Albert Einstein, considered the most influential person of the 20th century, was four years old before he could speak and seven before he could read. His parents thought he was retarded. He spoke haltingly until age nine. He was advised by a teacher to drop out of grade school: “You’ll never amount to anything, Einstein.” Isaac Newton, the scientist who invented modern-day physics, did poorly in math. Patricia Polacco, a prolific children’s author and illustrator, didn’t learn to read until she was 14. Henry Ford, who developed the famous Model-T car and started Ford Motor Company, barely made it through high school. Lucille Ball, famous comedian and star of I Love Lucy, was once dismissed from drama school for being too quiet and shy. Pablo Picasso, one of the great artists of all time, was pulled out of school at age 10 because he was doing so poorly. A tutor hired by Pablo’s father gave up on Pablo. Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the world’s great composers. His music teacher once said of him, “As a composer, he is hopeless.” Wernher von Braun, the world-renowned mathematician, flunked ninth-grade algebra. Agatha Christie, the world’s best-known mystery writer and all-time bestselling author other than William Shakespeare of any genre, struggled to learn to read because of dyslexia. Winston Churchill, famous English prime minister, failed the sixth grade.
Only date people who respect your standards and make you a better person when you’re with them. Consider the message of the movie A Walk to Remember. Landon Carter is the reckless leader who is skating through high school on his good looks and bravado. He and his popular friends at Beaufort High publicly ridicule everyone who doesn’t fit in, including the unfashionable Jamie Sullivan, who wears the same sweater day after day and gives free tutoring lessons to struggling students. By accident, events thrust Landon into Jamie’s world and he can’t help but notice that Jamie’s different. She doesn’t care about conforming and fitting in with the popular kids. Landon’s amazed at how sure of herself she seems and asks, “Don’t you care what people think about you?” As he spends more time with her, he realizes she has more freedom than he does because she isn’t controlled by the opinions of others, as he is. Soon, despite their intentions not to, they have fallen in love and Landon has to choose between his status at Beaufort...and Jamie. “This girl’s changed you,” his best friend yells, “and you don’t even know it.” Landon admits, “She has faith in me. She wants me to be better.” He chooses her. After high school graduation, Jamie reveals to Landon that she’s dying of leukemia. During her final months, Landon does all he can to make her dreams come true, including marrying her in the same church her mother and father were married in. They spend a wonderful summer together, truly in love. Despite Jamie’s dream for a miracle, she dies. Heartbroken, but inspired by Jamie’s belief in him, Landon works hard to go to medical school. But he laments to her father that he couldn’t fulfill her last desire, to see a miracle. Jamie’s father assures him that Jamie did see a miracle before she died, for someone’s heart had truly changed. And it was his. Now that’s a movie to remember! Never apologize for having high standards and don’t ever lower your standards to please someone else.
Just as negative self-paradigms can put limitations on us, positive self-paradigms can bring out the best in us, as the following story about the son of King Louis XVI of France illustrates: King Louis had been taken from his throne and imprisoned. His young son, the prince, was taken by those who dethroned the king. They thought that inasmuch as the king’s son was heir to the throne, if they could destroy him morally, he would never realize the great and grand destiny that life had bestowed upon him. They took him to a community far away, and there they exposed the lad to every filthy and vile thing that life could offer. They exposed him to foods the richness of which would quickly make him a slave to appetite. They used vile language around him constantly. They exposed him to lewd and lusting women. They exposed him to dishonor and distrust. He was surrounded twenty-four hours a day by everything that could drag the soul of a man as low as one could slip. For over six months he had this treatment—but not once did the young lad buckle under pressure. Finally, after intensive temptation, they questioned him. Why had he not submitted himself to these things— why had he not partaken? These things would provide pleasure, satisfy his lusts, and were desirable; they were all his. The boy said, “I cannot do what you ask for I was born to be a king.
Boyfriend/Girlfriend-Centered This may be the easiest trap of all to fall into. I mean, who hasn’t been centered on a boyfriend or girlfriend at one point? Let’s pretend Brady centers his life on his girlfriend, Tasha. Now, watch the instability it creates in Brady. TASHA’S ACTIONS BRADY’S REACTIONS Makes a rude comment: “My day is ruined.” Flirts with Brady’s best friend: “I’ve been betrayed. I hate my friend.” “I think we should date other people”: “My life is over. You don’t love me anymore.” The ironic thing is that the more you center your life on someone, the more unattractive you become to that person. How’s that? Well, first of all, if you’re centered on someone, you’re no longer hard to get. Second, it’s irritating when someone builds their entire emotional life around you. Since their security comes from you and not from within themselves, they always need to have those sickening “where do we stand” talks. if who I am is what I have and what I have is lost, then who am I? ANONYMOUS When I began dating my wife, one of the things that attracted me most was that she didn’t center her life on me. I’ll never forget the time she turned me down (with a smile and no apology) for a very important date. I loved it! She was her own person and had her own inner strength. Her moods were independent of mine. You can usually tell when a couple becomes centered on each other because they are forever breaking up and getting back together. Although their relationship has deteriorated, their emotional lives and identities are so intertwined that they can never fully let go of each other. Believe me, you’ll be a better boyfriend or girlfriend if you’re not centered on your partner. Independence is more attractive than dependence. Besides, centering your life on another doesn’t show that you love them, only that you’re dependent on them. Have as many girlfriends or boyfriends as you’d like, just don’t get obsessed with or centered on them, because, although there are exceptions, these relationships are usually about as stable as a yo-yo.