Why The Ones Who Have Bad Grades Are Often The Ones Who Are Most Successful
This is an ode to all students who have ever gotten B’s, C’s, D’s (and sometimes even failed). It’s a declaration to the kids who calculated the exact number of points they needed to get on their finals in order to pass. This is for all those kids who didn’t get extra credit or get placed on honor roll. After years of inadequacy and a lifetime of feeling average and unremarkable, your time has come. Someone is finally here to tell you that even if your GPA’s lower than 1.2, you can be great.
For years, society has placed a disgustingly large stigma on bad grades and an overwhelming importance on good grades. There’s a predisposed instinct to strive for A’s and cast anything lower to the side, to deem as unworthy. Well, it’s time to let the children learn that it’s okay not to be an A student, it’s okay to fail. Because here’s a little secret the older generations are unwilling to divulge to you: it doesn’t matter.
To all those tight-ass intellectuals out there, it’s time to get the facts straight. For all those years that you spent cooped up in the library, poring over facts and stats, soliloquies and Greek mythology, the average scoring kids — the ones partying and getting C’s in college — are the ones obtaining the skills that do matter: life experiences.
Failing is a life experience. Not getting that A on the exam you spent all night studying for, is an experience. Life experiences are a composite of all the skills necessary to get along in the real world. It’s comprised of all those skills that are only learned through failure and the obstacles of life, like how to hold a conversation, get away with a lie or entertain someone you really don’t like. It’s all those skills that high-paying Fortune 500 companies value above all else.
In college, it’s all about grades. In the real world, it’s about experience, balls and drive. Because once you get past the first job, no one is ever going to ask you about your GPA or how you did on that Psych 215 final. What matters in the real world is your ability to adapt, innovate and get along. There are no scantron sheets or essay exams. There are no TA’s to hold review sessions or to help you practice your presentation. Real life is about how well you can bullsh*t your way through it, and that’s not something taught in a classroom.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”-Winston Churchill
The greatest thinkers, leaders and entrepreneurs of our time have been the men to defy the rules and take risks. They were the ones getting C’s or flunking out. However, their “failures’ were not a factor of intelligence, but an inability to be weighed down by grades and superficial markings. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, are just a few of the men who achieved unfathomable amounts of wealth, status and success without ever really succeeding in a classroom. They are the men, that by society’s standards, had failed.
With their passion and intelligence, they were able to change the world with nothing more than a bachelor’s degree and a transcript of failing grades (sometimes not graduating at all). These men understood at an early age that just because society, and everyone around them, placed an excessive amount of importance on grades didn’t mean they were right.
But it’s not just these extreme examples of eccentric billionaires and tech geniuses that should solidify the results of this finding. It’s about yourself and the gut feelings you have towards what is right and what is wrong.
Succeeding in life means following your gut and understanding what a bad decision is. Just because you passed American History with flying colors doesn’t mean you’ll know what to do when your coworker is talking behind your back to your boss. It doesn’t mean you’ll know how to handle an insubordinate or get together a presentation the night before a deadline.
The people who do great things are the ones too absorbed in their own ideas to place too much weight on the opinions of others. Why should Steve Jobs spend hours studying someone else’s ideas and breakthroughs when he could be out creating his own? What people fail to see in bad grades is the reason behind them. Why is this person not getting an A? Is this person doing something that is better?
“Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend it’s whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
So for all of you preparing for finals, or finishing them with a bitter taste in your mouth, this should be reason enough not to worry. If you are ending the semester with C’s and maybe a few D’s, don’t sweat. There’s plenty of opportunity out there, and it’s the people with the audacity not to care about their grades — the ones who don’t spend their lives in the library and bubbling in correct answer sheets — who will rule the world. Because at the end of it all, it’s really about those people with the most passion.