Everyone is ushered into school by their parents with a strict warning that if they don’t perform well, they might end up being a failure all through their lives. While this is true to a certain extent, we must understand that performing well in school is never a guarantee for success.
In fact, if one looks carefully at all the people in life, one might notice that those who were academically successful in school didn’t necessarily succeed in life. And surprisingly, people who were considered below-par turned out to be incredibly successful. So, why does this happen? Below, we look to answer this simple question by exploring how the school education system might actually not be designed for creating successful people.
A System to Create Conformists, Not Radical Thinkers
Schools are usually focused on creating conformists averse to taking risks. The entire education system depends on children conforming continuously to a higher authority, taking in knowledge from the authority, meeting their expectations, and repeating the process all over again, grade after grade. And this is one major problem of the education system. Being a conformist is a great quality of an employee, not of a radical thinker. And success in life is largely dependent on out of the box thinking, which requires a more daring mind.
For example, consider two people who both graduated from the same college with one scoring high grades while the other ending up with average grades. The studious one might consider using his good grades to enter into employment at a top company. They might also end up earning a very high salary. But the other person, being a radical thinker, might decide to ditch employment and, instead, start a local business on his own. This could also be the case if the latter couldn’t get in any good companies.
Now, if both continue on the same path, it is highly likely that the studious person will remain in employment even after ten years because of their aversion to risk and preference to conform to societal expectations. In contrast, the other person might have built a multi-state business that pulls in thousands of dollars in revenues each day thanks to his ability to take on risks and try out new things.
The System of Tests – Memory vs. Intelligence
One big feature of all school systems is the concept of tests. A person will undergo numerous tests right from childhood all the way into adulthood. While there is nothing wrong with tests, the problem arises when such tests alone are taken as a sign of intelligence and people start believing that the one getting the highest marks will be the most successful.
This is false. These tests, at most times, only measure memory. And there is a big difference between memory and intelligence. Memory is the ability to record, recollect, and reuse information. Intelligence is the ability to use memory to resolve a problem.
For example, two people might learn the exact same thing about website coding and SEO. One person might memorize everything and do very well in tests. The other person might perform just average in tests but know very well how to apply the knowledge in the real world.
And if both of them come to know about how the elderly in their region are finding it difficult to get hold of medicines from the local medical shop, then it is more likely that the latter will use his coding and SEO skills to start an online shop that ships medicines to people of a specific region. The person who just focused on clearing tests by memorizing the information is very unlikely to ever think like this since his mind is more focused on memorizing knowledge rather than applying gathered knowledge.
Focus on Learning, Not Questioning
Educating oneself is the primary aim of joining a school. But one has to understand what education actually means. Education does not mean that you just learn what is provided in the textbooks. No, that is only a small part of it. In addition to learning from any textbook, you must also develop the habit of questioning what you learn.
For example, if you are studying Jung’s psychological theories in college, you should have the mind to question them from all aspects. Blindly learning them will only make you a follower of Jung. But questioning what you learn, and then researching more to find answers to those questions will further elevate your knowledge. And, it is these type of people who generally come up with breakthrough ideas and philosophies that not only make them successful but also end up changing the world.
Knowledge Alone Does Not Determine Success in Life
While knowledge is important, that alone will not help one succeed. Most students who get top grades in school and college are largely focused on the study material. That is definitely not a good way to develop because the world does not work based on just book knowledge. In order to achieve success, one requires excellent social skills.
Social skill is a talent that you will generally find lacking among school and college toppers. They might perform very well in exams, but when it comes to developing friendships or close contacts, they are seen to fail terribly. In most professions of the world, a person with excellent social skills will easily be able to climb the corporate ladder faster than someone who is only blessed with intelligence.
For example, a person who is well versed in PHP is very useful for a business to develop dynamic websites. But, if the organization is looking for a manager, then knowledge of PHP alone won’t be sufficient. And this is where people who solely focused on academic achievements in school lose out to those who not only have enough knowledge but also the knack for developing relationships with people.
Dismissing someone as not being intelligent based just on test scores isn’t fair and that has been proven time and again. There are a lot of things that come into play when judging someone’s intelligence based on what all we discussed. Situations often bring out the positives in people and that shows what someone is good at, not just some scores.
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