Friday, May 10, 2013

The "E" Factor - 'Excellence'

"If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well'." (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Hi Everyone,

I still remember the third semester of by graduation very clearly because it was that semester that jolted me out of the dream world of marks. You see when I was in first semester I topped my branch, then in second semester also I got better marks than first semester but then in third semester my mars dropped drastically by 20%. From 80s I reached into 60s. A big shocker for me really. Why I am telling this? Because I have seen in our society guardians, teachers and parents put a lot of pressure for marks on the students.

I was never a very bright student until I went into graduation. For me getting marks was very hard. When I was in KG I was ok ok at studies. Somehow I still remember almost all the results. Then when I entered second grade, for the first time I got a position in the top three. I was shocked to be true. But then I felt that getting marks makes others happy so this might be the right thing to do. So I worked hard to get marks. It’s true that when you get good marks you do absorb knowledge also but it’s not necessarily true that you develop a good understanding also. This is where the "E" factor comes in.

I believe that getting marks is not as important as getting excellence in a subject. Motivating a child to get marks is as important as to motivate him/ her to develop an understanding of the subject. I do not need to quote example of others when I myself got good marks in maths but never really understood the concepts behind them properly. Oh I understood enough to get the questions true but beyond that no idea. I have taught for few years and I have seen that students have a habit of learning things up rather than questioning the things, a habit extremely important.

Getting marks is easy. Some people may laugh at this statement but trust me I am saying from experience.. getting marks is very easy, what’s difficult is knowing why you got those marks, did you really got the topic down, can you apply the logic of the same problem to a different situation etc. The education system in this country is partly to blame. I have observed that we learn a lot of things in school and college, which have no real application later on in life. Comparing to the system in western countries, there also till certain grade the students are required to learn the basic things but that’s it, after that each student is motivated to pursue his/ her own area of interest and the subject related to it. 

What difference does it make when compared to Indian education system. A huge difference. A bucket load of subjects of all varieties is much less efficient that a selected set of subjects suited to the interests of the student. Also in this country most of the companies equate marks with excellence when interviewing for jobs, which is wrong on so many levels. I might not have good marks in my exams but that does not mean I don't understand my subjects. It might be simply that I felt too lazy to write in exams, which I really do, most of the times.

So coming back to the opening paragraph, after that shocking result I stopped going after marks and devoted my time in library going after things I liked to read and understand and the growth in my excellence was tremendous. Slowly but surely I developed that "E" factor in me. Some may feel that they are past the age of studying and developing excellence but its never late. One movie recently very eloquently put the message that I am also trying to bring out

"Don't run after success.. Run after excellence.. Then success will have no choice but to come after you."

Everyone is unique and has one factor that separates him/ her from the crowd. One should find out that quality and develop it. That will bring the more success than anything else. I have found out mine and continuously developing excellence in it with rewarding results, both monetarily and personally. 

So lets build this "E" factor in us and make our life more prosperous and happy than it can be otherwise.

Genie Signing off