For success in a future job, the ability to relate well to people is more important than studying hard in school.
People in our times have more opportunities to succeed but they also have to face more fatal competition. Success in our society requires extraordinary efforts in addition to an element of luck and some social network since we are living in an age that emphasizes team work and cooperation. Weighing the importance of social network against hard work, I believe we have to be very clear about which field we are talking before we make a conclusion on which side is more important.
When it comes to the field of commerce and management, for example, social relationship plays a crucial role because success in this field requires a profound insight into what people are really thinking or what is really expected of us to behave in the society, explicitly and implicitly. In particular, China is a miraculous land where amazing things are happening all the time, most of which are rather inexplicable. Therefore, studying hard at school alone is insufficient. The school, or the teachers, may not be able to teach you everything, be it explicit know-how or implicit rules. On the contrary, you might continue to learn in the society when you realize that what you acquired at school is inadequate to handle the real-life issues because no one is too old to learn.
In education, similarly, being a good teacher requires you to have a good understanding of the students’ characteristics and their special needs in order to establish some intimate relationship, or rapport, with them, which is of vital importance to the final outcome of students’ learning and academic performance. Leo, my TOEFL oral English teacher, for example, is extensively regarded as a good teacher who knows how to improve our scores in TOEFL by finding numerous ways to relate to us. He virtually remembers every detail, every anecdote of us and makes good use of these for classroom interaction.
In terms of career success in the field of technological applications, such as mechanics, doctors and translators, I believe that professional qualification is of greater significance. In the field of literary creation, authors must demonstrate sufficient living experience but also need to maintain a detached perspective on life so as to guarantee their objectiveness and comprehensiveness. In some cases, the capacity of relating well to other people can prove to be counterproductive when it blinds their judgment. Therefore, the importance of relating well with other people should not be over emphasized or over generalized.
As an 18-year-old senior high school student capable of critical thinking, I think this is an open question. We should encourage students to study hard at school and at the same time, remind them of the importance of relating well with other people. This is the way out indeed.