School is one of the toughest times of a child’s life, it is so scary going into a class full of people you don’t know for the first time. I had to do it more than 10 times before I was 18 so I can vouch for that. In school you are taught the usual subjects and then as you get to high school you get to choose, to some degree, what you want to study for your last couple of years as a student in school. There is one fundamental flaw with this method, if you want to grow up to be an English Scholar or an Analyst at a bank, why do you need to memorise the rate at which plants absorb sunlight? How is learning Chemistry going to help a fireman when he is going out to get his mortgage?

 

The other main issue with this is, some people struggle with Math and Physics but can interpret text very well or vice versa. However if your grades aren’t all perfect you won’t get into a good University. If you don’t get into a good University getting a good job goes from a slim chance to basically no chance. This ‘average’ student may have many other qualities that could benefit a firm greatly but they will never be given a chance because they couldn’t work out x, or y, or what Shakespeare really meant at the end of Macbeth. Let’s look at why school has nothing to do with how successful you’ll be (assuming you don’t go down the employment route, as it becomes a lot harder without good grades).

 

The school curriculum is based on theory

Everyone has heard of the term, all talk and no action. That is exactly what school is, you learn about things from a book. It is supposed to prepare you for the real world but there is no preparation better than just doing something. Learning about driving from a book wouldn’t make you the best driver, however driving and spending hours in different situations would help to hone your skills and unfortunately no books can teach you that. It is the same situation for all aspects of life, playing a sport, writing a book, running a company and so on.

Skills and expertise come with experience, experience only comes with doing something, for example you wouldn’t write a cover letter applying for a managerial job about how many books you read on the topic, you would write about your real world experience. That is what really counts although the theory side of it helps, experience is king. One final point about this on which I think we can all agree, when exams come around, we study the night before or if we are really keen maybe a few nights before and we cram. What does that mean? If we learnt about Business and did really well, chances are if we have not done anything remotely business-like since then we definitely would have forgotten about it.

 

The point I am trying to make is, your grades show you can cram for an exam and grasp basic, sometimes complex theories, that is about it. Unless you are doing a specialised job, Investment Banker, Doctor, Clinical Psychologist amongst a few other, specialised degrees won’t do you much good. School education is not bad by any means, but it certainly is not the be all and end all of life.

 

Entrepreneurs go out and do it, the young ones that start from a very young age have got the experience, even if it is something as little as bulk buying chocolate and selling it on for a profit. That is the basic concept of business and school doesn’t get you any experience in that field.

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try

Gail Devers

Failing at something in school is terrible

Failure is tainted in the worst possible way, if you failed at something you shouldn’t try it again. That is where we mess up as a society. The only thing you can take from a failure is that you are trying something new and you have learnt a new way it is not done. If you failed an exam, you saw your answer, you are not going to use the same ones again right?! If Thomas Edison gave up when he failed making the light bulb where would we be now? He didn’t just fail once, or 10 times or 50 times. He failed a 1000 times! Thomas Edison went on to become one of the World’s greatest Inventors.

Let us take a look at the same scenario at school, would you be allowed to fail and try again? Maybe. What if you failed 10 times at something? I am pretty sure you would be shown the door and told that there is something wrong with you. We are too quick to ‘judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree’. If Bill Gates was put in a cage with a Lion and the Lion teared him to pieces would he be called a failure? Bill Gates has done very well in his chosen field because he was good at it and he was passionate about it. Sticking with his example, let’s say he didn’t start Microsoft and instead tried to teach in Swahili in a Kenyan school right out of high school. He wouldn’t be very good at it and he would certainly fail. Would this mean that he isn’t worthy of being hired? I think we can agree that having him as an employee would literally be the best thing for most Fortune 500 companies.

 

Failure in the real world of business or launching a new prototype just means you have found a new way to not do something. It also means you are doing something new and if it comes off it will be a great achievement. It is the exact opposite of how school conditions you to be and the fear of failure stops you from trying out new exciting ideas.

 

Find something you’re passionate about, work as hard as you can on it and create something great. GSY