February 15

What We Should Have Learned in School But Never Did

For the last ten years, I’ve read 100s of books and interviewed more than 700 people. We have an ongoing joke at The Unmistakable Creative. My guest choices are usually a reflection of some problem in my life. I guess you could say I’ve been trying to figure out what we should have learned in school but never did.

Fortunately for me, it seems like most of our listeners are interested in those same issues. There’s one big lesson I’ve taken away from my guests on the Unmistakable Creative: There are many life skills that we should have learned in school but never did. I would have taken a different approach in college, my career, and my relationships knowing what I do at age 41.

Our current model of education is outdated and ineffective. We live in a world where access to knowledge and information is ubiquitous. The value of memorizing information to regurgitate it, pass tests and get good grades has declined. According to Chase Jarvis, we’re moving towards a portfolio model of careers. Kids growing up today will probably have five jobs at the same time. But the current model of education is preparing them for a future that doesn’t exist.

If the purpose of education is to turn us into fully functional, happy and healthy adults, it is failing on numerous levels.

What We Should Have Learned in School

When I started writing this article, I asked my community on Facebook what they thought you should have learned in school but never did. Three themes kept emerging.

1. Managing Your Psychology

These seasons of suffering have a way of exposing the deepest parts of ourselves and reminding us that we’re not the people we thought we were. People in the valley have been broken open. They have been reminded that they are not just the parts of themselves they put on display. – David Brooks

At the beginning of 2007, my life went into a tailspin. The girl I was dating had an abortion. During an already tumultuous relationship, I almost got fired from yet another job. And every business school I applied to rejected me. It was a low point in my life.

Rock Bottom

It didn’t get much better when I graduated from the MBA program at Pepperdine. I was broke, jobless and living with my parents at the age of 31. At the same time, my sister got into medical school. And she finished graduate school with one of the highest GPAs in her class.

I felt like she was the source of their pride and joy, and I was the source of all their disappointment. This was a major test of my own ability to manage my psychology. And it was the catalyst for my 10-year journey of building Unmistakable Creative into what it is today.

Managing our psychology is essential to navigating what one of my mentors referred to as a world of diminishing permanence. We have to deal with highs and lows. We have to avoid tying our self-worth to external events and circumstances. And in the midst of that somehow show up in the world as a fully functional, not completely screwed up human being. It’s what we should have learned in school but never did.

Instead, we objectify students with letter grades, test scores, and the pressure of acceptance to prestigious colleges. This chase for accolades and validation continues into adult life. We chase our self-worth through prestigious jobs, more money, and potential partners. We spend almost no time teaching people how to manage the relationship they have with themselves. Yet, it’s the most important relationship they’ll ever have.

No matter what you want to accomplish:

  • Building a startup
  • Having a romantic relationship
  • Finish some creative project

You must learn to manage your psychology.

For this article, I’ve broken up managing your psychology into the following categories:


So often, our self-worth and self-esteem are determined by some form of external validation. For some people it’s a promotion at a job, having their book become a bestseller, or selling their startup. For others, it’s their romantic partner. But as long as you’re trying to fill a void with something external, you’ll be attempting to fill a bottomless pit. When one problem gets solved, another one shows up.

In the years that I was building Unmistakable Creative, being able to move out of my parent’s house was the elephant in the room. It was my primary focus. Then it happened. Not only did it happen. But I also ended up 2 minutes away from the beach. It’s where I wanted to live ever since I caught a wave there nine years ago.

I was getting paid to speak, traveling all over the country, and writing my second book with a publisher. For about two months, I was on top of the world. It became my new normal and another problem took over, dating.

True Confidence

True confidence is being more invested in your perception of yourself than someone else’s perception of you. – Mark Manson

With my 40th birthday around the corner, I felt immense pressure to meet someone. By the standards, if Indian culture, I was a ticking time bomb with an expiration date around the corner. But, I had handed over my self-esteem to something else external, approval of the opposite sex.

We keep repeating this pattern until we come to terms with the fact that our self-worth can’t be gained through external means. As long as we continue to seek our self-worth through something external, it will always fluctuate.

After months of dates that were going nowhere, I hired Nick Notas to be my dating coach.

I asked him if meeting another girl would make me forget about the ones with whom things didn’t work out. He said, “Yes but you’re still chasing your self-worth through something external so it’s a bit like being a heroin addict. If that doesn’t work out, you’re back where you started.”

What we should have learned in school is that how someone else perceives us should never be the determining factor in our self-worth. But for so many people it is. Rather than conclude that we’re incompatible with another person, we think something is wrong with us. And that keeps us trapped in a vicious cycle of low self- esteem and a lack of true confidence.

The Courage to be Disliked/Self Acceptance

From the day we are born, the world tells us lies about who we are, how we should live, and what we should sacrifice to cross some imaginary finish line to success and happiness. More powerful than the outright lies we’re told, though, are the subtler broader poisons of our culture, how we ingest and metabolize them until they feel like part of us, yet we still can’t figure out why we’re sick. – Heather Havrilesky

There are few things more liberating in life than giving up the need to be liked by everyone. Not only is this impossible and out of your control. It’s exhausting.

Once you give this up, two things happen:

  1. You stop wasting a tremendous amount of time and energy.
  2. The depth and quality of the relationships you do have with people in your life increases dramatically.

You get to show up in the world as a non-apologetic, no-bullshit version of who you are. This, in turn, increases your sense of self-worth because your value is no longer dependent on whether or not someone else approves of you. Your attitude becomes “This is who I am, take it or leave it. And if you choose to leave it, then it’s not the right fit for the job, for the relationship, for the partner, etc.”

Self-acceptance means having the courage to show up as a vulnerable, authentic, no-bullshit version of who you are. It means not hiding your quirks and rough edges behind masks. In fact, what you’ll likely find when you show up as the no-bullshit version of who you are is that the world seems lighter. People who don’t accept you don’t matter because their validation doesn’t determine your opinion of yourself. You’re selective about whose opinion matters.

It’s what we should have learned in school but didn’t. As a result. kids feel unpopular, unseen, uncool and in the darkest of scenarios compelled to shoot up a damn school. Perhaps the path out of school shootings is teaching students how to manage their psychology.

Being Uncool

It’s amazing how much energy and effort we all put into trying to be perceived as “cool.” We deliberately curate our Instagram pictures and Facebook status updates. We’re cautious about what we choose to reveal out of fear of being labeled uncool. But the effort we put into being cool, to sanding off our rough edges can be truly exhausting. Sadly, school doesn’t teach us how to own our stories and come to terms with how uncool we might be. Instead, it teaches us to desperately seek validation from people whose opinions have no relevance in our lives.

I’ve come to terms with the fact there are many things about me that are uncool. It’s uncool:

To be my age and have the pop culture tastes of a teenage girl. But I’ve binged watched The OC more than once. One Tree Hill is one of my favorite shows, which I’m sure Sophia Bush is thrilled about (even though, I was never cool enough in high school to date Brooke Davis).

To be a person who couldn’t tell you a thing about what’s happening in NLF or NBA, but plays sports video games almost every day.

To listen to MMBop when you’re exercising or snowboarding

The list goes on and on.

And what I’m starting to realize is just how uncool we all are. It doesn’t matter if you were:

  • The hottest girl in school
  • Best player on the team
  • Most likely to be promoted at your job

Underneath all that, we’re all on some level uncool.

What we should have learned in school is that It takes far more courage to be uncool than it does to be cool. When we own our quirks, rough edges, and idiosyncrasies, the mask, and stories we tell ourselves and the labels we hide behind all fall. Being cool comes with the heaviness of living up to the expectations of others. Being uncool comes with a lightness that liberates us from those expectations.

The strange paradox of being ok with how uncool you are is that you’ll suddenly be perceived as cool. As my friend, Terri Cole, said in an episode of Unmistakable Creative.

When you approve of yourself, you will also attract people who approve of you. When you have a low opinion of yourself, you will inevitably attract people who agree with that low opinion.

If you want to listen to MMBop, New Kids on the Block or other things that somebody might tease you for, own that shit. Be unapologetic about your true tastes because that’s ACTUALLY cool.


Out of fear of rocking the boat or upsetting another person, people often have loose boundaries. They tolerate behaviors that they’re not ok with; let people walk all over them and end up resenting them.

I couldn’t afford most of the things one of my girlfriends wanted to do. Because I didn’t have boundaries, I put our entire relationship on a credit card:

  • $600 hotel stays in the city I was living in
  • $300 dinners at fancy restaurants almost every week

I never spoke up because I was scared she’d leave.

Having loose boundaries more than anything indicates a lack of self-respect. Loose boundaries reduce our self-worth. With strong boundaries, we might piss some people off. But we’re also less likely to find ourselves in situations that are ultimately toxic to our well being. Strong boundaries reinforce our self-worth.


As a culture, we are obsessed with the idea that something is missing in our lives. We believe that we have to bridge the gap between expectations and reality to be ok.

This stems from the belief that we are not enough, don’t have enough and there isn’t enough to go around. As a result, we attempt to fill voids in our lives and the holes in our hearts with something external.

The four words: “I’ll be happy when” are a recipe for profound disappointment. We’ll always be operating from a place of deficiency rather than sufficiency, and scarcity rather than abundance. And we eventually discover that nothing or nobody can ultimately fill the void.

But we can shift our perspective, worldview, and beliefs. And start to believe we are enough, have enough, and there’s more than enough to go around.

Then we see almost nothing is a finite resource. That’s the strange paradox of busting our asses to make a change. The more desperately we resist what is, the more it persists.

Prioritize Your Happiness

When we prioritize other people’s happiness over our own, we do ourselves and them a great disservice. We’re not authentic and the exhaustion of the facade will lead to an inevitable debacle. It doesn’t matter if it’s the:

  • Job we take
  • The person we date
  • Friendships in our lives
  • Projects we choose

When we settle and compromise our own values and standards, we lose our power and diminish our joy.

Sometimes it’s only in letting go of that which doesn’t serve us that we can find real joy. It’s how we show up as the best versions of ourselves. The willingness to walk away is not stubbornness as much as it is a commitment to one’s own values and standards.

Process Orientation

Society rewards and encourages outcome orientation.

  • Good grades lead to the outcome of acceptance to a prestigious college.
  • Acceptance to a prestigious college leads to the outcome of a high-paying job.
  • A high-paying job leads to the outcome of a good life.

This creates unhealthy attachments, expectations, and disappointments. In the worst-case scenarios, it causes people not to take any action at all. But nearly all successful people focus on the process, instead of the prize.

What we should have learned in school is to be process-oriented. When you’re process-oriented, outcomes can exceed your expectations. And process orientation allows you to experience progress, which in turn, increases your motivation—creating a self-perpetuating cycle that ultimately causes momentum.

Self-Love and Self-Care

Self-worth and self-love usually begin with acceptance and surrender to our circumstances. But there’s a difference between surrender and resignation. Surrender comes from a place of acceptance and abundance.

Resignation comes from a place of resistance and scarcity. When our self-criticism is harsh and frequent, this causes us to live an unfulfilling life. We must consider the question that Anna Yusim poses in her book:

Has this self-criticism produced any positive sustainable changes in your life?

Our self-worth and self-esteem are reinforced by doing everything we can to make the relationship we have with ourselves amazing. That means that we have to make self-care a priority and invest in ourselves.

Self-care is about far more than eating healthy and exercising regularly. It’s about doing things that add joy to your life. I’ve even heard some spiritual teachers say that smoking a cigarette and washing it down with whiskey could be self-care. Of course, I’m not encouraging that.

But sometimes self-care means splurging on a 200-dollar pair of jeans. Or going into a barbershop for a shave, haircut, and Godfather-like moments. Self-care is a form of benevolent selfishness.

I know for a fact that I’m happier when I’m surfing and snowboarding on a regular basis. They are non-negotiable parts of my self-care. Because of that, I’ve made adventure one of the biggest priorities in my life every year.

The relationship you have with yourself is the foundation of your ability to manage your psychology. Make it a priority and love yourself like your life depends on it.


There will be times in your life when you fail a test. Somebody unexpectedly leaves your life, you get fired from a job, or lose someone you love. Adversity and obstacles are par for the course if you’re going to live fully and die empty.

There are a few times that it is more important to love yourself than when you’re in the face of adversity, disappointment, and setbacks. That’s when it is the hardest. Our self-criticism tends to be harsh, and we ruminate on how we might have changed the past. By all means, learn from your mistakes. But realize that your failures do not define you.

Adversity is often one of the most significant tests of our self-worth.

Fortunately, we do have ways out of adversity. A few days ago, I came across this equation from Dan Harris’ new book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

Love, whatever happens, see the opportunity in the loss, endings as new beginnings, and that The Obstacle is The Way. Adversity forces you to confront some of your most painful truths. But you also will usually emerge stronger and more whole for having gone through the pain.


When we think that we will forever be defined by failure, we take something temporary and make it permanent. We take one person’s opinion and make it a universal truth. When:

  • One person doesn’t love us, we assume nobody will.
  • An employer doesn’t hire us, we think none of them will.
  • We get a bad grade, we believe that we are stupid.

We should have learned in school that our temporary circumstances are not your permanent identity.

Love and Relationships

This might have been the second most frequent response to my question. And for a good reason. Our survival depends on our ability to form intimate relationships.

Sex Education

Sometime in 5th-grade, kids are brought into a classroom and shown a video of sperm swimming under a microscope. That’s the extent to which we learn to interact with the opposite sex. If you’re lucky enough, you have parents who have a healthy attitude towards interacting with the opposite sex. They talk to you about it.

But if not, you’re left to fend for yourself. You wonder why you get an erection when the teacher is hot or Cindy Crawford is buying a Pepsi. If you grew up in the ’90s, you’d get the pop culture reference. But I digress.

Interacting with the Opposite Sex

Interacting with the opposite sex is essential to our survival and well being. So, it’s absurd that we aren’t taught this in school or earlier in life. Instead, we’re forced to figure it out through trial and error or turn to other means to solve our problems.

Learning about Courtship

I was particularly clueless because I had no model for how romantic relationships occurred. My parents had an arranged marriage. My dad couldn’t pass on any knowledge about courtship to me. So I bought into this delusional, idealistic and Disney movie version of romance. It didn’t exactly lead to fruitful dating life.

Why I Joined a Cult

In one of my most revealing interviews, my friend, Khe Hy, asked me about my teenage, college and early 20s dating life. I told him there was nothing for me to tell him. I never had a girlfriend in high school, college or in my early 20s.

When he asked how I self-diagnosed, I told him something was wrong with me. Then I told him something I thought I’d never want anybody to know about. I spent four years in a cult that eventually became known as the seduction community. It was something I had a great deal of shame about for a really long time.

But, the more I talk to other men, the more I keep discovering the seduction community was their entry point into personal development. Perhaps the most misunderstood thing about this community is that most of the men who were there came with good intentions. Many of them were honestly looking to become more confident.

They wanted to have more fulfilling romantic relationships, not just sleep with as many women as possible. But under the guidance of any charismatic and manipulative leader, good intentions can quickly be turned into a series of screwed up emotions. When guidance becomes gospel, advice turns into dogma, and that’s where personal development can cause more harm than good.

The Seduction Community

Nobody faults an athlete for hiring a trainer to help him improve his game. Nobody faults a business owner for hiring a mentor to help him increase his revenue. But there’s stigma and shame in doing the same for your dating life.

Admitting that you need help in this area of your life can make you feel inadequate. We tend to overlook the lifelong ROI of coaches and mentors out of ego and shame. And instead, we blame fate, bad luck, etc.

Our social relationships are one of the greatest predictors of our happiness and well being. Why wouldn’t we ask for help in this area of our lives?

Talking About Sex

Even though I was raised in a culture that wrote one of the oldest manuals on sex, Indian parents avoid “having the talk” with their kids. So when my sister was born, I started getting jealous. So, I asked if we could return her to the hospital. Lucky for me and our family, we decided to keep her.

If you haven’t seen it, I recommend watching Michael Moore’s documentary, Where to Invade Next. Pay close to attention to how French schoolchildren learn about sex. Instead of sperm swimming on a screen, they’re taught that their first sexual experience is something unique and to be enjoyed. In a conversation I had with Layla Martin about the biology and psychology of sexuality, she said the following:

To me, we have a sexual health epidemic that people aren’t talking about. We have a porn addiction. We’ve got sexual dysfunction, people not having sex in their long term marriages, sexual traumas, and sexual abuse. Harassment is just the tip of the iceberg. And we’re finally having that conversation in society right here, right now. We don’t have healthy models of sexuality.  We don’t have people having the conversation and modeling what it looks like to be a healthy, sexually-integrated being. Not only that, but we actively suppress that conversation in society. You can’t talk about it and run an ad on Facebook. You can’t talk about it and have a career on CNN. It’s crazy how much this conversation is still being suppressed and how much it’s needed.

The results of our current education about sex and dating are unfortunate. Guys behave like idiots. Women treat them like shit. People ending up with other incompatible people, and men and women ruining the dating process for each other.

Learning to Be Single and Happy

In a culture of romantic comedies, big weddings and engagement pictures that fill our newsfeeds, romantic love is the gold standard. It doesn’t matter if you’re male, female, straight or gay. If you get to a certain age and are still single, people assume something is wrong with you. One of the most important things we should have learned about love is how to be single and happy.

On the surface that might seem absurd. But the research of Jenny Taitz proves otherwise:

Focusing on finding love, rather than loving your life closes you off from great opportunities or leads you to settle for something that doesn’t feel right. Yes, it’s a virtue to grow and improve, but it’s important to remember that being single does not mean you’re flawed and in need of fixing. Your relationship or lack thereof has little to do with your worth.

This is even worse in the Indian culture, and more so for Indian women. It’s an insane double standard. But I’d rather be my age and a single Indian guy than a single Indian woman.

Natasha Scripture echoed this sentiment in an interview on the Unmistakable Creative and in her memoir, Man Fast:

Admittedly, I was addicted to the idea of love, to the tantalizing yet punitive search for romantic love, more than the actual reality of what a relationship entailed. Like many, my hesitation was in part because I wavered between too much aloneness and the fear of engulfment, of descending too much into myself and total suffocation by another, and I’d been in that in-between space for some time, using and writing people off as an excuse (though in my defense, many of them deserved to be written off). – Natasha Scripture

When we lose ourselves in the search for our loves, we lose a part of who we are in the process. When we learn to be single and happy, we’re able to live an extraordinary life regardless of our circumstances or relationship status.

What We Should Have Learned in School About Money

Few things in life have the kind of emotional impact on people the way that money does. Money is necessary for our basic survival. We need it to buy food, and to pay for shelter.

Money Stories

We tend not to think of money as a story. But if you ask people about money, you’ll quickly discover that a story follows it.

My sister and I grew up with very different money stories. My parents were at the start of their careers when we were growing up. They often told me we couldn’t afford certain things. My parents gave me everything they could within their means (except a skateboard). By the time my sister was a bit older, their means had increased. So they could give her a bit more than they were able to provide me when I was growing up.

Excessive Consumption

This story led to some very self-destructive spending patterns in my early 20s:

  • I tried to compensate for everything my parents weren’t able to give me when I was young.
  • I bought a pair of Air Jordans because I didn’t get them as a kid. I suck at basketball and never played again in the summer.
  • I Lost 1000 dollars in one night in Las Vegas

My life was all about accumulation and I didn’t prioritize quality over quantity. It’s taken some hard knocks and quite a bit of work to change this story. These days I’m somewhat of a minimalist. But when I do buy things, I limit the quantity and don’t mind shelling out for quality.

There’s a strange paradox that occurs when you prioritize quality. The things you own are more expensive. But you end up spending less because you might buy something once and not again for a long time.

Take something as ridiculous as a pair of 500 dollar Ferragamo dress shoes. You buy them once and then it’s ten years before you need another pair. That’s 50 dollars a year for ten years. And of course, prioritizing quality allows every part of your environment to become a sacred space.

Changing your Money Story

“You can’t be the type of person who tips 20 dollars on a 6 dollar cup of coffee. And have this limiting narrative about money.” – Seth Godin

My favorite part of Seth Godin’s Leap First audio seminar was about how we can unwind our money story by becoming a philanthropist.

  • Donate every single time you’re asked or make a monthly donation.
  • Give money to people busking on the streets.
  • Be generous with tips.

Think about the barista at your coffee shop. Most digital terminals give us an option to tip 15, 20, or 25%. But the difference is often negligible. Out of scarcity, we pick 15 percent and we save a quarter. Yet, people with an abundance mindset do the opposite.

Bushra Azhar donated 10% of her check when she made 10 dollars a month. And she maintained the habit when she started making 10,000 dollars a month.

Brian Koehn used to believe that making money involved blood, sweat, and tears until he didn’t. Then he walked into a new prospect’s office. He walked out with a 500 dollar check within a week of coming up with a business idea.

Giving reinforces abundance. Hoarding reinforces scarcity.

The story you tell yourself about money will impact how much you make. It will determine what you’re willing to spend it on, and how generous you will be. It will also determine how well you treat yourself and what you think you deserve.

The idea that the pursuit of wealth is a spiritual quest might seem absurd to people. But it is as much an inner journey as much as it is an outer one. So what’s the story you’ve been telling yourself about money?

The Toxic Social Program of Scarcity

Of all our socially programmed responses to life, the most toxic is scarcity. “When we believe there is not enough, that resources are scarce, then we accept that some will have what they need and some will not. We rationalize that someone is destined to put up with the short end of the stick,” says Lynne Twist in her book, The Soul of Money.

Scarcity Leads to Poor Decisions

If we see time as scarce, we become impatient. And our impatience has consequences that are often detrimental. This tends to happen as people get older. They worry that time is running out. Good decisions about life are rarely the result of scarcity:

  • If we see career opportunities as scarce, we take jobs we hate and choose employers that don’t value us.
  • If we see potential romantic partners as scarce, we make choices out of desperation. We compromise our values, stay in toxic relationships, and settle rather than settle down. We stay and chase people when we’d be better off just walking away.

Scarcity has a negative impact on every area of life.

Making the Shift from Scarcity to Abundance

When we view the world through the lens of scarcity, we see a world filled with limitations. It’s the energy that we walk through the world with. It’s virtually impossible to live a happy life when scarcity is your default worldview. Fortunately, making the shift from scarcity to abundance is where we can get practical with how we deal with money.

Dan Kennedy’s 90-day Experiment

In his book, No B.S. Wealth Attraction in the New Economy, Dan Kennedy recommends the following 90-day experiment:

Immediately establish a new bank account and call it your “Wealth Account.” It can be an interest-bearing checking, money market.

At first, it doesn’t matter. Next, determine a fixed percentage of every dollar that comes your way that will be diverted into that wealth account. Something between 1% and 10%.

You may think you can’t do this – Hey, I pay my bills with 100% of every buck, so how will I pay them with 90%? Well, maybe you won’t. But you aren’t now either. So just do it. Pick a percentage, deposit the money, and then do NOT touch it, no matter what.

Make these deposits every time a dollar arrives. Daily if need be. The more often, the better.

The act of putting money into your wealth account does things to and through your subconscious mind that cannot be fully explained.

I’ve been following this advice ever since I read his book. And what I’ve found quite consistently is that anytime I donate, the money seems to come back in multiples. I’m not sure why it works that way, but I’ve stopped questioning it.

Tipping $10

This is a simple piece of advice my friend, Joseph Logan, gave me a few months ago.

This exercise might seem wasteful. But, it’s one of the fastest ways to start unwinding the story that money is available to us in limited quantity. Set aside $100 and decide that you’re going to give it away in $10 tips.

  • First, you’ll notice that people who receive the 10 dollar tip will light up. When I tipped 10 dollars on a 6 dollar cup of coffee the woman at Starbucks was thrilled.
  • Second, you’ll feel good because they light up, which in turn, will reinforce your sense of abundance.

As your sense of abundance gets reinforced, you’ll start to see opportunities everywhere to recoup that money. If it sounds hokey, try it. You might be out $100 or up a $1000. It’s a sma risk for such a big pay off.

Take Opportunity Cost into Consideration

In my article on the five things I gave up to be successful, I said that there’s an opportunity cost to everything. During the first several years of my work on Unmistakable Creative, the opportunity cost was present-day earnings. It enabled me to increase my earning potential over time. But this doesn’t just apply to jobs. There’s an opportunity cost to nearly everything in our lives.

  • You wonder whether you should get the lease protection on a new car. The extra 100 bucks not only buys you peace of mind but saves you potentially thousands in the long run.
  • Driving all over town to save a dollar here or there might make you feel as if you’re budget-conscious. But the opportunity cost is time and gas.
  • It might be cheaper to put your bookshelf from IKEA together yourself. But, say TaskRabbit can do it in one hour, and it takes you all day. The opportunity cost is not only your time but your state of mind.

If you’re like most people, you didn’t learn most of these things in school.

But, thanks to the Internet, you can give yourself an education that kicks the crap out of the one you got in school:

These are essential life skills we should have learned in school but never did.

But above all, this might be the most important lesson I’ve learned in the last 10 years.

As I wrote in my last book, our ongoing expression of creativity in multiple forms—music, cooking, visual art, writing, woodworking—allows us to build a portfolio of meaningful experiences that don’t depend on any one person or thing that’s out of our control for our happiness and fulfillment. A portfolio of meaning is the real secret a meaningful life (a subject for another article or book).


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