What Your Child Really Needs for a Prospective Future

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If you still think that good academics alone will give your child a secure future, it’s time to reassess your misconceived beliefs. It is a rapidly changing world that our children are growing up in and the future is uncertain. All we know is that the days when a good degree will guarantee you a good career are gone.

It used to be that law degree meant something. These days, it has been reduced to being described as a “good ‘generalist’ qualification”. An over supply of law graduates has meant fierce competition for entry positions at law firms. Law students and graduates are being told to broaden their career prospects beyond becoming lawyers because they are going in at a time of rapid change. They can no longer assume that because they have a law degree, they will have a job as a lawyer. – Financial Review

To quote Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google, “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless… We found that they don’t predict anything.” – The New York Times

School shouldn’t be just about academics and test results, it should be about preparing our children for the real world. What do they need for the real world?

These are qualities that one of the world’s most successful companies looks for (i.e. Google)…

Learning ability

And they don’t mean IQ. They want people with the ability to “process on the fly” and be able to “pull together disparate bits of information”. It’s not just about being clever. It’s about having practical intelligence.

Although they don’t actually state it, I think it sounds an awful lot like they want people with good executive function, fluid intelligence and working memory.

Emergent Leadership

And no, they don’t care whether a candidate was the president of the chess club or the vice president of sales. They want to know whether that person can step in to lead a team when the situation calls for it AND, just as importantly, whether that individual is able to relinquish that power to let someone else lead when the time arises.

Humility and Ownership

Ownership is the sense of responsibility that prompts a person to step up to solve a problem. Humility is the ability to embrace the ideas of others when they are better ones. The ultimate goal of this is to be able to work together and solve a problem together.

It’s not just humility in creating space for others to contribute, it’s “intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn.” It is why research shows that many graduates from hotshot business schools plateau. “Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t learn how to learn from that failure.”

To sum this up in a nutshell, what they are really looking for are individuals with a “growth mindset“.


Although expertise is considered,  it is not high on the list because the expert gets cocky and stops looking for new answers because they’ve “seen it all”. It is the nonexpert that will occasionally discover something new and that’s the bit that is valuable.

Summing it up

While good grades and a degree are “nice to have”, it doesn’t matter where you learned it as you can demonstrate what you can do with what you know. There is no point knowing a lot of stuff if you don’t know how to do anything with it.


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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