Quick Note to Those Who Struggled with English in School

Below is an email I sent to all Benefitfocus associates

Just a quick note to encourage all of those folks who struggled with English in school. Somehow I got the notion that I wasn’t any good at English early on. That notion stayed with me through college. I dropped 101 several times and ended up taking both required English classes in my senior year to graduate.

Thankfully one of my professors was able to get some basic concepts through to me, and made the subject seem like something I could actually learn. After years of teachers who seemed to add to my frustration and doubt, one professor just sat me down and told me I could do it. It is funny how sometimes we need to lean on another's faith to get ourselves up and going.

The only book I read cover to cover through all of school, including college, was To Kill a Mockingbird in 12th grade. I read it in the back of my grandparents' car on a trip to the Keys. It seemed like a very hard thing to complete at the time. I did not read another book fully until I was 24 or 25.

Once I did start reading I really made up for lost time. I found that reading stimulated my mind and brought forth all sorts of new and creative ideas. My problem-solving ability shot up and my awareness of events past and present became a differentiator in my career growth.

I send this simple note to anyone who has had a similar relationship with English or language. Even if you did not excel at the subject in school and even if you have not read much of anything for a number of years, you can begin now simply by purchasing a book. Even before my income began to increase I was buying books because they are an investment in knowledge. One good idea for my family, my career, for the business or for a friend can be worth a thousand dollars. Some of the ideas that have come from my reading have turned into much more. I buy both the print and digital versions. For me I just like having access to stuff to read- all the time, in all formats. I figure my brain can take in the material and turn it into gold somehow.

Be encouraged my friend. Grab a couple books down at Barnes & Noble or online. Keep them lying around. Read all or part of them. Who cares if you finish or not? Make books your friend. Make them part of your family. Whoever gave you the impression that you could not read or write, well, just flick them in the head and tell them to stay away with their negativity. Get a book and open up your mind to the world. I assure you, your mind will accomplish amazing things when you feed it.