How Does Success Happen in the 21st Century?

The Real Story of Success Education in America

Professor Schwartz
8 min readNov 16, 2022

You probably won’t believe this story. If you believe America has systemic racism, you won’t believe this story. If you believe any media story that says it’s impossible for people from low socioeconomic neighborhoods to be successful, you won’t believe this story.

And if you buy into the narrative that you must get a college degree or else you are doomed, you will definitely not believe this story.

What this story will prove is those narratives are not accurate.

That means, I need to give a trigger warning for the people who believe those false stories. If you decide to read the rest of this story, do so at your own mental risk. Your head might explode by the end.

For the rest of you, my hope is that you rejoice knowing that all is not lost. The truth is America has a lot of societal problems, but the reason those problems persist is because the media and academic elites refuse to do the right thing.

The real story is how Success Education can help students who live in poverty, grow up in lower socioeconomic communities and also help students with different skin colors beat the odds and the media narratives.

The Starting Point

The hero of this story is a young 14-year old African-American male high school student who lives in a low socioeconomic neighborhood and is forced to deal with police discrimination and drugs, gangs and violence all around his community.

If we believe the media, what do we know about this teenager? Based on the thousands of news stories, we know that he will be lucky to see his 25th birthday. According to news reports, he is more likely to be arrested, shot or killed before he reaches 25.

Therefore, all is lost, correct? According to news stories, the only way out of poverty for this young man is to go to college. And since he can’t afford college, he has two choices: 1) take on massive college loan debt or 2) get an athletic scholarship.

Success Education

Remember I said this story is going to prove the media wrong. What you need to know is the reason this young man is more likely to get arrested, shot or killed before the age of 25 is because he is forced to attend a pitiful educational system that doesn’t teach success.

Introducing Success Education.

What is success education? And how can it prove the media reports wrong?

The first thing you need to know is that Success Education does exactly what it says — it teaches kids how to be successful in life. It does that by offering courses in success. That’s right, the teachers show the kids how to become successful.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Case in point, what if you took a class in high school that focused on you developing your dreams and life vision?

That’s right, your teachers helped you discover your passions and help you decide the direction your life should go. If it’s hard to imagine, that’s because every high school in America doesn’t focus on the students and their individual future.

Instead, the curriculum every high school uses focuses on how to read Shakespeare and how to do word problems. If the purpose of school is to earn a diploma, those classes are very very important. If the purpose of school is to be a feeder system into colleges, those classes are critical for the machine to work.

But those classes should be electives if the purpose of school is to teach kids how to follow their dreams. It’s called Success Education for a reason, because the purpose of school should be to help kids become successful in life.

The Power of 21st Century Leadership

Let’s look at reality for a minute. Most people under the age of 30 have no idea what they want to do with their lives. Most people under 30 are trying to figure out their passions and their calling.

What happens when people have no direction? They feel stress, anxiety and sadness. Life starts to become difficult to deal with on a daily basis.

How do we solve this societal problem?

The answer is Success Education and here’s why? One of the courses inside a Success Education curriculum is 21st century leadership skills. Teachers help students learn the six objectives of the course. They are as follows:

The 6 Objectives of Leadership

  1. Vision
  2. S.M.A.R.T. Goals
  3. Responsibility
  4. Management
  5. Support
  6. Reflection

What is the first objective? The answer is VISION.

Let’s go back to the hero of our story. What was our hero’s vision? It turns out our teenage hero discovered that his passion in life was cars. That’s all he talked about for four years and every project he could, he tried to focus on cars.

Why is that important?

The reason you need to develop your vision first is because it opens up a doorway toward your future. The next objective then is create S.M.A.R.T. goals that lay out a clear PATH to follow.

For the next four years, our hero worked with his teachers on mapping out a clear ROADMAP toward success. Thus, he had a step-by-step guide to follow his dreams. Conversely, he did not spend four years figuring out how to determine the circumference of a circle or what were the major story themes of Macbeth.

What a Success Education does is help students SEE their future and then help them figure out how to make their dreams become real.

The End Results

How did a Success Education help our young hero? It’s important to remember, that he is a typical African-American teenager who has to deal with police discrimination, and living in a neighborhood where drugs, violence and gangs are a way of life.

But he wasn’t apart of that. He was receiving a Success Education. He was developing his life vision. He was charting a path toward success.

With a Success Education in his back pocket, he graduated from high school knowing his passion in life. He knew that he didn’t need college. He knew the path he needed to follow required him to go to trade school and earn an auto-mechanics certificate. And then the next step was to work in an auto-repair garage.

If the media were writing this story, it would end there. The reason is he didn’t end up arrested, shot or killed. To the media, this is the definition of a success story.

For whom? If you want me to cover media racism in another article, make a comment. But for now, just realize this story isn’t over yet.

At this point in our hero’s life he is working in an auto-repair garage earning g $20 an hour, until one day he is talking with a customer who tells him about a unique car problem.

Our hero learned in his 21st century leadership course how to become an expert listener and he listened to this customer’s frustrations. And an idea came to him.

The idea involved him fixing cars for customers with the same unique problem. The customer was frustrated because the auto-repair garage, where our hero worked could not solve this unique problem. So he asked the potential customer how much they would pay for a new service. And to his surprise, the dollar figure made his current job less lucrative.

In one moment, our hero saw a real opportunity.

Let’s do a reality check for a second. Without learning everything in a Success Education our hero may never have seen this opportunity. Without the 21st century leadership skills, our hero might have fallen victim to the media stories that bombard young people telling them college is their savior.

The reality is, our hero wasn’t going to be fooled. What the Success Education gave him was an “edge” over you.

The fact is that he developed his vision in high school and mapped out a step-by-step guide to following his dreams.

Can you say the same thing?

So what did our hero do next? That night, he went home and started to map out what he would need to turn this opportunity into a real business. How would he connect with customers, how would he book services and how would he collect payments?

Please don’t forget, the media says this young man will NEVER succeed without a college degree. The media says that he is doomed to live in poverty and will never be successful because of the color of his skin and where he grew up.

But our hero proved the media wrong. At the age of 23, this young African-American male, from the wrong neighborhood, with no college degree and zero access to capital started his own business.


What’s the take-away from this story? Why should you care?

The lesson here is that if you want to be successful, you need to develop your vision first. That means, if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, you should register for the 21st Century Beginner Leadership 101 Course at Leaf Academy.

If you feel stuck, lost or confused in life, there is a real reason you feel that way. Your problems are not caused by social media, not by government regulations, tax policy or even racism. Your main problem is that you never developed a step-by-step guide for your life.

That means if you want to be happy in life, you need to figure out your passion in life. That means, if you want to feel fulfilled, you need to know the next step on your success journey.

Our hero learned how to be successful in high school. That means, the answer to WHAT you are missing is a Success Education. And the first course you need to take is the 21st Century Beginner Leadership 101 Course.

Stop feeling lost or depressed all the time. If people ask you, “what are you doing with your life?” and your answer is “I don’t know,” then you need to register for this course ASAP.

The truth is our hero was lucky. He was lucky because his father talked with other parents, heard about the K12 district I ran and heard how valuable a Success Education would be for his son.

The problem is when you run one K12 district, you can only teach the students that live in your area. But everyone needs a Success Education. We need to solve America’s societal problems and more importantly we need to prove the media and academic elites are wrong.

That is why I launched Leaf Academy, the first online school for 21st century skills in America in 2021. For the first time ever, anyone has access to a Success Education.

It doesn’t matter where you were born, where you grew up or what skin color you have. If you want to be successful, go to Leaf Academy. If you want to develop your vision and chart your PATH in life, then register for the 21st Century Beginner Leadership 101 Course.

The Success Education gave our hero an edge, don’t you deserve to have the same “edge” in life?

See you at Leaf Academy!

About the Author:

D. Scott Schwartz, M.Ed. can be found on Twitter and Instagram with the handle “@theschooldoc.” He hosts a LIVE weekly podcast on IG called “Tuesdays with Schwartz” which discusses 21st century skills and how to be more successful in life. He does consulting work for Education Development Institute, an education think tank that helps businesses and schools maximize their potential in the new millennium.



Professor Schwartz

Helping people overcome obstacles in life, so they can build their wealth and empire | Performance Coach | Author | Speaker