Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to Prove Others Wrong | Jonathan Mooney | Goalcast

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- And I struggled in school.

I was the kid who spent most of the day chilling out

with the janitor in the hallway, right.

I was the kid in middle school who had such a hard time

keeping his mouth shut that I grew up on a first name basis

with Shirley, the receptionist, in the principal's office.

And I was the kid in high school who had such a hard time

learning to read that I spent most of my high school days

hiding in the bathroom to escape reading out loud

with tears streaming down my face.

I was diagnosed with dyslexia, or a language based

learning disability, in fourth grade.

I was diagnosed with ADD, or Attention Deficit

Hyperactivity Disorder, in fifth grade,

and I dropped out of school for a year in sixth grade.

I was a kid who believed that because I was different,

I was deficient, that I was the stupid, crazy,

and lazy kid, and you can imagine by the time I re-enrolled

in high school, there were a lot of low expectations

that surrounded me.

I was told by my dad that I would probably

be a high school drop-out.

And I was told a teacher, unfortunately,

that I would most likely end up in jail or incarcerated.

But you know what?

I beat those odds, and transcended those low expectations.

(audience clapping)

I want to spend my time with you talking about what are the

things, investments, commitments, that help young folks

like me beat those low expectations and prove 'em wrong.

Ya know, and in my life, it was really three things.

I'm here today because of multiple teachers,

but I wanna tell you about one of 'em,

a guy named Father Young.

Met Father Young at a tipping point in my life

where I coulda went left, but I went right.

You know, first college before Brown,

Loyola Marymount University,

went there on soccer scholarship, thought I was a dumb jock,

couldn't be anything but that,

and on the first day on campus, the soccer coach

made us go around to the different departments

and listen to the presentations.

And I went around and I didn't listen to anything

until I got the English department and the Chair

of the department, Father Young, was up there

talking about literature and learning

like his head was on fire, and I was moved.

So I went up to him afterwards, I said,

Father Young, you moved me, I think I might

want to be an English major here at LMU,

but I don't know if I can do it, I don't read well,

I don't write well, I don't spell well.

And the guy looked right at me and said, I believe in you.

Some of the most gifted thinkers in the world,

WBH, John Irving, they were thinkers like you,

you can do this.

So I was changed.

That moment, I walked across campus to the other side

to the Dean of Academic Enrollment.

I walked into that guy's office and I said,

I'm gonna study me some English literature

here at LMU, right.

(audience laughs)

It is game time, let's do this you know.

And that guy, he pulled out my file, right.

The individualized education plan, the IEP, right.

NSA, KGB, got nothing on the IEP, okay.

(audience laughs)

They've been doing deep intel on me my whole life,

it ain't good news in that file.

(audience laughs)

It's this thick, he flips through it, he laughs,

and he says, English literature, I won't approve that major,

you should consider something less intellectual.

So I was deflated like a balloon,

back to the kid in the hallway, walk back across campus

to Father Young and said, not gonna be an English major.

And he said, why?

I said, that guy thinks it's too hard

because of my disabilities.

Father Young was real quiet, then he looked at me,

and he said in a way that only an old school Jesuit can,

he said, well son, I guess you're just gonna

have to prove that bastard wrong.

(audience cheers and claps)

And the next day I enrolled in four

English literature classes and that guy who told me

I should consider something less intellectual,

let's just say that he has an autograph copy

of both of my books on his desk right now, right.

(audience cheers and claps)

I was a kid who believed that because I was different

I was deficient, that I was the stupid, crazy,

and lazy kid, but I've come to believe to my core

that these things we that we have labeled to be deficiencies

or disorders aren't that, they are differences

in the truest sense of the word.

And the thing that really disables individuals

is the way that those differences are treated by others.

A foundation of my journey of change

was a deep commitment to not just fixing kid's problems,

but finding and celebrating and scaling their strengths.

And if you listen to any journey of change by somebody

like me who grew up in the hallway,

it's all about finding that thing that they're good at.

I want to spend my time celebrating the potential

of those kids who learn and live differently.

Every single human being has a strength, talent,

or interest that you can find and you can build a life on.

Find your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.

(dramatic music)

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