Someone Once Told Me

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2396“Everybody needs to be good at something,” explains Tony in his audio commentary.

“Whether you’re good at sketching doodles on a pad, or you always beat your buddies at poker, or you’re a national chess champion. A lot of self esteem is rooted in having something that you know you’re competent at.

”When I was a kid I was chubby. I had no athletic ability. I wasn’t popular but I scored high on standardised testing. I was put in the gifted class but I hated it because all the other kids were as smart as me, so I wasn’t distinguished.

”So I rebelled to be put back into the regular class. From about age 12 I always liked being the smartest kid in the room.

”That became the thing that I thought I was good at – being smart. So as I got older that became more important to me because it was all I had.

”I went to college and got my Masters degree in counselling from Penn state university. Then I started a PhD at Oklahoma and took a class in intelligence testing.

”First day of class, the professor said to us: ‘Intelligence isn’t correlated with almost anything important in life. Being smarter doesn’t mean you’re going to have a happier life, for example.

”That struck me like a hammer. I’d spent half my life, at the age of 24, being really concerned with being the smartest kid in the room. In that moment, I let it go and that actually made me a lot happier.

”Over your lifespan, there are many other things that are important, and that really isn’t one of them.”

Taken in Manila, Philippines during the SOTM World Tour.

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