Being 6' 7: How My World Looks From High Up Here

His head always gets cut off in group photographs... his hugs are always awkward... his body needs more food.


Published: Thu 4 Jan 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 25 Jan 2023, 10:51 AM

Plus, Matt Rody has to always answer "lame" questions about his height. Hear it from him about what it means to be a 'tall boy'!

People always ask me how I feel about being excessively tall. You would too, if you met me for the first time. It's what people do when they're introduced to someone who's 6 ft 7 inches, and has an unfair advantage of elevation to make them momentarily uncomfortable in their own skin. The vacuous questions that invariably follow attest to this fact:

How's the air up there? Do you have to duck all the time? Do you play basketball? How did you get so tall?

Well, the air is the same, I don't have to duck because an average door in new-construction homes is 6 ft 8 inches, I suck at basketball and my parents didn't give me multiple options on height when they were having fun conceiving me.

I am always dignifying these lame questions with suitably good-natured answers, but when you reach your fullest height at the age of 16, while friends are still struggling to grow in fits and starts, the monotonous, social exchanges of this nature do begin to get boring.

And why is it that I do not get to ask anybody why they are so short? Pointing out someone is miserably short is socially unacceptable, but it is perfectly okay to subject the 0.1 per cent of extra-tall men to constant pokes, jabs and reminders that they are not normal?

Truth be told, being 6 ft 7 inches tall never feels normal. The balance is always skewed for or against you.

For example, leadership skills. People instinctively look for leadership in the tallest person in the room. They expect us to perform like heroes during natural disasters. They suspect we pack secret Herculean strength in our muscles and can bend iron.

They think we are rich because we are tall. In fact, studies in the United States and Britain have measured extra earnings for tall people per inch. "The truth is, tall people do make more money. They make $789 more per inch, per year," says Arianne Cohen, author of The Tall Book (Bloomsbury USA, June, 2009).

People think we are smarter and more intelligent. They think we are rude too, because we don't remember everybody's names. It's a bizarre thing, but when you are disturbingly tall, people tend to remember who you are even if they have met you only in passing. Alas, you usually don't, and that unintentional snub rubs them the wrong way.

When you're extra-tall, you have to live up to a lot of mythical expectations like this when, in reality, you're as vulnerable, susceptible and weak as anybody else. I don't suck at basketball because I haven't tried. I suck at basketball because in spite of my NBA-qualifying height, I don't have the talent for it. My coordination is poor and I am clumsy and accident-prone.

I should have enjoyed jock status in high school, because I was so much taller than my friends, but girls just weren't that into me. I didn't have legions of girlfriends, and even when I met my wife Stacy on a blind date, the only thing she remembered afterwards was the ugly, tent-like clothes I was trying to conceal my Neanderthal stats in.

Nobody gave me a free pass at work because I was 6 ft 7. I had to work 100 hours a week, and save every precious dollar before I could get out of my family business and strike out on my own.

I think the hardest years are the early years for people who are excessively tall. Awkward habits develop then, when all you want to do is fit in, and I truly believe that my completely secure upbringing with strong parents by my side helped me over that crucial hump.

Being entrepreneurial-spirited from a very young age, and working in my family's underground construction firm from my early teens, gave me the confidence to use height to my advantage in non-self-deprecating ways.

I walk faster and take up more room. My body needs to eat more. My hugs are awkward and my head gets cut off in group photographs. I can never go unnoticed in a crowd, my airline seats are always uncomfortable, my hotel beds are usually short, a bathtub is a luxury, a showerhead is a skull-fracturing weapon.

But in the mornings, when I'm in conversation with God, He seems to hear me loud and clear because I am that much closer to His ears.

(Matt Rody is the founder of Seattle-based marketing agency Mastodon Media, a business consultant, and proponent of 'business discipleship'. He trains entrepreneurs and creative people to take decisive actions. To read more articles by Matt, visit

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