I know why society has a tendency to overvalue school.
It is linear. There are clear expectations of the system of how you get evaluated. The higher the letter grade, the better. Likewise in swimming, it is straightforward. The time goes down, the achievement goes up. Time to celebrate.
While knowing the desired outcome, reverse engineering a strategy becomes simple. It gives you the answer of what to focus on. Perform well on tests. Show up as your best at swim meets. This situation is desirable because there is less uncertainty. The unknown factor is whether the process you use will equate to your desired outcome.
Once leaving this controlled environment many variables come into the picture. It is hard to know what is right and wrong. Subjectivity clouds the way. The rules become undefined. The scorecards from school and sports do not translate to the real world due to all of the factors.
Winston Churhill said that, “Success is jumping from failure to failure without losing excitement.” This can be exhausting without a northstar. Without a clear definition of what success even is. That is what becomes the A1 question.
What does success look like in this situation?
It is like a science experiment. You predict the procedure for your hypothesis to come true. An educated guess is necessary to evaluate later on. Why is it that nobody ever asks us this? It is what we are aiming for after alright? I have never heard someone tell me that they craved to be unsuccessful. Yet when it comes time to define, nobody teaches us how to.
Anywhere is better than no where, so start somewhere. Look introspectively. What do you care about? Is it progress? Quality relationships? Honesty? These are the metrics that should lever the perception of your reality.
Success is ambiguous. Let’s take advantage of this. Create a definition that is unique to you.