The School of Life is a philosophical and practical education project from the mind of Swiss-Brit philosopher Alain de Botton. The project's YouTube channel is a veritable gold mine of insight and inspiration with over 500 videos on a range of topics from self-awareness, relationships, and work, to art, literature, philosophy, and culture. I have watched a few dozen of them over the last few months, and I absolutely love them. The videos always provide a fresh perspective on life's both obvious and overlooked challenges. I don't always agree with the viewpoints or conclusions in the videos, but I always gain from watching them. Here are 5 of my favorites:
1. WHY YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO CHANGE CAREER
What a great video for anyone, but especially for young people who typically lack the life experience to gain this perspective on their own. The way he frames the relatively low investment of time in a drastic change compared to the length time of reaped benefits from that change is a game-changer. This idea will affect how I weigh major life decisions in my future.
This video does a great job at pointing out some of the subconscious factors that can affect the development of self-esteem from an early age. It's crucial to understand how self-esteem is formed because so many search for the answer to the self-esteem problem in the wrong places.
3. THE PERFECTIONIST TRAP
This video has me like 🙌🏼 🙌🏼 🙌🏼! I think every human being needs to hear this message. There is where we are, and there is where we want to be. Between is a chasm of silence. So often, we fail to learn how to learn, how to create, how to become what we can see in our mind's eye. The perfectionist trap possibly the most pernicious cause of squandered human potential. It must be crushed!
4. HOW TO BE A GOOD LISTENER
This video is simply fantastic. It points out that listening is not a charitable act, but a selfish one because it can bring us better more meaningful relationships and a deeper understanding of our own lives. Plus, it makes the brilliant connection between reading literature, a form of listening many find pleasurable, and listening to real people in our everyday lives.
5. HOW TO BE WARM
This video sealed my love of The School of Life. I had been struggling for many years because I found that the people I most enjoyed spending time with were not the people I had expected. It wasn't the people who shared the same intellectual interests or political beliefs as me. I was often perplexed when, no matter how hard I tried, I could not connect with someone who seemed to mesh so well with me "on paper." This video gave me the answer: warmth. Personality has proven to be more important to successful friendships than shared goals or shared philosophy.