“The most misleading idea I picked up at school was that success is the result of intelligence. It’s not: it’s the result of doing things. This seems so obvious now, I can’t believe nobody drummed it into me at school. So I never did an internship or tried to get myself elected to a prestigious student body. I assumed my good grades would transform themselves into a job. I spent three years working in a bookshop.
“When we think we see intellect what we’re really looking at is energy. The really energetic write pushy emails demanding work. They apply for grants, they go to parties, they network. All this stuff is exhausting and a lot of people who do it are ghastly, but it should be more widely taught that life requires this sort of effort.”
(James Marriott ,The Times, London)
My comment: How right you are, Mr. Marriott! During my early life I learned that a good degree and excellent reports from a prestigious school and university guaranteed nothing. Indeed, the better the degree the more suspect you seemed to be (“Don’t want that fellow with the fancy degree coming in and telling us what to do”, or “He’ll quickly get bored here and we’ll have lost time” type of attitude). Unless you work very hard at it, as Mr. Marriott suggests, you are considered to be suitable for the civil service, maybe (nothing wrong with that, of course, but it narrows the options). This is tough on the introverts for whom networking, parties and selling themselves come hard. This is where teachings of Epicurus are particularly pertinent – friends can help where otherwise your curricula vitae can end up on the discard pile.