Why Smart, Hardworking Kids Still Don’t Do Well

A lot of people think if they’re smart, they’ll succeed. 

This is untrue. Equating smarts with success sabotages perfectly capable teens. It fuels toxic, false beliefs and behaviors that cause kids to stay stuck in struggle for months or years. 

For example, if your kid gets good grades without really trying, they’ll assume it’s because they’re smart. Then, when things inevitably get harder and they can no longer skate by, they’ll assume it’s because they’re not as smart as they thought they were. 

Another example – “I’m smart, I just need to work harder.”

Nope. Putting in more effort and energy without strategy is useless. If your kid is working hours and hours every week and not getting consistently high grades, not feeling smart or confident, hard work isn’t the issue. In fact, it’s likely they’re overworking, which contributes to feeling defeated and dumb and unmotivated (“why bother, it doesn’t matter how hard I try, I can’t do it”). 

Imagine you need to get to a place in a different town you’ve never been to before. You don’t know how far it is from your home, whether it’s North or South, let alone how to get there. Imagine thinking that if you just start walking and keep walking, if you walk more and walk faster – if you get really good at walking – you’ll get there eventually. 

Like…maybe!? After days or weeks? Obviously that’s an absurd way to try to get from A to B. Obviously you need directions. Obviously you need a map. The same applies to your kid with their schoolwork. If they just start working without knowing the specific steps they’ll take to get from A to B, they’re doing the equivalent of walking aimlessly thinking they’re en route to their destination. They’re obviously not, but they still feel disappointed and confused when they don’t get there.

Your child putting themselves on the road to success is as simple as following steps for managing and engaging in their work. 

These steps aren’t a secret, either. I’ve written extensively about them in previous emails and in our Facebook community (join here if you’re not a member yet).

They’re also laid out in our detailed curriculum here (for example, check out Lesson 5 on the steps for assignment completion and essays). You can bring this proven curriculum into your home at any time, and this would be the equivalent of handing them the map to their destination. 

You can book a 1:1 assessment with my team here to go over these steps with free, live, personalized support. This is more the equivalent of letting us guide them in creating the map for themselves so they can clearly see what they need to do and why to get to where they want to be. Higher grades, less work, more free time…whatever it is they want for themselves, we’ll show them how to do it. 

Or, you can see if your kid is a fit for our 8-week intensive program, which is the equivalent of putting them in the car with the map and the best driving instructors in the world, all working together to make sure your kid can read the map, drive the car and feel AMAZING as they make their way to their destination. And you wave them off happily because you know they’re on the safest, surest route to get to where they want to be. And you can chill and enjoy being a parent because someone else is showing them how to get there 🙂 Reply to this post with ‘PROGRAM DETAILS PLEASE!’ to learn more about who this is for and what the program entails.

To all the ways your kid can get and follow their very own map to success,


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The Komo Difference

We teach your child how to learn so that they can hit their academic goals while building the skills they need to thrive in school and as self-motivated, resourceful young adults in college and their career.

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