Hi! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.

Wednesday 1 March 2017

The definition of success

In Cambridge A Level, there's the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Award. In medical schools, there's the Merit or Distinction award. Those awards are only given to students who get the highest scores in their cohort.

As you may have expected, some students aim for those awards. They define success as getting the awards and they are obsessed with it.

However, I have never aimed for those awards and I will never aim for it. The reason is simple. The awards aren't a measure of excellence of a student's performance, instead it's merely a comparison of a student's performance with other students. The problem lies with the comparison part.

Success is defined by how well we do ourself, not how well we do compared to others. To achieve success, we should strive to do the best of ourself and to overcome our weaknesses. We can learn the good things from others if we think it's helpful, but ultimately it's our own performance that matters.

Whether we do better than others or not, it's meaningless. If we aim for those awards, it means we are using other students' performances to define our own success. We have no control on their performances, so such a definition of success is totally wrong.

In addition, by defining success as getting those awards, we are essentially saying that vast majority of the students will fail no matter what, since only those few students at the top can get the awards. This shows how wrong it is.

Therefore, no student should be aiming for those awards. If you have been aiming for it, I would strongly advise you to reconsider that aim.


  1. Hi there! I recently found your blog and I wanted to ask if you actually really enjoy Biology? And like if that's why you took medicine? Or was it because you liked a challenge?

  2. Hi, good read! Love your blog. Thanks.

  3. Hi there,
    The english language requirement for IGCSE, is it for first language english? Or IGCSE english as a second language would do?

    Thank you :)

    1. Are you referring to the English language requirement for NUMed MBBS? Both IGCSE First Language English and IGCSE English as a Second Language should be accepted at grade B and above.