Academic Intelligence Isn't the Most Important Thing in The World... x
What would you rather have on your gravestone when you die...
"She was a very bright girl and got A's in all her tests..."
"She was an amazing friend, we shared so many wonderful memories, she'll be in our hearts forever..."
I know which one I'll choose.
You see, I know it's good to try your best at school and do as well as you can but I need you to tell you that it's not the most important thing in life.
Over the years, in my clinic, I've listened thousands of people tell me how totally rubbish they feel about themselves because they're not as intelligent or well educated as they'd like to be, or because they don't do so well in exams.
I've listened to thousands of children tell me how panicked they get at the thought of getting a bad mark because they somehow make it mean they won't be loved or liked so much. It's the same with waiting for school reports or parents evening. The feeling of dread builds inside and they start feeling so sad and stupid and alone.
It was like that for me with maths. I still can't do it. If you show me a page of numbers my brain just kind of shuts down. But somehow I never let it get to me. My mum didn't judge me by exam results and deep inside I knew I was clever in other ways; ways like understanding human emotions and psychological twists, like being really good at listening, really good at loving.
I find it very strange that our culture puts so much importance on academic excellence but so little on emotional intelligence.
I'm endlessly surprised that no one has worked out that this lack of emphasis on emotional intelligence might be a major factor in family and friendship breakdowns, violence, depression, disruption, bullying, destruction and war.
I'm surprised that no one can see how amazing our world would be if schools taught children how to communicate and relate clearly, how to be tender with each other's feelings, how to speak their needs and listen well so that people feel heard.
And what about being kind and funny and loving and the best friend ever?
Where are the certificates for these things?
If I were Prime Minister I'd build these subjects into every school curriculum.
If I were head of Hogwarts I'd throw out the spell book and get everyone learning the book of love.
You might be the most intelligent person in the world but if you don't know how to give and receive love your heart will always feel empty, you'll always feel alone.
So... if you're feeling blue because you didn't do so well in your end of year exams or your school report or parents evening, make yourself a hot chocolate, grab a tasty snack, snuggle up somewhere cosy and take heart.
Some of the greatest people to walk this earth, people like...
Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Hans Christian Anderson, Walt Disney and Albert Einstein were all dyslexic.
Ghandi, who inspired movements for non-violence and freedom right across the globe learned lots but didn't get on particularly well at school.
Other qualities that successful people tend to have in common are the ability to pick themselves up and brush themselves down when things don't work out as they planned, the capacity to embrace failure as a useful feedback mechanism, the ability to communicate their needs clearly and be gentle with their tender heart.
And some last words from the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mother Teresa...
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
"Be faithful in the small things because it is in them that your strength lies."