Looking back, I realise that my shyness paralysed me. It prevented me from achieving lofty heights. Instead of encouraging me and edging me out of my shell, teachers back then simply ignored me. Looking back, I wonder how my parents allowed me to make such a mess of my final years of education, but in truth: perhaps we had both given up by then. I remember my intense self-hatred in those awkward days, as I muddled through with zero self-esteem. I never learnt those preeminent skills: to have self-confidence or self-belief. For my own adventures, I know I am a lost cause. But at least this realisation will help me support the next generation. I hope we can encourage our children to achieve starry heights of their own, despite inner reserve. I hope they will develop the self-belief I never did, and live a happy and contented life.