Not only was she the smartest person in her school, but now, surely the smartest in this room. Her arrogance knew no bounds.
She was me and I was 10 years old.
I sat in a room filled with other kids my age all of us trying to get a scholarship to a private school. Not only was I sure I’d aced the test, I finished every section first and made it known I was finished. There was even an answer or two (on the standardized multiple choice test) that wasn’t correct in the booklet – not to worry I simply wrote my own. Double checking my answers? No need when you’re sure you’re right the first time.
Not surprisingly I was not awarded a scholarship in that year. And that crushing defeat (I’d rarely been denied anything academic before then) was exactly what I needed. Had I got a scholarship that year I might have spent the rest of my life thinking as I had done that day.
Instead, the next year, at 11 (grade 6 for those reading in the Australian school system), I sat in the exam room a changed person. I didn’t care about finishing first, or who knew it. I double, triple, quadruple checked every calculation and every answer. Oh – and I figured out that if my answer wasn’t on the multiple choice answer sheet that I probably didn’t have the right answer.
Months later when the results came in my parents handed me an envelope. I remember clearly reading the results and then calmly walking outside Sullivan’s restaurant (on the main street of Deloraine, Tasmania) and screaming as loudly as I could at the top of my lungs as excited as I'd ever been to read something (the screaming was much to my parents horror).
I took the lessons I learned at 10 in with me to every exam and test thereafter and I wouldn’t have learned them without going through some fairly mortifying and crushing defeat. What’s defeating you now to transform you in the future?
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Added Jan 6, 2010,