for our future generations. Turn on the news, and we learn that our old concepts of retirement—social security and pension funds—are not a reality that will be available to our kids. Enter any public area, and you can’t help but notice progressively more parents are truly unhealthy, and training their kids to be the same. There sits a father and son, each with a 32oz soda in hand, sitting with rounded shoulders and head pitched forward, entranced by their phones.

 

This sounds awfully rude and judgmental, and I don’t wish to demonize occasional treats or general relaxation. However, problems won’t be solved if we can’t talk about them, and habits such as these have become the cultural norm. 

 

 

At an early age, I became passionate about human optimization and growth. I wanted to know the habits and paths of our best and brightest. This has manifested itself into my obsession with the opportunity of education. The opportunity of education is to fashion a mindset in an entire generation to creatively approach all trials as opportunities. It is the ability to create whatever culture we wish to see, to right all of our unhealthy societal trends, and solve every challenge.

 

It’s Not About the Grades

“Education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.”

 

The surest way not to live a great life is to believe that outcomes will create happiness, and that those outcomes are out of your control. If education does not instill the understanding that the individual is the final determinant in whether their life is a success or a failure, then education itself has failed. A person who has not been taught to focus on their reactions and what they can control, is doomed to constant wasted energy and disdainful self-empathy. 

 

Education is training. Why do we train the body? Physical training is one of the best things people can do for themselves, but there are still many who pervert and waste this beautiful process. If it’s only to land a scholarship, or earn a grade, or lose weight, then we have missed the point. If outcome is all that matters and the path has no merit, then why are there so many depressed millionaires, and why do dying billionaires like Steve Jobs continue their life’s work? 

 

Many look at health or training as a means to an end. They are more likely to overspend for a quick solution, only to find that their solution cannot stick, because they were not forced to learn anything about themselves along the way. I’m not advocating a lack of appreciation for reaching goals, or monk-like asceticism. But the greater value is in awareness and appreciation of the process, and what it teaches us. Training is a path to growth, which is essential to our satisfaction in life.

 

Likewise, we must remind ourselves of the goal of education. It’s not just to have a GPA good enough to be accepted into the next school; it’s about gaining skills and ways of seeing the world that radically enrich our lives and create opportunity. Parents must know this, above all, or they and their children will spend years chasing fruitless pursuits and facing lives of dissatisfaction.

 

Love of Learning Overcomes Challenges

At a young age, we must foster in our youth a passionate belief in lifelong learning. We must instill a growth mindset and the belief that learning can change outcomes. We must promote a love of knowledge that allows for an evolving, passionate, healthy nation.

 

Most kids (and not a few adults) today, see reading as abject torture. I’m not talking about texts, or scans through social media. Ask the average student (or their parents) to read an article that might open their mind, create interest, or challenge their schema, and then watch them quit after the first paragraph or two.

 

Without my love of reading, I would have never had access to better mental and physical health. In college, I was strong but not healthy, and suffered from constant obsessive anxiety. Had I not had toughness and persistence instilled in me as values, I may have turned to the prevalent culture of drugs and self-medication. Likewise, had I not been taught to love learning, I may not have believed in my ability to overcome and grow through my challenges. I might have concluded it was all too hard, and began down the path of excuses, entitlement, and victimhood.

 

I hate talking about my experience with anxiety. The pain and vulnerability I felt are still very real. I mention my experience because I know it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced a level of self-learning that radically changed my perception and path in life.

 

We must not strip our youth of the phenomenal gifts I was offered, because all of us will face our own great challenges. All of us will come across that an obstacle which forces us to look inward and see what we really might be capable of. Our flaws will seem to conspire to create our downfall, but this is life’s encouragement to grow and be greater. If youth are only given insidious social media gossip and ego tickling, and only experience constant stimulation and opulence without any sort of discipline or fostered love of learning, they will not be capable or ready for the challenges of the world they will join as adults. 

 

The Bold Spirit Curriculum

The opportunity of education is to instill motivation and cultural habits in our children that will make them into amazing citizens, parents, friends, and professionals. We can influence a generation’s physical health, as well as their mental resilience and fortitude. We can develop a national ethos of integrity, mental discipline, gratitude, and optimism. We can teach them that growth and contribution are essentials of life.

 

The backbone of this movement is a state of physical and mental health that will serve as a context for everything else. What we need is a new model. You will not find a premade curriculum that teaches these things in the schools today. This has become my obsession: to discover what a guide for inspired human optimization should and could look like. I am calling it The Bold Spirit Curriculum. I’ve already shared the values that must guide this training. Before I begin releasing the lessons, I must explain the pillars that inspired education will be built upon:

 

  • Self discovery and the human condition: A deep dive into the code that drives the nature and needs of humankind.
  • Lessons for success from the masters: Everything from finances, to organizational practices, to the wisdom of the ages.
  • A physical development program that incorporates lessons from the previous two pillars.

 

These are the foundation for inspired human development that will create passionate, purpose-driven people. My next article will delve into why these are the true core curricula, and what each of these pillars might come to encompass. In particular, I’ll look at the first pillar, self-discovery, and its essentiality for success in life and training. 

 

The work has to happen at home, too:

Parenting Strategies for Healthier Kids

 

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