4 Assumptions About Success That Blind You to the Truth

Check out these four blind spots about student success:

1) Smart people are more successful. The Truth? It is less important for students to feel “smart” than that they are capable of attempting a challenge, even one that they may not successfully meet. Smart is not what you are. Smart is what you do, especially when you have not succeeded yet.
2) School success determines your life success. The Truth? The willingness to approach what interests you in an educational setting is less important than understanding how you can benefit from the learning experiences that happen there. You only spend about 20% of your life in school. The other 80% is where you can step out of that box and become your epic self. School does not directly teach you how to do this. People who have done well in the school setting are good at efficiently organizing and following directions, and they have thrived on the provided structure.
3) Success happens once you outgrow your childhood challenges. The Truth?As a professional who has worked with people across the lifespan, I have observed that people do not grow through and out of difficulties. Instead, we face different challenges that may not require our weaknesses, so we appear to struggle less, and as adults, we can exert more choice (avoidance) over what we do not like. This looks like “outgrown” but if you follow people longitudinally (I have stayed in touch with clients for over 30 years) you will find that success is more about knowing how to leverage your non-academic strengths and applying these to a “goodness-of-fit” setting than about outgrowing challenges.
4) Success is the outcome of struggling effectively. The Truth? Effective struggle is often based on the assumption that the struggle that someone else is presenting to you (a school assignment, a job at work) is intrinsically worthy of your respect, attention, skills, and effort. The truth is not so black and white, and we continue to search for the right fit even as adults.

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About the author

Sherri Fisher, MEd, MAPP, executive coach and learning specialist, uncovers client motivation and focus for perseverance. She has decades of successful experience working with students, parents, and professionals who face learning, attention, and executive function challenges at school, home, and work.

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