I’ve told many of you about my academic prowess through prep school and college.
That was all entirely self inflicted.
My greatest strength has always been my greatest weakness.
I genuinely like to work hard.
I like to work hard to prove other people wrong even more.
When I was in prep school and beginning my journey of being a mediocre student athlete I was called into my very first (of 6) academic review board.
This is a scene where several professors and senior officers and enlisted sit in a room and quiz you about why you suck.
l didn’t do myself any favors in these scenarios. I was quite indignant as a young man.
I was brutally honest about my lack of interest in the curriculum and my effort. Because “Hey, I’m tough!” SMH
They say honesty is the best policy, but sometimes a far better policy is to just shut your mouth………
At this first review board I distinctly remember one of the women looking at me and saying in a very harsh tone:
“You will never graduate from this institution”
I’m sure she said a bunch of other stuff but that was all I heard.
I put it on my screen saver in my room so I had to look at it every single day.
Enter the guys will will call “The Stubborn Idiot” aka….me.
What did I do?
I decided to prove them all wrong………..while making my own life miserable.
I was so hell bent on making sure that she was wrong that I put in only enough effort to squeeze by with the thinnest of margins.
(I want to find my transcript but I think I actually only got a 1.98 GPA so they rounded up and pushed me through)
I was so supremely confident in my ability to work hard that I self sabotaged myself into a scenario where I had to work far harder than was necessary to make it.
Ignorance is bliss I guess. I was so indignant that I forced myself to ride the lighting of academic expulsion for 5 year.
Truth is, it wouldn’t have taken me that much more work to improve my grades. But I didn’t because I knew I could work my way out of it.
Dr. Lowry, who I’ve written about, use to say there was no amount of trouble I could get into that I couldn’t get out of.
That is……..incredibly stupid.
One of my greatest strengths is that I handle stressful situations better than most.
It’s also one of my greatest weaknesses. Because I know I can handle stress, I have put myself in situations of undue stress on many occasions in life.
At some point I switched from working hard and “grinding” to trying to just work “smarter”.
That didn’t work because hard work is necessary for success.
I have to work smart and hard.
I know I tend to lean towards putting myself in situations that other’s wouldn’t because “I can handle it” and I want to prove to “them” that I can do it.
Just because I can do something doesn’t mean that I should.
I’m much more cautious now. I’m not risk averse, merely more calculated.
I regularly give myself this pep talk……….. “Don’t be an idiot!”
What skill set do you lean on that makes your life more difficult than it needs to be?
How are you misdirecting your unique abilities?
Where could you be smarter?
When do you need do give yourself the “Don’t be an Idiot!” pep talk?
Stumbling through life as a stubborn idiot isn’t fun, trust me on that one.
But I did graduate 😉