The other day I heard a great metaphor from a motivational speaker that I admire quite a bit. He related the adversities that one encounters on the road to success as a “tuition” being paid. That’s a pretty enlightening thought. Far too often we interpret the trials and tribulations that test our will and redirect us back to comfort as dream killers. We fail to see the bigger picture. Our dreams are not dead. The goal is not out of reach simply because we hit a wall. Every time that we encounter pain and are faced with setbacks we are receiving an education in life, in perseverance, and in the commitment necessary to achieve true success.
I’m thankful for my education. I was raised by family who had the means necessary to afford me every opportunity to advance my knowledge and skills. I consider that a true blessing. I learned a lot during the four years that I spent earning my degree. But it wasn’t the details of the subject matter that were most critical to my success in college. It was the work ethic, the commitment to excellence, and the time management skills that I learned that were most important. And to this very day, they are the strongest attributes that I carry with me as a professional.
I was an American History major in college. Today, I work in sales. Does that make my degree meaningless? Not at all. Because I could have never had a successful career in sales without the lessons that I learned and life experience that I gained while pursuing my education. Is it necessary for everyone to earn their degree to attain the type of exposure necessary for success? Perhaps not. But for me, it was crucial.
My point here is that it’s not the details that are important, it’s the journey and the lessons learned along the way. Some might think that it’s crazy for a family to extend a bundle of financial resources towards an education that doesn’t translate into a specific career opportunity. I would argue strongly against that. For me, college was the first place where I was first truly held accountable as a young adult. I was forced to grow up and learn exactly what type of commitment it would take for me to be successful. I pulled all-nighters, got up for a bunch of early classes and tirelessly took notes during every lecture when I could have very easily stayed in bed. I learned to read and write effectively, to manage stress, and to expand my horizons and educate myself on subjects outside of my comfort zone. You cannot put a price on that type of experience. It’s invaluable.
So why as an adult is it so very hard for us to keep in perspective the meaning of the journey to success? Maybe it’s the demands on our time, the work stressors and financial burdens that leave us vulnerable to those walls that encourage surrender and retreat. We need to keep in mind that the pathway to excellence remains the same as it was when we were first exposed to independent life. And that if we stay the course and put in the work, battling through late nights and early mornings preparing and striving for success, that we are going to ace life’s final exams. We are paying life’s tuition. Setbacks are not meant to deter our progress, they are meant to encourage us to grow stronger. You better believe that there will always be more adversity waiting beyond each advance made towards your goals. Embrace it; you’re getting an education that’s everlasting – PAID IN FULL by your commitment to being the best “you” that you can be.
May God Bless!