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Recently, I remembered my conversation with my camp director during my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) period in camp (Nkwerre, Imo). We were recounting something that happened the night before at the Big, Bold and Beautiful Pageantry. A girl, a graduate of one of the private schools (I’d rather not mention) in Nigeria was asked to name states in the southern region of Nigeria and aunty says, YOBE!!! READ MORE

Book Smart vs. Life Smart

I was seated at a meeting a while back with my team. We were trying to come up with brilliant and crucial talk show topics when the coordinator suggested a book written by Robert Kiyosaki as a topic of discussion. The book centered on different grades of students and their practical application of these grades in real life situations. The book title was WHY A STUDENTS WORK FOR C STUDENTS AND B STUDENTS WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT.


I kept trying to weigh the amount of truth embedded in this statement. I considered, the Forbes list, people the world considered successful, people I considered successful, people I knew etc. and I discovered that 80% of the time, the book title was right and the other 20% were the few exceptions that performed above or below expectations. I noticed that people with the sky-scraping CGPAs end up as top-seat workers for private organizations owned by those with “near to the ground” CGPAs. A 4th generation A-student could end up working for a second generation C-student. It is important that I state that, the only C-students capable of making things happen are those that follow their passion, combine it with willpower and determine to succeed in spite of their “not so good result” not those that laze about. They are people who invest their time in self development and focus on fruition of their dreams and maximize their talents. Average students have an average approach to life and would find solace in government organizations or average positions in private organizations with comfortable salary and job security. I kept pondering on this and then I realized the reason for this grade and life partition is the different expressions of knowledge embedded in the word “SMART”

I believe there are 3 Echelons of smartness.

  • Common sense-Smart
  • Book-Smart
  • Life-Smart

I included Common sense-Smart because not everyone is smart enough to apply common sense to issues of life when necessary. Everyone has common sense but not everyone uses it. Your ability to express wisdom with common sense automatically qualifies you as a member of this stratum of smartness. This category is not grade bound. It is the first level of smartness.

Book-Smarts are people who dedicate time to reading, have retentive or photographic memory to save whatever they read in a short time or put in extra effort in books (academic materials most often) to guarantee theoretical success and awesome documented result. They are academically exceptional. The A-students are often in this category and some B-students. They are majorly concerned about the grades and nothing else. They know what they know because they read it, maybe crammed it, prepared well for tests and exams and aced it. There is no guarantee that they’ll remember the information few years later.  These people are called INTELLIGENT. Some C-students often skip this level.

Life-Smarts are those with tolerable/fair grades. They are those who believe in and are driven by their will, talents and passion. They have gained experience, learnt from the lives of people, applied life principles to demand what they want from life. They don’t pay much attention to the theory but are very practical and experimental. They are result oriented problem solvers and challenge challenges. They are just not given the chance to express themselves because a glance at their academic result could write them off in the eyes of their investors. Their result leave room for doubt in their capabilities but once you look beyond their result and at them you’ll see the excellence possibilities. Some B students and majorly C students fall in this category. These people are called SMART Some A students never get to this point.

To attain the peak of success, you need to find a balance. It is not enough to have a good result or excellent at “practicalization” and application. A perfect blend of both is SMARTWORK and this births guaranteed success. There is a difference between school intelligence and intelligence applied for maximum achievement.

So if you’re graduating with an awesome grade (A-STUDENT), CONGRATS! But it is not enough… It is nothing till it can be applied. Your grade might give you access to the top but it’ll not keep you there. Add a little more experimentation to the theory you already know.

If you had an average grade (B-STUDENT), WELL DONE! But you can do better. You can’t afford to spend your life comfortable in the crowd. You deserve better and you owe the world better. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Do something exceptional.

If you’re a C-STUDENT, CONGRATS! Good news is your grade does not define you or the heights you can attain. If you add a little more theoretical knowledge to that passion, it’ll strengthen your will and yield maximum result and who knows… you might be on Forbes list, maybe the next city owner, job provider,  etc. Einstein did not have academic documented proof of “exceptionality”. His teacher wrote him off doubting his ability to become anything but he was classified as the man with the highest IQ. You could be the Einstein in your own field. It may be business, poetry, car designing, whatever, you could be the exceptional person in your field that the academic exceptional will fight to defeat or work for.

Most people focus too much on the degree and lose sight of the essence of application. Knowledge without application is folly. Application of knowledge is wisdom. The difference is clear between a man who exhibits a level of smartness and one who expresses all the levels of smartness because he is seven times on top of his game and above his peers (see what I did there *winks*)

Don’t let hurtful stings, condescending and poisonous words and parental bants sway you. The myopic knowledge of the world today is: ONLY PEOPLE WITH GOOD GRADES CAN MAKE IT but you can become their renewed lens and make them see that their money and your years in school was not a waste it was beyond grades. With or without good grades or supposedly high profiled professions like medicine, law, etc. YOU CAN MAKE IT!!! Flaw their mind-formed principles. Grades are never perfect justifications of your years spent in school, the outcome of your life is.

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PONDER ON THIS: if you judge a fish, a monkey, a lion and an elephant’s strength by their ability to climb a tree would you ever be able to figure their maximum capabilities? Would it be enough to express their true capabilities and level of excellence?

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it’ll live its whole life feeling stupid and incapable of excellence.

Life-smart principles gets to be studied, experienced and written in books for book-smarts to keep reading. Don’t stick to one angle, be the circle with all round excellence.



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