Were you voted most likely to succeed? In my high school, it was the valedictorian. When you were in school, the only measurement of success was grades. Football Captain, Student Government President or newspaper editor were worthwhile experiences, but won’t get you elected most likely to succeed. Prom King or Queen was good too, however it still won’t make you most likely to succeed.
How do you identify leadership or any other successful traits in school? Should it only correspond to grades? If grades were the only indicator of success, we should just test everyone and find the brightest people to send to college. Wait a second, we sort of do that! We test using College Boards to identify the brightest students and along with their grades give this information to colleges to select applicants. Thankfully colleges just use it as a guide to select students for admission. Colleges use a variety of factors to select students because potential is not measured in a test.
There are a variety of factors that affect student performance in school. Test scores do not reflect creativity, artistic ability, potential for success, or personal relationships. Test scores will measure what is on the test. The test scores may be inaccurate, culturally or socially biased. No single test was ever meant to indicate academic success. It along with other information such as grades and extra-curricular activities tell the college much more about the student. Colleges still look at other factors to determine selection which shows that there is more to success than a score or grade.
How do you know who will be successful in their career? Grades in college are one indicator, but should not be the only one. Success academically does not necessarily translate into success in the real world. A college degree does not guarantee success in the real world either. There are a number of famous college dropouts who are very successful. People like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Bill Gates to just name a few. It would be great if we could accurately predict who will be successful and give them all the resources to help them.
Secrets of Success
Why do some people succeed and others do not? Was it the grades they earned in school? Less than 5% of people achieve success in life! Successful people may not be successful in school. They are successful people in school who cannot interview well. How can you get hired, if you do not interview well? What can you do? You can learn how to interview and various other skills to get hired. Success is more than just getting a job. Success in your career is much more than just doing a job, it is getting along with people and working together to achieve the company goals.
Successful people are generally self motivated, have a positive attitude, goal oriented and go beyond what is expected. Since human beings are complex and have a variety of traits that can either help them succeed or keep them from succeeding. Learning how to succeed is part of school too. It may be a subject you do not like or getting along with your classmates. These are opportunities for learning and succeeding. All these things and more contribute to your success. There are many students or people who have potential, but do not use it. There are underachievers in school who blossom late. This is all part of the differences in people.
What Can You Do?
How can we make more people successful? As parents, we have a responsibility to expose our children to all their interests. We need to establish high expectations whether academically, athletically or socially. See, there is really no perfect guide or education for everyone. If there were, we would put everyone through it and everyone coming out of it would be successful.
Since we cannot pick our parents, what can you do? You learned how to get your questions answered. Read about successful people and try to emulate them. To start, you need to be self motivated and find the answers to questions you have not thought of yet. Use school as your personal laboratory to investigate everything and learn how to use the information to prepare yourself for your future. Have your teachers and adults help you achieve success.
Success is not an easy goal because it takes so much to get there. If it was as simple as setting a goal and working toward it, most people would achieve success. I wrote an article about successful and unsuccessful people which show how different they are. School is more than a lot of meaningless classes; it is in many ways preparation for life. Performing academically is just part of the success formula. Don’t forget that club, project, committee or experience that will teach you what you need to be successful. Student s learn about so many subjects so they will find what interests them as much as learning the material.
Many of you are finished with school and pursuing a career. How will you find success? Is it hard work, motivation, goal setting or just plain determination? They all work, but there is no formula for success. All of us are influenced by our experiences, role models and the rest is up to you. What are you doing and are you successful? Were you most likely to succeed?
Photo by: Franz Patzig