Good teachers can change your life – be it in school or outside of it. I was fortunate to have some really good teachers when I was at school and I am forever indebted to them.
But, we both know that school and marketplace are very different environments. There are some things that you must leave behind as you enter the marketplace. Here are nine of them:
1. Your report card will show how good you are
Your report card will give a good indication of how well you are doing at your school. It’s a good metric – for school. In life, everything is measured by value you add to the marketplace.
2. Tests and exams are events that occur on particular dates
You prepare for a test and an exam that happens on set days. In life, EVERYDAY is a test and you can never take it for granted. You can prepare but you can never prepare enough.
3. You pursue several subjects because they are part of the curriculum
The way curriculum is designed at school, you really don’t have a choice on the subjects you choose to pursue. In the marketplace you not only have a choice it is your duty to pursue studying those subjects that are relevant to the current and future times. You have to be mastering topics that are required NOW and at the same time, you have to lay the foundation to master topics that will become relevant in the future.
4. Conformity is cool. Creativity is optional
At school, they need to judge you on set criteria. This means you have to excel while conforming to the rules. In life, conformity will reward you with mediocrity. If you want to stand out, creativity is a MUST.
5. Good scores will (continue to) open good opportunities
Your exam scores become important may be during your first job interview. After that people mostly forget your scores. Soon, your scores become irrelevant. In life, the marketplace tracks your value addition – not once but throughout your career.
6. Experiments are fun and you can repeat them until you get them right
School experiments are always fun. If you don’t get them right, you can always repeat them. You can do experiments in your life too. However, the COST of failing in an experiment is quite high compared to the cost of failing an experiment in school. Be mindful in taking risks.
7. You get rewarded for finding that ONE answer
In the marketplace there is rarely ONE answer for anything that matters. You have to learn to choose the best among available options. And, you need to do that quickly.
8. You get a few months (at least) to master a subject
You get to learn a subject in a sequence – step by step over a period of few months. You rarely have that luxury when you operate in the marketplace. You are learning on the go as fast possible. Mastery still takes time but you don’t wait until you attain complete mastery to start showing results.
9. Your student life is mainly a solo sport with teams coming in for additional support.
The moment you enter the marketplace, you realize that you are playing a team sport. As the old African proverb goes – “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Last but not the least: You complete your student life and enter the marketplace. You quickly realize that marketplace requires you to be a lifelong student to succeed in the long run.