Can you remember what you were doing all the way back in 6th grade? I sure can. There was only one thing that seemed important in my life: video games. Every day I could not wait to rush home from school and fire up the old PlayStation, spending hours killing aliens or racing cars. That was the life.
But it was also the lack of a life. Yes, video games were fun, and they took me away to countless fantasies and adventures that kept my juvenile mind constantly entertained, but they really didn’t do me any good.
Looking back now, I, and I am sure countless others, see the potential that almost no one at the age of 11 sees. We were at a point in time where we had zero responsibility. We were at a time that we had a decade to master any kind of skill or trade. Look at what the school system taught us. We learned math, science, language arts, history, and a whole plethora of subjects in between. We were, in a sense, mastering those skills.
All of the traditional skill sets that stem from a traditional education are great, but a normal education is not enough anymore. With all of the free time that children have, we could have done a lot more for ourselves. In, fact A Change for Global Education just might be in store.
Are We Missing Something?
What if we were to add one more skill to that list? Something that made each of us unique. We could learn how to speak 3 different languages. We could learn how to write code. We could learn how to start a business and make ourselves financially independent. What if I could convince my young self to learn how to become a little hustler and start saving away money at a young age?
If you had begun to learn to write code in the 6th grade, you would be a top-tier software developer today. If you had begun to learn French, German, and Mandarin at that age, you would be a world-class linguist.
At that age, our minds are wired to learn quickly. The ability to absorb, digest, and retain information is at its peak. It was the perfect time, and according to Wikipedia, humans at their infantile stage have around 86 billion neurons, up to five times that of adults. But you know what? We cannot do anything about the past. All of the knowledge, intelligence, and experience that you have now are locked away in your mind because of the work you have done and the actions you have taken. Knowing what you know now in middle should would have made you a child prodigy.
What Actually Matters
So guess what? 10 years from now, you are going to be thinking the same thing, only that you wish you would have told your 20-year-old self, 30-year-old self, or 60-year-old self some little nugget of wisdom. Why? Because your ideas, hopes, dreams, aspirations, experiences and knowledge will always be evolving.
Instead of pondering on what would have been if 15 years ago you had learned to write code, ponder on what 15 years in the future will be like once you have taught yourself how to code. Instead of wishing that 10 years ago you knew how to start a business or play the guitar or ride a snowboard, all you have to do is realize that you can start those things now.
One of the most famous quotes goes something like “The best time to start something was ten years ago, the second best time is today.” I prefer to say “The best time to start something is today, because ten years ago your idea never even existed.”
Whatever you wished that you 6th grade self knew, take solace in the fact that you know it now. Apply that knowledge and that desire to your life in the present and reap the rewards that your future self is already thanking you for.