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The Best Student

by Adam Zack — April 25, 2018

It’s great to do well in school. Your parents are proud.

Picture of Adam Zack

It’s more about doing.

You feel good about being on the Dean’s List. You get a big say in what college you attend or what employer you want to work for. You’re well read, and know a lot about a lot of topics. How tall is Mount Everest? 29,029 feet. How deep is the Grand Canyon? 6,000 feet at it’s deepest. Who was the 13th President of the United States? Millard Fillmore, who succeeded Zachary Taylor, who died after getting sick from eating too many cherries. So you hang out with the other smarties, getting good at video games and not so good at going on dates. You’ve learned so much, right? You’re brain is practically bursting with knowledge. Only thing is you haven’t really learned anything. You read the book on how to ride a bike, but you never actually rode one. You read all the self-help books, but haven’t put it into action. Reading all of the grocery trade magazines, going to seminars, participating in share groups and taking trips to see what exciting things other grocers are doing are great – if they are accompanied by action. The smartest people in the business read about and see, but they are more about actually doing. And they are not afraid to fail. That’s where the real learning happens. My brother barely made it through high school, but he’s one of the best merchandisers in the grocery business. My dad just got through high school, but he studied price books like they were the Bible and he was in the short line to hell. Steve Jobs? College drop out. The class valedictorian has a nice, framed diploma. The business valedictorian has the respect of his peers, money in the bank and probably doesn’t know where his diploma is.

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