I would never wish the challenges of a struggling student on my worst enemy.
I can remember keeping my head down as my parents lectured me about my grades. I kept my head down because I didn’t want to accidentally see the disappointment in my mother’s face… again.
It didn’t take a lecture for me to feel bad.
I remember the weeks before my report card got sent out I got worried about it. I knew it was coming up and I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be a good thing. It’s like I was creeping through the woods at night and I heard the sound of rustling 20 feet behind me.
I was hoping for the best but the best wasn’t coming as often as I would have hoped.
The worst part about bad grades isn’t the lecture you get. It’s not the ugly red marks your teacher colors your paper in. It’s not even the long-term academic prospects. The worst part is the doubt.
A few bad semesters and you start to wonder if you’re just not capable of learning this stuff. I mean… every class needs to have it’s bottom half. Once your letter grades start telling you a story that you’re that bottom half, it’s hard not to believe what you’re seeing.
I’m really hoping that you have no idea what I’m talking about because it sucks.
Your Grades Aren’t An Intelligence Test
I think it’s that kind of pain that made me finding a solution inevitable. It’s like I didn’t have a choice but to figure it out.
One of the most important things I had to learn was the difference between intelligence and academics.
Have you ever heard the stories of successful people that dropped out of school? There are lists of massively successful people that dropped out of high school:
- Richard Branson
- David Karp
- Quentin Tarintino
- George Foreman
There are two important things to note about this list:
- Being successful in academics is not the same thing as being successful in life.
- Actually graduating will improve your odds. These guys are exceptions (not the rule.)
I’ve never liked these lists because most of the folks on them are terrible comparisons to the average person. I’m about a foot and a hundred pounds less likely to be a successful prize fighter like George Foreman. I didn’t grow up in Hollywood. I have no connections. Odds are, my results would vary from these guys.
But it is true that academics and intelligence aren’t the same thing.
Students with bad grades can be massively intelligent. It often comes down to motivation and focus.
The studies on this subject tend to show a super weak correlation between grades and intelligence. Grades are usually a better indicator of motivation than intelligence.
I was able to turn my grades around and this motivation is exactly what did it.
And most of the difference I made was:
Once I solved the problems I had, my grades were consistently up within a month. Within two months, I was above my goals.
Most of the problems were easy to solve. It wasn’t about doing difficult thing after difficult thing. It was about skipping pointless stuff and doing easy stuff that made a big difference.
There is an game to academics that most students can’t appreciate.
Imagine the difference between two high school basketball players.
The first player is tall and gifted at basketball. He plays basketball virtually every free second he has because he knows he could make the pros. He lifts weights. He shoots hundreds of shots in a row. He studies game plans and strategies. He spends his whole life fighting to make the pros.
The second player is good at basketball but has very little interest in joining the pros. He just plays because he enjoys it.
Which of these players is going to be happier playing basketball?
Odds are, it’s going to be the second player.
The first player has tons of pressure to be good. If he fails, his career and life plans are going to get flipped upside down.
The second player just likes the game.
Most students are trying to “make the pros” of academic success never realizing that there are no pros. It’s just a game. You won’t make a career out of being good at tests. (Sure… you may get qualified for a career but being qualified for a career doesn’t make you successful at it.)
Academics are just scores like any other game. Sure… they feel good. And people will make judgements about you based on those scores for a few years but a year after you finish school:
No One Cares About Your Grades (Except You)
You’re going to be the only one looking back on your grades and needing to live with them.
Believe me, turning my grades around felt AMAZING.
It was worth it and it was way easier than I would have thought at the time.
These days, the people I work with, my employer, my friends, and virtually everyone I meet doesn’t care about those scores. Those high scores are just a sign that I got really good at a game that I don’t play anymore.
Don’t let the pressure get to you because that pressure is just in your head.
Good grades are more about strategy than they are about anything meaningful.
If you learn the strategies we teach here at Smart Student Secrets then you can dominate in your classes. Your scores will be near the top of your class while your effort can go towards making friends and enjoying life (which will help your career prospects way more than the grades will.)
I recommend you learn to get good grades.
It leads to happier parents and teachers. It leads to easier friendships. It leads to lower stress. And it’s just fun to aim for the high score when you do it in a smart way.
Aaron Richardson took his grades from fighting F’s to Easy A’s. In the process, he read over 300 books on personal development. Today he’s founded 2 blogs on studying including Smart Student Secrets. He’s written 3 books on the subject. His work has been featured on some of the biggest news, psychology, and student sites on the internet.