What is in a Qualification?

Qualifications are useful things to have, and in getting one you can learn a lot that can then be put to good use. But so often people put too much pressure and importance on the grades and assessments – something I have done myself – which results in giving our power away to it and losing track of the fact that we are already awesome with or without that piece of paper. 

I went to school and left with GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) and A-levels. My grades weren’t the worst and they weren’t the best either. I then went to university and left with a degree in Fine Art and North American Studies. I now realise that I didn’t like the pressure of getting good grades and actually felt like a failure a lot of the time at school because it was a struggle for me to achieve the top grades.

I compared myself to the other students, who effortlessly got top marks, and instead of striving to do better, I started to give up and went into cruise function through the rest of my education. This meant that when I didn’t get great marks I always had the excuse of saying that I didn’t really put much effort into it anyway. What I didn’t want to admit to myself was that I actually wanted to be an A grade student as well. However, there was also a part of me that had a niggling feeling that, regardless of not getting the top marks, I was still an intelligent person.

To get almost any kind of qualification we need to go through some kind of assessment, albeit an exam or coursework or practical work, which is the bit that I usually had trouble with. I was back at Uni a few years ago, and although I had come out of the cruise ‘giving up’ mode, I went the other way and put far too much importance on the exams and coursework. I carried a feeling that if I wasn’t pushing myself, I wasn’t going to do well. To be honest, I got myself into such a state over some of the assessments that my anxiety went through the roof – a state that isn’t the most conducive to producing the work that is needed.

Clearly I still wanted the good marks and felt I needed to get them to prove myself. On reflection, this was a massive sign of how out of touch I was with my body and my true worth, but also a reflection of society in how we feel we need a good grade to show the world that we are successful.

Despite struggling within the education system, I did end up getting the qualifications I needed for the profession that I wanted to be in. So on practical terms, qualifications are useful tools to have in life, as long as we don’t see them as the be all and end all and keep reminding ourselves that they do not define us as people. It’s when we identify ourselves with the qualification and see them as a direct measure of who we are that we end up doing ourselves and others harm and losing sight of our true potential.

Each and every one of us is an amazing asset to society, regardless of the jobs we do or the qualifications we have. The beauty of humanity is that we each have our different strengths and weakness. For example, I am a teacher and therefore have the skills to be able to carry out that job well. But if it came to being an accountant, well I don’t think I would be very good at it, not least because I have not trained in the skills and gained the qualifications needed in this job.

This just shows us that with all of our different skill sets we can work together harmoniously, each of us flourishing in the areas that we are drawn to, and never judging people as being better or worse because of what they do or what type of qualifications they may or may not have.

The fact is that day-to-day we come across people from all walks of life and educational backgrounds that have much wisdom to offer. For example, some of the wisest people I have met and know, such as Serge Benhayon, have not been to university. Many people have attacked Serge for this very reason, yet I can say from my experience that this man presents with a wisdom and intelligence that goes way beyond the stuff anyone can learn at school or Uni. Not only is he a super presenter, this man also lives life with amazing integrity, openness, and love, which he shares with every person he meets. He is also an example of a person who lives with absolute responsibility in everything he does, and has a vitality that most people can only dream of.

Which goes to show, and leaves me in no doubt that there is much more to intelligence than a qualification written on a piece of paper. And in truth we all have access to the same universal intelligence if we are willing to live in a way that allows us to access it.

By Eleanor Cooper

Related Reading:
How much has Education really Advanced us?
Studying a PhD with a Difference makes a Difference
Is University exhausting us for Life?


481 thoughts on “What is in a Qualification?

  1. The fact is that day-to-day we come across people from all walks of life and educational backgrounds that have much wisdom to offer. This blog exposes the rot and ridiculousness of the all powerful “qualification”. We are all so much more than the piece of paper.

  2. it is a sad reflection on ourselves that we as a society measure our self-worth by what we do and the outcome and grades of that achievement. To feel and know there is so much more to us than this and that there is a far greater potential simply being ourselves and deeply valuing what we bring by being who we are.

    1. Yes, I agree. Life skills, the ability to communicate and meet people is by far the most important skills to have and this is something you don’t get with a piece of paper qualification.

  3. Spot on Eleanor, true intelligence is far deeper than the intellect. The education system is a complete set up which takes us away from our true intelligence. If we were taught what Serge Benhayon presents at school, we would see from a very young age how incredibly intelligent we all are, and how this intelligence has nothing to do with your mental strength but comes from a whole body intelligence.

  4. Elanor – I did not go to university and do not have qualifications as such – and at times I have felt less because of this – but being in business has led me to see how it all comes back to people, it is always about people and relationships first and connecting with them and having conversations with them. I have learnt more from observing the world and people than I have from any textbook.

  5. Great points Eleanor. The push to be ‘good enough’ comes from a withdrawal from living the fullness of our true self and from the ‘lack’ we thereby create by choosing to live in this state, we then strive to be filled through external factors such as good grades and thus the subsequent approval and accolades from others along with the recognition gained from this, to make up for the fact we are not living true to who we are.

    1. Thank you Liane Mandalis for sharing how the ‘push’ or ‘drive’ to achieve is an external factor that keeps us in the motion of never being enough or doing enough. We live in a world that promotes the need for self-identification and recognition that always leads back to self-gains. Little is spoken about its internal and external harm when we realise that what we have invested in is not the marker of what true living is all about.

    2. Push and drive act to distract us from our disconnection and the knowing and the treasuring of who we are. And then the focus becomes the outside and we can get lost in the investment of this, rather than building on the richness and the connection within.

  6. As a society we can place insurmountable pressure on ourselves and or our children to be successful and getting a qualification can be one part of that. This need or drive for success plays havoc on our bodies too, because we place so much stress on achieving something outside of ourselves that we give our power away to the qualification. When we see that the true power and wisdom lives within us already and that our natural qualities will aid us throughout our lives then we are using our qualities with their true purpose and the qualifications can then be used to serve all.

  7. We place so much importance on qualifications in our society today. Putting others above ourselves at times if we don’t feel we measure up, or have qualifications that matter. But having life skills, being able to relate to people, communicate and connect with others is super super important too. A skill that is truly lacking in our communities a great deal and something that does need to shift if we are to have a world that fosters equality and brotherhood.

  8. Our strengths or skills may not necessarily be the same as another but it doesn’t mean that any one is any better than another. If we leave comparison behind and truly appreciate ourselves and others then we can see how we are designed to work together as a whole in harmony.

  9. Great blog Eleanor. You helped me to see that I identified with my qualifications a lot! In fact for a long time I felt it was normal and even great that my educational achievements made me feel acceptable! Now I see how limiting and arrogant these beliefs were.

  10. Awarding qualifications has become a big business where I live. You can even get qualified to be a de-clutterer. It is like we cannot be bothered to feel, read and check things out for ourselves so instead ask a piece of paper to say this person is kosher. It is very retarding.

  11. I also “felt like a failure a lot of the time at school because it was a struggle for me to achieve the top grades.” It was as if it I was just not quite good enough. There was so much focus on the grades at the end of school I had no Idea what I was good at or what my strengths were and wasted my early 20’s partying in the name of self discovery rather than getting on with developing myself.

  12. This is so beautiful “we all have access to the same universal intelligence if we are willing to live in a way that allows us to access it.” it is there for us all equally to access how amazing is that.

  13. Your last line puts it beautifully – plain and simple. If we’re open to the fact that we actually know more through our bodies than our mind let’s us think, then a whole other level of wisdom becomes present and we’re then given the opportunity to appreciate we’re enough and don’t ‘need’ the qualification, it’s just a practical thing we have.

  14. “It’s when we identify ourselves with the qualification and see them as a direct measure of who we are that we end up doing ourselves and others harm and losing sight of our true potential.” – Beautifully said, qualifications and learning are needed and essential parts of our life but they do not define who we are nor are they the markers of our worth.

  15. I love your last line Eleanor – ‘the truth is we all have access to the same universal intelligence if we are willing to live in a way that gives us access to it ‘. Very true – and it shows us how we are all equal. What do we choose?

  16. Yeah, I no longer hold anyone in higher esteem just because of their qualifications. It means nothing if the way they relate to others is not with respect, integrity or compassion. If we consider that a degree is for the purpose of bringing a certain service to humanity, then it makes no sense if we don’t use it in conjunction with our innate wisdom. Having all the read knowledge in the world doesn’t mean you automatically have the ability to connect with people.

  17. It is in our way of life that true intelligence is shown. I feel it is important to be aware of this fact that our life isn’t dependent on the grades we get or what qualification we hold. It is about being in service in what we are here for to do this life time, knowing what is our calling is the most important.

  18. But in my university study I see the total opposite and the urge to perform is huge, it is all made about the outcome and not the way we get there. It doesn’t give us a learning of how to care for ourselves or who we truly are. But instead get a qualification that ensures a good job, disregarding any of our true being.

  19. What is more important, the qualification on a piece of paper or the ability to live this life knowing who we are and why we are here? This does not mean a qualification is not necessary for certain jobs we are choosing to do, but without love for all it will mean nothing.

  20. Eleanor, this is spot on what you have shared: “there is much more to intelligence than a qualification written on a piece of paper. And in truth we all have access to the same universal intelligence if we are willing to live in a way that allows us to access it.” – There is much you have shared in your blog I can relate to, especially having experienced a similar thing with going to school and the grades I got and also having gone to University and done several degrees. It is so important to have these degrees in our current world and it is required for certain jobs, but it is not the paper that makes us for we have to remember that we already are the amazing employees or the amazing workforce, it is just about making it a formality for our current world with this paper. Of course we learn things from doing our degrees and they are very needed, but in my experience having completed 3 university degrees, the real learning begins with we start the job because most often we have to un-learn what we have learned so that we can truly work properly. In my experience, It is also rare to use and put to practice more than 1/3 of what you learn as theory through your degree (and this is being generous as an estimate), hence why the real learning happens in the hands on a job, in addition to the un-learning that we go through! But despite how crazy this sounds, we still need the paper in today’s world! The bottom line is as you have said, let’s not make the degree what we are, for our inner intelligence is what is the key to be accessed and expressed.

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