I was in a meeting sometime ago and a few people were asked to tell what has inspired them to advance in life. Different people mentioned different things. How they saw the success a mentor made and they decided to go for it; how, from childhood, they heard the story of someone and they decided to beat it. But a lady told, softly, of how her teacher told her that she was not going to amount to anything! She received the negative word negatively (and “minus” x “minus“= “plus“). She made up her mind to amount to something! Soft lady, but the memory of that teacher revives her anytime she feels wreary!
I immediately remembered that I had heard a similar story before! Prof Howard Hendricks told of how he was promoted in Elementary School. His new teacher called him forward and spoke menacingly about how she had heard that he was the most rascally student in her class! In his words,
In the fifth grade in public school I had a teacher named Miss Simon. I’ll never forget Miss Simon… and I doubt Miss Simon ever forgot me. When I told her my name on the first day of class, she said, “Oh-Howard Hendricks. I’ve heard a lot about you. I understand you’re the worst kid in this school.”
What a challenge, I thought. If she thinks I’m the worst kid in the school, I guarantee I’ll never slip into second place! And I didn’t disappoint her!
(Culled from Teaching to Change Lives)
It got so bad that she had to physically tie him to the chair in class one day! 🙂
He got promoted again! And his new teacher called him. He must have felt like deja vu (I’ve seen this before)! The new Miss started out similarly. She told him that she had heard so many bad things about him, but that she did not believe a single one of those things! And that she was going to give him a chance to prove all those people wrong!
Prof again made up his mind, but this time, to please the new Miss; to not disappoint her! He did not! In fact, he ascribed the outcome of his life partly to her!He said he began to study! He stopped being rascally! One day when he was studying for so long, his dad came into the room and asked if he was okay!
He said,”Yes! I am studying!”
“You are studying? You must be sick!” Studying was so far removed from him that his dad ascribed it to sickness!
It’s amazing how many people are talked down! They are discounted so authoritatively that they begin to discount themselves! Once, for the fear of Physics, I decided to take a science course in the University! My dad wouldn’t of hear it! He encouraged me to take the engineering equivalent! “If you take the more rigorous option, you can easily handle the less rigorous one on your own!” I just couldn’t tell him I had no hope for physics (because he was diligently paying the school fees)! And I did fail it! He was out of the house when I got back from checking my result. He drove in, called me out and asked for my result. I told him, sadly, how everything else was excellent except physics! He drove off again; he came home just to find out my result! Within days, he had given me money to re-register ! I couldn’t afford to disappoint! I passed! I am an engineer today!
While waiting for someone to inspire you by positive means or by negative means, why not inspire someone else! Talk someone to success this week! And if someone thinks you are no good, disappoint him/her!