Culture > Q&A

Most likely to succeed

"Most likely to succeed" Continued...

Issue: "School choice," Aug. 25, 2012

How did you react? I hated it in the beginning, but after a few weeks I began to enjoy it. We were desperately poor, but between the covers of those books I could go anywhere, be anybody, do anything. I began to imagine myself in the laboratory conducting experiments; discovering new galaxies, microcosms, knowing stuff that nobody else knew. Within a year and a half I went from the bottom of my class to the top, much to the consternation of all the students who used to call me dummy. The same ones who called me dummy in the fifth grade would come to me in the seventh grade, "Benny, Benny, Benny! How do you work this problem?"

Did you help them? I'd say, "Sit at my feet, youngster, while I instruct you." I was perhaps a little obnoxious but it sure felt good to say that to those turkeys. I had the same brain but a very, very different outlook. As I began to read about people of accomplishment, it dawned on me that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you in life is-you. It's not the environment. It's not somebody else. You can take control of your own life. I started having a very different philosophy than a lot of the people around me.

How did they react? A lot of them called me nerd, Uncle Tom, all kinds of things. I would shut them up by saying, "Let's see what I'm doing in 20 years and let's see what you're doing in 20 years." They must have believed me because when I graduated from high school they all voted me most likely to succeed-which means they knew what was necessary to succeed, but were too lazy and trifling to do it themselves. That's what negative peer pressure is all about. The more young people we can get to understand that, the more people of accomplishment we will see.

Watch Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Dr. Ben Carson:

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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