Do you crave being Right, or craft being Smart? 

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Education teaches us to be Right, is that Smart?

Most of us have been fortunate enough to have experienced the basic human right of access to education. What has your education helped you to achieve? What has it given you?

We posed this question recently, along with: ‘other than your core and chosen subjects, what else were you educated in?’ Other than a few interesting skill-sets that cannot be referenced here, there was a unanimous agreement that, at school and college we all learn to be right. In fact, we experience being regularly graded during our formative years according to how ‘right’ or how ‘clever’ we are. Thankfully in recent times, effort and input have also become key indicators for success but, the conditioning is set early: ‘show us how clever you are, see you much you can get right’. 

This naturally becomes our marker and yardstick for success: ‘to interview well I need to answer the questions right’; ‘if I want to get a pay rise or a promotion, I had better demonstrate how clever I am compared to my peers’; ‘to prove my value to others, I need to show them how much I know’. 

Yet, how often do we consider becoming properly skilled at what really matters as leaders, colleagues, friends, partners or parents: the ability to get the very best from a situation, for all stakeholders – this requires us to observe, learn and support…being ‘right’ is of limited value. 

Being acutely aware of individual nuances within any given scenario will ensure that we hold our opinions lightly, listen to others, negotiate agreements and stay nimble on our feet – now that’s smart. 

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