I’m a high school girl who feels being earnest is stupid

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a third-year high school girl. I feel it’s stupid to be earnest.

My grade for gym class was strangely low for my second trimester. I was among the worst five students in my year. It’s true I’m not good at gym. I also admit I was below the average in physical performance exams in my gym class. But I attended all my classes — I didn’t sit out any of them.

Some students in my year often skip or sit out gym classes, while being careful not to repeat a year. I thought it was unreasonable to score me and these students equally, so I asked my gym teacher about it. My teacher didn’t listen to me and just said, “You were poor in physical performance, so your score was low.”

Although I’m not good at gym, I managed to attend all the classes without sitting out any of them, even when I was not in good shape. I’m proud of this. At the same time, due to this incident, I now feel that being earnest is not rewarding. Am I wrong to make efforts in doing what I’m not good at?

G, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Ms. G:

You earnestly attended all your gym classes, while some students tried not to lose gym credits while tactically skipping some classes. However, you and these students were scored the same. It sounds like a proverb that honesty does not pay. I understand how discouraged you were.

It’s time for you to consult your homeroom teacher and ask for the teacher’s opinion as an outsider’s objective view. The result may be the same, but the key is whether you can be convinced of it. You should clear your mind before you graduate.

However, separate this incident from whether you should make efforts in doing what you are not good at. Some people are good at a particular type of physical exercise, and others are not. Think about the distinction between sprinters and long-distance runners. This can also be said for other fields.

In the medical field, some doctors are not good at performing operations but are excellent with research. One famous example is Shinya Yamanaka, who won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Look at the showbiz world — we all know that Masahiro Nakai, a member of the now disbanded group SMAP, is excellent at dancing and emceeing, but he admits he’s tone-deaf.

You shouldn’t limit your possibilities for the future by labeling yourself as not good at something. In high school I was a slow runner who ran 50 meters in 10 seconds. I started to ride a racing bike in my 40s and could travel halfway around Sado Island.

You have the talent to make an effort, so you can bloom as a unique flower in the world.

Hazuki Saisho, writer

(from Jan. 12, 2017, issue)Speech

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