Why People Who Succeed At School Don’t Always Succeed In Life


Let’s try this one: Success at School vs. Success in Life

As we were often told during our early school days and up to the very end: “You have to do well at school because it’s the primary route to doing well at life.”


When we were small, we were taught that if we wanted to be successful, we had to study hard and get good outcome at school. In other words, if one wanted to succeed in life, attaining straight “1s” or “As” must be their goal.  But in reality, how many straight A or 1 students do you know become really successful in life? It is sometimes confusing because we come across people who are triumphed at school and flunked in life and vice versa.

The outstanding boys and girls at school, who are submitting all their assignments or homework on time and those who get excellent results in exams, may just end up having a work they really don’t like.

What you need for a good and successful life is never learned at school. It is not a form of discouragement because there are also subjects such as languages, simple maths, music and physical education which are also useful for us in our everyday living. What is being explained is that school curriculum is not perfect.

We shouldn’t actually be astounded by the fact that school curricula are not designed by people who necessarily have much experience of, or talent at – the world beyond.  School curricula are not reverse engineered from fulfilled adult lives in the here and now.

Actually the school curriculum is not as complete most people thought and there are a lot of things which are essential to life missing in the curriculum.

Another thing is that there are many bad habits that schools instil to the minds of every student:

  1. They teach us to deliver on, rather than change, expectations.
  2. They want us to put up our hands and wait to be chosen. They want us to keep asking other people for permission.
  3. They teach us to redeploy ideas rather than originate them.
  4. They teach us to expect that people in authority know – rather than letting us imagine that – in rather inspiring ways – no one is really on top of what’s going on.
  5. They teach us to trust that they have our largest, best, life-long interests at heart; without letting on that they are merely interested in our achievements.

First and foremost, to succeed at school, you need to be obedient, and whether you’re good or not very much depends on the teachers’ expectations. Instead of helping students to understand why they should do a certain things, teachers or the school system simply force students to follow the rules, leaving students no room for originality and critical thinking.


In the real world, life doesn’t work like this. To succeed in life, you need to think out fast and have a great and subtle idea that’s far different from the others. You should have the ability to go with the flow and credible enough to perform well.

While it’s a fact that anyone who has at least a high school diploma has more opportunities because one needs to have some fundamental knowledge and skills. But having low grades at school doesn’t make you a megaflop.

Statistics show that people who failed at school didn’t end up failing in life. A lot of people knew that Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and Jim Carey, etc. didn’t do too well at school or are school dropouts. In fact, there are a lot more than just the significant names that are successful in life without completing school.

Our life is really a long lesson, so many chapters that you can’t define a person’s success by just one section of it.

If you’ve already finished school, keep learning because what you learned at school will never be enough to lead a great life. If you’re still studying, whether you’re good or bad at school, don’t take your school results too seriously. Never believe what you’ve been told about getting good grades is the only way to be successful. In short, just don’t stop thinking and do what is right.

If you’re a parent or a teacher, don’t just focus on the grades the children get. Strive to discover their potentials and unleash their talent, that’s how they build confidence and eventually lead a successful life.

Now that you understand the difference between success at school and success in life, what can you do about this? Remember, “School is school and it is not a pressure cooker. Even a lion learns to sit on a chair in fear of the whip but you call such lion well-trained not well educated.” From the movie 3 Idiots.


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