Never in 24 years of my academic career, did I stand first in class, but I was one of those students who managed to make a place among the top ten students. During my school days, it was my zeal to be there among the top that I never stopped working hard. Until corporate life began and I realised that our efforts and our knowledge are the two critical aspects, that makes us stand out.
I am not ashamed of admitting that I didn’t score very well during my senior secondary board exams, but I am proud of the fact that I gave my hundred per cent. My lessons due to that failure made me a little more serious about life. It reframed my thinking from ‘I need to score well to be intelligent’ to, ‘I need to understand things with different perspectives to be knowledgable’.
Mark Cuban, an American entrepreneur, once said,
“It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once and then everyone can tell you that you are an overnight success”
Who set these norms of being extraordinary based on how much one scores? One can be extraordinary by their talents and by the ways, they treat society. Since childhood, we are told to score well because life is a rat race and if we don’t come first, no one will respect us. I seriously think our approach towards the Indian Education system should be changed. And considering the content of our textbooks and growing seriousness of education in our culture, it is achievable. All we need is a little change in the approach of bookish knowledge to practical exposure oriented.
Children think of marks being the only criteria to be judged by, and it is because that is how our society has always looked at it. This makes them work hard, but only due to peer pressure taking away the will to learn something new. But the fact is, that marks are just mere numbers. It is a reward which gives you hunger to work hard, not the criteria to judge if you are good or bad or knowledgable. The harsh truth is, that not all good scorers are knowledgable. So it is okay to score badly as long as you give your full potential.
I am not saying that doing good in academics is a bad thing, but I do feel that in our Indian society a lot of children lose their inner essence due to peer pressure. Many children who despite scoring extremely good at academics, do not see their real passion in going further with the subjects they score extremely good in. I respect those people who dare to step out of their well-paid jobs and pursue something which they truly desire. We have many examples of successful entrepreneurs who are not even graduates. I nowhere want to question the importance of education, but I want to make a point, that you can do good even if you do not score well. Do not underestimate your abilities based on your scores.
During my graduation, I have been criticised for working hard. I remember, while checking my examination paper, once a teacher told me that it is difficult to check an answer sheet of an average scoring student since there is a probability of both correct and incorrect answers. While on the other hand, the work becomes easier in case of weak and intelligent students since it is assumed that most of the answers will be incorrect in case of weak students and that of the intelligent students will all be correct. This is not how we want ourselves to be categorised among the crowd of hundreds. Everyone has their strengths and weakness and we need to respect that. We are all achievers till the time we give our full potential.
The only criteria of judgement should be, upon looking back, you should realise that you have come a long way and be proud of the fact that you have become a better version of yourself. Giving a glance during my early days of graduation, I feel that, today I am a much-balanced person. I am happy with what I am doing in my life. I am happy that I never let external factors stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I believed in my abilities and never stopped even after several downfalls and multiple failures.
We all are greedy for money, but we also know that economy is dynamic, so one cannot predict what’s coming ahead of us. An instance being the current COVID19 situation where a lot of people at higher posts were laid off despite serving so much to the company. This is where your passion and interests come into the picture. If you are passionate about what you do, and you like your work, you can survive the biggest layoffs and biggest economy imbalances. But at the same time, if you are not passionate and happy with what you are doing, even the smallest change in your job is enough to disrupt your life.
You need to understand that marks and money are not everything. Being happy is the key to keep your surroundings positive. Your positivity will give you direction to battle all storms in your life. I want to conclude this by the thought that, we are all achievers irrespective of where we stand because we learnt from our mistakes, we never let any barrier overpower our will to achieve and that we never gave up on working hard.