It’s (Not) All About the Benjamins, Baby!


I recently had a conversation with a student on my campus who will be graduating at the end of the school year. Like most seniors, the student was focused on his plans after graduation. He had already been accepted to a university. Naturally, I asked the young man about his plans for a major. He said he was thinking about choosing a major he felt would lead to lucrative employment. He admitted that it was possible he might not like that particular career field, but he could tolerate any type of work if he was making what he called “big money.”

I later reflected on the conversation, which basically turned into a discussion on money and motivation. All of us have either said or heard someone state, “If I made $______, I would do whatever _________ wants me to.” We all desire to be financially stable and prosperous. Granted, most of us aren’t offered work which will take us from rags to riches; however, I think most people look for and accept employment with the idea it will improve their financial situation, within context. The motivation money can provide will quickly wane if one does not derive enjoyment, satisfaction, or have a sincere desire to excel. That is why we are encouraged to do what we enjoy, because doing a job solely for money will not work in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, money is important and can ease many burdens in life.  I also understand how people may do work they may not particularly care for in order to accomplish a specific purpose, such as paying off debts or to starting a savings. However, our work consumes a large portion of our waking hours; it is important for us to do it well and be content. And yes, even work we enjoy can have drawbacks. The key is to find ways to earn a living that align with our strengths and interests. Are the majority of our youth equipped to make such a choice? If not, what can we do to lead them? More in future posts.


Assembly Required


This past Christmas, I, like many parents, spent a portion of my day reading directions and putting together gifts which require assembly.  It seems as though it is becoming more difficult to remove toys from packages and put things together, but that’s a discussion for another time.  One of my daughters received a desk for Christmas.  The instructions were fairly easy to follow, but as anyone who has assembled furniture knows, it can be time consuming.  The last step in assembling the desk was attaching it to a wall.  The instructions recommended a specifically sized drill bit to drill holes and attach the desk. Of course, I did not have that size; I had a drill bit that was close to the recommended size.  I knew I could not go out and purchase the recommended bit on Christmas Day.  I attempted a number of alternatives, hoping they would work.  I probably spent an hour or so trying different options, to no avail.  After an hour or so, without much more I could do, I decided to try the drill bit I had.  It was not the recommended size, but it was close.  Guess what?  It worked just fine!

We are often looking for ideal solutions to our goals, problems, etc.  Many times, the ideal solution is not available.  However, we often have what we need within our grasp!  Especially in today’s day and age, the right people, knowledge, and skills can be a few clicks of a mouse away.  Technology has connected our world and opened doors that were not available several years ago.  I did not have the recommended or ideal tool for attaching the desk to the wall, but what I did have was good enough.  We may not have the absolute, best resources for what we are looking to accomplish, but we usually have enough to get started.  This is a message which especially needs to be conveyed to our youth.  Many come from challenged backgrounds, but there are people and resources that can put them on the road to overcoming their circumstances. We must have the awareness to recognize and share available opportunities and start on the process of success!

The Process

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Happy New Year’s everyone!  The New Year brings with it an opportunity to start anew.  In our culture, it is quite common to make New Year’s resolutions.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a resolution as “the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.”  A resolution is basically a goal.  I think it is great that people use the New Year to make resolutions.  Having goals for oneself is always encouraged.  People relate well to cycles; a new year is essentially the natural beginning of a cycle, thus a relatively convenient time to set goals.  Obviously, we should not confine resolutions or goals to New Year’s Day.  We should all be in a state of continually developing and progressing ourselves.

We are all aware of the ease of making a goal or resolution compared to the challenge of actually sticking with them.  I feel our resolutions should focus more on our process or progress toward a goal as opposed to the goal itself. Notice that I say progress.  Progress indicates positive, consistent actions toward an expectation or goal.   We have a much greater likelihood of keeping our resolutions, no matter when they are made, if we are focused more on the consistent actions to reach a goal.  Consistency in our actions leads to growing confidence, which strengthens our resolve in progressing toward our goals.  Achieving success is a process and not an event!