Be a Diamond
Diamonds are rare beauties. They hold incredible value in our society and culture. But you could be holding the Hope Diamond on a deserted island and it would be worthless. You would throw it into the ocean for anything that would help you survive. Value is always in the eye of the beholder.
Everyone has different values, principles, priorities, etc. Those things will drive you towards education, career, hobbies, and other life choices. We might set a goal to achieve something. If we feel the value is high enough, then we will work harder for it than anything else. We might take liberties to get there. You have to watch out for that.
Personally, I value integrity. I have refused to sacrifice integrity in many instances. Instead, I take ownership of mistakes; I hold myself accountable for my decisions; I don't take the easy way out.
What is at the top of your value list?
Determination ranks high on the value list for three kids in my karate dojo. Each started at the school around the same time, at the same age, and just a months or more after myself. They have taken an amazing journey from their first test going to white to this past Monday when they attended their first Black Belt class. I couldn't contain my excitement for them a few weeks ago when I saw their names on the test list. I made sure I could attend and assist with the test. Each reminds me of myself at their age, under 10. Liam is the sponge, soaking up everything, not afraid to try new things and push his limits. Quinn is the cautious one, taking her time and making it right. Noah is the quiet and shy type, but a burst of energy when challenged. To see them not only go through the ranks, but grow up in the dojo has been amazing. As the shortest and youngest kids at their rank no matter what level they are at, they have some unique challenges to face every day in the dojo. Determination to conquer those challenges and be the best they could be got these kids through to black and will keep them going to achieve whatever they dream. If that dream includes making it to second degree, then they will be in a special class of karate student.
In my karate dojo, all newly minted Black Belts learn a kata call "Keum Gang" as their first black belt kata, where the meaning of the form is Diamond. It is a way for saying that you made it. Only 5 % of my dojo's students make it from white belt to black belt. Only 2 % continue beyond first degree black belt. It a rare class of students who make it beyond first degree black belt.
I would wager the statistics are similar for other high achievements in an art or sport. What is the percentage of high school athletes who make it to the pros? What is the percentage of drama and theater kids who make that a career? What is the percentage of authors who write a best seller? What percentage of Toastmasters make it to Distinguished Toastmaster or Accredited Speaker?
Those that make it, do so because of what they value. They put that priority above other things and push themselves as hard as they can. Understanding what you value and how you prioritize will go a long way towards pursuing your goals. It will help when you make those goals SMART giving you the A for Attainable and R for Relevant. And sometimes help determine where to drop the T for Time-sensitive.
You can make it. Be a Diamond and you can do something unique and special. Understand your values and you can accomplish any goal you set, big or small. The Journey is Your's to take.