We usually just assume that somehow grades in school are predictors of future success, or certainly of intelligence; but I highly doubt it. Is a straight-A student who went all the way through Harvard Business School still a success if she opens a business? Not necessarily.
Subject difficulty is problematic. In high school and middle school, many “hard” subjects are about memorizing and repeating well-defined steps and teachers put so much emphasis on homework and ignore actual understanding that they are measuring behavior and compliance far more than what has been learned. Such method is likely to push more students towards compliance-oriented behavior, and so reduces their potential for success outside of this narrow measure.
Creative people tend to do worse on grades at each level of schooling, yet their success measures can be very high in their fields. However, creative people can also be abject failures as a result of their creative natures; so we have no good metric that predicts how successful these people will be. Even trying to separate out creative people in schools is hard, as much of their behavior is similar to those who are just lazy, or are generally disruptive.
We often do not know the underpinnings of their behaviors until much later, and many may have been crushed under the molding systems of our schools. Further, many of the most successful people are specifically creative with high strengths in maths and its implementation in economics, physics, chemistry and engineering.
Success never depends upon grades or degrees. If success and opportunities were measured by grades then why would the employers interview the prospects in order to find out what they are like as people, rather they would give a blind appointment to the people with the best paper qualifications. So qualifications alone are never enough, success depends upon physical characteristics, personality, and a willingness to...