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Monday, November 3, 2014

Don't Be Well Rounded

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The classic concept of a good student is kind of a cliché. I'm sure you can imagine the average “good student's” grades in some pretty clear details. The “good student” is the kind of student that gets above average grades in every subject. I'm sure you've met at least a few of these people in your life but what about you?

Are you a good student? Do you thrive equally in all of your classes?

Sure, there are a few good students reading this article but the vast majority of people reading this aren't that easy to define as good students. If you're like most people, you're a great student in some subjects but there are other areas that you struggle to get through. This is natural.

In typical schooling children are taught that it's wrong to be deficient in some areas and strong in other areas. No matter how strong a student is in English, they'll never graduate high school if they don't figure out math. This just trains people to stop training the areas they're experts in and focus on training what they're bad at.

Most schools focus on trying to make all students into these typical “good students.”

While you can learn to work in that framework, be sure to understand the problems that come with it.


Exceptional Gets Appreciated


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People who are equally good at everything are in a really tough spot in life. Schools are trained to make students like this. That means, the competition is quite fierce. If you're going to go into any academically strong college around the world, you're going to find tons of people that were above average at every subject. They're not special.

The only people who get jobs from exceptionally well-rounded grades are those students that can get better grades than 95% of their competition. Those are the students that get recruited to big positions in life. Every other well-rounded student is still stuck trying to compete for normal jobs. There is a major problem with that though.

Being equally good in multiple fields of study means you need to sacrifice expertise in specific fields of study. Students that don't get those exceptional opportunities for being one of the best suddenly have to compete with students that are exceptionally good at specific fields of study. If you're a company recruiting for an important job, you don't necessarily care if the person you're hiring is good at some unrelated subject. You certainly care that the person hired is great at one particular subject.

While the best opportunities go to the people that are great at everything, the competition is ridiculous. The next best (and sometimes better) opportunities tend to go to people exceptionally good at specific things. The competition is also much less intense. The students that fail to become exceptional because they tried too hard to be well-rounded end up losing out.

Unless you're exceptionally gifted, do not try and compete in exceptional well-roundedness.

This is life advice. It's not necessarily for all school opportunities...

School Loves Average


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While all this is great for everyday life. School isn't so simple.

School is not a natural environment.

No matter how good you get at one particular subject, you'll never be allowed to move forward in schooling without propelling in the other subjects. This can make it challenging because no two people have the same strengths.

Not only does school encourage a lack of focus for your education. It downright requires it. That means, unfortunately, you must find the appropriate compromise for yourself to continue to move forward in school.

You may love writing more than anything else in the world but you must be willing to leave that behind to keep learning other subjects. To understand the true horror of this situation, consider the fact that most students are so dominant in one particular subject that they virtually can't spend any of their time on that one subject they actually care about because they're so occupied by keeping up in other subjects. (That's a long sentence but it's making an important point.)

In the writing example, that would mean you can't spend any more than the minimum time writing because you need to spend all of your free time worrying about other subject you don't really care about.

Is this bad? Yes. Definitely. That being said, don't live in the negatives. By acknowledging the problem you are in the perfect position to find the solution.

Focus On Exceptional


In school, you're forced to maintain some minimal grade in every subject. You are not required to excel in them. (That being said, most people can be above average academically with just a little time and a few good decisions that's what this site is all about. Fundamentally though, remember that you're making your decisions. You're the one in control.)

There is a loophole with school's educational plan that you need to be aware of though. You don't actually have to be good at a subject to get a good grade in that subject. And, no, I'm not referring to cheating. I'm referring to learning a few key, subject independent strategies that can increase your grades dramatically without needing more time invested. That being said, many of these strategies don't really increase your competency in the subject.

I have hundreds of examples of this throughout my old blog posts but to get you started, here are a few ideas:

By properly understanding and adjusting to your syllabus in a course, you can easily focus your energy on only the areas that provide a major impact on your grades. For example, if homework is 85% of your grade then be sure to do it. If tests are 85% of your grade then homework might be worth skipping.

By using last minute short-term memory study strategies, you can remember large amounts of information for a test while investing less than 20 minutes into studying. That can instantly prop up your grade while studying less.

Most school require certain amounts of attendance to class. One easy way to not invest more time is to actually use the time in class to pay attention. I know it's hard. You don't have to if you don't want to but you can certainly save yourself time outside of class if you pay attention.

You can even learn to read faster. Most people can consciously increase their reading speeds by huge amounts with hardly any practice. This increased reading speed can even help comprehension because you're a whole lot less bored while reading.

Strategies like these ones allow you to become an exceptional student. You're not exceptional because you learn what they want you to learn well. You're exceptional because you know how to play the game they're forcing you into.

Once you learn to use strategies like these, you'll have plenty of time to focus on doing the things that really make you happy. These are the subjects that you can become exceptional at.

When you become exceptional at something, the world will treat you well. Sure, you may not know enough to master any other subject but the truth is, you'll never have to.

While in school, it can help to look like a good student but in life, don't be a good student. Be damn good at something.

If you want to know the secrets to learning faster than ever, be sure to check out some of the old articles on this blog. Also follow this blog because there are some massive tips coming soon that you won't want to miss.




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