Something Has Happened. What is It?

Once, I was a young kid.  I grew up in Virginia, where I got a really good education in some very decent schools.  I got fair grades, but not as good as I could have.  By far the most common comment on my evaluations from my teachers was “has so much potential.  Needs to focus.”

I was an underachiever.

My test scores were excellent.  I aced the SAT and ACT, only took them one each and almost got a perfect score on the SAT English half.  I got a good enough score on the PSAT to be a National Merit Semifinalist.  But I once failed a geometry final (although I wrote 63 pages of a post-apocalyptic romance novel in that class).  I got an F in French, for Heaven’s sake, despite the fact that I can reproduce even very complex accents and vocabularies on one or two hearings and that I learned to speak Hungarian with native radio-broadcaster fluency, following which I moved into the German house at BYU and started with German 201, speaking German full-time in the dorm, without ever having had a German class.

But I took 6 years to graduate, because I changed majors 4 times.  I got to a point in each major where I couldn’t make myself go to class anymore.  Finally I finished in Classics, Classical Civilization.  Advanced Latin and all that.  Very practical stuff.

I started in politics, because that was what my father did.  I even got an internship at the same think tank he worked at.  I hated it so much I faked getting sick to avoid going to work.  I liked battlefield politics, campaigning, so I did that a while.  Three straight campaigns, three straight losses.  I went into insurance and financial services instead of joining the National Guard.  I was Rookie of the Year there.  But by the end of my fifth year, I had one of the senior VPs of the company tell me “I don’t get you.  You do most everything right.  You have all the tools.  You should be one of the stars of the company, and I don’t understand why you’re not.”  And I wasn’t.  Eventually, I couldn’t pay rent on my very modest office and it closed.  I spent six months studying alternative currency theory, and didn’t have a job.

At the end of that period, I negotiated the sale of one of my friend’s companies to another friend’s company for $1 million.  Out of that, I landed a job with the purchasing company that lasted 2 years.  But it was a startup internet company, and it made payroll only once out of three pay periods, on average.  In there, I was hired to be the National Field Director for a presidential campaign, where my job was to parachute into trouble spots on the campaign and get people working together.  I was very good at it.  We lost anyway.  Eventually the internet company gave me stock instead of pay, and for one day I was a paper millionaire, but by the time they bought me out, the stock was worth about $100,000, and it eventually paid me about $40,000 on the sale of it.

I got fired from my next job.  On the way out, the owner said I should try mortgages.  So I did, and I liked it, and I was good at it, and it paid.  But I left the company that hired me – again, I was one of the top guys in the company – to get paid more at another company.  The new company was run by people that were, let’s say, unsuited to running a successful business.  I left just before they fired me for being unable to keep my mouth shut about it.  The next few years was round and round of hiring and firing employees, opening my own brokerage, then discovering that 2007 was not a good time to be starting a mortgage company.

But I have now landed at City 1st, and I like it.  I’m coming up on 7 years in the mortgage business, and I still like doing the work.  We’ve been in the same office now for 30 months.  During this time I’ve been the President of the Rotary Club, the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, started three other businesses (all still alive at the moment, and one of them thriving), and become a moderately sought-after writer on mortgage subjects.  We’re not rich, but we aren’t starving, either.  We’re still here, through one of the worst mortgage markets in history.

One of the things that happens as you get older is that you stop thinking that you’re going to go on getting better and better at everything.  When you’re a teenager, and even into your 20s, if you aren’t good at something, you know there’s time to improve.  Your potential is always out there farther than the place you are.  You get comments like “you have so much potential” and “one day, you could become really good at this” and “a little more experience and you could be dangerous”.

Now, though, I know that my best days on the basketball court are behind me, for instance.  I know that I very likely will not learn Russian, and I won’t ever be a quality jazz pianist, and I will officially never be on the cover of the local business magazine’s “40 under 40″ edition of top young entrepreneurs.  There are still a zillion things to improve at, I know, and this is not to minimize those things.  But for a couple years now I have felt creeping up on me a sense that the sky really is not the limit, that I have in fact reached some of my limits already, and started drifting back.

When you’re young, you don’t know how good you can be at anything.  You can always get better.  I’m just 41, but I can already see areas where I have been as good as I am ever going to be, islands of peak performance rising up out of a shrinking sea of possibilities.

But there is something not-so-tragic-about this, too.  Twice in this last couple of weeks, people that know me well have used a word to describe me that has never been used, not by anyone, not in reference to me, in my whole life.

They called me an “overachiever“.

Well.  I’m still a bit disoriented by that.  What happened?  Was my potential revealed to be not nearly as incandescently bright as my elementary-school teachers thought it was?  Have I learned to work sufficiently hard now that I can actually reach some of my potential?

I don’t know if the trend will last, obviously.  But I’ll tell you this: having all my life been labeled as a kid with unlimited potential, most of it squandered by my lack of focus and discipline, to have arrived at a point where people start to believe that I have exceeded my potential in certain areas is downright satisfying.

Being young and talented is great.  This is better.

25 Responses to “Something Has Happened. What is It?”

  • I really thought you were going in a different direction with this. That’s not to say I’m disappointed, it’s just interesting.

    I wonder. I wonder if I have met my potential, if it’s even possible to meet my potential. I suppose it must be, that is the definition of potential after all (although you somehow managed to exceed yours although that too is contrary to the definition of potential (or does that word not mean what I think it means? (must be read with a Spanish accent)), but sometimes it just doesn’t really seem possible does it?

    But (and a very bug butt it is) there are other areas where I know that I have already exceeded anything I, or, I think, most people I know would ever have expected. And I think that counts for quite a bit.

  • Tod Hansmann says:

    Food for thought: Martial Arts Grand Masters are said to be in their primes when they’re 60. Maybe the basketball team just isn’t a target worth shooting for at that point, skill or no.

  • Thank you developed for ad the following, It’s speedily what precisely As i seemed to be looking for for the purpose of upon yahoo. I’d quite a whole lot reasonably pick up viewpoints at a individual, a bit when compared with a business internet page, that’s the reason I really like web logs for that reason a good deal. Bless you!

  • 植牙與一般牙齒基本上是相同的,無論在咀嚼上或是外觀上與一般牙齒相似;除此之外,由於植體為太合金,而且周圍為骨骼包覆,沒有牙周韌帶的緩衝 ,咬合的衝撞力將更直接!假牙製作需要更精密的技術!

  • Needed to send you the very little remark to be able to thank you very much over again considering the amazing suggestions you have provided in this article. It’s seriously generous of people like you in giving without restraint exactly what many people would have advertised as an ebook to get some profit for their own end, even more so now that you could have tried it if you considered necessary. These points additionally served to provide a good way to comprehend the rest have the identical passion really like my very own to find out a good deal more with reference to this matter. I believe there are thousands of more pleasant situations ahead for people who see your blog post.

  • kyrie 5 says:

    My wife and i have been really fulfilled Ervin managed to round up his studies from your ideas he came across when using the web site. It’s not at all simplistic to just always be making a gift of hints which other folks could have been making money from. Therefore we figure out we have the writer to thank for that. The main illustrations you made, the simple website menu, the friendships you can give support to create – it’s got most amazing, and it’s assisting our son and the family believe that this subject matter is cool, which is extremely important. Thanks for all the pieces!

  • golden goose says:

    I simply wished to thank you very much all over again. I am not sure the things that I would have achieved without these techniques shown by you regarding such topic. It had been a very scary crisis for me, but viewing this well-written fashion you resolved the issue forced me to jump over gladness. Now i’m happier for your support and even hope that you realize what a great job you’re getting into instructing people via your website. Probably you haven’t come across any of us.

  • birkin bag says:

    I enjoy you because of all your valuable effort on this website. Ellie really loves managing investigation and it is easy to understand why. Many of us know all regarding the compelling method you produce advantageous guidelines via your web blog and as well boost participation from some others on that area while our favorite girl has always been being taught a great deal. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the year. You’re carrying out a terrific job.

  • Thank you a lot for providing individuals with such a special chance to read critical reviews from this web site. It is always very terrific and stuffed with fun for me personally and my office co-workers to search your site not less than three times in 7 days to study the fresh secrets you will have. And of course, we’re actually motivated considering the staggering creative ideas served by you. Some 3 tips in this posting are completely the most beneficial we have all had.

  • kd 13 says:

    I just wanted to write down a note to be able to express gratitude to you for all of the lovely guidelines you are giving out at this website. My rather long internet look up has at the end been paid with incredibly good know-how to exchange with my friends. I ‘d suppose that most of us visitors actually are extremely lucky to exist in a notable community with many wonderful professionals with insightful tips and hints. I feel rather privileged to have seen your web page and look forward to really more brilliant moments reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.

  • yeezy says:

    I as well as my guys were found to be digesting the best thoughts found on the blog then immediately I got an awful feeling I never expressed respect to the blog owner for those secrets. All of the women ended up certainly happy to read through all of them and have surely been making the most of these things. We appreciate you being so kind and then for utilizing these kinds of nice subjects millions of individuals are really eager to be informed on. My very own sincere regret for not saying thanks to you sooner.

  • I would like to express some appreciation to the writer for bailing me out of this difficulty. Just after looking throughout the world-wide-web and finding strategies which are not powerful, I was thinking my life was done. Living minus the strategies to the issues you have solved by means of the post is a crucial case, and those which could have in a negative way damaged my career if I had not noticed the blog. Your main expertise and kindness in handling every aspect was useful. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come across such a step like this. I am able to now look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for this professional and effective help. I will not be reluctant to propose your web blog to anybody who should get tips about this problem.

  • curry shoes says:

    I am only writing to make you be aware of what a amazing encounter my child had viewing yuor web blog. She picked up numerous issues, including how it is like to have an ideal helping mindset to have folks quite simply learn about various complex topics. You undoubtedly exceeded people’s desires. Thanks for showing such precious, safe, explanatory and fun tips on your topic to Jane.

  • I must express appreciation to this writer just for bailing me out of this particular condition. Just after searching throughout the world-wide-web and obtaining ideas which are not helpful, I figured my entire life was well over. Existing minus the answers to the issues you have solved through your entire short article is a serious case, as well as ones which might have in a wrong way damaged my career if I hadn’t discovered your web site. Your personal expertise and kindness in playing with all things was tremendous. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not discovered such a point like this. I’m able to now relish my future. Thanks so much for your skilled and amazing help. I won’t hesitate to suggest the blog to anyone who desires assistance about this situation.

  • I’m just commenting to make you be aware of what a outstanding experience my cousin’s girl enjoyed browsing the blog. She learned some details, with the inclusion of what it’s like to have a great teaching style to make other folks without difficulty know just exactly specific extremely tough things. You truly surpassed our desires. I appreciate you for showing such informative, healthy, explanatory as well as fun tips about this topic to Emily.

  • kobe 11 says:

    I am only commenting to let you be aware of what a amazing encounter our child enjoyed checking yuor web blog. She figured out lots of things, which include how it is like to possess a wonderful teaching style to let many others with no trouble understand a variety of impossible subject areas. You actually did more than my desires. Many thanks for supplying the helpful, safe, explanatory and cool tips about that topic to Evelyn.

  • Thank you for all of the work on this site. My aunt loves making time for investigations and it’s really obvious why. Most people know all about the lively way you convey important items via your website and as well as attract response from website visitors on that subject matter so our daughter is understanding a great deal. Have fun with the remaining portion of the new year. You’re doing a terrific job.

  • yeezy says:

    I simply wanted to appreciate you again. I’m not certain what I would’ve sorted out in the absence of the secrets discussed by you on such a topic. It previously was a real intimidating dilemma in my opinion, however , being able to see this expert strategy you processed that took me to cry with contentment. Extremely thankful for the help as well as hope that you recognize what a great job that you are providing educating some other people all through your web site. I know that you’ve never got to know all of us.

  • moncler says:

    I really wanted to post a quick word to be able to express gratitude to you for some of the precious tactics you are posting on this website. My extended internet lookup has finally been honored with really good information to share with my visitors. I ‘d believe that many of us visitors are undeniably fortunate to dwell in a fine place with so many perfect professionals with very helpful solutions. I feel really fortunate to have come across the weblog and look forward to tons of more pleasurable moments reading here. Thank you again for all the details.

  • kyrie 6 says:

    My wife and i felt so glad Edward could round up his reports through the ideas he had from your web page. It’s not at all simplistic just to possibly be giving freely strategies that many some people have been trying to sell. We acknowledge we have the blog owner to appreciate for this. The specific explanations you made, the straightforward website menu, the friendships you will aid to create – it’s got most terrific, and it’s making our son and our family recognize that the issue is fun, and that is unbelievably essential. Thank you for everything!

  • stone island says:

    Thanks so much for providing individuals with remarkably marvellous possiblity to check tips from this web site. It is always so cool and as well , jam-packed with amusement for me personally and my office colleagues to search your site no less than thrice in 7 days to see the newest stuff you have. And lastly, I’m at all times impressed considering the magnificent tactics you give. Certain 2 points in this posting are unequivocally the most impressive I have had.

  • yeezy boost says:

    My husband and i were joyous Edward managed to finish up his web research through the entire ideas he obtained while using the web pages. It is now and again perplexing just to happen to be making a gift of solutions that many some other people may have been selling. We really consider we need the website owner to appreciate because of that. The main explanations you’ve made, the simple website menu, the relationships you give support to create – it is everything astonishing, and it is making our son and us know that this subject is pleasurable, and that’s very vital. Thanks for all!

  • bape says:

    I am also writing to make you be aware of what a useful encounter my cousin’s daughter undergone studying your blog. She figured out such a lot of details, including what it is like to possess an incredible helping character to have folks effortlessly know just exactly specified problematic matters. You really did more than our expected results. Many thanks for rendering such powerful, dependable, informative and fun tips about the topic to Tanya.

Leave a Reply for penny stocks on the rise