Getting By On Talent
One time, while in 6th grade physics, the teacher called my name. I stood up and recited the definition of light. The nice woman just started laughing. The whole class followed. After all, she was only trying to redirect me away from talking. It was epic.
Yeah, I was an awkward child at times, but I could remember and recite facts like the one above like nobody's business. I got good grades with zero effort. I just understood and learned stuff easily. That was elementary school in Poland for me.
Then I came to the US and high school was a blur. The only "bad" grade I ever got was a C in AP English. That was my senior year and why should I put effort into learning long lists of vocab words for those dumb vocab quizzes, right? I still ended up 5th in my graduating class with a 4.33 GPA. In your face Ms. Dudlicek!
Actually, my senior year English teacher was really cool. She made us journal. It was supposed to help us reflect, but I did not know it then. I was the dumbass. Up until then, I was getting by on talent alone. Learning came easy and so I coasted through high school.
College and career happened in cycles. I did well my first year at the U, then so-so, then finished the last year strong. I ended up with a B average. I was learning, but talent wasn't sufficient to rise above mediocrity any more. 2 years in a dead end environmental job. That mediocrity followed by straight As in grad school and a teaching job, of which 13 years were adequate, but kind of blah...
37 years. That is how long it took me to figure it out.
Effort and know how trump talent. Any day and every day.
But the effort has to be of the smart variety. If you do a lot of "stuff," but have no direction, goals, or purpose, the journey will be futile. Just a long arduous trek across the desert. And, no dessert.
I'm 38; will be 39 next month. Almost 40 and I finally started my journey.
I'll just say... I got by on talent and that is no longer enough. Getting by isn't truly living and I don't want to just survive any more.
I WANT TO LIVE.
I am here to crush it. To help students crush it. To help everyone around me that will listen crush it.
I learn every day and create infographic posters to help me learn and understand how to level up and become more. I share these to help students and educators do the same.
I write books for the same reason. The process of writing alone allows me to learn more about life, living, learning, and leading than I ever thought possible. I wrote one book so far. "Crush School" is a book on how to direct your efforts to learn effectively. We need to teach our kids and our students how to teach themselves.
Because if you/we/they want to truly live, getting by on talent is never enough.
You have the power to change the world. Use it often.