Guess What? C Students Are Smarter

Dear reader,

School is a great experience for some children. For others, school is the worst experience of their lives. 

Every child has a genius. 

Unfortunately, their genius may not be recognized by the educational system. Their genius may even be crushed.

Thomas Edison, one of the great geniuses of modern times, was labeled “addled” by his first teacher. Addled means “mixed up or confused.” 

He never finished school, and instead became an inventor and an entrepreneur. The company he founded, known today as General Electric, creates products that have changed the world. A few of Edison’s early projects were the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the electric light bulb.

Albert Einstein also failed to impress his teachers. From elementary school through college, his teachers thought he was lazy, sloppy, and insubordinate. Most of his teachers said, “He will not amount to anything.” Yet Einstein became one of the most influential scientists in history.


Genius is an acronym for “Geni-in-us”—the genie or magician in each of us.

All parents have met the genius in their child. Most parents know that a child’s true genius is found in their dreams. We see glimpses of it from an early age… the ideas and things that delight them, fascinate them and challenge them.

Rich dad said that one of the problems with school is that kids are taught to live in a world of “right” or “wrong.” That isn’t realistic and it isn’t intelligent. In real life, there is often more than one answer or solution to questions or problems. In school, there is only one right answer. As teachers grade tests they are looking for the right answers.

In school, you are intelligent if your right answers agree with your teacher’s right answers. If your answers agree with the teacher’s answers, you are an “A” student.

The idea of only one right answer is the foundation of academic education.

In real life, there is more than one right answer. Here’s an example. When I asked my poor dad what 1+1 equaled  his answer was “2.” Rich dad’s answer to that same question was different. His answer was “11.” This is why one man was poor and the other rich.

Many students leave school believing that only one answer can be right. Rather than open a student’s mind, traditional education closes minds. Kids leave school believing in a world of right or wrong, black or white, smart or stupid. This is the primary reason why so many people do not like school, including many “A” students. If a student never gets to the edge, that vantage point from which they can see both sides, they see only one side of the coin. One answer, one point of view, one perspective.

What Is Intelligence?

Intelligence has many definitions and many meanings. To me, it is simply the ability to get out of the trap of a right-or-wrong world that our schools promote and look at the world of money from as many sides, as many perspectives, as possible.

As Abraham Maslow described in his Hierarchy of Needs, the fifth level, the highest level of human existence, is the level of Self-Actualization. Self-Actualization is the level at which a person is able to face the world with a “lack of prejudice” and “acceptance of facts.” One such fact might be: There is more than one right answer.

The lesson is: “If your mind is open to opposing ideas, your intelligence will go up. If your mind is closed to opposing ideas, your ignorance is in control.” Intelligence or ignorance? Your ability to keep an open mind and appreciate multiple points of view is a conscious choice. 

“C” Student Report Card

Schools have students believe that good grades are important. Good grades and academic success can be a double-edged sword. In the short term, being lauded as an “A” student on the fast track to corporate success may open a few doors and help what colleges and universities anoint as the “best and brightest” graduates land jobs. And while academic success may prepare some students for life as an E, there’s more to a rich and wonderful life than the job you leave school well-qualified to do. The real world is a whole new game—an exciting, fast-paced game where different rules apply.

While good grades are important in school they are less important after a student leaves school. The reason a banker does not ask you for your report card is that your banker is not interested in your academic intelligence. Your banker is interested in your financial intelligence.

Your financial statement is your adult report card after you leave school. 

The problem is, most students leave school living in the past. A few bask in the glory of having been “A” students in school. Many fail to focus on the report card for their future, their personal financial statements. This is why many “A” students who may have had good grades in school have a failing financial report card as adults. And, on the flip side, why many students who struggle in school become financial geniuses once they leave that academic environment and enter the real world.

Your choices and your actions are determined by which report card is important to you.

The Future of Education

Once upon a time, all a child had to do was focus on two types of education. They were:

  1. Academic Education: This education supports the general skills of learning how to read, write, and solve math problems. This is an extremely important education.
  2. Professional Education: This education provides more specialized skills to earn a living. The top students, the “A” students, become doctors, accountants, engineers, lawyers, or business executives. Other schools at this level are trade schools for students who want to become mechanics, construction workers, cooks, nurses, secretaries, and computer programmers.

What was missing?

3. Financial Education: This is the level of education not found in our school system. This is the education of the future. Again, we advise kids to go to school to get a job and work for money, yet we teach them little or nothing about money.

The world of the future belongs to those who can embrace change, see the future and anticipate its needs, and respond to new opportunities and challenges with creativity and agility and passion.


Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily

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Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki, author of bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad as well as 25 others financial guide books, has spent his career working as a financial educator, entrepreneur, successful investor, real estate mogul, and motivational speaker, all while running the Rich Dad Company.

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