My Two Cents: Making the grade

To the colleges that could have been: I really, really wish that they could have been.

To the colleges that could have been: I really, really wish that they could have been.

Once upon a time, there was a British boy named Aria Shahrokhshahi, who, like many other young students around the globe, had trouble with math.

One year ago, he was failing, but on October 21, he received his report card with a C- in math.

In this video posted on Aria’s YouTube channel, the passing grade was enough to bring his father to tears.

For generations, parents have been encouraging their children to be successful in school.

In middle school, my dad motivated me by paying $20 for every A. I see my friends freak out over B’s and C’s.

Why? It’s simple. Statistically, good grades open up boatloads of opportunities — better colleges, higher paying jobs.

It’s true that grades are indicators of something…you’ve mastered whatever a teacher may be teaching…you’ve worked hard and applied yourself…or, you’ve simply learned to play the game. Students with good grades deliver what the teacher wants to see.

But, there are lots of people who “made the grade” in other ways.

Thomas Edison, one of the most famous and productive inventors ever and a self-made multimillionaire, not only got a late start in his schooling, but dropped out of school only three months into formal education. Benjamin Franklin, author, politician, scientist, inventor, founding father (the list goes on for quite a while) wasn’t even a high school graduate. Walt Disney dropped out of high school at age 16 (though he did receive an honorary high school diploma at age 58). The list goes on…and on…and on.

So before you plan on being a failure for life because of a less-than-perfect score on a test, just remember that grades, while important, aren’t the only path to success.

This isn’t to say that you should throw caution to the wind and stop worrying about your grades. Before you do that, ask yourself, “Am I the next Edison? Franklin? Disney?”

If the answer is “yes,” good for you! Don’t forget me when you’re rich and famous. If the answer is anything else, you might want to hit the books just a little bit harder.

Despite the fact that grades aren’t the most important thing to define your success in life,  they are a way to get your foot in the door for those great opportunities to come.

Take a lesson from Aria.

You shape your success, you make your own opportunities, and you have the power to turn your life around whenever you’d like.