Michelle: Keno comes from a family of three valedictorians. He’s always just honorably mentioned and feels insecure and inadequate. How can he overcome these feelings and think himself worthy? Well, first, Keno should stop comparing himself with his other family members. There is always somebody who is better or lesser than you.
DJ: At this age and time when benchmarking and data comparison are key, it is not surprising for Keno to think and feel that way. Even parents usually use this approach to control behavior of children. And with the media presenting how people should look and be like, kids these days feel a lot more pressure to be someone they probably are not.
M: While excelling in academics is admirable, there is more to life than doing well in school. There is no doubt that a good education is important and being on top of the class opens more opportunities for growth and financial success. However, it will be good to remember that there are other aspects of our lives that need our focus and attention. Conventional wisdom has it that there’s a direct connection between our IQ and our ability to succeed in life. But there have been many studies that show IQ only accounts for about 20 percent of success. The major determinants of success are social and emotional intelligence. In the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goeman, he wrote that people with well-developed emotional skills are more likely to be content and effective in their lives, mastering the habits of the mind that foster their own productivity. However, for people who cannot marshal some control over their emotional life, they unfortunately fight battles that sabotage their ability for focused work and clear thought.
DJ: Keno can use this experience to prepare him better in the real world. What’s more important is who he thinks he is, what he believes he is good at and to trust that he’s got everything he needs to be successful in his own right. After all, no amount of external recognition can compensate for the lack of self-appreciation. We really can’t control what others are doing or are not doing. It’s better to focus our energy instead in harnessing what and who we’re blessed with and make the life we’re given the best that it can be.
M: Keno should also remember that being an honorable mention is an honor in itself and he should be proud of his accomplishments. While he may want to work hard on getting higher grades, it’s important to learn to fully develop one’s emotional skills. IQ can get you good grades but not necessarily a good relationship. EQ makes us understand our feelings and allows us to properly express them.
DJ: Keno, our friend, your uniqueness is what makes you special. Think about the many people who love you and are grateful to have you around. They are there not because of the honors you received. They value you for being you. It’s awesome that you have that drive to excel. But do your best to balance it by being not too concerned about outcomes or achievements. You’re still young and you have all the chance to have a great life ahead. For now, give yourself more permission to enjoy the present.