FROM MY THIRD GRADE year through junior high, our family moved frequently. Being the new kid can be tough enough, but I was somewhat small for my age and had begun to wear glasses, and that made me an easy target for playground bullies and their hangers-on. I tried to deal with conflict by learning how to fight, but soon discovered I was much better at talking my way out of a mess than fighting my way out. In fact, one bully became one of my closest friends. Of course, by then I had "hit my growth"; perhaps that helped, too.
That early training in persuasive speaking served me well in life. As a hunting guide, I convinced men more than twice my age that I was indeed skilled and dependable enough for them to entrust with their lives for a week in the wilderness. During a four-year stint in the U.S. Air Force, I supervised skilled people, many of them older than me, when most others my age were still attending frat parties.
Based on my prior experience and giftedness, when I finally got around ...1