CHARACTER | Maritzburg College



From the Headmaster’s Desk

A number of you have displayed great character over the past weeks – I think of the F2 going through their F2 Borver Week programme which included a grueling two hour Vietnam and the character shown by many of you at Virtus Challenge and Sport on Saturday. Thank you and Well done!

For those of you possibly feeling disheartened by the years’ work ahead, there is some encouraging news. It is now thought that only a third of the difference between grades can be attributed to IQ. Once you are in the workforce, IQ will account for only 25% of the difference between your job performance and that of others. So the intelligence you were born with is important, but there are other key factors that will help you succeed no matter what your IQ. The essential ingredient appears to be determination and grit.

Mozart worked for months perfecting a symphony and a poet often can write as many as 70 drafts before deciding that one poem is good enough. Malcolm Gladwell researched that it takes 10 000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a skill.

Research study has indicated that students who are praised for their intelligence give up quickly when they experience failure, while students praised for their effort keep on trying to succeed even when they find it hard.

The winning difference appears to be a mixture of motivation, perseverance and character – a determination to succeed. How can you show your character at College?

  1. Make use of the opportunities at College and attempt as many academic, sporting and cultural pursuits as possible, because that is how you will find out what you really love doing. Passion for a subject, sport or cultural activity is the greatest motivator of all.
  2. Give everything your best shot but accept that you cannot be good at everything. They say it takes 10 years to become successful in any one field.
  3. Accept constructive criticism as the way to make yourself better at what you are attempting. Become your own coach and be tough on yourself. Confucius teaches that perfection can be reached through practice and effort.
  4. Understand that it is effort that truly makes the difference.  Perseverance and hard work will guarantee success.
  5. Take on challenges. Everyone who succeeds puts in hours of work. The harder they work the more they succeed.
  6. Learn from your failures. Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors said,’ Most of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.’ He also said success is 1% brilliance and 99% perspiration.
  7. Be optimistic. Set your goals and believe you will achieve them.

Finally remember the 10 year rule: At the end of the next ten years, where are you going to be? What will you be good at? What will you have accomplished?