‘F’ for Failure: Why Having Bad Grades Is Not Necessarily A Bad Thing…

It’s coming up to exam season in the UK and all students – including Joe and myself – are stressed. Everyone wants that A grade, to be the best they can be. But are good grades really as important as we think? Should we really put so much emphasis onto ‘grades’ and so little into ‘talent’?

School vs Education

The Value of Life Education…

Any form of test is an indicator of future success, including exams.   If you do well in the exam, it’s assumed by the world outside that you are much smarter than your peers and thus, that you will achieve more in your lifetime. But although it’s true that there’s a good relationship between intelligence and income most of the time, these assumptions aren’t always the case.Grades alone won’t get you a job, if you can’t face the pressures of an interview. Grades alone won’t make you more successful than a high school drop out who just so happens to be amazing at running or drawing or writing. And grades alone won’t make you happy.

GradesEvery day, kids are told that they should feel ashamed or inadequate or stupid if they’re getting below a C grade in class. If they don’t get an A, they’re average. And if they do happen to get an A; they can face anything. But the truth is that there is no relationship between talent/happiness/social abilities and grade. And I’m sure you’ll agree that talent, happiness and social abilities are far more important qualities for potential world changers.

If you put Walt Disney in a maths exam today, he’d probably be labelled as someone ‘average’ or even ‘below average’. But put him out there in the real world, where real people want real talent to bring real entertainment to their lives. And he flies. And why? Because the government want you to fit into a box, to solve a purpose.

So they measure anyone on the wrong things. Grades and wasting time on facts and stats won’t change the world. Passion, guts and life experience change the world. Ideas change the world. And yet although no child is the same and each one has the potential to contribute something unique to the world, we still teach them all the same set of values.

The truth is that the real successful people ignore external values and focus on their ideas. They know that having an A* won’t make them a better person. It’ll just prove that they can be fed the same curriculum as everyone else.

Where’s the innovation, the competition, the talent in that? How are grades a true measure of a person? And if it’s a job you’re after, consider this: many young people get turned down every day because they don’t know how to do well in an interview, because they’re over qualifies or lack experience.

The point I’m trying to make here isn’t flunk everything. Grades will certainly help you build the foundations you need to fly. But don’t worry too much about getting that A, or not getting that A. Being lazy or rebellious is different, but if you have a talent, remember that talent is worth so much more than a piece of paper saying ‘well done you can learn exactly what every other kid in your year can’.

Never be too disheartened with your results or compromising with the time leading up to the exam dates. Failing is a bad experience for any potential world changer, but it’s still an experience and it won’t take away the other valuable skills that you learned out of the classroom. Valuable skills that will be so much more useful out into the real world such as how to communicate with others, how to entertain, how to organise and how to gather ideas.

George Bernard Shaw once described schools as prisons and turnkeys used to keep children from disturbing their parents in one of his novels and although this may be an exaggeration on the part of the author, there is some truth in the idea of imprisonment when it comes to the curriculum. It restricts freedom, just like a prison, reduces our individual identity, just like a prison and is run by authoritarian leaders who want to make everyone the same, just like a prison.

George Bernard Shaw hated school and his teachers thought that he would be a failure of the greatest kind when he left for the real world. But they were wrong, and Shaw’s novels continued to be studied today as one of the greatest in English Literature and that’s with no thanks to the English lesson he was succumbed to in his time as a student.

The real world isn’t an exam. It’s a test. And qualifications won’t help you past the first job, it’s far more important to be able to defy rule and take risks.

As long as you have the necessary schooling, it’s okay to prefer an education. And I’m sure Steve Jobs, Drew Barrimore, Albert Einstein, Sir Alan Sugar, George Forman, Simon Cowell, Kate Winslet, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, George Eastman, Gisele Bundchen and George Bernard Shaw would all agree with me on that one.

Wrote by Aimee Hall  –  Follow us on Twitter   –  Comment Below!