Focus 2 Achieve

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I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

Hey Students: Schools Are Dead

Hey students: Schools are dead

… but learning isn’t.

I wrote my first book, Crush School: Every Student’s Guide To Killing It In The Classroom after realizing that most interesting education books are written for adults, and the ones students are forced to use in class mostly suck.

They’re not just uninteresting. They are dull and written in some weird code no one can, or wants to understand. And, they make your backpack look like you’re about to set off on a two week long hike in the wilderness, which would be cool if you’re into that sort of thing, except for the fact that you’re surrounded by concrete, glass, and steel. You’re not a horse either, so what’s the deal? I mean really…

And here’s one more unpopular opinion coming from this teacher. Most of the stuff in those books is useless. Most of the so-called knowledge can be googled. Some of this information will be outdated before you hit work. A lot of it is irrelevant right now.

The simple truth many schools don’t want to accept, is that teaching subjects and giving tests is the wrong way to go about education. This is why many students hate school, but actually love learning. Think about it. School might not be your thing, but you surely have hobbies, passions, and other things you choose to learn. No one tells you to learn them. You just do, because you want to. They matter and are worth your time. Why can’t we do more of that at school?

But here’s the kicker. The stuff school books are made of is not all bad. The problem is that you’re not using most of what you’re learning in meaningful ways. There’s often no connection to your life. So, school sucks. But you must get through it.

Let’s talk chemistry. Why do many schools require all students take chemistry to graduate? It’s not like everyone will be a chemist when they grow up. In chemistry, you learn stoichiometry to calculate the amounts of chemicals made in chemical reactions. Even if you do a related experiment, the product is some white powder you can’t eat, sniff, or smoke. You made it for no real reason. What’s the point?

But what if that powder was used for something? What if you could take some of that stuff home and wash a stain out of that one shirt you spilled Kool Aid on? Now, you made something relevant. The abstract concepts became a real thing. Isn’t that cool? Unfortunately, this almost never happens in school.

But this is precisely why you need to learn how to learn; how to figure things out on your own, based on what you need. If you have the right skills, you can figure out how to make soap or meth, build a website or a car, or code the next Snapchat or Pokemon GO. Even if you’re not interested in any of the things just mentioned, wouldn’t it be cool to know that you could if you wanted to?

That’s what this book is about; gaining the skills and the confidence that will help you say I can do it, no matter what it is. This is what the future will require. Actually, that’s wrong. The future is now.

So…  If school sucks for you, let it be dead to you. Just focus on learning, because you will need mad skills to survive in the urban jungle that awaits when you’re out. Learn how to learn, and do it the smart way, so you can constantly improve yourself. If you know how to learn, you’ll be able to reinvent yourself and start over when things don’t work out.

And if things do work out? You’ll know why they did. Besides, things can always get better. If you don’t improve them, someone else will. Count on that, but always bet on yourself.


I hope you enjoyed my message to students. I meant every word. In fact, this is how my new book Crush School 2: 10 Study Secrets Every High Schooler Should Know starts. The other 40 pages are packed with explanations, ideas, and tips on how to gain skills necessary for school and future success. I wrote it to show students why they have to and how they can become lifelong learners, capable of reinventing themselves whenever they need to. Because this is the future, and it is now. Crush School 2 is $4.95 on Kindle and you will love it. If not, let me know and I'll give you a fiver.

You have the power to change lives. Use it often.