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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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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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Encourage Your Employees

When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

Offer Rewards

Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

Give Autonomy

Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

A To Do Scheduling System

Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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Ask If They like What They’re Doing

If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

More Resources About Team Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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