Nicole Sudjono
Credits: Marvel Studios

Now you might be wondering, “I want to know what schools don’t teach, but why is the picture Tony Stark?”. Keep that question in mind first, let me start from the beginning.

I was recently trying to find some motivation in my life and began researching people who are successful in their careers and businesses. Then I noticed something that they had that schools don’t teach.

First of all, know that we, human beings, will tend to stay in our comfort zones and just get stuck in it. We, Indonesians, call it the ‘Devil’s Circle’. It means that you are stuck in the same loop because you didn’t want to take action when you want to be successful.

But these people got out of that ‘Devil’s Circle’. Stan Lee, Jack Ma, Richard Branson, JK Rowling, Robert Downey JR, and many more. Their pasts weren’t exactly normal childhood and yet they managed to get to the top without a lot of educational resources like some of us do.

Ever wonder why?

They had to endure such pain for a long time before they can even reach where they are now. At the process in that god-forsaken cave, they built something.

Take Jack Ma as an example, he had worst experiences: Failing schools and got rejected from countless jobs. In the majority of Asian culture, this is counted as outrageous. Believe me, I was one. I was an average student, my parents weren’t too happy when I came home with Cs in my report cards. I’m not a straight-A student, but I didn’t fail my class, Jack Ma did.

But did he give up? Nope. He was willing to face reality. So if you compare me and Jack Ma, he had it coming far worse than me. But he built something that I lacked.

In that cave of hell, people like him activated something that schools don’t teach, which is:

To activate the Iron Man suit, it needs an Arc Reactor Core. In this case, our ‘Arc Reactor Core’ is:

Believe in yourself when no one else will.

When kids get straight As and everyone praises them, they didn’t activate their ‘Arc Reactor’. That’s why there is a book called “Why “A” Students Work for “C” Students and Why “B” Students Work for the Government: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Education for Parents”. It’s a good book, by the way. I put the link to buy that book there on Amazon.

Anyways, Tony Stark never thought of building one if he wasn’t captured. So, their ‘Arc Reactor’ will be activated when they still believe that they can overcome failure even when everyone is doubting you.

Confidence, persistence, and embracing failures and rejections come after. They are the parts of the ‘suit’, self-esteem is the ‘Arc Reactor Core’. The real world is filled with rejections and there won’t be many people who will help you get through those, that’s why it’s ourselves that we need to encourage and shoot down all the negativity coming your way.

I realized this too late at school. I was in college when I finally realized this, after watching movies became my hobby (which is why pop culture is everything to me since they help open my eyes). I should’ve ignored all the negative things that my friends, and sometimes family, would tell me. I wasn’t even good at writing and would shy away because the others would look down on me because I wasn’t an A student like them. I wasn’t even good at writing!!

But here I am today writing on Medium, telling you all the one thing I struggled back in school. So in a way, I’m still building my own ‘Iron Man suit’ (Medium) as I activated my ‘Arc Reactor’.

Reading their histories, all of them were captured in that cave for a long time, just like Tony. But they built their own ‘Arc Reactor Core’ in order to create their ‘Iron Man suits’, here are two examples:

  1. JK Rowling endured depression, homelessness, and was rejected 12 times before her first book could even get published. But she believed in herself, that activates her ‘Arc Reactor’, and thus, her ‘Iron Man suit’ is her finally published books: the Harry Potter series.
  2. Jeff Bezos had to work hard to convince investors to invest in Amazon before the company could even earn net- profit and that took him 14 years. His ‘Iron Man suit’ is Amazon.

Now, do you see why I put Tony Stark as my referral? If these people didn’t activate their ‘Arc Reactors’…. their ‘Iron Man suits’ will diminish.

So there you have it.

Your self-esteem is your ‘Arc Reactor Core’, it powers up your ‘Iron Man suit’: Confidence, persistence, and the power to embrace failures and rejections. Practice it each and every day until it’s ready to defeat ‘Thanos’ (reality).


Get out of your ‘cave’. Build your own ‘Arc Reactor Core’ and finish that ‘Iron Man suit’.

See you all flying in your own ‘Iron Man suits’ soon!!



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