This post has been a long time in coming and I think it's going to resonate with a lot of people. It took a conversation with my best friend, Jeff Reiman to really sink in.
|Jeff, being awesome as usual|
I have a cognitive processing disorder.
I have never admitted this to anyone. Throughout my life, I have always been treated like a "slow" person. I have always been able to read at a really high level, but any type of testing or formal instruction has created INCREDIBLE difficulty for me. Fellow students tease me. Coworkers shake their heads at me and tell me I'm stupid. Air Force guys put me in a "box" and wrote me off as a dumbass. My enlisted supervisors consistently reminded me daily that I was wasting my time in college and that I was one of the dumbest guys they had ever met.
Jeff and I were eating Chinese food and we were talking about how another Airman had recommended I go to a formal Air Force school to learn a new skill. My exact comment went like this:
"How in the hell can she recommend this for me, when I have had trouble in EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL I have ever attended, both civilian and Air Force? My brain has so much activity going on at once that it SHUTS DOWN when I get bored. I have to try three times as hard as other people when I am learning something that I hate."
We then had a good laugh and started talking about what my brain looks like. THIS was the collaboration of our thoughts:
|If you ever have a conversation with me and I start looking to the left, this is what I am thinking of.|
I have always been like this. It's not just simple ADD. It's my brain seeking something fun or interesting to think about. As Jeff and I were laughing at this, the pattern emerged:
*Failed Pre-Algebra three times
*Failed out of high school
*Didn't take SATs because of intimidation
*Failed out of college
*Failed out of 2nd college
*Almost failed out of Air Force tech school
*Failed FBI written exam (math based)
*Low score on Officer Qualifying Test (math based)
*Failed my Air Force promotion test
*Failed my 2nd portion of same test
What do all these failures have in common?
I remembered the DAY I solved this little issue. I was reading a new book at lunch called the Millionaire Mind, by Thomas Stanley. He had developed several traits from hundreds of interviews with successful millionaires such as:
Very little fear of risk
Mostly C students
Good with people
Awful test takers
Off the charts creative
Excellent problem solvers
Bounce back quickly from failure
Very high aptitude at a skill/field
I felt like I had been socked in the face by Mike Tyson.
That day, two realizations became apparent.
1. Anytime I was forced to learn something I hated, my brain shut off.
2. Anytime I worked on something I enjoyed, I could access HUGE portions of talent.
*Despite never taking SATs, completed 6 degrees including a Doctorate in Education
*Airman of the Year in 2007
*7 published books
*4 clothing lines
*Built my own business website and this blog
*By creating high value, got on TV, radio, and podcasts
*Studied running techniques and completed a nonstop 16 mile beach run
*Gave a lecture on speed learning at a college. Cross referenced four techniques to teach a brand new subject cold in 20 minutes. To prove that it worked, I used something easy.........nanotechnology. Students were amazed.
*Remember how I failed Pre-Algebra three times? I was hired as an ENGINEERING teacher at Morse High School. In five years, I was running an Academy of Engineering, was nominated for Teacher of the Year and was teaching concepts in Physics, Trig, Algebra, and Pre-Cal. Once I had projects to use as a kinetic teaching device, the boring math that had eluded me fell into place. Today I LOVE math.
*Using reverse engineering techniques and the brain drug Alphabrain, sped read 802 pages of material for an Air Force promotion exam in 45 minutes...............and missed a passing score by ONE question.
*Came up with a brand new concept for a magazine and had it ready to launch with 10 guest writers..........in 18 days.
How many students are we failing every year but not recognizing their aptitude? By telling them that their stupid tests will influence their WHOLE LIVES? By creating anxiety because they don't get good grades? Why do we introduce worthless programs like Common Core? To fail even MORE students? To make our math scores LOWER?
How many taxi drivers and low level construction workers have we created that can go home and create amazing things with their hands, that could be CEOs, that could be the next Einstein, Tesla, Jobs, or Oppenheimer?
Once I started thinking about this, I got to a section that CHANGED EVERYTHING.
Stanley talked about a man named Robert Sternberg, who had failed standardized tests as a child and had developed a crippling fear of them. He had a teacher who encouraged him to learn and develop his mind.
Robert Sternberg ended up earning a PhD from Stanford and becoming a Professor of Psychology at Yale.
I'll bet that stupid ass test didn't see that one coming.
I ended up reading the 9 best books I could find on intelligence styles.
|*Limitless is Rob's Pick of the Week*|
Sternberg's Successful Intelligence was the book that ROCKETED me to intellectual confidence and success. If you have a child that is having trouble in school, I highly suggest sitting down and reading it with them.
Essentially, Sternberg said there are three learning styles:
Analytical - good at tests, can only come up with one solution to problems, usually become architects, accountants, engineers, doctors, lawyers
Creative - amazing at projects, bad test takers, can create 20 solutions to a problem, HUGE spatial intelligence, giant imaginations, usually become artists, musicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs
Practical - street smart, common sense and the ability to "Macguyver" life.
I'm a creative with some practical. I have now done a self assessment and realize what I am bad at:
*Tests that measure rote memorization, but not work ethic, aptitude, emotional intelligence, decision making under pressure, creativity, social interaction, span of knowledge, or any type of original thought
vs what I am good at:
*Rapid reading level and ability to self learn anything at a PhD level utilizing 16 possible methods of instruction that I isolated and created
*Ability to determine aptitude and talent in other people, convert them into an asset, then offer three times value of what I ask of them
*Determining the VALUE of information, creating an original product and then monetizing it
When you sit down with paper and do a self analysis, you will realize your gifts.
I really appreciate you reading this. I hope you pass this along to friends and teens and anyone that may feel stupid in life. Remind them that many people may call them dumb, but Dr. Rob will tell them why they are brilliant.
See you next week.