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10 Reasons Why C Students Are More Successful After Graduation

10 Reasons Why C Students Are More Successful After Graduation

In the late 1800s, schools were designed and intended to teach obedience. During the rise of our industrial age, big corporations needed workers for their factories. The purpose of the academic system was to create obedient and compliant workers who never asked questions. There were already plenty of scholars at the time.

Thus, the creation of the standardized test. Our academic system itself became a factory to standardize all of the rising students to ensure they fit the desired mold. If the student failed the tests, they would be held back another year to try again.

Despite the fact that our world has dramatically changed since the late 1800s, our school systems are structured in the same way. Despite the fact that many of us can connect to the internet, there are 10,000 teachers giving the same lecture on any given day across the country.

The internet has changed the world. If you want to learn something, you don’t need to get an encyclopedia anymore. You can go to Wikipedia, or Youtube, or a million other places online. There are tons of programs that teach people how to learn things effectively at optimal speeds.

The world is moving to an entrepreneurial and innovation-driven economy. It is projected that by 2020, over one billion people will be working from their homes. In the future of work, less people will work for one company as generalists and instead will work for multiple companies as specialists.

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The world doesn’t need obedient and compliant factory workers anymore. The world needs artists, creatives, hackers, and innovators. We’re done with apathetically living out our lives in school and at our 9-to-5 jobs. We’re sick of it. We’re done with it.

And the best part — the new economy wants it as well.

So with this backdrop, we can now examine why C students are generally better off than their A and B counterparts.

1. They question the validity of the academic system

C students are not sold on the academic system. They’re not sold on the factory approach. They see a great deal of good that comes from it, but they don’t worship the system. They see its many flaws.

Furthermore, they know that learning can occur in different ways than the system presents, and that learning can happen entirely outside of the system. Thus, academia is only one approach to learning for C students.

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These students aren’t afraid to challenge the status-quo. Even if it’s uncomfortable to stand out, it’s less uncomfortable than moving forward in clearly the wrong direction.

2. They are not submissive followers

C students think for themselves. They don’t walk between the lines without first questioning why those lines exist. Rather than having someone else tell them how to live their lives, C students come up with their own agendas. They zig when everyone else zags.

3. They are not trying to please and impress their superiors

C students don’t spend enormous amounts of energy trying to impress their superiors. They respect and love their teachers, but they don’t worship them and obey their every request. They don’t see their teachers the guardians of their success. They don’t depend on references or resumés anymore. They realize that in today’s world, their work speaks for itself — it’s online for everyone to see.

4. They have bigger things to worry about

Ironically, if you’re obsessed with your grades, you’re not thinking enough about your future. People who get C’s are more strategic about how they spend their time. While their classmates are putting tons of energy into an arbitrary indicator, C students are actually pursuing their dreams. They aren’t waiting until after school to start living.

5. They have their own definition of success

A and B students seek security externally in the form of “good grades.” However, C students know that security can only really be experienced internally. They know who they are. No external standard of success will ever compare to their own self-awareness and acceptance — they’ve defined success for themselves. They don’t care what the masses are competing for, C students chart their own paths.

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6. They know how to leverage other people’s abilities

While A and B students try to do it all themselves, C students build an army around them of talented people who compensate for their weaknesses. Like Henry Ford, they aren’t afraid to admit they don’t know it all. On one occasion, Ford was being harassed for not being intelligent. In response to an offensive line of questioning, he pointed his finger at the questioning lawyer and replied:

“Let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, why I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”

7. They prefer self-directed learning

C students love learning. They just prefer to dictate the direction of their own learning — they don’t want someone else to tell them how to think. They prefer to explore and discover for themselves, to study what they are naturally drawn to. They don’t try to force things, but instead lean into their passions.

8. They’re not perfectionists

“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” — Reid Hoffman.

Done is better than perfect. C students understand and live by this. They focus on results and getting stuff done. They know that perfectionism leads to procrastination. They prefer to jump right in and learn through their mistakes, through what the market tells them.

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This is why so many successful entrepreneurs struggled in school. They understand that failure is a beautiful teacher, even though many of them got kicked out of school for failing.

9. They don’t waste energy thoughtlessly

In The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss teaches what he calls, “minimum effective dose” (MED) — the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. Anything beyond that is wasteful.

To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled — higher temperatures will not make it more boiled. If you need 15 minutes in the sun to trigger a melanin response, 15 minutes is your MED for tanning. More than 15 minutes is redundant and will just result in burning and a forced break from the beach.

C students understand this. Their goal is learning. Anything beyond that is wasteful. The energy cost to go from an A- to an A is generally far greater than the actually learning outcome. Thus, it is often wasted energy. C students don’t put more energy into things than they need to. They are efficient, effective, and focused.

10. They are dreamers

While the A and B students are listening carefully to understand what will be on the test, the C students are looking out the window at the clouds and beautiful landscapes. They’ve already gathered the MED of the lecture. Consequently, they’ve freed up several hours each day to dream of a better world. They are thinking about the big things they will do in life. They are working out important problems in their minds.

You think they’re jotting notes from the lecture? Wrong. They are detailing their ideas and plans. When they go home, they’ll do the MED of homework and spend the majority of their time with friends or working towards their dreams.

Featured photo credit: Peelander Z/ Incase via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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