Success in anything takes focus, education, training and dedication. Although some will say that it is mysterious how another rises to the top in a given field, if you asked that person how they made it to where they are, I strongly suspect the story will include all these elements. Dispel the mystery in your own mind; success takes hard work.
Why did I begin with this? Because when you are ready to make a change, no matter what it is, acknowledging this truth will make your path easier. If you are now asking yourself “why” or “how,” let me explain. It is admirable to begin down a path to change, but when you face challenges on that path, let’s be honest: it is easy to quit. However, if you decide before you're even out of the gate that you know those challenges exist, that some challenges will be simple and others will be difficult to overcome, you will have prepared yourself properly to address what is before you.
Specific examples may be helpful here. If you have chosen (note I do not say “you are trying,”) to change your diet, there will likely be a time when you are out with people who don’t have the same goal. Without warning, someone puts a food in front of you that you are trying to avoid. Because you’ve chosen to make this change, you’ll be ready for this circumstance. You’ll be prepared to eat a small portion, or none at all. You’ll be prepared to order something else. Other’s scrutiny of your decision won’t deter you. Knowing that your goal is greater than that moment, you will be mentally prepared to succeed.
If your goal is to master a subject you find difficult, your decision to acquire this knowledge is step number one. Knowing that the subject matter is challenging, step number two requires you to identify a path that helps you wrap your brain around the topic. Many paths exist to assist you with conceptional understanding. Some learn by listening. Some learn by reading. Some learn by doing. Some learn through a combination of these techniques. Identify the mechanism that helps you learn and run with it. When you encounter a challenging concept, stay with it. If you’ve selected the teaching technique that works for you, you will eventually understand the concept.
Law school was a challenge for me. Evidence class was particularly challenging. Parole evidence rule? Promissory estoppel? WHAT? Early on, I knew I would need some help hammering these concepts into my cinderblock brain. Thankfully, my good friend Mary tutored me through it. I also knew that the application of these concepts would help me better understand them, and that would only happen if I actually graduated and started practicing law. I pushed through. God bless Mary. As I expected, when I started practicing, the application of those concepts galvanized them for me.
You have the ability, and the opportunity, to be successful. Double down and do the work. Focus on your goal. Get the education and training you need. Dedicate yourself to the path, to your chosen end point.
Don’t miss the opportunity. Seize the opportunity.