We all have stories that shape our lives and define who we are.  It is our past that has led as to who we are today.  I wanted to do a different post today that hopefully will let you get to know me a little bit better and what has shaped me into who I am.  These are short tales that have happened in my past and help shape the morales and vision I hold today.

The one where I learned cheating doesn't work?

The first tale goes back to my early primary school years.  In Primary 1, or Primary 2, I cannot remember when precisely I learned that cheating gets me nowhere in life.  What I do recall is how I learned my lesson.  I was friends with someone very talented at Maths. I, on the other hand, was not!  So we sat down to do a class test - 10 questions on simple arithmetic.  Pen to paper, I started to have a glance over at the answers from my friend.  A short while later, the test ends, and we swap papers to be marked. I get my results, 0/10 - my friend 10/10.  How could this be? Well clearly, I had peeked over before, and he had written all the wrong answers down, rubbed them out and submitted corrected answers.

The morale: Cheating never wins.

Wheres Wally?

The one where I should have listened to my instinct.

Some while later in primary school for some reason, I decided I would challenge the tough guy in class to a scrap.  Now, don't get me wrong I am a pacifist, and stay away from violence almost always - so why I felt the need to take on someone stronger than me still to this day baffles me.  Could it be the peer pressure of others winding it up, yes I remember all the kids rallying me on for sure.  As school finished and the kids still egging me on, I turned the corner and starting flapping my arms trying to land a punch to the playground chant of "fight, fight, fight".  Of course, fighting solves nothing, and I went home with my tail between my likes holding back the tears.

The morale:  Listen to your instinct and not be led by others.

The one where I learned to get my head down

During my high school years, there was a grading system of foundation, general and credit.  Credit being the more challenging but bringing greater rewards, and foundation - well that's the bottom of the pile.  I was placed in general and credit classes except for one - French.  This was an eyeopener, the class a riot, the teacher had no control, kids were sent outside, rubbers, dictionaries and pencils flew inside, and this was me for 2 years!  I decided to get my head down and work for it, dodging the missiles in the room.  I was awarded for my effort to sit the general exam, which I passed with top marks.

The morale - Shut out the noise, get your head down and achieve results.

The one you learn not to give up

Despite my success in French, this is turned out to be one of my few achievements at school.  I stayed on until the sixth year, as it was always my plan to go into further education.  One problem to get to further education you needed results from your school exams.  This is where the plan failed!  In my fifth year, I took on five higher subjects - Physics, Chemistry, History, Maths and English.  I worked hard, studied hard, took the exams, waited patiently for exam results day.  Opened the envelope - D, D, D, D, D - Not quite what I expected. During my sixth year, despite not taking computing, I did have an interest in it. When the college visited for a recruitment day, I decided to apply for a course in software engineering - despite having no qualifications so far, they gave me an unconditional entry.  Just as well, really because the exam results came in for my sixth year - FAIL.

The morale - Never give up, seek out opportunities because you never know where life will take you.

First Job

The one with the bump on the head.

Life isn't all about schooling and work, and I remember one day where my Dad decided to take me for some windsurfing lessons on a local loch.  A slightly breezy, summers day, we joined the group of excited teenagers ready for our instructor.    Amongst many of the safety instructions, there is one I remember very well now - whenever you fall always remember to push the boom away.  With all the safety instructions complete, we all head out and start practising on the water. As you can imagine, being new, falling off is inevitable.  As I gained more confidence, I began to believe the boom would always fall away anyway - no need to push it away.  At least, that is what I thought until the moment I fell off, and the boom landed on my head ripping my ear.  I mean this shook me up pretty badly - I was rescued, bandaged and sent home where overnight I thought I had gone blind - turns out the bandage had just slipped down during my sleep.

The morale - Listen to everything - if someone is telling you something - it usually is for a reason.

Everything is possible