By Steve Moran

I confess that it bothers me more than it should ….

I am in the middle of reading Adam Grant’s new book, Hidden Potential. I am a complete fanboy and am finding this book more personally helpful than any of his prior works. In Hidden Potential, he talks about how on occasion, people put both the university they graduated from and their GPA in the top section of their LinkedIn profiles. Sometimes even when they have been out of school for many years.

And of course, that number is much more impressive when it comes out of Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Princeton, or any number of other elite universities.

In the context of Adam Grant’s thinking, the problem is that it suggests the pinnacle of success is to be perfect, which means these people are perfect. It suggests that if you went to an elite school and got elite grades, you are better than those of us who did not go to those kinds of schools or get those kinds of grades.

So in solidarity with all of those people who went to less than elite schools and got less than elite GPAs, I decided to post my school and GPA on my LinkedIn profile. Take a look:

And if you are a doubter that I really did it, you can go take a look. Yep, I graduated from Chico State University at a time when it was considered the No. 1 party school in the nation. Even my final 2.81 GPA doesn’t tell the whole story. I was perilously close to not graduating, because I was such a poor writer.

A Reminder

I have a number of good friends who are elite-school educated and who I assume got top grades, and I am proud of them, am happy for them, and … don’t hold it against them. I would be delighted and proud if someday some of my grandkids were accepted into an elite school.

But being perfect in school is not what changes the world.

Getting a 4.0 GPA at an elite university opens some doors and gives you an advantaged starting point, perhaps a better, more influential network of friends and acquaintances, all of which is good.

But what matters is what you are doing today.

What matters is not where you came from but where you are going.

There are world class leaders who graduated from nothing schools or honestly who never graduated from any high school. There are plenty of people who graduated from elite schools who for decades have accomplished nothing particularly significant.

The Right Goals

The problem is that getting the right answers is not ultimately what changes the world. Sure you want your heart surgeon to have lots of knowledge, but that is not enough. Changing the world ultimately has to do with how we think about things; it is about focusing each day on making the lives of others better.

And yet knowing and believing all this in my head, I am still very much intimidated when I am around all my brilliant elite-school educated friends and colleagues.