You’re Smart

You Determine You’re Smart, Not School!

When I was a Junior in high school, I was taking a placement skills test. Let me go on record with saying how much I dislike bubble tests. I digress. The test was almost finished, first completed science, math and now I had to take the reading/English test. However, I was done taking tests, so I created shapes instead. The shape I made was a smiley face.

Yes, I created a smiley face on a placement test, bad idea!

A week later I was called into the counselor’s office, and they said, “We need you to take this special class that will help you because you tested lower than anyone else in the school in English. We need to know which class you want to drop?”

I said, “I’m not dropping any class. I’m not taking this other class. I was done taking these ridiculous tests, so I made shapes.”

The counselor proceeded to tell me that I had too. After much resistance on my part, I finally said, “Give me this dumb test by itself, and I’ll show you I don’t need to take another class.”

She said, “I can’t.”

I Wouldn’t Give In

Again, after tremendous resistance and finally saying, “If you put me in this other class, I will not go.” She scheduled to let me retake the test.

A week after taking the test she called me back into the office and said, “You’re right you don’t need to be placed in this class.”

The reason I tell you this story is because this memory has never left me. For whatever reason, I have always remembered it vividly, and I didn’t know why until after mentoring.

It was several weeks ago I was sitting down with one of my mentees, I’ll call her Sarah, and she said, “I don’t feel like I’m smart. Everyone else is so much smarter than I am. I don’t have anything to offer to the world.”

I was gobbed smacked because Sarah is terrific. She is one of the most talented persons I know of, but she felt like she had nothing to offer the world.

How many times have you felt like this?

Here’s the discovery

We had a two-hour mentoring session so I knew we would have some time to dig in a little further. After about 35 minutes, we discovered why she felt the way she did, SCHOOL!

When she was in 3rd grade, she had to stay in from recess to retake a test, and so her third-grade mind translated that into, “I’m dumb because I can’t go out to recess. Everyone else is so much smarter than me because they all got to go out to play.”

I know the teacher did not mean for this interpretation. The fact is the teacher loved her, but that simple action has been controlling Sarah for over twenty years. Her third-grade mindset is controlling the decisions she’s making as an adult.

You have so many childhood stories that are controlling your decisions as an adult some you may recognize, but others are hidden. Sarah did not realize that she was allowing a little third grader to run her life. Don’t let your childhood run your life. You have experienced some things in your past that are shaping the decisions you make every day.

You need to discover what those stories are and if you want to continue to believe them or not? Do you want to allow a third grader, possibly older or even younger, to determine your happiness?

You have so much to offer the world, but you need to take action, and you need to let go of the stories from the past that are holding you back.


Tony Rhoton – Mentor 801.787.5765

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