Get to Work on Your Goals

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Nurture versus nature.

It is a long-standing debate about what makes a child do better or be like their parents. Four children from two different families with very similar outcomes. Two children are poor. Two children are of privilege. One from each becomes successful. One from each struggle as delinquents. The question here is why do these children experience the outcomes they do. There are many theories but no laws on this topic. It is believed a child who grows up in a good home will be a model citizen. While a child born into a troubled home has no option but to become a delinquent. Well, we all know this is not how it happens. Name a person you know from each doing opposite of how they are expected to do in life (if you can).

I can name some serial killers who were born of privilege, who turned terrible. I can name some poor children, who fought against their odds to become successful. We all probably can.

Your life is not about where you come from. It is not who your parents are. It is not how much money you have or the lack of money you have. It is about goals, and your ability to stop at nothing to reach those goals.

I can share with you a piece of my history to show you it is only you who stands in your own way. I started college at 17 (a year earlier than anyone I knew) – don’t worry I wasn’t that much of a genius (wink). My birthday fell before the states started requiring the cutoffs for the birthdays. I started school early and was allowed to continue forward until I graduated and entered college earlier than my schoolmates. I tossed and turned majors. I could see myself doing EVERY career. I wanted to be a doctor, a surgeon, an economist, a pharmacist, a teacher, a professor, a lawyer, a dentist, a chiropractor, you name it and I wanted to be it. I liked the idea of having a successful title. So, I went to school with big dreams and wild ideas on how to get those titles. One class passed. Next class aced. A third struggled. I never learned how to study. If a class was hard, I found another career to get me over the hurdle.

After a while, I had a lot of credits and no degree. Meanwhile, I was struggling with life. I had pressures of getting my life going. I also suffered from PTSD (unknowingly). I felt like I was losing control of my life. So, I stopped college. I figured it was not for me and I would find another way to do this thing called life. But, life is hard. It is unforgiving. It progresses while you get stuck on repeat. And, that is how my life was for many years.

I found treatment for my PTSD. My world calmed down a bit. I began to see life as easier. Then, I had a spark of desire to get back into school. I looked up my transcripts and worked with a guidance counselor to see how many credits I needed to finish my degree. Imagine my shock when she came back to tell me I only needed ONE CLASS. All this time, I have been avoiding, struggling, and being stubborn about finishing a degree, when I only had ONE CLASS to go. That is what is magical about life. You think you have faced your demons and you struggle to survive the encounter. Then, you stand up and find out you CAN do this. I can say I officially have a college degree that took me twelve years to finish – solely because I gave up. I stopped trying. But, I came back around to pick up where I left off and I finished it. I got my degree. Nothing changed in my life because I got my degree other than my determination.

You can try to short change my accomplishment by believing me more privileged or luckier than you. I did not earn my degree because I was lucky. I earned my degree through straight struggle. I struggled to study, never learned how until college. I did not have freedom, as I have always had a full-time job. I did not get the state funded scholarships many students got because I moved states during the middle of my high school years – I was disqualified. I did not get a scholarship on my own accord. I was not eligible for the Pell Grants – both my parents made too much money for college; but, not enough to help me. I had to pay out of pocket and with taking out loans. Then, I had to watch my little brother, Michael, who was ten years younger than me, during the times I needed to “study”. I did what I could with what I had. And, it paid off.

There are many reasons I could have continued to stay out of school. It is the same when people ask me about children. I do what I want and what is best for my life. I do not have to live my life based upon your beliefs. I can make my own path and struggle with some of the failures. But, in the end, I learned and grew into the person I wanted to become – not the person you expect me to be. I own my mistakes and my accomplishments. And, I hope you find your own way to reach for that dream you have been keeping in the back of your mind. You never know until you try just how close you may be in accomplishing it. For me, it was one single class, but it took me many years to come back to see what was holding me back. For you, it may just be one decision. Do not let another day pass you by without at least exploring something towards a goal of yours. It is the very least you can gift yourself.

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