Advanced Placement Classes = Smart?

When I was younger, I was terrible in school…

My parents enrolled me in Chinese school, and I would be the only one who came home with below average scores on all the written and oral exams. Yep, not a single A…

Except one.

The only thing I was good at was the extracurricular activity…you earned an A for attending. (Woohoo!)

In high school, I took an Advanced Placement English course. I was the only one who did not pass and scored a 1 out of 5 on the test.

You earn 1 out of 5 points for putting your name on the test. (Whew, that was a close one, huh?)

There was one thing that motivated me though – my smart friends.

Of course, being Asian, I naturally clicked with other Asians…and shit, they study like maniacs.

If my Asian friends could do it, then I could too. That was my shameless approach on motivating myself.

Now, you’ll remember that yesterday I showed you the Wall Street Journal ad that changed my life – go here to read about it.

There’s a good reason why this ad I love this ad…

My whole life, I knew I needed more knowledge – I had to know more than my Asian friends.

I thought about how I’d see my friends get an A, so I had to get an A too. If they applied for a prestigious university, I had to do whatever it took to get in the same schools.

I wanted to 1-up my friends because that’s what made the difference to me…

Anyway, I digress.

Take a look at this line: “The difference lies in what each person knows and how he or she makes use of that knowledge.”

The moment I read that line, everything clicked. (Ah, but of course!)

Mind = blown.

What I never realized was how I could use this knowledge better than my friends.

To me, this was the reason why I never got what I wanted, no matter how much fire I had. I was stuck as “the manager”, while everyone around me were becoming “the presidents”.

Martin Conroy (the writer of the ad) knew this. He knew that people who read magazines, like Wall Street Journal, were after information…knowledge.

There is plenty of information out there. But he knew there’s something that holds us back from doing better than everyone else.

To find it, it takes a lot of digging – knowing who you’re writing to, loving the product you’re writing about, etc.

Of course, this is easier said than done, but when you can identify that in your audience…

The words you write will speak to them and make them read each word.

Anyway, this is just one big takeaway I got from this letter. I’ve got a lot more in my breakdown below.

You can read and download it here.

Talk soon.