You go to school with an expectation that what you are learning is going to be crucial for you to succeed in life. Yet many of the most important elements are ignored and often their relevance denied. Even if you instinctively were practicing them at times, you are taught out of trusting and relying on them. This is why key parts to our wisdom and talents can eventually become dormant.
One of the consequences; the ability to innovate new ways of doing things are no longer a popular option. Now, the most popular method of dealing with challenges is simply finding the best way that someone else has already discovered. Using the platform of humanity’s achievements and wisdom is an important part of being successful. However, we will never create breakthroughs without challenging the popular view. Innovation happens when you discover that society assumed the wrong thing, had a collective blind spot on something, and you dared to confront it. Where you challenged the resistance long enough until everyone eventually could understand what you originally realised about why something was broken and society learned to stop questioning the break and just accept it as life.
It takes an enormous amount of inner security and conviction to stand for what you believe is true, to be able to push through that resistance, to just toe the line. However, the schooling system doesn’t help to keep separate your self worth, your innate identity from any achievement. How wonderful you are is made conditional on what you win and how high you rank. Suddenly, coming first defines your worth and not ranking makes you feel worthless. You learn to be so afraid of being wrong and making mistakes, you lose your ability to put yourself out there with new ideas that can be shot down. This means we become ultra sensitive to rejection and to cope, we learn to just appease and follow the consensual point of view because our success to belong depends on it and becomes the main focus.
This does not pose a problem if those collective ideas are healthy to your being and benefit society. However, we have a history of humanity becoming lost in destructive group think, allowing dangerous popular ideas in the hands of psychopathic dictators to get away with horrendous acts against millions! Hence the individual is so lost in the need to belong, they can be walked off the cliff and only realise it when they are in free fall when its too late.
To look at what others are doing and achieving is still important though, with the context in check. Competition against peers is purposeful and healthy because it motivates the push beyond our comfort zones.
There is nothing wrong with measuring how well you are going against others. It is important to always seek accountability to where you are at, with your attitude and capability so you can focus on the reality of what needs addressing and not the fantasy that you are already great at something. Waiting, excuses and blame can hold us in denial for too long. So being tested and being told the truth is important. The key is to install self-belief and self worth in the child. I hope the schooling system is moving in that direction. I hear that it is in some corners and hear horror stories in others. So I am not sure where it is truly at overall.
So the danger of being caught in competing to feel worthy is way too common and parents and teachers need to create an environment to support students who are allowing their failures to weaken their character rather than make it stronger. Furthermore, too often we are told that we need to respect our personal limitations, not from the perspective that they temporarily exist and we should be aware of them, but that they are definite and will define our life, so we should respect them.
This is deeply saddening to hear about. Clients often tell me how their teachers told them they will never amount to anything! NO matter how frustrated you may be with a child’s behaviour, never tell them that! Yes they may be motivated to prove you wrong and become a pilot or a CEO, but the emptiness they feel no matter what they achieve is devastating to themselves and the relationships they have. They are forever caught in the cycle to prove themselves without the ability to feel satisfied. Sounds like hell to me.
From personal experience, I can assure you that your IQ and EQ are fluid and you can increase them. Your intuition is potent and can trump all intellectual thinking. All your wisdom is innate and waiting to be tapped into. Do not let school define what you can achieve. However, use it to gain knowledge and skills. Use it to expand what you know and practice the discipline of completing tasks.
Most of all, allow school to offer ideas and remain in touch with your true self so that you can discard any of them that do not dignify you and your right to create the future you choose to commit to.
George Helou is a life coach, author, educator, motivational speaker and founder of EP7 – Empowered for Purpose in 7 Steps. His latest book Cinderella’s Secrets – The Untold Story of Ella, is all about how Ella reinvented herself to have the life she yearned for with eyes wide open. Available in hard copy or on Amazon and iTunes