Bill Gates’ “11 Things Kids Won’t Learn in School” is actually “11 Things that Contribute to Mental Illness” (and it wasn’t written by Bill Gates)

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Bill Gates did not write these rules, he did not give a high school speech with these rules, and in fact he is a much nicer and positive person.  The original author was Charles J. Sykes: “50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education.”

I want to go through each one, and explain why I feel this mindset contributes to young people (and even older people) feeling horrible about themselves.

RULE 1 … Life is not fair; get used to it.

True.  Life isn’t fair, and we need to accept that.

RULE 2 … The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Just because the world doesn’t care about your self-esteem, doesn’t mean that you are worthless UNTIL you “accomplish” something.

Seriously ? Unless someone accomplishes something, they should feel bad about themselves ? What do they need to accomplish ? Who decides what an “accomplishment” is?

Wow…..The person who wrote this rule HAS low self esteem.

NO ONE needs to prove themselves worthy – EVER.

RULE 3 … You will NOT make $50,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice president, until you earn it.

True, yet society expects you to spend $50,000 right out of high school to get a college education to work at the same entry level jobs you could have applied for right out of high school.


Unfortunately, you may NEVER be a vice president, because the generations before you aren’t retiring, and you’re only working a temporary contract position at the company anyways.

RULE 4 … If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure.

Why does being a boss = being an a$$ ? If a company can’t find “good quality staff”, or can’t keep staff, I guarantee it’s this tough guy mentality.  There are a tonne of quality employees out there, they just CHOOSE not to work for companies who think being hard on their employees is acceptable business practice.

RULE 5 .. .Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping; they called it opportunity.

Fortunately for them, your grandparents opportunities didn’t require a master’s degree to get any job besides a burger flipper.  Your grandparents also convinced you that if you went to university or college, you wouldn’t NEED to be flipping burgers…………

RULE 6 … If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

You do need to learn from your mistakes, but you have to be allowed to make them.  Micromanaging and parenting styles have prevented you from being able to do this.  Who’s fault is that ? Who writes the parenting books ?

RULE 7 … Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try “delousing” the closet in your own room.

Nice way to make a human being feel like they are responsible for ruining their parent’s life.

That doesn’t affect someone’s mental health at all………*eye roll*

RULE 8 … Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

There are only winners and losers in your life if you are constantly comparing yourself to others.  Another sign the writer has poor self esteem.

I do agree that there is loss and failing, but that doesn’t make a person a loser or a failure.

RULE 9 … Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summer off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

True.  You are going to sell the majority of your waking time to a company for money, so you can in turn buy things from other companies.

I also agree that many employers don’t care who you are or what you like.  See Rule #4.

RULE 10 … Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

True. See Rule #9.

However you already know this, because you are 30 years old and working at the coffee shop trying to pay off your $50,000 student loan.

RULE 11 … Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

True.  Or even better – be a nerd that other people WANT to work for.


This is what Bill Gates REALLY says, much more inspirational:  (

Bill Gates's Top 10 Rules For Success

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