Always Not Good Enough

Or the topic can be “Always Stay Humble”.

The best time I feel focused, and archived is when I was in middle school. Let me share the story that I have never shared in the last 17 years with you today. That was triggered by another great book I read many times Good to Great.

The Middle School

The best school I entered in my life is my middle school – much better experience than the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The middle school has as long history as my university – the Luoyang No 1 Middle School.

That school is the best school in the city. Why? Because they way their students are chosen is very simple: at the middle school entrance exam, the top 352 students across the whole city (with 6 million population) are admitted into the school, and other schools choose the rest. It is a simple order by score from highest to lower.

I didn’t perform well in the middle school entrance exam (Seems an excuse. The result may have reflected where I were), and I was around the #352-360 range – one point lower than the entrance line. I should have not been able to enter that school, but they finally offered 10 more students in addition to their original plan. That is how I ended up appearing on that campus.

“Everyone else is Better than Me”

Imagine what it is like to clearly know that you are not as talented as everyone in this school! It is not you force yourself to believe so, it is that you firmly believed it from bottom of your heart! “Everyone is so talented, and much better than me!” This was my belief.

With that belief, life is actually much easier for me. Since you are at the rear of the line, the only possible thing to happen to you is to become better. I played hard and studied hard. Although sometimes my classmates asked me silly questions about homework, I just feel that everyone has some weak points, and I may have more.

The good (or bad) thing for a Chinese middle school is, they have mid-term exam, and the result of everyone’s score is public data – just like a NASDAQ system. The first mid-term exam came. It turned out I ranked 27th in the school (6 in my class? I forget. There are 8 classes in my grade).

Very exciting. It is the first night in my life I couldn’t fall asleep.

The Second Acceleration

I was stuck in the rank 15th – 30th range for grade one and two. When the Final Exam (College Entrance Exam) got nearer (one year away), I felt another round of acceleration. It was based on another belief that I didn’t really need to care how good the people around me were; I only needed to care what I can archive. In today’s view, it is called “a bigger goal than getting into top 15 of the school”. That, fortunately, worked very well for me.

In the last three simulation exam, I got better and better in position. Finally, I believed I took 4th place of the whole city. The guy before me was the #1 in the half million students in that exam in Henan Province that year. To make me look a little bit closer, I took the first place in one single course in the province. (Just FYI, Wendy did extremely well in the mathematics in the same exam, scoring 147 out of 150).

Lesson Learnt

There is no positive co-relation between middle school score in exams and further achievement. But what I learnt from that particular experienced helped me in the future, especially when I fell too good about myself.

To genuinely believe everyone around you is better than you, and to always feel that you are far from what you want to archive, made a huge positive difference in my middle school age.

Steve Jobs said “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish” to Stanford students. He said it in a humble way. Humbleness ignites hard work, and unlimited power.

So always stay humble, and you are always not good enough.

8 thoughts on “Always Not Good Enough

  1. jqian

    I just want to share a thought. From most statistics done about rich, wealthy or successful people in all fields, it appears that education has no direct correlation to their success. Many successful business people didn’t really do well in school. Many top academically successful people didn’t do well in business. Success in life comes more from the ability to take calculated risks and the ability to stick to good practice through rainy days and sunny days.

  2. supernova

    A very good post! As soon as we become arrogant and believe that we know it all, we fall flat on our faces.

  3. cheery

    Jianshuo, I agree with that. :)

    You reminds of my experience in junior high school. I was always bearing in mind that many people were better than me and I only kept on learining hard. At last, it hited that I got the first place in our county, which was also surprising to me. But I “failed” in my senior high school just because I maybe did not find a right way to learn under some pressure.

    And now, I believe that “I didn’t really need to care how good the people around me were; I only needed to care what I can achieve”. I remind myself to keep on working hard just for a life without regrets when I wake up and die.

    And I suppose that success or failure are all helpful to the formation of our sound attitude towards life. I feel thankful to all things happened.

  4. Joe

    Hi Wang Jian Shuo

    Excellent post. I can relate to your story from my own school days in India.

    Joe

  5. hou

    Student reflections

    When we talk about learning a language, we usually think of going to a class. Yes, having lesson together with many other people is indeed the most common and traditional way of learning. But there are situations that going to a lesson or having a class is not possible. What would you do?

    As Chinese becomes more popular, more and more people are interested in learning it; more and more parents want their children to learn it so to have advantages in their future. However, in many cases, not so many Chinese classes are available in the local area; or so all the Chinese schools can offer language course catering to the needs of children’s. Some interested people therefore have to give up their wish or they have to travel a long way to get a one-hour lesson which is not convenient at all.

    I have been asked many times where to find a good Chinese course for kids. Before I had to recommend the Chinese schools I knew of good quality; now I can recommend a place which offers innovative way of learning: Sino-Center.org.

    Sino-Center.org is an online Chinese language school based in Beijing. The teachers are Chinese native speakers. The classes are one-to-one based and carried out via Skype phone and video. The information technology was well used in the lessons. Games, songs, cartoons were used in the class which helps children visualize what they have learnt. The benefits for the kids are obvious:

    a). they have individual attention;

    b). the unique way of learning itself is cool in kids’ eyes;

    c). teachers can adjust curriculum according to the students’ progress;

    d). the kids do not need to travel a long distance; they can have the lessons at home instead.

    The testimonials all showed that it is a good language program and many people have already benefited from their learning. Luckily, Sino-Center.org offers free trial lesson; so it does not hurt to get it a try.

    ————————————-

    The goal for my studying Chinese is to get some knowledge of the language before I try my hand in the Chinese job market. I’m happy with my choice of Sino Center, I’ve learned more in my time here than I think I would have anywhere else. There is a lot of attention for the pronunciation and studying. I can direct the studying the way I want and learn things that are useful for my individual situation. Besides that the people here really do their best to make sure I’m getting the most out of my study in the classroom as well as outside of that. –John, a teacher in a High School in Canada Dec.15.2008

    I have personally benefited tremendously from SC’s combined method of interactive class instructions and online learning. The convenience of having web based instructions and downloadable audio lessons also enables me to take learning one step further as I am able to access lessons through internet access on Laptop and MP3 player. — Mala, California July.20 .2008

    “I am an English teacher working in China and I found the online Mandarin course of Sino Center is great. It is an excellent way to start my Mandarin study. I find it is the best online Mandarin course that I have found. ” Steven Kimball

    I do study by myself and 2-3 hrs per week. I did several trial periods in 2006; enrolled since October 2007. I find the vocabulary, reading comprehension, recognizing Chinese characters are very helpful. Yes, I sent my recordings to the teacher and I got very helpful advice. If possible, I want to reach level 12. — Dory, a teacher in London

    “I have come to Sino Center for an 11 month program after high-school and before college to learn Chinese. I liked the course very much and the teacher was very helpful too. Tina is a very nice and excellent teacher.” Karen Pootit

    “It is a very enjoyable course and my teacher, Amy, is patient, helpful and able to spot the area that I should improve” Thomas Hiney

    “I really appreciate my teacher, Denise. I have great time learning from her, she always provides the right explanation and accurate examples using Chinese, She makes the Chinese easy to understand but I just need to practice getting to know the characters better” Michele Prince

    “I have found my learning experience with Sino Center to be extremely enjoyable and highly worthwhile. The Online Chinese Tutoring is very helpful for catching up classes. In just a few short months I feel I have gained knowledge of Mandarin that I didn’t think was possible. The materials, teachers and facilities have all been second to none.” Hannah Crooks

    “Thank you for advising me to take up Chinese lessons! Keep up the good work! I would like to take the opportunity to say that my actual Chinese teacher is amazing, and has an awesome ability to teach, I am so lucky to be in her class!” Karl Kieffer

    “The teachers are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and highly educated. They have challenged our children to learn Mandarin and have made their experience quite enjoyable. We would definitely recommend the Sino-Center.” Lori Seppi

    I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful Chinese lessons, which I recently stumbled across on itunes. I think they’re fantastic because you really break down the pronunciation of the words, and you teach such useful expressions and give relevant cultural insights. I am really enjoying listening, and I’m learning a lot. Thanks again! –Jim, a businessman from London

    Hebe

    “Ella is excellent at her skill. It’s frightening to jump into a foreign language. She made it something I could conquer. I loved her style.”

    Irene

    “Your Chinese online program is so far the best I’ve ever seen. The animation and storyline are terrific. I’m sure the young learners at my school will get fascinated at the first glance.  The topics covered match well with the core textbook we use the coming school year.”

  6. hou

    [Student reflections]

    When we talk about learning a language, we usually think of going to a class. Yes, having lesson together with many other people is indeed the most common and traditional way of learning. But there are situations that going to a lesson or having a class is not possible. What would you do?

    As Chinese becomes more popular, more and more people are interested in learning it; more and more parents want their children to learn it so to have advantages in their future. However, in many cases, not so many Chinese classes are available in the local area; or so all the Chinese schools can offer language course catering to the needs of children’s. Some interested people therefore have to give up their wish or they have to travel a long way to get a one-hour lesson which is not convenient at all.

    I have been asked many times where to find a good Chinese course for kids. Before I had to recommend the Chinese schools I knew of good quality; now I can recommend a place which offers innovative way of learning: Sino-Center.org.

    Sino-Center.org is an online Chinese language school based in Beijing. The teachers are Chinese native speakers. The classes are one-to-one based and carried out via Skype phone and video. The information technology was well used in the lessons. Games, songs, cartoons were used in the class which helps children visualize what they have learnt. The benefits for the kids are obvious:

    a). they have individual attention;

    b). the unique way of learning itself is cool in kids’ eyes;

    c). teachers can adjust curriculum according to the students’ progress;

    d). the kids do not need to travel a long distance; they can have the lessons at home instead.

    The testimonials all showed that it is a good language program and many people have already benefited from their learning. Luckily, Sino-Center.org offers free trial lesson; so it does not hurt to get it a try.

    ————————————-

    The goal for my studying Chinese is to get some knowledge of the language before I try my hand in the Chinese job market. I’m happy with my choice of Sino Center, I’ve learned more in my time here than I think I would have anywhere else. There is a lot of attention for the pronunciation and studying. I can direct the studying the way I want and learn things that are useful for my individual situation. Besides that the people here really do their best to make sure I’m getting the most out of my study in the classroom as well as outside of that. –John, a teacher in a High School in Canada Dec.15.2008

    I have personally benefited tremendously from SC’s combined method of interactive class instructions and online learning. The convenience of having web based instructions and downloadable audio lessons also enables me to take learning one step further as I am able to access lessons through internet access on Laptop and MP3 player. — Mala, California July.20 .2008

    “I am an English teacher working in China and I found the online Mandarin course of Sino Center is great. It is an excellent way to start my Mandarin study. I find it is the best online Mandarin course that I have found. ” Steven Kimball

    I do study by myself and 2-3 hrs per week. I did several trial periods in 2006; enrolled since October 2007. I find the vocabulary, reading comprehension, recognizing Chinese characters are very helpful. Yes, I sent my recordings to the teacher and I got very helpful advice. If possible, I want to reach level 12. — Dory, a teacher in London

  7. hou

    “I have come to Sino Center for an 11 month program after high-school and before college to learn Chinese. I liked the course very much and the teacher was very helpful too. Tina is a very nice and excellent teacher.” Karen Pootit

    “It is a very enjoyable course and my teacher, Amy, is patient, helpful and able to spot the area that I should improve” Thomas Hiney

    “I really appreciate my teacher, Denise. I have great time learning from her, she always provides the right explanation and accurate examples using Chinese, She makes the Chinese easy to understand but I just need to practice getting to know the characters better” Michele Prince

    “I have found my learning experience with Sino Center to be extremely enjoyable and highly worthwhile. The Online Chinese Tutoring is very helpful for catching up classes. In just a few short months I feel I have gained knowledge of Mandarin that I didn’t think was possible. The materials, teachers and facilities have all been second to none.” Hannah Crooks

    “Thank you for advising me to take up Chinese lessons! Keep up the good work! I would like to take the opportunity to say that my actual Chinese teacher is amazing, and has an awesome ability to teach, I am so lucky to be in her class!” Karl Kieffer

    “The teachers are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and highly educated. They have challenged our children to learn Mandarin and have made their experience quite enjoyable. We would definitely recommend the Sino-Center.” Lori Seppi

    I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful Chinese lessons, which I recently stumbled across on itunes. I think they’re fantastic because you really break down the pronunciation of the words, and you teach such useful expressions and give relevant cultural insights. I am really enjoying listening, and I’m learning a lot. Thanks again! –Jim, a businessman from London

    Hebe

    “Ella is excellent at her skill. It’s frightening to jump into a foreign language. She made it something I could conquer. I loved her style.”

    Irene

    “Your Chinese online program is so far the best I’ve ever seen. The animation and storyline are terrific. I’m sure the young learners at my school will get fascinated at the first glance.  The topics covered match well with the core textbook we use the coming school year.”

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