For awhile, I was annoyed with new media consultant Gary Vaynerchuk.
Why? Because he kept bragging about how he flunked all his classes in school.
Keeps bragging, actually. It seems to be one of his new passions, right up there with his obsession over cheering for the NY Jets football team.
Maybe “bragging” is my own interpretation. But it seems like he is. The overall message is, “Hey, I flunked all my classes…but despite that, I became super successful.”
We all know “that guy” from high school. The one who didn’t study, or didn’t care about getting good grades, or worse—just thumbed their nose at the system. Then years later, you find out he’s become someone important, or at least someone who is doing well…often better than you.
And you think, “Life’s unfair.” Because you studied. You tried to get good grades. You thought that would matter.
Truth is, grades don’t really matter in the end. Effort is what matters. Having the courage to try and fail matters. Doing what seems impossible in the face of the odds and breaking through is what matters.
What Gary preaches (Hard Work Trumps Everything) is echoed in Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. In it, he details lots of examples of people who have seemingly insurmountable odds against them (like being dyslexic), who go on to achieve extraordinary things. Gladwell points to research that shows a lot of hard working graduates from “second rate” colleges consistently outperform graduates from elite, Ivy League schools.
So no, grades don’t matter.
Heart matters. Sweat and courage matter. Being relentless matters.
Who am I to write this or say this? What do I know? I don’t have a psychology degree or anything close to it. I just have the desire to write this and put it out for the world to read, and agree or disagree with me.
Turns out Gary Vaynerchuk is a lot wiser than his former teachers gave him credit for. Read his backstory, and you’ll find out he came from Russia to America at an earlier age, and his family had to scrape and fight to survive, much less thrive.
Sometimes you have to throw “smart” out the window and get “stupid.”
Smart is me thinking that I should have a bigger platform before anyway cares what I say. Stupid is just putting forth the effort, regardless of the outcome.
Book smarts don’t mean anything if they just stay in your head. And often what you think you “know” is wrong, anyway.
Be bold. Try something new and crazy. Just watch and see what might happen.
Who knows? You might wind up on the New York Times bestseller list several times over, like Gary.
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