It is not the Success or Failures that Make the Man

20 May 2014

If like me you come from a black family. You would know about being bombarded with questions about why you are not achieving as much as your peers, when you are finishing at school, what you are doing with your life, etc. These are only some of the questions one has to answer when around family and when at family gatherings.

There are so many factors at play that affect how much and how fast you achieve. Often at times going fast means having to forgo going far. High school is a journey travelled with family and under supervision. Varsity is different you are on your own. There is no one to supervise you, often at times you have to do your own house keeping (I use this term loosely), and at the same time, you need to make time for a social life and for studying. The workload increases tremendously.

The challenges one faces when transitioning from high school to varsity, is not the focus at this moment. The focus at this moment is the subtlety with which discouragement attacks us. One of the biggest discouragements is: when are u finishing? Conviction is a luxury of those on the outside. This is a line from one of the best movies ever made "Beautiful Mind". It is also the answer I want to give to those nosy people who keep asking when you are finishing and those who stand in judgement of me. It is also a line that I use whenever I find myself standing in judgement of others or when I am comparing myself to others. Looking in from the outside things does seem to be easy for others. We don't think to stop and look behind the scenes. For us to stop the subtle discouragements we need to change the criteria we use to judge ourselves and others.

The criteria we could use should be two fold. Firstly is that we should stop looking at people through a lens of success and failure. Instead use a lens of triumphs and struggles. Looking at the triumphs and struggles of others we are not only learning to judge objectively, but we also learn to acknowledge the uniqueness each individual and the struggles they have to over come. This teaches us to celebrate their triumphs with them. Secondly is the support environment. We all know that we are a collection of our past experiences. Our support environment determines the level of success we achieve. After reading "Talent is Overrated" by Geoff Colvin, I realised the importance of having the right support environment. Napoleon hill mentions in his book "Think and Grow Rich" that you should be careful in how you choose a spouse. Two different authors with a different message saying the same thing the right support environment is key when it comes to building success.

When we peek behind the scenes, we come to realise that most of us are not only carrying our dreams but the dreams of others as well. It is not the success or failures that make the man but his triumphs and struggles. You don't grow on graduation day but through the sleepless nights you spent studying.

Rakgadi Khobo

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