My high school guidance counselor has an indelible place in my memory. Unfortunately, I don’t mean that in a good way.
I sat across from him in a small cubby that somehow functioned as an office. Dim, yellow light provided just enough light for him to find my name on his roster of students. But not even the dim light could not hide his disbelief when I told him that I wanted to finish high school early so I could jump-start my college career and marry the girl of my dreams.
I don’t blame him for being skeptical. Looking back, I guess the conversation was unusual to say the least. I was a relatively poor black kid in an overwhelming Caucasian environment who had just laid out a very strange plan. But then my counselor said the words that I have purposed never to tell another human being:
“You can’t do it.”
Two years later I graduated high school at sixteen, then college at nineteen with two Bachelor of Arts degrees. I married that same girl and we’ve been blessed with twelve happy years together and three wonderful children.
The point of this anecdote is to emphasize that there is no path to success. I define success as doing God’s will in God’s time. This was His plan for me and —with His help— I have done it.
We may define success differently, but the crucial point here is that there is no broad path that leads to victory. You have to be willing to jump off the main road, face the criticism and disbelief of those around you and cut through the obstructions until your goal is met. If you spend your time looking for a set path, you will realize too late that much of your life has been wasted.
To be a successful man you need to have a clear, positive vision. Once that vision is locked in your mind, be willing to do the unconventional, perhaps even the extreme, to achieve it. And above all, never listen to the voice that whispers, “you can’t do it.”
It is when we are willing to walk into the unknown that we see the measure of who we really are. Take this approach and perhaps one day I’ll be reading your success story.
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