Life has a funny habit of throwing the unexpected at us when we least expect it. A breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 32 wasn't part of my grand plan and it completely threw me off course. The route that I had planned in my mind changed completely and I suddenly found myself sailing through uncharted waters. As a result of this challenge I learned a great deal and not just about myself.
For practical books, I try to set a plan for how I can implement it in my life. Charlie Munger also described the necessity of using what you read: 'I don't know anyone who's wise who doesn't read a lot. But that's not enough: You have to have a temperament to grab ideas and do sensible things. Most people don't grab the right ideas or don't know what to do with them.'
Being unpopular made me tough as hell. I got used to incessant criticism, of myself and everything I did. It stopped bothering me to the same degree. When you are the class whipping girl, every aspect of your existence is a problem to someone. It taught me to pay attention to the misfits, the people on the fringe, the purple cows. After all, I was one of them. I still am.
Learning takes time, perseverance, effort and the knowledge that the learner has a right to be wrong, to make mistakes and to figure it out gradually. A learner's own imperfect answer which is the result of patience and reading is better than someone else's supposedly 'great' answer, acquired quickly online.
I'd advise other people who are looking for a rewarding career change to consider teaching - especially if you like working with young people, are interested in a subject area or are keen to find a career path with a wide range of opportunities. Teaching always has been and always will be my way of tackling those January blues, and it could be yours too.
These are indeed exciting times for the world of education, and for those who are seeking new ways to equip themselves with the skills they need to succeed at life. We owe it to the students of the future - those currently at school, or stuck in jobs dreaming of a better, more fulfilling career - to give them a true choice, and the ability to access educational excellence.