How we are damaged by our schooldays

How-we-are-damaged-by-our-schooldaysCould we have been damaged by our schooldays? Is that even possible?

Were they the best days of our lives, as we’re encouraged to believe, or could our schooldays have been detrimental to our mental well-being and our self-esteem?

This is an interesting question. So let’s just think about it for a minute.

Certainly, many people will have had mostly good experiences during their school days, I’m sure.

However, there will also be some for whom their schooldays will have left them mentally scarred and with a sense of failure. That much is philosophically self-evident, surely?

For instance, perhaps at school, people such as those to which I refer never quite achieved the grades their parents or teachers thought they should have done?

Perhaps they were last to be picked for a sports team, on a regular basis?

In either case, how would such experiences have made them feel?

What impact would they have had on their mental well-being?

Perhaps they felt, not quite good enough?

Possibly a little bit bruised and embarrassed by their inability to achieve what they believed was expected of them?

Adults may have thought that putting pressure on them it would motivate them to do well, yet it probably just left them feeling a little bit inadequate I suspect.

Your birth date matters:

Do you recognise such feelings, dear reader?

The problem with the school experience is that the age range of our classmates is spread over a whole year. And that’s a lot more significant than it first appears to be I think.

Someone whose birthday is at the beginning of September will be a year older than someone whose birthday is towards the end of August, despite both being in the same year academically.

Now it might not seem much but one year at that time in our lives makes a huge difference in terms of our development, both mentally and physically.

So what does this mean?

It means that if your birthday is at the end of the school year then you’re at a significant disadvantage relative to some of your much older classmates.

That disadvantage carries with you right through your school years, if you’re affected by it.

And it’s a disadvantage that extends not just to your academic studies but also to sport and physical activity too.

Success breeds positive reinforcement:

Most importantly, it’s not just the fact that you’re behind in terms of your physical and mental development. It’s also a fact that success breeds positive reinforcement.

Older students benefit from the constant reinforcement and encouragement of being told ‘Well done!‘, whilst younger students struggle to keep up unless they’re exceptionally gifted.

Even if people are of above-average ability for their age they can still be at a disadvantage relative to older classmates during their schooldays, particularly if those older classmates are also of above-average ability.

Inevitably at school people are compared to their peers and statistics show that the older ones tend to do better because of an inherent age advantage. That’s true with sport as well as academic subjects.

If younger students appear to perform less well, frequently that’s interpreted that as them being not quite as good as their older peers.

Advantage goes to age:

And few people, least of all our parents, recognise that the system essentially does not favour younger members of the class. It puts them at a disadvantage.

The obvious question then is how many people have gone through life feeling like a bit of a loser due to their experiences of a school system that tends to work against them simply because of the month in which they were born?

And how many people never fully recover from the inevitable damage done to their confidence and self-esteem during those all too important developmental years?

More importantly, our school days not only affect how we feel about ourselves. They also impact on how others perceive us to be as well.

A reputation for being a ‘Straight A’ student beats being a bit of an academic ‘also ran’. No one questions whether the former had an inherent advantage over the latter.

And how we’re perceived by others does matter because their perception of us often results in all the negative talk we often hear whenever we express ambition, which can affect our self-esteem.

I’m sure you know what I mean, as no doubt many readers will be familiar with the experience. Something like:-

You:Oh, I’d like to be a doctor.

Parent:Oh, don’t be ridiculous, with your grades?

And so on.

Our need for encouragement:

People will always give you reasons why you’re not good enough. When what you actually need is encouragement. With encouragement, you could make it in whatever pursuit that makes you feel truly energised.

If you’re someone who experienced disadvantage for whatever reason then let me tell you something. You’re as good as anyone and you should acknowledge that to yourself, constantly.

Schooldays represent a very small portion of life and they’re significant only in so far as they are one on many experiences we’ll have in life. Certainly, they don’t define you.

If your schooldays were a good experience then fine. If not, so what?

You can still achieve your ambitions with sufficient hard work and determination.

It doesn’t matter whether others believe you can do it, just as long as you believe you can do it.

There’s no such thing as a failure:

Remember; there’s no such thing as a failure. That label does not belong to people.

Failure is just an unwanted outcome and a learning opportunity. It’s not a person.

You have enormous potential. We all do.

Everyone is capable of achieving much more than they could ever think possible. With determination and hard work we can all achieve great things.

Attitude matters:

Your attitude is much more important than your aptitude when it comes to achieving your goals in life. Believe you can and you will.

However you feel about your past, it’s not too late to become something more than you are now.

You should embrace failure as nothing more than an opportunity for learning. It does not define you, and nor should it.

Recognise that just because you didn’t set the world on fire during your schooldays it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great things now.

No correlation:  

Remember; there’s no correlation between success at school and success in life.

Plenty of ‘Straight A’ students fail to achieve anything significant after they’ve left education behind. Whereas plenty of the less academically successful go on to achieve great things in life.

It’s not about how many times you get knocked down that count but how many times you can get back up and keep going until you get to where you want to be.

Victory is sweeter when it has been achieved following the experience of defeat.

You cannot achieve anything without the experience of at least the occasional failure along the way.

We all start as beginners:

Before anyone achieved success, they started out as a complete beginner. And along the road to success, they will have made plenty of mistakes. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either lying or deluded.

If you really want to succeed, just work hard, make mistakes and learn the lessons as you go.

If you’re determined you’ll find a way to achieve your goals and realise your dreams.

Daily-MantraFailure’s not fatal:

Don’t be overwhelmed by any perceived failure. It doesn’t have to be fatal, nor does it imply that you’re not capable of achieving great things.

Never, ever give up until you get to where you want to be. Success can be yours if you want it badly enough. And remember this; it is better to try and fail than never to have tried at all.

Never be afraid to try because there are only outcomes we didn’t want and lessons to be learned.

Daily Mantra:

Reinforce self-belief by repeating constantly this daily mantra

I’m as good as anyone; I’m better than most; I will achieve success; nothing will stop me!

Go on, get started now. Success is waiting for you.

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