We all aim for success in our lives. The audience of this blog most likely measures success by academic and professional endeavors — ambitious types.
Setting high expectations is a double-edged sword. While setting the bar high for yourself will help you accomplish some pretty amazing things, it might also set you up for failure if you can’t quite meet your goals. After a bad experience — even after a good one — it is nice to have a reminder of what you’re working toward.
When I was in school, I needed reminders for two things.
~to enjoy life~
When you’re running two newspapers on top of a full class load and a dozen other variables, the joy in your life tends to get sucked away now and again.
I remembered a speech from someone I admired, and I decided to keep part of that speech as a reminder to live my life to the fullest every day. Jimmy Valvano, former men’s basketball coach at North Carolina State, delivered a heart-moving speech in 1993. He was dying of cancer, but he took on the goal to touch as many people as he could before he passed. Valvano was the first recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the first ESPY Awards (ESPN).
I printed out an excerpt of that speech to serve as a constant reminder to keep everything in perspective and to hold happiness as my utmost goal. Below is the excerpt I laminated for my wallet, as well as the YouTube video of the speech.
To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special. –Jimmy Valvano
~how to be successful~
On the other side of the laminated card, I kept a second quote. This quote embodied the ambitious side of me. Whenever the odds were stacked against me, this is the card I’d pull out and keep beside my computer for some extra motivation. I don’t have much of a back story on this one — I just really liked the quote.
Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be. —George Sheehan
If you read the quote slowly three or four times, it becomes a powerful reminder that you’re the only person who should determine if you’re successful. You’re the one setting the goals, and only you know if you truly gave a 100 percent effort at the end of the day.
See if you can make this ritual work for you. Identify a few things you know you need to work on, and carry your motivation with you. It could be inspiring quotes, the logo of a company you want to work for, a business card of a managing partner you met. Make it work for you.