Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Lesson from Life

Brillopad, Pubehead had a difficult time throughout school. One assistant principal along the way commented that the best his parents could hope for that he grow up to become a carpet layer.

Brillopad, Pubehead had some friends who helped him with school work and even assisted in helping him get the right answers - if you get my drift. Brillopad, Pubehead didn't take notes, but listened carefully especially when they studied the U. S. Constitution and Democracy. The straight-A students would study hard and make A's and then forget the material about which they were tested. Brillopad, Pubehead would make D's on the test but took pride in retaining the concepts about the subject taught like one-person, one-vote and majority rule. There is a difference between yielding the right answer on a test compared to internalizing the concepts.

The above notion reminds me of an article in the New York Times on April 2 this year by Karen W. Arenson. The title was "Nobody's Perfect. Neither is the Test." The article was about the scoring errors on 5000 exams from the College Board's October SAT. The article's title is what resonated with me and should be a truism. Nobody's perfect, neither is the test.

Brillopad, Pubehead questions the wisdom of the education system and the straight-A students. To him, these students study hard to excel on tests. The schools emphasize grades so strongly, and the straight-A types don't experience failure until they enter the real world after graduation. These type students are "not resilient" according to Brillopad, Pubehead.

While growing up, he tried work as a paper delivery boy, a door-to-door Fuller Brush salesperson, and he ran his own produce stand. He learned the pros and cons of each job type and discovered he was good at interacting with people directly. He came to believe his learning ability shortcoming caused him to empathize with people. He learned about inventory when he bought produce from distribution points and then discovered the effects on cost and profit when it didn't sell while fresh.

Somehow Brillopad, Pubehead got into college and struggled there just as he did in high school. He couldn't read well, write well or test well. He had ideas about a business, but knew he wouldn't be able to manage the details of operating a business. He decided to hire good people and pay them well in order for his business to be successful. That's what he did in one location as he continued his college studies and distributed fliers about his business.

By this time he acquired another nickname that he didn't appreciate any more than the previous ones, but he learned a powerful lesson that many people never learn and that is to accept who you are, defects and all, and leverage your strengths.

If you know who I'm writing about, then email me at

Return here on Tuesday for continued story.

Have a good day!


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