Practice makes perfect. May be it’s the first thing that comes to mind. Whether in school or in they society, you will always find people around you who seem to get better grades by just relying on their natural talent. On the other hand, you may have spent a lot of time studying but still can't remember the material nor understand complex theories no matter how many times you study them.
You think it's certainly due to the difference in talent. And after reading many books on success or watching motivational speech in YouTube, you were told the solution is to keep working hard. You believe that someday, after putting in enough effort, you can compete with the top students.
Like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, the persevering turtle will someday win the championship.
But sorry, fables are fables, and reality is reality.
The reason top students become top students is not only due to their talent, but also because they have a more resilient spirit than most people and are willing to spend more time studying. It's a combination of talent and hard work. As a top student, I can straightly tell you that I basically spent all my time on textbooks when I was a kid. And that took no mental effort because I enjoyed learning the knowledge in the textbooks. This attitude and effort naturally resulted in good exam results.
You may say you can also work twice as hard, but top students also can work very hard. If you spend two more hours studying, they can also spend two more hours. To surpass top students, your need to think a paradigm up.
The way for low-achieving students to compete with top students is not to compete with them on the same lane. It’s that simple. How can you not lose to boxing champion Mike Tyson? Don't fight him in the ring! If you don't fight, you won't lose.
Broaden your horizons and you will find that there are many different lanes in the world. If a lane is too crowded and you know you can't compete, choose another lane. Top students may be invincible in their studies, but they cannot perform equally well in all areas. How about sports? Art? Social skills? Public speaking? A smart person should choose a lane that suits his natural strength. So focus on your strengths, and not waste resources on your weaknesses.
Polish the skills that you are already good at!
I see many parents these days spend a lot of money to send their kids to different tutoring classes, only because they discover that their kids’ academic result is just slipping a bit. They want their kids to be the top of the class, even if they know their kids are not cut out for studying and have no interest in it. They keep pushing them. It's better to spend resources elsewhere and cultivate other aspects of their children's achievements.
In the workplace and in the business world, the principle is the same. Find your niche, and no one can compete with you.