The Motivation of Christmas
Silence and Words

Which traditional school subject is the most important for career success?

People all have a view on this, and the results of the Luvata ( ) poll are clear: maths and the sciences comprise a full 50% and literacy and languages 43%; arts, geography and history are also-runs sweeping up the rear. Of course, these statistics are misleading, especially to parents: they see that doctors or lawyers earn a small fortune and so press for them at school to be good numerically or linguistically, and hey bingo! a successful career beckons. But the trouble is: is it the right career for the child?

As a professional mentor I have met dozens of high achieving, career success orientated individuals who have done it – been a career success only to find midway or later that that is not what they wanted to do at all. They hated it; and they resent their parents for putting them through it, and the teachers who complied – who did not spot their real talent for art or whatever.

There is an expression: nobody on their death bed wishes they had spent more time in the office. How true. And there is another, even more chilling: most people die with their music still inside them. They don’t get to be and do who they are.

So we should really be asking the question not about career success, important as it is, but widening it to include life success? What would a successful life look like? And there are seven core elements which are non-negotiable.

First, high levels of self-esteem: do we feel good about ourselves, or are we always in a state of anger, guilt or fear? Second, do we have high energy and good health, because without it all career success is compromised. Third, do we have high quality relationships with others – a perennial source of joy and happiness.

Then, fourth, wealth – enough money to stop worrying about money. And yes, career success can help here. But can it help with fifth: meaning – purpose, ideals, values which enable us to transcend the pettinesses of life and contribute to a greater good? Some careers can.

Sixth, growth – what Maslow called self-actualisation – becoming all that we can be and not just stagnating. From a career point of view stagnating is just doing a ‘job’ – there is no progression, no vision and no sense of momentum. Finally, seventh, self-awareness; the foundation stone of all growth and furthermore a sign of openness to learning and profound curiosity about the nature of the self.

And this leads back to what schools teach: do schools teach students what they really need to know? Perhaps a subject for Luvata’s next poll!


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Rosie Barfoot

Good article James. Most employers I speak to at the moment are asking for work ethic and can do attitude. Are these taught at school? I know Marcel Ciantar, at the Budmouth Centre of Excellence for Industrial Liaison, Weymouth is trying hard to achieve that. You may like to contact him.

Tony Buzan, who spoke at our Mind Your Head conference in August, questioned whether current teaching techniques really taught in a brain friendly way. I think there is a lot more that can be done.


Thanks Rosie. I don't have marcel's email address, but he sounds interesting. There is a lot more that can be done. Appreciate your interest in this.

ZephyrWorld Blog

I would like to ask you to share a link to other resources that open up this subject of course just in case you know any.

Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


Je n'ai pas eu le temps de terminer de lire par contre je repasse dans la soirée

nippone femme de petite vertu

Puis-je prendre quelques paragraphes sur un site web perso ?

Black Vicelarde

J'ai pas eu le temps de finir de lire par contre je repasserai dans la journée

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