In August 2012, the world applauded as NASA landed the rover in Mars. Wow, NASA landed something in Mars! Only a few years ago, NASA started making trips to the moon. Ever wondered who first came out with the idea of sending something out of the earth?
Dr. Goddard did. He was the first one to come up with this crazy idea of sending something to the moon back in 1926! When he first experimented with rockets, he failed – his first rocket only went 41 feet above the ground. The local Worcester newspaper headline read “Moon rocket misses target by 238,7991⁄2 miles.” If he would have given up, we might never have gone to the moon, or Mars. Dr. Goddard did not give up.
We all have a dream – something we want to be, something we want to do. With this dream, we need just one more “thing.” This “thing” we need is what Dr. Goddard and all the successful people that we honor and applaud have. It’s called “persistence”
After finishing up my Bachelors in 2009, I went off to the real world in search of financial prospects. As we all know, success in school does not necessarily indicate a successful life. I worked for a startup which failed, and started doing some odd jobs while trying to find something I love.
In my heart I always wanted to get a graduate degree. So in 2011 with all the motivation I had finally gathered up, I started researching grad schools. I looked at a few business doctoral programs, and found out that only about 2% to 3% of students are accepted to Management PhD programs. However, for students like me who did NOT have a Master’s degree before beginning their PhD, the acceptance rate was lower than 1%. Instead of demotivating me, this motivated me even more. I worked extremely hard on my GMAT’s, had professors write me recommendations and started applying. As luck would have it, I got into one school.
After being accepted, I realized that a professor’s life is pretty crazy during their doctoral studies and about 10 years after. I realized that the lifestyle did not suit me; therefore, I cancelled my planes to get a PhD. Even though this became irrelevant, it taught me an important lesson once again – if you want something bad enough, you will get it – ONLY if you want it bad enough.
Instead of pursuing a PhD, I decided I wanted to get a Masters degree. I applied for the Masters program at UTD a few days before the deadline, and got accepted into the program. Due to some personal circumstances and financial issues, I now only had one year to go to school. Most students take about a year and half to complete this specific Masters program.
Well, I had fallen again – I wanted to go to school but only had 1 year. But I knew I was not going to give up; therefore, I took a large load of classes and completed my degree in 350 days.
Many people have asked me how I did it. It was surprising that I really did not have a secret to share. It was really simple – I did it because I really wanted to. I persisted.
During the last few months of school, I decided that I wanted to start my own business designing and developing websites, doing SEO and other things related to branding. By that time I was pretty used to hearing people tell me how impractical I was being. I heard it when I was applying for my PhD, I heard it when I was taking a large load of classes during a short time in the Masters program, and now I was going to hear it when starting a business of my own.
I realized that the odds were against me – I did not have sufficient experience, neither did I have clients who wanted to work with me. The odds were also against me in the past, so this was not going to be a deciding factor. This was my life, and I was going to live it the way I want to because I only get one shot at it.
In a survey done with people over the age of 65, there was a surprising response when asked what they regret the most in their lives. One trend in most of their answers was that they regretted not taking business risks. At some point in my life, I was not sure what I wanted, but I did not want to be an elderly man with regrets about the things I did not do in life.
I’m not telling you to take business risks, or quit your job today to start your own company. I am suggesting that you should not stop dreaming. Even if you cannot do what you want to today, plan to do it soon. We have a very limited time on this earth. Steve Jobs said it best, “your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…..Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Last, but definitely not least – don’t be afraid to fail. It is ok to fail – we all fail. Heck, even Michael Jordan was cut out of his high school basketball team! Walt Disney was fired for not having enough imagination and Einstein did not start speaking until he was 4 years old. These people were amazing people, but they were just as human as anyone else. The only difference is that they did NOT give up on their dream. Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
What has motivated you? I look forward to reading your comments!