I always jot down blog ideas by putting them in my planner. Most of the time I see my note and I know immediately the direction I want to take: I have a clear cut path. Today is not one of those days. Today I looked at my note and went “hmmm- what was I thinking when I jotted this idea down?” So, we’re going to see if I can turn straw into gold. Or if not gold, at least something of worth.
My daughter just finished Junior year of high school. She did well- this is not a complaint about her academic achievements. She has an impressive three year GPA, she did well enough on her SAT that if it wasn’t that she needed to do the optional essay, she would not be taking it again. (In NYC, all students take the SAT courtesy of the city- the only catch is, it is given without the optional essay. My daughter is applying to at least 5 schools that require the essay)
Here’s the thing when people see someone with high grades- they somehow assume that those that have high grades do not study. They think these grades just happen. And maybe, for some kids this is true. But my kid is not always one of them. My kid studies. And some classes are more of a struggle than others.
History is not one of those classes. For some reason she has an almost eidetic memory for history- she has an uncanny grasp of dates and concepts. When they played US History Jeopardy, her team won 7000-300 because if her teacher started a question “In 1887…” she would ring in and say “Dawes Act”- and then give the description. She got a 99 on the Regents Exam (NY State test for high school) and thought about asking to see her answer sheet because she couldn’t figure out what she got wrong. But, to be clear, she still reads the books and does the homework. It just settles in her brain the right way.
Physics. Well physics was a bit of a challenge. She spent more time studying physics this year than every other class combined. She was at every review session. She signed up for a physics video website thing. She bought about a thousand physics study guides. She worked her tail off, and she was rewarded with a good grade. But she worked hard.
Some people don’t seem to realize that success comes with hard work and sacrifice. When my family was over on Father’s Day, my daughter excused herself to study physics, because she had the exam a few days after. My FIL said “Why is she studying? She’s smart. She doesn’t need to study.”
So here’s the thing: just because you are smart, or athletic or funny doesn’t mean that you are automatically get all A’s, or play in the major league or be a late night talk show host. Just because you have raw talent doesn’t mean you don’t have to work at something. To be good at anything you must consistently work towards that goal. You must consistently put in time and effort. Study, practice, whatever- you must work. No one is entitled to grades or recording contracts or pro careers. No one succeeds by putting in minimal effort. No one is that lucky.
So here’s the thing: don’t spend your time buying lottery tickets in hopes of changing your life. Figure out your passion and work towards a goal. Take your straw and weave it into gold.