A’S & CHOICES

“It is not your fault that the world is what it is, it would only be your fault if it stays that way.”

This is a phrase from a lyric by the popular German band “Die Ärzte”.

Each year thousands of children graduate from high school and this year the state of Brandenburg, Germany decided to do something different for their high school graduates.

They created a special certificate with these words:

“It is not your fault that the world is what it is, it would only be your fault if it stays that way.”

Nice detail, isn’t it?

What I didn’t tell you is that it was only a certificate for students with an average of 1,0. For those who are not familiar with the German grading system, this would be a GPA of 4.0. Straight A’s. The best possible grade.

Only 250 students achieved it.

The problem is not with the students who achieved it. It is great to have straight A’s, I know how hard it is. And congratulations to them for that, well done!

My question is: What happens with the “others”?

The ones who tried their best? The ones who worked hard too? The ones who weren’t good at tests? The ones who weren’t good at studying? The ones who didn’t like school? The ones who didn’t finish school?

What happens with the “rest”?

Can’t they do something to change the world too? Is it not worth it to encourage them too? Are we encouraging them enough? Are we encouraging them at all?

Let me remind you that people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg didn’t even finish university. But they changed the world for the better.

A suggestion. Let me share with you what I will tell to my children. Something that my teacher Seth Godin told to his children and told me:

Coming home with straight A’s is fine, I’ll accept that, but what I’d rather have you do is come home and tell me something amazing that you learned in the spirit of doing something good for someone else, come home and tell me some really dramatic failure that occurred as you were trying to solve an interesting problem.”

And for all high school graduates, I would love to tell you:

Congratulations!

It is not your fault that the world is what it is and it is not your fault if it stays that way.

It is your choice!

PS If you are interested you can find a deeper analysis here.

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