Life’s fickle. When all looks promising, it goes south. Bad things happen to good people and, at times, the corrupt prosper. The only constant in life – besides death – is that nothing is constant. Some of the most promising people fail while slackers rise to the top. It doesn’t make much sense, and any sane person will lose his or her wits trying to rationalize it.
But what would life be if we never had to face adversity, rejection or a seemingly “no-win” scenario? It wouldn’t give you the opportunity to rise to the challenge and shine. Great thinkers would get lost in the masses, and heroes would go unnoticed. Where would this country be if our founding fathers were not faced with the unfair treatment bestowed upon them by Britain?
I’m willing to bet you may never have heard of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Paul Revere or Thomas Paine. Imagine if Mohandas Ghandi didn’t return to India to non-violently battle for India’s independence.
Times of divisiveness and dissension have defined some of history’s most important players. What you do in the face of adversity defines who you are. What if Michael Jordan hung up his sneakers after getting cut from his high school basketball team or Thomas Edison listened to those who told him “he was too stupid to learn anything”? Well for one, I may be writing this column in candle light, but I also wouldn’t have realized that you can’t learn to succeed until you learn how to fail.
John Carroll doesn’t offer a class that teaches you how to respond to failure (possible addition to Last Year Seminar?), and I learned that the hard way this year. For most of my life, I’ve been relatively successful. I was never cut from a sports team – except the bowling team my senior year of high school, but is that really a sport? When I wanted something, I went after it and got it. Yet, at the same time, I never took many risks. I wouldn’t engage in an activity if I wasn’t relatively sure I could succeed. I wouldn’t put myself in a position where failure was a likely outcome.
That all changed this year, and I could not have been happier. One of the best pieces of advice my father gave me was to live an interesting life.
Simple yet complex. How boring would life be if you never threw yourself into the fiery battle or took a blind leap? Sure you may get burned or fall flat on your face, but imagine the feelings if you come out on top. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. I’m convinced you can’t live an interesting life if you hide from adversity, run from rejection, and travel down the easy road.
I’m about to embark on the next stage of my life. I have no idea where I’m heading, what I’m doing, or the difficulties I may face. But, I welcome them with open arms because, honestly, life would be pretty mundane if I didn’t get kicked to the curb or spat in the face once in awhile. I hope you do the same, too. If you see that girl or guy you have always thought was cute, then talk to them. Skip a class or take a 50-minute nap.
Just take risks, and swing if life throws you a curveball. Even if you miss, you learn, you adapt and then next time you’ll hit a ground rule double.
So before I leave you forever, please take this piece of advice my late grandfather always preached, “When you walk out that door, take a deep breath and say, ‘Look out world here I come,’ and grab life by the horns.” Thank you all for the best and the worst times of my life, it’s been a fun and fickle ride.