Teaching our boys how to measure success

It's important our students recognise there are many ways they can measure their success, which is crucial to their sense of self-worth and happiness.

An infographic that challenges how we measure success has done the rounds on social media, which shows two pie charts. One, titled, How We’re Taught to Measure Success, is split in half with equal weight given to Salary and Job Title. 

There is no denying we can tend to judge ourselves and others based on what they do and how much they get paid to do it. We attach status to certain professions, particularly those that come with high financial rewards, but this is a narrow view of success because it ignores the fact that people may be unhappy or unfulfilled in those jobs and the financial rewards may come at a cost in another area such as wellbeing. This is not to say that you can’t find fulfilment in a high-paying or ‘prestigious’ job because many people do.

The second circle in the infographic is split between Free Time, Liking What You Do, Physical Health, Mental Health, Job Title and Salary. It is worth noting the latter two are not given the same weighting as the preceding four. This graphic helps explain to our students why there are people in all fields of work, in all types of roles, with a diverse range of salaries, who would consider themselves successful and, by extension, happy or fulfilled. The key is that they have a broader understanding of where success can come from.

We encourage our students to recognise there are many ways they can measure their own success, which is crucial to their sense of self-worth and happiness. We can sometimes take it to heart when we feel like we do not measure up in a certain area and, focusing on that, we can lose sight of the many areas that we are successful. This can adversely affect our levels of engagement and motivation. 

To help alleviate this, at MBBC we offer a broad curriculum and a variety of co-curricular opportunities for students to achieve success. We want our young men to achieve success in as many areas as possible, both within the classroom and beyond it, on the sporting field, on the stage, in the workshop, socially, and in any other way imaginable. If you imagine the pie chart is a wheel, it will stand to reason the integrity of the wheel is stronger if there are more spokes, more areas of success we can divide the wheel into.

There is also an addendum to the infographic that adds another circle. This extra circle is empty, and the accompanying text suggests an even better measure of success is Finding your own metrics for success and doing your best under your current circumstances. This speaks to the element of self-determination. It invites us, with help and guidance, if necessary, to build our own wheel with as many spokes as we like.

The good news for our young men is we have designed a school experience that provides, by way of opportunities, those spokes they need to build a sturdy wheel that will endure.