You have a brain
Dr. Benjamin Carson
I, as most teengers of the 21st century, mostly read fiction. I love the fantasy worlds that suck me in with their magic, the characters that are so different from me with their otherworldly powers, yet much the same in their struggles and insecurities... these worlds help us get through tough times, and they entertain us when we need to laugh. We worry about our favorite characters, celebrate their wins, mourn their loses, and hate on the villians with them.
But sometimes, when I'm looking for motivation, I will read non-fiction. Namely, autobiography-type books written by famous people that are meant to inspire us.
One of those books was "You have a brain" by Dr. Ben Carson. After reading Carson's book, there were some things that struck me the hardest. I would like to share them with you.
Ben's mother had only recieved a third grade education. Her husband left her with two growing young boys. She lived in (not the best part of) Detroit, but for a while had to rent out her house, and then move away completely and live with her sister, to make ends meet.
She didn't let any of this stop her. She believed that her boys could get a good education, be something more. She never stopped believing in them. And she never stopped pushing them to their limits, either.
When Ben was in fifth grade, his family ha just returned to Detroit, and he was very much behind on his lessons. He was, basically, failing school. His mother prayed to God, and asked Him for wisdom. The next day, she sat Ben and Curtis down at the kitchen table and layed down her plan. Ben's mother set up a reading program for them. She told them to read two books per week, write reports on them, and read the reports to her. Back then, the boys didn't realize that the reason they had to read them out loud was because their mother simply didn't know how.
The reading helped Ben. A lot. It made him a lot more knowledgable, first on his favorite subjects, and then everything he could get his hands on. Once Ben got up the courage to raise his hand in class, he quickly went from "the dumbest kid in fifth grade" (as his classmates dubbed him), to one of the smartest.
Soon after Ben had his breakthrough, he went around helping the people in his grade and telling them bits of new information he had learned. At least, he thought he was helping, until once in ninth grade, he confronted a classmate who was being mean to him and asked him why he was being so hostile. The boy replied with "Because you're obnoxious. You know so much, and you make sure everybody knows it."
In fifth grade, they teased him for being dumb, and now, he couldn't seem to fit in because he was smart.
The only mischeaf Ben really got into was participatung in a raid on the neighbor's fruit trees. He didn't stay there for long, because deep down, he knew it was wrong. A while after that, the group of guys he hung out with snuck into a warehouse. He went with them, but while they were going in, he weighed the pros and cons, realized that there really were no pros in sneaking into the warehouse, and quietly went home.
I really look up to the fact that Ben talked to his teachers after school, and asked them for extra assignments and such. He had a lot of mentors through high school, and although some of them seeked him out first, most of them, he had to get the courage to get up and talk to them.
Ben's THINK BIG strategy goes like this: talent, honesty, insight, nice, knowledge, books, in-depth learning, and God.
Talent. Everybody has some kind of talent. Your talent may not be in the sports or entertainment industry, which seems to be the stereotypical defenition of talent these days, but it's just as important. The defenition of talent is not "something you do better than other people." Not necessarily. A talent is a combination of things, amounting to: something you do well.
Being nice should be easy. Actually, it is easy. When we're born, we are nice. What we're taught later in life, by our parents, our teachers, our friends... determines if we are nice later in life. It's really quite sad how many people in this modern world forget to be kind. More people still think that being nice means being respectful. That is part of it, yes. But being nice is more than that. More than just saying hello to people as you walk by. Being nice is doing something for those people, and not expecting any source of repayment in return.
In his strategy, Carson more than once mentions things that have to do with academics. Knowledge, books, in-depth learning... not to mention the fact that all the other things we should have in our toolbox when we go to school as well. School should be about being nice. Being honest. Knowledge is very important, but if we forget ourselves and bury ourselves in knowledge, we become obnoxious and arrogant, many times, as Carson did in ninth grade, without even realizing it.
The main lessons I see in these book are (in no particular order): be nice, read (a lot), find your talents and know your talents, and LISTEN to your mother. She only wants what's best for you.
This book taught me many things, and reminded me of some personal values.