At some point in your life you’ve asked yourself, “What are my strengths?” or “What am I good at?” — easy enough to ask but pretty hard to answer. Whether it was deciding what to study in undergrad or what kind of business to start, determining your talents was likely a key ingredient to that endeavor’s success…and to your personal happiness. Nevertheless, it’s hard to know what that skill is and even harder to know what to do with it.
I’ve never really been gifted. In third grade, I struggled with reading and consequently suffered bad marks in almost all of my classes. I could read the words perfectly but comprehension was poor. Worst of all? I didn’t know how to ‘fix’ my deficiency. So, my teacher set a parent-teacher conference to discuss my academic options. In short, we were recommended remedial classes across the board and possibly being held back a grade.
Well, my mother wasn’t having any of that! She politely refused my teacher’s suggestion and left tight-lipped, not looking down at me once. When we got in the car, she drove to a big-box bookstore and purchased around 20 books on various subjects — but mostly reading. I suspected then that that would be my life over the next six months…and it was.
Friends knocked on my door almost every afternoon and received a familiar reply almost every time.
“Can Nick come out and play?”
“Tell your friends no, Nicholas,” my mom would say, standing right next to me at the door.
“Sorry, I have homework,” I’d respond, on the brink of tears, watching the sun dance behind them.
“Okay,” they’d relent…or sometimes shoot one final shot. “Well, what about tomorrow?”
“We’ll see about tomorrow when it gets here,” shutting the door before her final words escaped.
I knew what that meant. That meant nope.
Long story short — and here’s the clincher — I learned something from that experience. When I finally began to comprehend what I was reading, I discovered I had a knack for applying what I understood more effectively and expeditiously than most. What’s more, I found the information useful and decided to combine my intense drive — that was formerly only for video games and sports — with the realm of self-help material.
And that was my first superpower: Drive + Application.