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Why mediocre people in school are more successful

Why mediocre people in school are more successful

May 6, 2021

A controversial article written by English journalist John Haltiwanger that was published in the digital media has recently been viral Elite Daily.

In this brief, Haltiwanger presented a theory: students who obtain high academic grades are not necessarily the smartest . In addition, always according to this journalist, the "mediocre students" (those who obtain grades that go from the approved fair to the remarkably low), are the ones that tend to be more successful during their work and personal life. Much more successful than the outstanding students.

Related article: "Successful people and failed people: 7 important differences"

Mediocre students, the future creators of companies?

Of course, these claims have been the subject of intense debate . Not only because Haltiwanger is quite categorical in his presentation, but because it does not provide a scientific basis that can attest to what is said in it.


However, it may be interesting to echo your thoughts and observations so that, at least in a philosophical sense, we repense together some important aspects of education in general and the school system in particular.

Good grades are no guarantee of anything

We have all realized that academic qualifications are not always the best predictor for a successful work life , nor to achieve happiness in the future. On many occasions, those less fortunate for studies tended to find low-paid jobs, or even had to be part of the unemployment queues.

But what about those who passed the courses without pain or glory, with notes ranging from 5 to 6.5? As Haltiwanger explains in his already famous article, there are numerous cases of mediocre students who achieved high levels of wealth and fame . Thus, it seems that success is not only achieved by the people who stand out the most in their academic stage, but also, counterintuitively, mediocre students could possess a series of skills and abilities that are very useful for life.


Examples of 5 students who achieved success

The classic example of a gray student who had a resounding success in his adult life was Steve Jobs , the creator of the smartphone and technology brand Manzana. Another highlight of this category is none other than Mark Zuckerberg , the creator of Facebook, or the very same Bill Gates , creator of Microsoft. We are talking about a central triad in technological innovation in the world, and it is surprising that none of them was a brilliant student.

More examples: Sergei Korolev It was the Soviet astrophysicist and engineer who, despite having launched the Sputnik rocket into space, was never a good student. Vladimir Mayakovsky suffered to learn to read, and Joseph Brodsky , who was considered a horrible student, received the Nobel Prize for Literature decades later.


Reviewing the concept of intelligence

How do the concepts of intelligence, academic performance and professional success relate to each other? Intelligence has historically been a controversial concept among students of psychology. What is known is that it's not a good idea to try to draw parallels between academic performance and intelligence , since the correlation is not too reliable.

Success in life, on the other hand, can be defined in many different ways. Each person has their own vision about what success is, and their priorities in life . In this case, it is useful to talk about job success (for being more measurable and univocal), and the certain thing is that it does not seem a necessary condition to have obtained very good notes in the past, nor to be very intelligent, so that one can generate a brilliant idea that leads to a tremendous Business success.

The keys to success, available to everyone

In short, being successful goes far beyond the schemes imposed by the educational model of each country. To succeed, hWe may have been overestimating the influence of academic results , as Haltiwanger points out.

Success requires perseverance, perseverance and creativity. But, also, to achieve high goals in our lives we must also fail sometimes to realize that everything we do helps us learn and move towards our goals.

The value of failure

This value of failure is what can be one of the factors that contribute to future success. And, of course, the most experienced in this matter are the people who suffered to be able to pass and pass the school courses. They are individuals who never received high praise or rewards, so they know first-hand the value of effort, the daily struggle and the ability to overcome .

Probably, the mediocre students learned to manage their failures, something that the outstanding students could not do because of the recurrence in which their grades approached 10. The entrepreneurs that manage to develop good products and / or services usually have very present alternative and creative ways. to achieve their successes. Nor they are limited to the established norms nor to the typical, but they innovate . Thus they create totally new products, of great quality and that suppose a revolution in their sector. For example, Steve Jobs did it with almost all the gadgets he brought to the market.

Creativity, another skill that does not develop in school

Following the observations of the English journalist, it seems that mediocre students tend to be the most likely to be natural leaders in their friendship circles. They can guide other pupils beyond the codes and educational context .

It is these individuals who present a greater creative thinking, and often decline to be interested in the rigid and monotonous master classes. These people can be more creative than the average, because they do not base their thought patterns on school logic but on their own experiences .

This is one of the points that has generated the most debate. It is quite possible that certain methods of formal education play against the students being able to develop their critical spirit, their creativity or the possibility of living certain enriching experiences. In school, we are usually taught how things are, but they do not give us the possibility to question them. Neither is much emphasis placed on meaningful learning, nor is students given tools to solve problems in alternative ways; innovative

The people who managed to operate technological companies, for the most part, worked with different thought schemes. They thought beyond the obvious; They started projects that were not governed by the existing parameters. They are individuals who learn quickly, are proactive and do things their own way, and not as others require them to do.

Beware: being a bad student is not good news for your future

One thing can be clarified: although Haltiwanger builds this discourse around the Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and company, the truth is that getting bad grades (or mediocre grades) is no guarantee of personal or work success . Neither is the opposite: taking license plates does not give us the key to a prosperous future.

In summary, success is marked by a lot of variables, among which stand out the character, perseverance, experience and contacts. The notes are, in a certain sense, secondary.

The Haltiwanger article can be a stimulus for those people who failed to excel in their school or university. Life always offers us new ways to get ahead, opportunities and moments that we must take advantage of. The success or failure in the notes is very relative: the real experience is obtained when leaving the classrooms .


Success at School vs Success in Life (May 2021).


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