Education a Help or a Hindrance?

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Blog, Living All In

Do you constantly feel like you need to do more and be more?

It may seem simple, and one of the reasons is because you were not encouraged to discover your gifts and strengths or develop your uniqueness in this world. 

You’ve Been Conditioned

If you are like most people, school was about getting good grades and living up to expectations. It was not about exploring what made you happy, who you were, or what you wanted. In truth, you learned to suppress all of that.

You internalized what society was teaching; ‘get good grades, move up the ladder, fit in’. Getting to the next level with the right tools was framed as the most important thing in life. The part of you that loved to play, ask questions, express, explore and do things your way got tucked away.

Our current schooling system was created during the industrial revolution to teach people to be reliable, timely, obedient workers.

When factories were first getting started in the 1880’s, sitting in rows compliantly doing work for someone else was unheard of. Yet factories needed workers, so government and business came together to create the public school system.

It worked – for a while. Businesses grew, people wanted more stuff, and an insatiable cycle of needing more was created. The schooling model became entrenched even though it squashed people’s humanity. In the 60’s and 70’s new options began to pop up as the mood of the country was swinging from the power of institutions back towards individualism. Ideas like the Montessori method (work from children’s natural interests and activities rather than formal teaching methods) began to make small inroads.

However, those new models stayed firmly in the minority due to the threat they posed to the status quo. 50 years later, the majority of our schooling still perpetuates the “comply, fit in, do what you’re told, be like your peers” mandates that was its mission in 1880. 

Seth Godin, who wrote a manifesto on education called Stop Selling Dreams, asks if we want to continue to “reward our children for collecting the dots, or start teaching them to connect the dots?”. He says that “Grades are an illusion. Passion and insight are reality.” 

You Can Change Your Conditioning

Did doing well in school and collecting the dots throughout your career make you truly happy? Or leave you feeling like you were chasing an ‘attaboy’? As Seth says, “fitting in is a short term strategy that gets you nowhere. Standing out is a long term strategy that takes guts and produces results.”

And it’s more than that. Where’s the inner joy, the meaning, the ‘why’ behind the work we do that fulfills our soul?

“Education is meant to help you realize your individuality.”

~ Donna Markova, Open Mind

The thing that is missing in our antiquated education system is us – our unique gifts and strengths. Most of us were raised in a system that built interchangeable parts, it taught us to read and to write while telling us to put the best parts of ourselves aside.

This is the key to changing the inner belief, the conditioning, and freeing yourself to fully embrace your joy and meaning. It’s a process of re-membering – literally pulling all the disparate parts of you back together into a cohesive whole. 

What were you told to stop doing in school?

Were you the talkative one that was told to sit down and be quiet?  The amazing reader who was told to work harder at math? The curious one told to stop asking so many questions?

A system of compliance can’t handle uniqueness, it gets squashed, processed. So now it’s up to you to discover your stuffed, squashed and processed genius, the gifts you brought to this world. You were meant to share them, not just for you, the world needs them.

3 Steps to Get You Started

It’s time to reclaim the parts of you that have been shamed, or blamed or judged in some way when you were simply in your natural flow or natural energy.

First, you have to make space. There are voices in your head repeating the lies you were told as a child. Recognizing them for what they are, untruths told to you by an industrialized compliance system trying to make you a cog in a wheel. 

Questions make space, so let’s go on a quest. An option here is the one from above, “What were you told to stop doing in school?” Follow that with “Why?” 

Answers fill space – so the key is, don’t rush to figure out an answer. Sit with the questions.

Second, start to really explore the things that come easily to you, the things that you dismiss because to you ‘everyone can do that’. No. Not everyone can. You have a gift that was packed in your bag and using that gift instead of diminishing it is essential.

When a skill comes easily to you, you will tend not to value it in yourself.”  – Stephanie J Allen

Create lists for yourself. 

Ask friends and colleagues.

Most importantly, stay in the conversation. 

Don’t limit yourself by listening to the old voices in your head.

Third, allow yourself to dream. Beyond all the things you’ve been conditioned to want, beyond all the things you think you need, there is a dream, a wish, a longing.

What is the dream you have tucked away in your heart? Hidden so that it would not be crushed, laughed at or ridiculed. Put aside because someone told you it wasn’t for you. 

The mystics say that when we’re given a dream that we’re also given everything we need for that dream – it just won’t necessarily look the way we think it should look. That’s why we need to not only open, but get skillful at, our on-going conversation with life and our life’s purpose.

If you have any questions, please reach out. I’d love to dream the beautiful future of our planet with you.

In case this is the first time we’re meeting, I’m Maren, an executive life coach, speaker, dancer, and serial entrepreneur empowering you to step into your purpose and live your most fulfilled life.

When you’re ready, here are a few ways I can help regardless of where you are on your journey to self discovery:

Book me to speak at your next event and inspire your team of high achievers to step into their purpose, master their mindset, amplify their impact, and find fulfillment.

Join the Dance with Life Program: Uncover your unique gifts and experience a more fulfilling way of success with my Dance with Life program. I’ve helped dozens of high achievers transform their lives. Learn how you can join this transformative journey.

Download my free guide – “Spinning Life in Your Favor”: Access three simple steps you can take TODAY to start dancing with life instead of slogging through it.

Listen to The Soulful Leader Podcast: Tune in to the Soulful Leader Podcast every Tuesday for inspiration, tools, and actionable tips for personal and professional growth.


  1. This is so good and this quote really spoke to me:

    “Education is meant to help you realize your individuality.”

    • That is a great quote. I love Donna Markova’s book, Open Mind.


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