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Suatu hari saya bertemu seorang teman lama. Dulu ia mahasiswa yang cerdas di kampusnya. Nilai-nilai kuliahnya selalu bagus. Lulus sarjana kurang dari 4 tahun. Jauh dibandingkan saya yang butuh waktu lima setengah tahun untuk menyelesaikan kuliah. Satu semester terakhir saya praktis tak menyentuh tugas skripsi karena berangkat dalam misi kemanusiaan saat Ambon terkoyak konflik horizontal. Satu semester sebelumnya, saya juga hampir tak pernah kuliah. Karena posisi sebagai ketua senat mahasiswa, saya terlibat aktif dalam gerakan reformasi 1998. Dua semester sebelumnya lagi saya masih tenggelam dengan banyak kegiatan kampus sambil bekerja untuk membiayai kuliah. Teman saya ini tak tergoda dengan semua kegiatan itu. Dia lulus dari kampusnya di saat saya masih banyak mata kuliah yang belum diambil.

Saat saling bertanya tentang keluarga dan pekerjaan, saya terkejut. Dengan kecerdasannya seharusnya dia punya karir yang bagus. Saat itu saya sudah menjadi manajer di sebuah perusahan farmasi terbesar di Asia Tenggara. Dengan kecerdasannya, seharusnya dia pun sudah menempati posisi manajerial. Ternyata dugaan saya salah. Dia masih staf biasa; posisi yang belum bergerak sejak dia mulai bekerja. Saya masih berusaha mencari jawabnya, kenapa kecerdasannya tak berbanding lurus dengan kesuksesannya dalam karir?

Teman saya tak sendiri. Di Malaysia, ada seorang genius bernama Sufiah Yusof. Di usia 13 tahun, ia sudah kuliah di Oxford. Oxford loh! Luar biasa bukan? Sayang, belum selesai kuliah, Sufiah kabur dari asramanya. Dua minggu kemudian ia kedapatan menjadi pelayan kafe internet di Bournemouth.

Sufiah kembali ke Oxford 2 tahun kemudian setelah diberikan kesempatan menyelesaikan kuliahnya. Sayang, ia gagal menamatkan kuliah. Di usia 19 tahun, Sufiah menikah di Inggris. Sayang pernikahannya hanya bertahan 13 bulan. Tragisnya, ia kemudian mengiklankan diri menjadi pelacur. Kini ia sedang menata kembali hidupnya dari keterpurukan.

Saya masih penasaran mengapa orang-orang cerdas seperti teman saya dan Sufiah Yusof tak berhasil dalam kehidupannya. Akhirnya saya temukan hasil riset Thomas J. Stanley yang memetakan 100 faktor yang berpengaruh terhadap tingkat kesuksesan seseorang. Untuk mendapatkan hasil itu, Stanley meneliti 1.001 responden, di antaranya ada 733 milioner sukses di Amerika.

Hasilnya, kecerdasan (IQ) hanya menempati urutan ke-21. Kuliah di perguruan tinggi ternama atau sekolah favorit menempati ranking 23. Bahkan lulus dengan nilai tinggi hanya menempati ranking 30.

Lalu, apa faktor paling penting yang mempengaruhi kesuksesan? Stanley menemukan 10 faktor: kejujuran, disiplin, interpersonal skill, dukungan dari pasangan hidup, bekerja lebih keras dari orang lain, mencintai apa yang dikerjakan, good & strong leadership, semangat & kepribadian kompetitif, good life management, dan kemampuan menjual ide. Saya menyebutnya critical life skill.

Akhirnya rasa penasaran saya terjawab. Kecerdasan bukanlah segalanya. Lulus dari sekolah favorit dengan nilai yang tinggi bukan jaminan sukses dalam karir. Pantas banyak teman saya yang saat kuliah biasa-biasa saja karirnya tetap moncer di perusahaan-perusahaan papan atas. Nilai akademik mereka memang tidak istimewa, tapi mereka punya critical life skill yang bagus.

Saya tidak mengatakan bahwa nilai akademik itu tidak penting. Kesuksesan akademik itu bagus. Tapi tanpa diiringi dengan critical life skill yang dibutuhkan di dunia kerja, kecerdasan tak akan melahirkan prestasi di tempat kerja. Tak hanya soal pekerjaan, hidup pun begitu. Kesuksesan akademik tanpa diiringi dengan critical life skill hanya melahirkan jenius-jenius yang terasing dari kehidupan.

Maka mari ajukan pertanyaan ini untuk diri sendiri sebagai refleksi: sudah seberapa bagus critical life skill kita? Ajukan pertanyaan yang sama untuk anak-anak kita: sudah seberapa bagus critical life skill mereka? Seberapa besar perhatian kita terhadap penumbuhan critical life skill anak-anak dalam pengasuhan dan pendidikan di rumah kita? END

Tulisan ini merupakan versi tertulis dari materi pelatihan saya yang berjudul Move On: Seni Meraih Sukses dan Hidup Bahagia, dibuat menjadi tulisan berseri agar bisa dinikmati lebih banyak orang.

Inspirasi Melintas Zaman (IMZ Consulting) merupakan lembaga social enterprise yang membantu organisasi profit dan nirlaba di bidang leadership, pengembangan SDM dan pemberdayaan masyarakat berbasis nilai-nilai spiritual.

 

 

One day I met an old friend. He used to be a smart student on campus. His grades are always good. Graduated less than 4 years. Far compared to me who took five and a half years to complete college. In the last semester, I practically did not touch my thesis assignment because I set out on a humanitarian mission when Ambon was torn apart by horizontal conflicts. One semester before, I also almost never went to college. Because of my position as chairman of the student senate, I was actively involved in the 1998 reform movement. In the previous two semesters I was still immersed in a lot of campus activities while working to pay for college. My friend is not tempted by all these activities. He graduated from campus when I was in a lot of courses that had not yet been taken.

When asking each other about family and work, I was surprised. With his intelligence he should have a good career. At that time I was a manager at the biggest pharmaceutical company in Southeast Asia. With his intelligence, he should have already occupied a managerial position. Apparently my guess was wrong. He is still an ordinary staff; a position that hasn’t moved since he started working. I am still trying to find the answer, why is his intelligence not directly proportional to his success in career?

My friend is not alone. In Malaysia, there is a genius named Sufiah Yusof. At the age of 13, he had studied at Oxford. Oxford! Amazing is not it? Unfortunately, not finished college, Sufiah ran away from his dorm. Two weeks later he was found to be a waitress at an internet cafe in Bournemouth.

Literally returned to Oxford 2 years later after being given the opportunity to complete his studies. Unfortunately, he failed to finish college. At the age of 19, Sufiah married in England. Unfortunately her marriage only lasted 13 months. Tragically, he then advertises himself as a prostitute. Now he is rearranging his life from adversity.

I am still curious why intelligent people like my friend and Sufiah Yusof did not succeed in their lives. Finally, I found the results of Thomas J. Stanley’s research that mapped 100 factors that influence a person’s level of success. To get that result, Stanley examined 1,001 respondents, of whom there were 733 successful millionaires in America.

The result, intelligence (IQ) ranks only 21st. Studying at a reputable college or favorite school ranks 23. Even graduating with high grades only ranks 30th.

Then, what are the most important factors that influence success? Stanley found 10 factors: honesty, discipline, interpersonal skills, support from life partners, working harder than others, loving what was done, good & strong leadership, competitive spirit & personality, good life management, and the ability to sell ideas. I call it critical life skill.

Finally my curiosity was answered. Intelligence is not everything. Graduating from a favorite school with high grades is not a guarantee of success in your career. No wonder many of my friends who were mediocre in their careers remained outstanding at top companies. Their academic value is not special, but they have good critical life skills.

I am not saying that academic value is not important. Academic success is good. But without being accompanied by the critical life skills needed in the world of work, intelligence will not produce achievements in the workplace. Not just a matter of work, life is like that. Academic success without being accompanied by critical life skills only gives birth to geniuses who are alienated from life.

So let’s ask this question for ourselves as a reflection: how good is our critical life skill? Ask the same question for our children: how good is their critical life skill? How much do we pay attention to growing children’s critical life skills in care and education in our homes? END

This article is a written version of my training material entitled Move On: The Art of Achieving Success and a Happy Life, made into a series of writings to be enjoyed by more people.

Inspirasi Melintas Zaman (IMZ Consulting) is a social enterprise institution that helps profit and non-profit organizations in the fields of leadership, human resource development and community empowerment based on spiritual values.

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