Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Do you agree that kids who win competitions at school level become successful professionals?

You want to build their career right. So the kids need training from the beginning when they are in school. Little constant effort with help them become a great professional. Agree or not?

Well . . . maybe. Or maybe not. I *never* won any school competitions in my misspent youth, and I entered plenty of them. Despite that handicap, I'd say I am a "successful professional." At least in the sense that I have been gainfully employed for most of my life, doing work that was remunerative, interesting, and meaningful. Certainly I don't think I have anything to apologize for as a writer. (Go to Google and enter my name in the search box “soni2006”.)

I don't think winning school competitions hurts anything, as long as the work is done by the child (and not the parent), and the child is into competing. I am not sure winning school competitions translates into much more than demonstrating an ability to win school competitions, however. Real-life isn't as structured (unless you plan to make a career out of rent-seeking in the public sector). (School is a great way to learn the *right* way to fill out government forms.)

Competitiveness is a good thing to develop (as long as it is win by the rules, and playing fair, and not win at any cost, no matter how). It should fit into a framework of developing a child's potential, fostering their talents, and building in a desire to do their best at whatever they do.

There is a competition trap that many kids fall into, however. It is easiest to win at the things you do best. If you focus only on the things you do best (to win competitions) at the expense of the things you need to improve upon, you can cripple your growth. I was really good at stuff like English and history in school, and weak at mathematics. So I took a lot more math courses as electives in high school to improve that weakness.

It helped me in the long run, but that was one reason I won so few school competitions. I was competing with those with much more natural talent. On the other hand, many of them faded out after high school because they had focused too narrowly on math (and couldn't communicate) or English and history (and didn't understand how things worked).

In my opinion, winning a competition may provide greater opportunities but that doesn't give a guarantee you'll be a successful professional in life.

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