I saw this post on Facebook, and it really resonated with me.
I’ve given talks over the years to students at Brown and Yale. I’ve told them: Congratulations! But, getting into a highly-selective school may be one of the worst things to happen to you.
You see, there is a risk to people who get tremendous social validation early in life: They get addicted to it. I see this with students who are star athletes in high school or college and don’t go on to the pros; their athletic careers just end on day, suddenly and permanently.
I see this with academic super-stars who eventually work themselves to death; they trade getting high grades for getting high bonuses at their jobs.
Also, there is risk to the students who don’t get the gold stars. We accidentally, through our star system, make them feel unworthy and “less than.”
It’s graduation season. A handful of students are winning all of the accolades, and I wish them the best. But, I also wish the best to the other 90%, who persisted and graduated, too.
So, to all of the graduates: congratulations!