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A case for ‘C’ students: Why good grades don’t always equal success

The grading system teaches us that A’s are the pinnacle.

Reinforced by honor roll, praise from our parents and other incentives, the idea that our “best” looks a specific way and that there is only one way to achieve it, has been instilled in us the second we started schooling.

This, however, couldn’t be farther from the truth. For it is “C” students who rule the world, the college dropouts, the procrastinators and disrupters — not the ones who stick to the script and let a rubric tell them how to be their best selves.

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Albert Einstein once said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” The school system’s principals to success — all A’s, perfect attendance, good behavior etc. — aren’t as transferable to real life. Things don’t always go as planned, even after you crossed all you t’s and dotted all you i’s.

“C’ students, students who dropped out of school, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others, make up the majority of the worlds entrepreneurs, innovators and thought leaders because they hustle, they’re creative, they’re not afraid to fail, and have their own definition of success.


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Straight “A” students do their work early and throughly which, in school, helps. “A” students aren’t forced to hustle much in school. They don’t have to work to come from behind or work double because they’ve slacked. That’s the reason they’re “A” students: they are on top of their school work at at all times.

The only problem is that life is not a test or solvable math problem. It’s not an essay you can start early on or a physics equation you’ve memorize the formula for. In life, you have to hustle twice as hard and your “best” often times will come short.

“C” students are prepared for the hustle that life demands. That damning letter that proceeds “C” constantly casts a shadow that both warns and inspires. “C” students take their own time and they’re more worried about completion rather than perfection.

That hustle is what it takes to try and jumpstart a company off the ground or launch a business of your own. Maneuvering your way to achieving your goals takes dealing with pressure and you must always be ready to change your plans.


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“C” students are often given bad grades because the answers they come up with are often deemed wrong by the professors. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and the education system claims they’ve seen every one. “A” students follow the road pathed before them, while “C” students find different, often wrong, innovative new solutions.

Furthermore, in life, it’ll teach them to do what they want. “C” students follow their gut, not what they’re told. It’s how we’ve gotten so many of our best ideas and companies today.

If you’re not willing to do what you want, no matter how much sense it lacks initially, you’ll get stuck doing what someone else wants you to do for them. Never go ahead living someone else’s dreams.


Another reason why “C” students see their dreams come in to fruition more often is because they can handle when things go wrong. One does not become a “C” student without taking a their fair amount of “F’s”.

Whether you’re a creative or an entrepreneur, you’re going to come across individuals who don’t see your vision and others who don’t think you have it. “A” students aren’t used to that. They’re used their work being good enough and everything working out once all the right things have been done.

When you learn to shrug off failure and it doesn’t phase you, you’re going to be able to keep going forward no matter what life throws at you.

In life, it is always best to fail forward. It’s the only way to level up.

Defines success for yourself

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When you’re used to making straight A’s, it’s easy to associate success with just the results. This is detrimental because success has a variety of layers.

Success isn’t always in what you can show for yourself, it can be what you’ve been able to keep and how far you’ve come.

“C” students don’t lose track of that. On the other hand, straight “A” students are susceptible to being discouraged when they’re not getting results.

Life isn’t perfect. The sooner we learn that the better professionals, dream chasers and people, are those who don’t always play it by the book, the faster we can get to getting this bag.