Arthur Carmazzi – The Power of Environment

Arthur Carmazzi – The Power of Environment

Confessions of a Stupid Kid
By Arthur F Carmazzi

When I was a child, the teachers in my elementary school were very frustrated with me, I was slow, I could not spell (I still cannot), I did not get the information in the way the other kids did, and I had difficulties paying attention in class. No one know at that time that I had ADHD and dyslexia.

One day, the teachers called my parents and told them that I was “Special” – teacher talk for “stupid”, and, that I would be better if I went to a “Special” children’s class (stupid kids class). And so I went. After being in that class for a short while, I found that the teacher, Mrs. Kelly, was SO Sweet! She was SO nice, and I got so much special attention. She made me feel like it was ok to be “Stupid”. Everyone seemed to think I was stupid… I eventually started to see how they were right, I eventually believed it! And I also got a lot of attention being stupid, and I like attention, so I found myself acting even more stupid without even realizing it.

But then, the school Changed The Rules!

They said I needed to take an algebra class. “Algebra! That was smart kid math! There was NO WAY I could do that!” But they said that I needed to take the class before I could go to high school. And so, I sunk my head, accepted my doom, and off I went.
The first 6 weeks represented the first report card period. I was NOT surprised to have received an “F” Fail grade, after all, I was stupid. I took the report card to my parents, and they were supportive, after all, they know I was “special” too.

But the next day of school, the teacher, Mr. Backus asked to speak to me after school. I naturally expected the worst. Was he going to kick me out of his class too?

To this day I still remember what he looks like, the shiny bald head with long hair on the sides, the thick horn-rimmed glasses he wore. The brown cottroy jacket he used to always wear. I remember the sound of his voice and his teaching… and, I even remember much of my algebra.
We just talked for a short while that day after school, and then he said, “On Fridays, I am going to start a game that can give you extra credit, would you like to get extra credit?” I of course said yes, I figured it was the only way I was going to pass that class.

Then, Friday came! The game was a competition, he would put a simple algebra problem on the black board (yes “Black Board”) and invite 2 students up to the front of the class. The first student to get the right answer WITHOUT writing anything down, would be the winner and get the extra credit points. The winner would then be challenge by a new student for a total of 10 student each week.

I hadn’t realized it, but if I did NOT try to “show my work”, as had always been emphasized, I could actually solve the problem quickly in my head. And it turned out that I was actually good at this game. So good in fact, that I usually won. And in less than a month, the other kids in the class started to ask for my help with their homework! BUT I WAS A STUPID KID! How could this be, I couldn’t help them! How was it that these kids thought I could help. But then, the most beautiful girl in the 8th grade, Lynn Pochalski, batted her eyes, looked at me with such sweetness, and asked if I could help… so, I learned to be smart.

And an interesting thing happened, the more “smart” I felt, the more I started to figure things out, and then I noticed that I got a lot more attention being smart, than I did being stupid, did I mention I like attention? So, I learned to be smarter.

By the end of that class, I graduated with an A+ and a new attitude, a new perception of myself. The environment is a powerful thing, what people say, how they treat you, it can determine your destiny. Thanks to one teacher, Mr Backus, my destiny took a different path… Otherwise I might be serving hamburgers at a fast-food chain instead of traveling the world, making a difference in the lives of everyday people, people like me.

So… How do you want to be remembered? How are you affecting Your Organizational Culture? How are you shaping the destinies of the people around you? How is your environment affecting you ability to be the person you want to become?

Also see: Arthur Carmazzi – The Truth about Dante

34 thoughts on “Arthur Carmazzi – The Power of Environment

  1. As I recall Arthur Lynn Pochalski had that affect on a lot of the guys. I have not seen or talked to Lynn in many years. I still think of her often.
    Interesting memories from the past you have rekindled.

  2. Dear aurther,
    Congratulations for your new baby.I will like to share my experience with you.Last week while i was travelling from Mumbai to kolkata i got a severe heart attack in the flight.There was a doctor in the flight who sat next to me and did all kind of treatment including the medicine and after 2.5 hours ,when I arrived at kolkataI was relieved.But after going through the cardiac surgon he did angiogram and angiplast in 95% blockade in artery and i am a new born baby with grater courage.I am going on tour to Nepal again on next week to take charges as usual.You had ADHD,andI was a student interested in anything and everything apart from studies.I could not become Aurther Carmazzi,but asa persdna,Umashankar is lovable,dependable,and when he is on a stage,adreesing people they are mesmerised.I do not earn much money,but with this little sucess i am happy,contended.

  3. Please accept my Hearty compliments!!!!!!!!

    Some times I wonder why CEOs dont like to study HR or OD. The erratic comments they pass, may not be intentional, but it does damage the relationships. Then blame HR for not able to retain employees.

    Agreed, HR should be the coach to the organisation. But CEO should have the patience to hear out what HR people say.

    CEOs look more at business but not at people. The realization that people bring business is practically nil, in my experience. I strongly believe that every CEO should first be a HR person then as a CEO he/she can work wonders.

  4. Congratulations on your new baby, Arthur! Back during school days, unfortunately many teachers didn’t have the ’smarts’ nor the caring attitude that teaches students to be ‘good’, i.e. of character. Many parents didn’t have the skills to bring up ‘good’ children either, with almost every adult demanding their kids get high marks. Or else. No wonder so many kids grew up into dysfunctional adults as they join organisations. Many managers are just overgrown 70kg ‘kids’.

    Glad to hear you aced them in Algebra! Best form to get back at anybody is massive success!

    Keep on the good stuff, and all the best!

    Ricky Lien
    Mindset Media

  5. Congratulations, Arthur ! Your article reminds me of 3 things:
    1) Every one is borne with a talent, so do not give up too easily.
    2) if a method used is not working and did not produce the dersired result, then change it
    3) it is the potentail that counts, and a good teacher, mentor, etc will help bring that out sooner than later..

    While your article is not too long, it has far reaching implication, and is up to your readers to interpreate and benefit form it 🙂

  6. Congratulations Arthur;
    May you all be twice as blessed.

    I remember when I first heard this story from you I was amused as well as impressed with the way you presented it and what lessons the story represented.
    Your’e still the “Guru”.

    More power to you.


  7. Dear Aurther, Congratulations!!! one very basic common things for the partents thay their children will get high marks and in our country the teachers are also pouring things into the head of the children (no matter how much they are containing or the studunts do not know why they should learn). One importent things is if the teachers can motivate students to learn then other expectations will be met.

  8. since this is my 1st visit to your website, i simply wished to say greetings! wonderful website incidentally.

  9. i’ve been looking for this information on other websites, but your articles are awesome and better than the others you have good knowledge of this topic Arthur Carmazzi your work is realy like to appreciate well done.

  10. you have done a marvelous job by providing this insight into “special” children. Arthur Carmazzi is a role model to help a lot the people who are dealing with similar issues. thanks for sharing.

  11. nice post, i like so much, it’s the best information for me… arthur carmazzi really a nice person .

  12. Sometimes you have to be more open in most instances in life. There will be moments when you think that you are inferior mostly because you make yourself see only that. But if you become more open and look around you, you will realize that you are not inferior as you think you are. As Arthur Carmazzi pointed out in the article – You might not know how powerful your environment can be.

  13. How can we groom our child so that he is as successful as Arthur Carmazzi. The story is inspiring and we would love to get the required knowledge to help our child be great too

  14. every time i want to learn something about organizational change or leadership, i will look hear, but this story also shows the human side of arthur carmazzi and what is possible.

  15. Good message for teacher’s in this article Every one is borne with a talent, i totally agree with you Arthur Carmazzi thanks for this information wish you all the best.

  16. thanks for the great tips…Arthur Carmazzi i think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success Organizational Culture.

  17. I am mother of two children’s your article is what i have been looking for a long time. it contains lots of useful information i need. thanks so much Arthur Carmazzi and i hope you will keep posting these good information if future best of luck.

  18. i totally agree with you Arthur the environment is a powerful thing thanks for sharing of your life experience with us it’s really helpful for Parents and teachers also.

  19. congratulations Arthur, your work is awesome, i really appreciate your story you give me a good lesson coming here again for more information from you thanks to share with us god bless you.

  20. this is a really good story for me. must agree that are really helpful for parents. thanks for posting this useful information Arthur.

  21. everything is very open and very clear explanation of issues. it contains truly information. your website is very useful. thanks for sharing. looking forward to more!

  22. Hello Mr Arthur Carmazzi, I have the same problem now in high school, i totally get you and wish others would get me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Access The Leadership Performance Collection