There is a lot to be said for being well educated. We work hard in order to give our kids better opportunities so they can get into the best schools and excel. Having a good education opens many doors and allows great access to the best and brightest. It’s fascinating to be around smart people who are well read and cultured and have strong points of view. Not only are they incredibly interesting, but you always walk away with tremendous insights and perspectives. I love being around people I can learn from. I have come to realize that we all have something to teach even if we did not attend a prestigious school.

There is no doubt that graduating from a top school is a wonderful accomplishment. But, it takes more than just a degree or two (or more) to succeed. Some of the most highly educated people I have come across are undoubtedly brilliant, but may not reach their full potential. Why? Because there is more to life than just book smarts. People not only need to know how to get it done, but they need to get along with others. One has to be scrappy, hard working and be someone others want to see succeed.

We have all come across individuals who seem to have it all on paper, but lack other intangible qualities, which are even more instrumental to success. Even insanely smart people make dumb decisions so I want to underscore the importance of common sense and likability. It’s not something that can be easily taught—you either have it or you don’t. The answer may not always be obvious, but when struggling for a solution, good instincts are a wonderful guide. If the solution does not come easy, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see what you would do. Your gut may not always steer you in the right direction, but we learn by making mistakes and experiencing life. If you falter, you will likely be forgiven if you take responsibility. It’s not something you can memorize from a textbook. Trial and error and keen awareness will allow us to see what works. I always tell my daughter if your intentions are good, in the end, everything will be fine. Just try to do the right thing by yourself and others. Remember, self-awareness and empathy are key no matter your schooling.

Continue learning, reading and opening your mind to new possibilities. The thirst for education, greater knowledge and enrichment are admirable pursuits, but great accomplishments can even be achieved without formal training.

I am confident that, in the end, common sense and justice prevail. I’m an optimist, brought up on the belief that if you wait to the end of the story, you get to see the good people live happily ever after.

—Cat Stevens

Roopa Weber
About Roopa Weber
Roopa Weber is a blogger and children’s book author who aspires to inspire better lives through kindness and gratitude. Her motivation came from the values and love provided by her mother. Roopa wanted to find an avenue to instill her mother’s wisdom in her own daughter and carry the message forward generationally. And, so she wrote.