The Sh*t You Don’t Learn in School Podcast

Formal schooling does a terrible job of preparing you to thrive as an adult. The Sh*t You Don’t Learn in School podcast exists to make up for this societal failure. 

In this show, Calvin Rosser and Steph Smith share stories, insights, and resources designed to help you improve the quality of your personal and professional life. 

If works out, you’ll be 1% better at navigating life. Check out all of the episodes here.

-Calvin Rosser, “The Sh*t You Don’t Learn in School Podcast.”

The Power of Compounding

Things add up. You learn one skill. Then another. You finish one project. Then another. Over time, your accomplishments add up to form an impressive feat.

This is especially true for money. Most people earned their money over time. Few people make a big financial splash. Forget about the Conor McGregors and Evan Spiegels of this world. These are people who hit the career jackpot.

But you don’t need special talent or skills to succeed in life. If you take the long road, achieve one goal after the other, and build up your wealth step by step, you are more likely to live a good life.

It’s simple. And it always works. People who say it doesn’t just haven’t had the patience to apply it to their own life.”

-Darious Foroux, “The Power of Compounding.” September 4, 2017.

Effective Data Visualization: Transform Information into Art

“In this course, [Data illustrator Sonja Kuijpers] gives you the tools you need to transform data into captivating illustrations using colors, shapes, and images. Discover how to collect and analyze data sets, as well as how to transform them into a unique poster that tells a story. Are you ready to create your own data art?

Effective Data Visualization: Transform Information into Art

I never heard of Domestika, an online learning platform, before. This course seems awesome. Bookmarking for later.

52 Things [Tom Whitwell] Learned in 2021

“4. 10% of US electricity is generated from old Russian nuclear warheads. [Geoff Brumfiel]

43. Privacy seems to be connected to productivity. An experiment in a phone factory showed that putting curtains round workers on a production line increased output by 10–15%. [Ethan Bernstein via Ethan Mollick]

52. A study of 14,000 Australians over 14 years found that neither being promoted nor being fired has any impact on either emotional wellbeing or life satisfaction. [Nathan Kettlewell & co]”

Tom Whitwell, “52 Things I Learned in 2021.” Fluxx Studio Notes. December 1, 2021.

Simulacrum for New Selves

There’s a blog post that describes Tom Bihn’s iterative design process. He talks about how he starts with an idea, but it is always with the notion that the first idea is never your best one. It has to be reality tested. He draws some sketches, does a mock-up, puts the dimensions into 2D modeling software, works on prototype halves, then he stuffs the bag with something and considers it over time. When the design is close to how he wants it, he shows it to other designers. He refines the design. After, he works on how best to consistently produce the product and the considerations that factor in beyond design. In the end, you have a great product.

Clearly, this iterative process is a good one for making products. It got me thinking would it work in other area, like in designing a life? What does it mean to design a life?

Like Tom, we have to have a vision of what makes for a good life. There’s no good answer to that question that works for everyone. As with bags, people have a wide variety of tastes. Standard aspirations tend to fall in line with either being wealthy, famous and/or powerful. In spiritual traditions, they tend to focus on how being poor, unknown and powerless can be fuel for spiritual development. But, it is also generally acknowledged that having too little of each makes it difficult to spiritually progress.

So, perhaps the good life is finding the balance, where we have enough money, recognition and ability to influence the world around us that we aren’t oppressed by our circumstances. At the same time, having too much of these things tends to be oppressive in a different way, forcing us to act counter to our interests or even of the interests of others. If you are a leader of a country, the role of leader leaves little room for anything else.

And, I think this points to something important. In order to change, we need to have the space to assume different roles, to try on different identities or practices.

To pick a trivial example, in some countries and in some historical periods, a mid-afternoon nap during the hottest part of the day or just as a cultural practice was common. However, in modern industrial society, where work is ruled by the clock, there is often no concept of a mid-day nap. You have a lunch or dinner break. You don’t have a siesta.

But, perhaps our lives would be significantly improved with a mid-day nap. Perhaps the timing of the nap, say sometime between 5 hours after we woke up from sleeping at night to sometime ending five hours before. What happens when naps are earlier or later in the cycle? How many of us have done any experimentation to figure out what works best for us?

The answer is that most of us are sleep-deprived because we prioritize other aspects of our lives over sleeping. We need to pick up the kids from school, go to school ourselves, go to two jobs with little time for anything else, or worse.

You could follow the same pattern for any activity you like: exercise, reading, cultivating our “third place“, meeting people and making friends, and on and on and on. Do we put the same kind of care into imagining our lives that Tom Nihn puts into imagining his bags? Imagine what kind of life you could live if you did.

Play Your Own Game

1. Judge less.

At least half the people doing things with money that you disagree with are playing a different game than you are. You probably look just as crazy in their eyes.

2. Figure out what game you’re playing, then play it (and only it).

So few investors do this. Maybe they have a vague idea of their game, but they haven’t clearly defined it. And when they don’t know what game they’re playing, they’re at risk of taking their cues and advice from people playing different games, which can lead to risks they didn’t intend and outcomes they didn’t imagine.

-Morgan Housel, “Play Your Own Game.” Collaborative Fund. May 13, 2021

Intrinsic Values Test

“To develop this test, we investigated what philosophers and psychologists have said about what humans fundamentally value, and then conducted two studies of our own, collecting and statistically analyzing the intrinsic values of 500 people in the U.S. Taking this test will help you:

1. Figure out your most important intrinsic values.

2. Discover what your unique intrinsic values say about you.

3. Understand why intrinsic values are so important.

An intrinsic value is something you value for its own sake.

Put another way, an intrinsic value is something you would still value even if you got absolutely nothing else from it. Sometimes intrinsic values are referred to as ‘terminal values,’ because they reflect the end points in our value system that all our other values are aiming at. Non-intrinsic values are sometimes called ‘instrumental values,’ because we only care about them as a means to achieve other ends.”

Intrinsic Values Test

My top value: I have agency and can make choices for myself. Surprising no one.