Career Advice

Is What You Learned in School Hindering Your Success?


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What we indirectly learned in our school years has a profound impact on our success later in life. Not the factual knowledge that school is intended to teach children, but those lessons implied and habits picked up that were not intended as part of our formal schooling. When it comes to success, some of these habits are best forgotten, while others are those that we should remember.

1.Winning Doesn’t Matter

Every school child has heard it, “It’s not whether you win or lose that matters. It’s how you play the game.” Winning really does matter. Would you hire an attorney who loses all of his cases? Would you want to go to a doctor who never cures her patients? Nothing builds self-esteem and confidence like winning. Winning builds a track record of success, and it’s this record that provides one with bigger and better opportunities in the future.

2. Reward Follows Effort

In school, we are told that hard work produces rewards. One can work really, really hard and get nothing at all for one’s efforts. Why? There is something missing. It’s the middleman. It’s not the effort, but rather the results creating the prize. It’s the difference between working hard and working smart.

The person flipping burgers at McDonalds for 40 hours per week is just as tired at the end of the week as the CEO putting in the same number of hours. The difference is the CEO has a direct impact on the bottom line of the company, where the burger cook does not. Next time you have a job interview, ask the interviewer how your job affects the performance of the company.

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07/24/2024 01:24 am GMT

3. Waiting for Recognition

“Good things come to those that wait”. Waiting works as long as everyone is getting those good things. However, success only comes to a few. In school, everyone moves to the next grade. With careers, only a chosen few move on to the next level. This isn’t sage advice if you want to reach your dreams. It should be, “Good things come to those that wait, better things come to those that ask, and the best things come to those who go out and get what they want”.

4. Extreme Talent Isn’t Required

In school, the measure of students’ success is their grades. Everyone in the class is given the same test, and everyone is ranked in relation to everyone else. It’s an apples-to-apples comparison, and it’s objective. In my experience, the student at the top of the class obtains that position because of innate brainpower. It’s simply a matter of the student being responsible enough to do the required work and their extreme intelligence does the rest. The workplace is very different. No two workers get the same assignment; everyone gets a different piece of the puzzle. When it comes to promotions, awards, and raises, you are being compared with your coworkers like apples to oranges. The comparison is now subjective. Is the apple sweeter than the orange? And a single talent such as brainpower isn’t what will get you to the top. It’s a combination of talents and skills.

Do you remember when you were really young? Or maybe you’ve been around young children and you’ve observed their behaviors. Young kids have many natural traits that make them better at business than their elders.

The problem with focusing on failure is that you lose sight of success. One’s thoughts become centered on how to prevent failure instead of how to create success.Click To Tweet

5. Inching to the Goal

If you have a goal, inching closer is better than not doing anything at all. Once you get to the next step, try getting yet one step further. While kids may not possess the ability to plan how to get to the end, they move closer and closer and closer to what they want. As adults, we believe we always have to plan the path to the final destination before getting started.

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A preschooler will see a television commercial with a new toy and ask, “Can I have that toy?” The most likely response from Mom and Dad is “No”. The child will follow with, “Can we go to the toy store and just look?” Once again, the response from Mom and Dad is “No”. Then someone decides to go to the supermarket and the child says, “Can I go along?” When you are in the store, the child sees those little toys in aisles and asks, “Can I have one of those toys?” The answer is “No, they’re just cheap toys that will break”. The child’s response, “Isn’t the toy store nearby? We could go and just look.” This is my husband and daughter. Inevitably, she arrives back home with a big toy for the toy store!

6. Extreme Persistence

Ask everyone who will listen. If Mom says “No,” go ask Dad. If Dad says “No,” go ask big sister. If big sister says, “No,” go ask Grandma and the list goes on. Kids aren’t shy about asking, and they will ask everyone and anyone who will listen. They never stop. They keep their minds focused on the objective. The unpleasantness of cold calling or asking a complete stranger would never deter a kid. These means are justified by reaching the prize.

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7. Focus on Success, Not Failure

For a kid, the thought process is simpler –“I want it and I will get it” or “I want to do it, I think I can do it, and therefore, I will do it.” There is no thought of failure, just success. Most kids know the consequences of failure are mostly trivial, while the rewards of success are not. The younger a child is the more success is taken for granted. It is to be expected because they believe that nothing is impossible. The probability of success is irrelevant.

It’s the new mantra in the start-up community, “fail fast, fail early, and fail cheaply”. These are the words of an adult. They are focused on failure; a child would never phrase it in such a manner. The problem with focusing on failure is that you lose sight of success. One’s thoughts become centered on how to prevent failure instead of how to create success. I prefer the outlook of kids. It’s more positive. Kids have a clear vision of what they want and a much stronger belief in what is possible.

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