The ways schools lead us astray
Unlearning the faulty mindset of the classroom
Schools do not teach you how to succeed in your career. They may teach you the knowledge and skills you need to be successful. But they may also inadvertently shape in you a wrong mindset of success - one that you should unlearn.
Here are 3 key differences between success in school versus in life:
In school: You are taught and assessed according to a curriculum, i.e., what you must learn. Students in a major are exposed to the same materials.
In life: There is no curriculum. You decide what you learn, how much you learn, and how far you want to advance in your career. Some people specialize; others prefer to be generalists. Some hold ambitions to be a recognized expert; others just want a stable job to provide for their families. There is no one correct path.
In school: You are presented the rules up front. Follow them and you will graduate on time as expected. Stray from them and face defined penalties.
In life: Few things are hard rules. You don't need a 1-page resume. You don't need to stay in a job at least 2 years. These are guidelines based on precedence and preference. But circumstances vary and times change. The rules of one setting do not apply to another. The rules of yesteryear may not be relevant today.
In school: For each course, you have a finite number of assignments and exams, which add up to 100% of your grade. This is laid out in the syllabus.
In life: There is no point system - and therein lies the biggest difference with school. You have no limit on the number of attempts you can make. Let me be clear: The more you try, the more likely you will succeed. Part of it is that you'll improve with each attempt. But that aside, you simply have more shots at success.
Will all of them be triumphs? Probably not. But that's okay, because again there's no point system. Nobody is keeping score.
Here's what I mean: In school, you want to get an A on every test. You want to make sure you have enough points. Students calculate the minimum they need on the final for an A in the class. But in life, you can get a string of Cs, a couple Fs, and one A but be wildly successful because you earned that A when it mattered most.
Learn to be comfortable with failure. Most people who succeed have failed many times - because they have tried many times. Gold-medal athletes have gone home in defeat. Top salespeople have known the sting of rejection. Founders with a successful exit have had companies go under.
As they say, the master has failed more times than the student has even tried. When you succeed, nobody recounts your failures. Those are viewed as growing pains - a natural part of the journey.
And on this life journey, you decide on your curriculum - what you will learn. You discern the rules from the guidelines, precedence, and opinions. You try, you fail, you continue to press forward. That's how you will find the greatest success.
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