Gary Screaton Page, O.M.C., M.Ed., Ph.D., R.C.C.*


 *Under Letters Patent Government of Canada


    Why Some people Fail to Succeed

    I believe in life-long learning. Education should be a personal matter, however. To be sure, there are real basic skills and facts each of us must know to function at all culturally, socially, economically, and personally. However, those “basic” skills and facts that prove essential are, in fact, far fewer than are forced upon us in our schools. The real issues that confront us on a personal level the system supplants with a host of curriculum offerings we will never need and never use. Much of formal schooling, therefore, is lost on the majority of us. At the same time, opportunities to seek answers to real questions we have while growing up, real interests we wish to pursue, and of the very matters that forms the careers the most successful among us live out, the school system leave for us to chase after and figure out outside of the classroom. Things like, how to secure a home, use credit, find a job that is personally satisfying and one we love to get up each day to do. Consequently, opportunities to be creativity involved in our environments, and to learn important adaptive skills and knowledge, like how to find out what we really need to know when we really need to know it, are lost to far too many among us.

    I define real education as those experiences that nurture human nature towards social, emotional, and intellectual maturity. If all humans strive to actualize their full potential then why do so many of us humans fail to do so? I believe the failure to realize one's full potential is due to a relatively few factors.

    I believe all humans strive to actualize themselves fully. Many, if not most, fail to do so because:

    1.They cannot.

    2.They believe they cannot.

    3.They do not know how.

    4.They no longer find doing so worthwhile.

    5.They believe they cannot.

    6.Someone, often a teacher or other significant adult, tells them they cannot.

    There are those in every society whom accident, socioeconomic position, or some other outside influence are significantly hindered, if not blocked altogether, from realizing their full potential. If one considers Maslow's hierarchy of needs, for example, the infant who is undernourished, abused, abandoned, or who encounters some other environmental obstacle, is not likely to reach the limits nature has set for them. The child who does not meet its most basic needs has little or no chance of having any of the other needs satisfied. Consider the child born in a repressive political regime and so dwells in severe poverty all his childhood. That child may not even live to adulthood.

    There are of course notable exceptions among us, who do successfully overcome great barriers to achievement: Opra Winfree, Albert Einstein, Jim Carry, John Coutis, Nick Vujicic, and Ben Underwood to name a few. I would also add my brother, Kenneth Edward Page, crippled with polio as a young boy, but went on to become the Co-op Education Director of the Scarborough Board of Education.

    What should we know about the individuals who only believe they cannot? It has been my experience that such individuals have either had too much or far too little support. Often children who have everything done for them grow to believe they are incapable. They tend to reason this way, "If they have to do everything for me, I must not be able to do for myself." Children who have too little done for them frequently encounter failure. What they are asked to do may be beyond their abilities when first asked to do it. What society expects them to do they may not yet be capable of doing. Adults, nevertheless may punish them for not doing it. Unfortunately, these children tend to generalize their inability to do what is expected. They frequently reason, "I cannot do these things; I, therefore, cannot do anything.”

    Both the over protected child and the under protected child truly believe they have less potential than nature provided. If you can't or believe you can't, usually you won''t! For those in these groups a superhuman effort, and relentless persistence, seasoned with considerable courage, will help them succeed.

    In a future Blog, I will continue this discussion. Meanwhile, please share your thoughts on the matter?


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