My 9th grade science teacher didn’t like me.
The feeling was mutual.
So we had a project come up in class that I was actually excited about. We had to come up with an invention.
We first had to get the invention approved then create a physical mockup of that invention. Finally, we would do a short presentation on it.
So on the day of getting his approval, each student went up to this desk, one by one, to get his approval for their idea.
When it was my turn, I walked up with my head held high, confident that my idea was a good one: a Braille keyboard.
Mind you, this was before the Internet.
So I walk up to his desk, lean in and tell him my idea: “A Braille keyboard for the blind.”
He takes a second, then says something to the effect of, “well how will they find the keys? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?"
Deflated, I shrugged, and muttered, "I guess you're right."
I kid you not.
This was 15+ years ago, but I still remember what the class looked like, down to where his desk was in the room. I also have some recollection of his smug face.
I also remember how my physical demeanor changed as I walked back to my desk—shoulders slumped, looking at the ground.
I haven’t spent enough time to think about how this may have affected me through the years, but I know it has.
In fact, the thought has popped into my head on a regular basis for the past 15 years.
As I said before, this was before the Internet, and I don’t think AOL was a thing yet. Google definitely wasn’t a thing, so I didn’t think of going online to google, “Braille keyboard.”
Well, now I can. Here ya go: a link to thousands of pictures of Braille keyboards.
I failed that project. After my idea was shot down, I had no motivation left to think of something else.
So I took the "F."
As you've figured out by now, my idea was already invented!
We all need to be aware of the profound impact that negative feedback can have on a young human (or any human).
In fact, who you are right now, for better and worse, is a result of your upbringing, and most notably, to the adults, role models, and peers you grew up with.
Some research even suggests that the first 7 years of development are the most crucial.
If you're an adult, my advice is this: Dig deep into your past so you can identify unresolved issues. Then get to work.
If you're young, make sure you take all feedback around you with a grain of salt. In most cases, don't believe what you hear and see.
Instead, make sure you get as much feedback as possible and never rest your beliefs on a single circumstance of an individual.