I was notorious for stirring up trouble as a young man. In 10th grade, I failed three classes. One teacher spared me from my fourth failing grade since she knew I would get left back if I took another "F".
Lucky I was!
The next year, which was 11th grade, I heard other students planning their departure after high school, specifically, the colleges they may commit to. Georgetown, Harvard, Penn State, UCLA, Fordham...just to name a few. I was too busy on drugs. I also had a degree in chasing girls.
One day, I had a meeting with my guidance counselor. As I was half-way through the school year, he told me that I needed to get my act together. After a 59% Overall Grade Point Average last year, he noted that I needed to focus on my studies.
I agreed jovially, but my average only bumped up to 62%.
Still, I was determined to do my best as I finished the last year of high school. I joined the high school football team, worked less hours at my job, and sustained a relationship with a decent girlfriend (which temporarily kept me in order).
I still finished with a 73%, which was two points away from my high-school's honor roll (they had high standards). I was still proud of myself, so I took a visit to my guidance counselor.
"Mr. Young, I got my grades up. I've done my homework. I attended every class. I know I didn't get a high grade, but I'm ready to go to college. What do you think?"
As I nervously braced myself in a deep sweat for his approval, he simply told me, "I'm not sure if you're college material. Have you ever considered joining the military or learning a trade of some kind?"
I was appalled.
The only thing I ever wanted to do was own a business. I couldn't even ask him about our local community college since he didn't think I was even "College Material".
I believed him for a week until I told my father. "Daddy, Mr. Young said that I'm not college material. Should I stay at JCPenney's and work my way up?"
My father rushed me to the community college like a man rushes his birthing pregnant wife to the emergency room.
"Fill out these forms", said the office woman. A few weeks later, I was in.
Since I didn't take the SAT's, I had to take another test which put me in four remedial courses. These classes didn't count for credit, but they clearly helped me understand that my high school put me in the worst classes, by design.
Year after year, I would take summer course to get up to speed. Some old high school friends made fun of me since I was attending the community college.
Indeed, I was so confident that I was going to be successful that I continued on my path, despite failing a few classes and naysayers. No one was going to stop me from living my dreams.
I then got to Penn State University and got "A's" in my last year of college. I finished with an overall GPA of 3.8 and I was also off of drugs. I was beginning to feel my first wave of success.
Even when I pursued my MBA, a professor allowed me to take a course called "Adult Education." It was actually a doctoral course, which was pretty cool for a 23-year old. In case you didn't know, most MBA candidates do not have the chance to take doctoral courses.
As I pursued my goals in business, my grades started to slip again. This time, it was for the right reasons. I was prospering. My professor was nefarious in her antics and despised my ambition. At the end of the class, I received my final grade.
It would be the last time that someone would denounce me as a failure.
This put a fire in me that has been burning since. As the old saying goes, "When you set yourself on fire, people will come and watch you burn." I was on fire.
I went home and wrote my 1st book in 10 days. This gave me tremendous momentum that propelled me even further in my business.
The best revenge is massive success. - Frank Sinatra
I would have to credit the naysayers for my monumental success. Not only in the academic field, but also mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
A wise mentor taught me, "What God has created for you, no man can take." Many of my naysayers are gone. Some of the people that doubted my abilities the most are the same sycophants who say, "I knew him when he was getting started. I never doubted that he would succeed!"
What about you? Have you seen naysayers in your life? Think about all the people who told you what you couldn't do, where you couldn't go, who you couldn't be, what you couldn't see. Where are they now?
There's a power in naysayers. If you focus too much on what they're telling you, you'll be discouraged. However, if you listen to what they're actually saying, you'll be able to do the opposite.
I think my naysayers have actually guided me the most.
Don't ignore them!