“Will this be on the test?” This single question is probably the most dreaded question for any teacher to hear from a student. In a moment’s time, that question erases all aspiration for learning in the classroom, sets the foundation for a low bar in our educational experience and if we are not careful, for life itself.
When that question is asked, we expose the raw motivations of a student who just wants to get by. If we are honest with ourselves, we all asked that question in the classroom or in our minds as the teacher began covering another topic.
As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, we need to be intentional about not asking that same question in other areas of life. We face a significant risk of failing to reach our full potential when all we care about is just getting by in the near term.
Most adults will acknowledge that one of the biggest shortfalls in our academic experience was that we focused on just making it through to graduation, grades were the only benchmark, and we were not really trying to learn the material. Doing whatever it took to just get by.
The mindset of doing just enough to get through the experience is a huge headwind against ever reaching our full potential. A “Will this be on the test?” mindset is harmful in many areas of our lives:
- In the workplace, we fail to stretch and grow. We add minimal value to the business and the people we work with to achieve our collective objectives. When the downsizing happens, we may find ourselves on the wrong list.
- On the home front, we risk casting a shadow on those closest to us that the minimum is just fine and we create habits that lay the foundation for a limited impact in our world.
- In our areas of service beyond home and work, well, truth be told, if all we care about is what is on the test, we probably are not venturing beyond the minimum of work and putting food on the table.
As we look to learn and grow in our life’s journey instead of just asking “Will this be on the test?”, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® for us to reach our full potential and have a positive impact on our world.