Why backbenchers are often more successful in the professional world?


Published: February 24, 2024, 02:30 PM

Why backbenchers are often more successful in the professional world?

Representational image: Freepik

Imagine a 12-year-old girl who’s constantly struggling with her studies. Her imagination runs wild with stories as she gets constantly bullied in school. Even later in university, the girl finds herself to be a below-par student with not much enthusiasm for academics. 

While one would assume that it’s a dead end for a career, we’re of course talking about J.K. Rowling, the beloved creator of Harry Potter. 

There are tons of examples of backbenchers succeeding in life, sometimes more than the toppers. What might be the reason behind that? Let’s explore the report published in UNB.

Leading Through Example: The Successful Backbenchers 

The list of successful backbenchers is surprisingly long. It‍‍`s undeniable that many successful persons in today’s world had been bad students at some point in their lives. Consider the case of Virgin’s Richard Branson, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Apple’s Steve Jobs. All of them reached the pinnacle of success in respective career paths even if they have histories of being dropouts in educational lives. 

There are even presidential candidates like Al Gore who weren’t particularly excelling in studies. Movie stars like Drew Barrymore, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Cameron Diaz have been outspoken about their rather lackluster academics.

It’s not difficult to find backbenchers who succeeded in life. The question is, why are they successful? What sets them apart from the toppers? The short answer is not being bound by the constraints of conformity. Backbenchers often have the freedom of not having to conform to societal expectations. They can take different routes, risks and even explore ideas that a topper usually won’t. While these risks and off-the-beaten-path approach paid off for many, it’s not always guaranteed to succeed. 

Why are Backbenchers so Successful? 

The entire idea that backbenchers are surprisingly successful comes down to a few points. Some of these are character traits, some are behavioral and some are situations surrounding the individual.

Out-of-the-Box Thinking 

Believe it or not, the traditional education system based on learning and assessment dates back to the Industrial Revolution. The Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest somehow got incorporated in the education system as well which made it less about learning, and more about staying ahead in everything. 

This is where backbenchers are different. For them, classroom learning and grades aren’t everything. They might explore a variety of interests, which can lead to a more diverse skill set. This broader perspective can be advantageous in professions that require a holistic understanding of different disciplines. It can also contribute to a more well-rounded and adaptable individual.

 Leading Example Successful Backbenchers 

Representational image: Freepik

The Urge to Question Everything 

At the heart of the education system, is the rigorous approach to conformity. Every individual going into the education system is expected to follow preset rules. While following rules is not a bad thing, a stringent application of such rules makes metronomic humans. 

The pressure of conforming to societal rules makes the toppers oblivious to the “why?” They do not question why something is the way it is. Or why things can’t be done differently.

Backbenchers, being free from such societal pleasing, ask these questions. They work beyond the status quo and usher in new thoughts. 

Observational Skills 

Backbenchers often develop strong observational skills compared to the toppers. This is again due to non-conformity with societal rules and academic excellence. Backbenchers aren’t riddled with academic course load. Instead, they joyfully take in education. In most cases, a backbencher’s depth of knowledge isn’t reflected in their grades. It’s found in their conversation and observations. 

Being free from expectations allows a person to see everything in a new light and a new perspective. And more often than not, this renewed perception opens doors in a way that would be unexpected for a topper. 

Handling Failures and Setbacks 

Let‍‍`s be honest here, the current system of scouring out the best through assessment has created a strong mechanism of selective approach. Only the best grades and the best CGPA would secure the best job. This standardized approach often brings failures and setbacks for backbenchers. 

But that’s essentially the life story of every backbencher. They have faced hurdles and setbacks in every stage of their life. The constant tug of war with failures makes them better suited to deal with shortcomings. While a topper might be heartbroken with a setback, a backbencher would rise up, learn from it, and get on with life. 


Resilience is an essential quality in the face of setbacks or failures, enabling individuals to bounce back, learn from their experiences, and continue working towards their goals. Backbenchers who have encountered academic setbacks might develop resilience through these experiences. Overcoming challenges and failures can build mental toughness and a willingness to persevere.

Social Skills 

Backbenchers also develop strong social skills compared to the toppers. While the toppers might be engrossed in studies, backbenchers use their time to develop meaningful interactions which strongly develops their interpersonal skills. They are often more amicable and less rigid compared to toppers. 

Social skills are crucial in professional settings where networking, collaboration, and effective communication play pivotal roles. Success in many careers often involves working well with others and building meaningful relationships.

A New Definition of Success 

What is success? Most would say a home, a car, and a high-paying salary. While it is true that these bring a sense of security for the future, they can’t be considered as the only definition of success. We consider these as success metrics because we were taught to think like that. 

Backbenchers do not think like this. To them, success isn’t defined by monetary value or materialistic possessions.  

For a backbencher, the biggest metric of success is being content, being self-aware, and accepting who they are. 

Final Words 

Backbenchers are dreamers. Their dream takes them places, to new dimensions, and new possibilities. While there’s a saying that there’s no point in being a dreamer if you’re not a doer, it is equally important to dream as well. 

Because if you don’t dream, you will not find the purpose of doing. And that is what sets backbenchers apart from the toppers. Toppers work like run-of-the-mill watch hands, metronomic and conforming. Whereas backbenchers challenge what were and what is. The result is that backbenchers usher in new possibilities.

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