School teaches you many lessons. Some of them you forget, most of them you don’t understand, and certain learnings would be best left forgotten. When I was at school, I learnt that it isn’t cool to try hard. This is one of the worst lessons I have ever been taught.
School is easy – I don’t mean academically or socially – I mean that you won’t get fired for underperforming. It’s OK to ‘do your best.’ The truth is that most of us do not do our best at all. I know that I am guilty of this. In the English school system – the only one that I was part of – we are taught that it is the taking part that counts. You go through your whole life (while underperforming) thinking, ‘Wow, I’m doing pretty great at this life thing,’ whining at people who try to control us (parents and teachers) then boom, you leave school and the real world comes and slaps you round the face with a large, dead fish. When you leave school, you are no longer being coddled by people who will put up with you because they have to. And that can be hard to adjust to.
It is hard to break the conditioning of school, the conditioning that says ‘don’t be one of those people who tries too hard.’ But the truth is that we only get somewhere in life if we try hard. All those people you see on television, in movies, that you read about, that you follow on Instagram, anyone that you think has a great story, they have all tried hard. And one way or another, they have probably been lucky. But they only got lucky because they tried hard in the first place and even then, sometimes trying hard just isn’t enough. You have to try hard, work smart (whatever that ‘work’ entails), and only then do you get lucky.
Forget that trying hard wasn’t (isn’t) cool at school and do everything you can to pursue your passion because one day it will be the ‘try-ers’ that make it in life – and that makes them pretty cool (whatever that means).
Good luck – you’ll earn it.