Cool Kid On The Block

I was never the smartest kid on the block. Do you remember those progress reports in elementary or middle school? The ones that labeled you Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, or Above Satisfactory? Well, I was always between the first and the second one. I wasn’t a bad kid. I promise. Yeah, I talked a little more than the others. Maybe I didn’t turn in my homework on time or at all, or studied enough, or read at the grade level I was supposed to. I’ve only been in a fight twice in my academic life, and one of the guys end up turning in to my life time bestfriend. We always a laugh about who actually won that day. I did (hope he’s not reading this). But I wasn’t a bad kid or a dumb one. I was a “C” kid. All my life.

I barely passed anything. I failed algebra in 9th grade. Took it again in summer school. I went hardcore at it until I got to Calculus A.P (a college credit class in high school) in my senior year, but I failed that one too. In fact, I retook Algebra three times in college. My SAT scores? Let’s say they were unsatisfactory. I proudly graduated with grade point average of a 2.0 or 2.5? I don’t remember. All I can recall is getting the warning that I’m at a 1.7 in 11th grade. So, I went beast mode in my senior year to bring it back up. I was lazy, but sure not dumb to stay a year more in school.

It’s hard to get away from any english class at any grade level. I detested reading. Especially the ones that were assigned. How to Kill a Mocking Bird, Catcher In The Rye, The Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, and others I missed out on. I had no discipline or desire to read anything. Don’t ask me how I wrote the reports? Never did I plagiarize someone else’s work. I had and still do have integrity for that type of thing. But I did quote a lot and used a lot of excerpts to get my point across. I passed — after a successful all nighter.

Science? I was bad. Let’s just leave it at that.

Time passes. I’m all grown up now. With a whole new outlook in life. I keep saying it, again and again, I don’t think I was ever dumb. For that matter, I don’t think I was ever lazy either. In my adulthood, as I matured, I started to take notice of certain patterns in my learning abilities and personality that would have probably caused all this mess in my education. I’m sad to say there was no one ever there to catch on it earlier. I confidently believe that I suffered from a mild dyslexia (my wife hates it when I say this). I haven’t been properly diagnosed,  but the symptoms are clear to me when you make a comparison.

  • Difficulty in learning new words.
  • Lazy reading. I judge a book or post not by its cover. By how big or long it is. How small the words are. So I skim or scroll through it quickly (horrible habit).
  • Occasionally, I miss out on words when writing. But I don’t flip them.
  • I still have trouble with multiplication. I lose it when it gets to 6,7,8, and 9’s.
  • I’m horrible in remembering names (but not faces). I forget in minutes after you tell me.
  • I have a strong passion for the arts and entrepreneurship.
  • I am terrible in debating, arguing, and expressing myself when I’m fully aware of it. I worry of the words that come out of my mouth causing me to stutter or remain quiet. This is doesn’t happen in my writing because it avoids the emotion of physical confrontations.
  • I’m horrible with tests. So, if the opportunity is there to remember the answers of the questions through rhythm, patterns, rhymes, or any visual form… I tap into my short term memory and usually pass. In a week, everything is gone.
  • I’m a big time visual learner. I prefer hands on training.
  • I zone out in conversations. If something in it triggers a thought, I’m out. I ask you to repeat again.
  • I’m a terrible multitasker.
  • It took me years to graduate college. I tried so many majors it’s not even funny. I turned to the arts and graduated with honors in Film
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I learn. Involve me and I remember.” – Benjamin Franklin

The list can go on. I think it’s border line dyslexia. If you’re a doctor, you’ll probably brush me away and say, “just read a book.”  Then, I’ll make you read this blog post and then you’ll say, “hmm, interesting. I see.” The solution will be to get properly diagnosed. Then, search for some type of cognitive therapy learning of some kind. At least, I know, and I can strategize accordingly.

I finally found a breakthrough in my life when I started to appreciate and devote time to discover myself. Because if no one will, then who? Reading books like Strengths Finder 2.0 and taking personality tests actually helped me understand me. Having role models in my life to encourage me spiritually and mentally made up for all the confusion. Their positive words demolished my negative ones. My parents, who probably never discovered fully my purpose, but believed in a son who can be somebody were always an encouragement. They’re not to blame. I could say it’s the systems fault. Teachers should have known better.  But, not really. It was meant to be that way.

Things have gotten way better. I have a library full of books. I’m growing a greater appreciation for fiction now. I’ve written a couple short screenplays.  And I actually love to write (read that story). I’m tackling those bullet points aggressively. Don’t know about the math part though.

“I was one of the ‘puzzle children’ myself — a dyslexic . . . And I still have a hard time reading today. Accept the fact that you have a problem. Refuse to feel sorry for yourself. You have a challenge; never quit! ”– Nelson Rockefeller

What are my goals? To read 1-2 books a month. Yes, I still prefer quick reads. Smaller books with an easy language. I still need carry over the habit of reading movie screenplays for the sake of learning the art better. So, maybe, one book and one screenplay (90-120 pages) a month is doable. Topics will vary from art, faith, creativity, personal success, or business. In film, well whatever I’m feeling. Picking one is like skimming through Netflix. It takes a while.

[This is part of The Essentials Series]

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