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Why People Who Succeed At School Don’t Always Succeed In Life

Why People Who Succeed At School Don’t Always Succeed In Life

When we were small, we were taught that if we wanted to be successful, we had to study hard and get good results at school. Getting straight “A”s had to be our goal if we wanted to succeed in life. But in reality, how many straight A students do you know become really successful as they grow up? The good boys and good girls who were very disciplined at school, submitting all their assignments on time and getting good results in exams may just end up doing a job they don’t like despite the fact that they can make money out of it. Why is it like that? Weren’t we taught that to become successful, we’re supposed to study hard and be good at school?

What you need for a good and successful life is not really learned at school.

I’m not discouraging anyone to give up studying; there’re subjects such as languages, simple maths, music and physical education which are useful for us. What I’m trying to say is that the school curriculum is not perfect.There’re a lot of things which are essential to life missing in the curriculum. And there’re many bad habits schools inculcate:[1]

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They want us to put up our hands and wait to be chosen. They want us to keep asking other people for permission.They teach us to deliver on, rather than change, expectations.They teach us to redeploy ideas rather than originate them.They teach us to expect that people in authority know – rather than letting us imagine that – in rather inspiring ways – no one is really on top of what’s going on.They teach us to trust that they have our largest, best, life-long interests at heart; without letting on that they are merely interested in our achievements

Basically, to succeed at school, you need to be obedient, and whether you’re good or not very much depends on the teachers’ expectations. And instead of helping students to understand why they should do certain things, teachers (or the school system) simply force students to follow the rules, leaving students no room for originality and critical thinking.But life doesn’t work like this in reality.To succeed in life, you need to think out of the box instead of doing what everyone else’s doing. And there’re many aspects to take care of aside from the school subjects, for example, what to do to be a happy person; how to maintain a healthy relationship; how to work smart; and what to do to lead a meaningful life etc.

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Doing bad at school doesn’t make you a failure (and it’s supported by statistics).

While it’s a fact that anyone who has at least a high school diploma has more opportunities because one needs to have some fundamental knowledge and skills; statistics show that people who failed at school didn’t end up failing in life.You may have already known that Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and Jim Carey etc. didn’t do too well at school or are school dropouts.[2] In fact, there’re a lot more than just the “big names” who are successful in life without completing school.According to Current Biography Yearbook (editions 1959-2005 & 2007), out of all the successful people, at least 768 of them are school dropouts and they’re successful in different fields.[3]

  • Billionaires: 26
  • Nobel Prize Winners: 10 (6 Literature, 2 Peace, 1 Physics, 1 Chemistry)
  • Oscar Winners: 63
  • Oscar Nominees: 105 (includes above)
  • Best-Selling Authors: 56
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients (U.S.’s highest civilian honor): 25
  • Congressional Gold Medal recipients (U.S.): 12
  • Knighthoods: 28
  • and the list goes on…

You can check out the complete list of successful people here.Now that you understand the difference between doing good at school and doing good in life, what can you do about this?

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Life is a really long lesson, so long that you can’t define a person’s success by just one section of it.

If you’ve already finished school, keep learning because what you learned at school will never be enough to lead a great life.If you’re still studying, whether you’re good or bad at school, don’t take your school results too seriously. Never blindly believe what you’ve been told about getting good grades is the only way to be successful, or that following rules is always for the best of you. But also don’t break the rules unless you’ve learned and understood the rationale behind. In short, just don’t stop thinking.If you’re a parent or a teacher, don’t just focus on the grades the children get. Try to discover their potentials and unleash their talents, that’s how they build confidence and eventually lead a successful life.

This article is inspired by The School of Life’s Success at School vs Success in Life. Check out their video here.

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Featured photo credit: The School Of Life via youtube.com

Reference

[1]The Book Of Life: Success at School vs. Success in Life
[2]Sergeï VanBellinghen: What are some examples of people who failed classes in college but turned out to be successful?
[3]Angelfire: Current Biography Yearbook editions 1959–2005 & 2007, biographies, autobiographies, interviews, news stories.

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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