Unfortunately, for many of our young people today, “success” is seen as equatable with annual income — and the resulting inference has become, “the more you earn, the more ‘successful’ you are.”

Combined with a greater and greater emphasis on hiring only those individuals who have a college degree, attitudes are changing — and, not for the better.

There is no correlation between “smart” and “great grades.”  There is no correlation between “success” and “earned income.”  Americans used to understand this.  The respect we had for people who work “successfully” with their hands was equal to whatever academic achievement others might attain.

Respect was readily accorded individuals who excelled at their profession — not to any resume they brought with them.

Gifted carpenters, farmers, auto mechanics, and factory workers were considered “smart,” “successful,” and commanded our respect alongside those who achieved with their PhDs in science, medicine and mathematics.  (Today, with the never-ending flood of PhDs in every imaginable discipline, the degree itself is devalued.)

So, how should a person be measuring his or her career-choice?

“You want to be in a job where you’re motivated.”

 There’s a theory that was articulated by the late psychologist Frederick Herzberg. He makes a strong point that there’s a big difference between motivation and incentives. An incentive is, “I will pay you to want what I want.” Motivation means that you’ve got an engine inside of you that drives you to keep working in order to feel successful and to help the organization be successful. It causes you to keep at it through thick and thin.
 Motivators are things like, “I have the opportunity to achieve important things,” “I get recognized for my achievements,” “I learn ways to be better,” and “I’m an important part of a team.” If you have those kinds of experiences every day, you’re motivated, and you’ll be satisfied.

In my own experience, I’ve known “smart” and “successful” individuals in almost every line of work — individuals who worked so brilliantly with their hands and/or their head.  Their work ethic distinguished them and they contributed to America’s quality of life in so many meaningful ways.

We should re-open our eyes.  “Success” is not a function of how much money one earns or how many degrees one has.  “Success” is excelling in a profession of choice —  doubly so if, along the way, contributions to society are a direct result of one’s “smarts” and “skills.”

More on Monday  –  –  –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

       March 8, 2017  (Mondays & Wednesdays)



(This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)