Children Are Better Off Without School

Children Are Better Off Without School

Since I was a young lad, I had a strong interest in photo/film work. I wanted to be a movie director.

Luckily, my parents had a camcorder. One of these.

When I was 10, I would storyboard these elaborate movie plots, develop characters, then use the camcorder to direct and film the scenes with my friends. We would shoot skateboarding scenes, fight scenes, you name it.

The movie I remember most involved a skateboarding gang (my friends and I) vandalizing an apartment building, going to jail for it, then escaping from jail. It was a blast. Don’t worry, no apartment buildings were actually vandalized, we used cardboard boxes and other props.

I remember how excited I got about my movie ideas. I would think about them all day at school, and when I finally got home, I would get to work creating my next movie.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was actually educating myself better than my teachers were.

Here are some things I was learning:


I was the leader of the projects; the one with the ideas–with the vision. I was responsible for putting it all together. I had to coordinate our schedules and make sure everyone could meet at the right time to film a certain scene. This was tough when each of us had to ask our parents and then relay the information back through word-of-mouth communication. We didn’t have cell phones. Sometimes we would meet up to film a scene in the morning before school.


I couldn’t manage the filming, directing, props, acting, etc. all by myself. So I would give my friends tasks, like finding props, or getting everyone the right outfits, or taking over camera-work if I had to act in that scene.


I had all these ideas and visions for characters and stories, and I somehow had to bring those out of my head and into reality. I took it step by step, and I never really got overwhelmed because to me it was simply a fun project.


I would write all the scripts for my movies. They had to make sense chronologically, and the dialogue had to seem realistic.

How to use a camera

I learned how to get smooth shots by using tripods and skateboards. I learned about camera angles, lighting, and how to work a camcorder. I also learned that bulky camcorders are usually OK if you drop them on the sidewalk (sorry mom & dad).


By age 11, I gave it all up.



School was the primary focus in my life, as it is for just about everyone from ages 5-22. Not by choice, by obligation.

In school, I spent a majority of my time in a classroom learning things like math, writing, reading and science. These are no doubt important things to learn about, but I wasn’t very excited by them at the time. Instead, I was excited about creating my movies. I was learning more valuable skills by creating amateur movies with my friends than from my school assignments.

It’s not about the content of what you learn – it’s about the context.

Enjoying the process of learning is more important than what you learn.

In school, I was forced to learn certain things regardless of my interest in them. After school, the possibilities were as big as my imagination. There were no rules and no limits, and I could be as creative as I wanted to be. This invigorated me. If I stopped enjoying the filming I was doing, I would stop doing it. I was free to move on to something more exciting. In school, if I didn’t enjoy what I was learning, I had to do it anyways – or else I would get in trouble.

The context of learning in school is forced. The context of learning from my movie-shooting adventures was limitless and free. We thrive when we are free to explore our interests. We are stifled when we are forced against our will.

I gave up my creative endeavors because everyone around me encouraged me to stop ‘playing with my friends’ and focus on my schoolwork. I was an impressionable 10-year-old being trained to think fun = bad and schoolwork = good, regardless of how either thing made me feel. I didn’t think to question what all the adults were telling me. Probably because part of what they were telling me was to not question them.

As I’m writing this, it sounds criminal to do this to a young kid.

I can’t imagine how different my life would be if an adult I trusted had told me, “Simon, I can tell you’re really excited about your movies. Doing creative things you enjoy is more important than your homework. Let me help you edit the movie and put it together into a finished product; maybe we can submit it to a film competition and see if people like it.”

Instead, I listened to my everyone around me. I gave up my dream of being a movie director, and spent the next 9 years drudging my way through school, learning how to cheat on tests, half-ass projects, and skate by with bare-minimum effort in order to please my teachers.

What if I had quit school at age 10? I would know about the same amount of math as I do now.

What if I had kept making movies? I’ve heard 12 years of experience goes a long way in just about anything you do…

Stop getting schooled by school. Embrace your “weird” creative hobbies, dive into what you enjoy, and don’t ever submit to the limits that other people put up for you.

I write this story 12 years later, after realizing the hard way what’s really important when it comes to education. If you feel bored in school, you’re not alone. There is a better way. Reach out to me:


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Ep 7 – Phil Stodola on 80/20 leadership and investing in yourself as an entrepreneur.

Ep 7 – Phil Stodola on 80/20 leadership and investing in yourself as an entrepreneur.

“The hardest working guy in painting,” Phil is a hungry entrepreneur and a practical problem solver. He is on year 2 building his company, Arete Pro Painting, and things are going better than expected.

I continue to learn from Phil every time I have the chance to talk to him. He has an objective and effective approach to business that just works.

We talk about the best/worst investment he ever made (it was the same purchase), how he broke records as a mentor, why he decided to move to Texas and start his own company, and more.

He’s always open to talk, so if you have questions don’t hesitate to reach out: | 512-387-5751

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Ep 6 – Derek Magill on his high-school antics, personal branding, and the future of education

Ep 6 – Derek Magill on his high-school antics, personal branding, and the future of education

This week I talk with Derek Magill, the Director of Marketing for Praxis. Derek helps countless young people jump-start their careers by encouraging them to sidestep traditional education paths and get creative about providing value.

People who take his advice typically end up going from bored college student to valuable asset doing meaningful work at a startup – often in a matter of weeks. Here is a recent example.

Derek and I cover everything from high school to building a personal brand to the best investment he ever made.

We had a few technical difficulties and got a late start, so the interview didn’t last as long as I had hoped. I plan to bring him on again for a more in-depth conversation in the coming months.

Check out Derek’s blog, you’ll be glad you did!

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Ep 5 – The man behind the Fuck College T-Shirts

Ep 5 – The man behind the Fuck College T-Shirts

Andrew Goldsmith’s company, Outfit Good, printed my infamous t-shirts back in the Spring of 2016.

Andrew is an awesome guy.f_college_goodlandjammin

He had a $50,000 salary at 19. When he was laid off, Andrew told himself it was because he didn’t have a degree. He then spent 7 years working hard in school, and ended up starting his own shirt printing business, not using his degree or much of what he learned in those 7 years.

This is the classic story of someone who fell into the trap of playing the school game, and realized it 7 years too late.

This is why I do these podcasts. To help you realize that you don’t need college to do what you want to do. You just need to do it and correct course along the way.




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What Your Teachers Won’t Tell You

What Your Teachers Won’t Tell You

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

This is something I wish I learned much earlier than I did. It’s a secret your school teachers and college professors don’t want you to know. Quite honestly, a lot of them probably don’t realize it themselves.

Knowing this sooner would have saved me years upon years and thousands upon thousands of dollars that I spent on things I didn’t care about.

The secret is this:

All you need to do to begin your career is to start.

You don’t need any more lectures. You don’t need more debt to get another credential or degree. You don’t need any more tests. You don’t need permission. You don’t even need any experience.

All you need is to start.

One of my good friends once said: Try trying.

Give an honest effort. You will learn along the way.

Want to write a book?

Don’t spend $60,000 on an English degree. Just start writing the book. You’ll correct course along the way. Nobody said it will be perfect. An imperfect reality is better than a perfect fantasy. It’s your book. You are creating it. You imagined it in the first place. It’s only fitting that it is brought into reality on your terms.

Want to start a business?

Start the business. Don’t know how? Find someone who does, and ask them for help. If they say no, find somebody else. There is no shortage of people in the world. Will you mess up? Yes. Will it take a while? Yes. Just like the book, it won’t be perfect. That’s okay. At least it’s real.

Obviously writing a book and starting a business both require a lot of thought, planning and action. There’s much more to it than just starting, and it’s not that easy.

But you don’t need to know all of that right now. It doesn’t matter until you get there. Football players don’t plan out the 4th quarter during the pregame warmups. They focus on the first possession.

Take the first step first. Once you move forward, even if it’s in the wrong direction, you’ll be able to look at your problem from an entirely new spot. Then you’ll know what to do next, plus you’ll have a bit of momentum.

This is called learning. It can be done through creation, and it’s more powerful that way.

Learning isn’t a prerequisite.

It’s so easy to revert to passivism. We have been raised in a classroom and taught to wait until we’re “ready” before we try something. You will never feel ready.You don’t need to learn how to do something before you do it.

The act of trying something is what shows you how to do it.

Stop waiting until you’re ready. Start starting before you’re ready.

In his book The Four Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss wrote:

““Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.”

The truth is, your college professors need you more than you need them. But they don’t want you to know that. They would lose their jobs.

Until then, the problem grows.

It’s up to you to fix it.

Just start.

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