Growing up in a rather “disadvantaged” background, I did not have the luxury of attending the best of schools, toys, bicycles, ice-creams and the usually things children would love to have, as my parents could not afford them. My dad had introduced us to reading and mastering several subjects, albeit out of the fear of being punished. For example, we were made to memorize and recite the multiplication table from 2x to 12x. Whenever he came back from work, he would gather us the children and have us recite the tables. Missing any number was accompanied by a knock on the head or a hit on the back hand with a wooden ruler. Though not the best way to get a child to learn, that was the best way he knew to at the time. For this singular reason, I detested education and never liked the idea of going to school.
Those early days, the mere thought of going to school made me feel sick and nauseated because of the fear of punishment both at home and in school. I unconsciously began to associate learning with negativity and sure enough, it showed up in my grades at those early days. I never did well in class in my primary/grade school until a certain point because I was simply disinterested. The turning point came when for the first time, I “unexpectedly” took 3rd Position in my class. Everyone in class, my teacher, classmates and including myself was surprised by that result. I felt there us have been a mistake somewhere and till date I never really got to know what “went wrong” but just accepted it. So when I got the report card, I ran the fastest I could back home just to share the good news with my dad. However, instead of the joyful expression and welcome I anticipated, I got one of the shocks of my life – my dad took the result from me, look at it what a frown and look on his face which suggested total displeasure. He turned to me and said “the boy who took the 1st position in your class, how many heads does he have? How many eyes, ears, hands and legs? Then you, how many do you have?” I stood there stunned not knowing what to think or say, my happiest day had been turned into a rather dreadful scenario. Then he spoke in one of those stern tone of his whenever he is angry ‘If you do not come back home with the 1st position on your report card, you better not come back home” Though I was very young then, I had come to know that my dad doesn’t issue empty threats. He meant every word.
At this time in my life, I was too young to know where to start from. Though, I didn’t know how to go about changing my grades, one thing I knew with absolute certainty was that I could not afford to go back home with a result other than the top of the class. Without talking to anyone or consulting anybody, I took some drastic decisions which changed the entire course of my academic life. Looking back now at some of the things I did, it has further reinforced the fact that the keys to your better future in you. All you need to become who you want to be is already deposited in you. You don’t need to look anywhere else but within. All the answers are right inside, if you search you will find them.
The first thing was to decide exactly what I wanted which was to be top of my class at the end of the next academic term. The next thing was to rearrange my priorities and focus my time and attention on what was important. I had to give up certain things like spending long hours watching TV and playing soccer out there with my friends after school everyday. Another important thing I did was to change the kind of friends I had who were not aligned to my new goals. In essence, I identified the obstacles to my achieving the result I wanted. I began to associate with the best in class. I learnt from them what their daily routine was like, how they studied and spent their time and then gradually developed my own plan of success. One of the best habit I formed which has stuck with till date was self-discipline – learning to do things which were important for my success even when I didn’t feel like doing them. Check out these helpful resources which I encourage every reader to take advantage of if you are really desirous of living a life of all-round success and fulfillment.
I came back home at the end of the term with 1st Position boldly written on my report card. The joy and ecstasy I experienced at my dad throwing me up in the air and kissing me stayed with me, I wanted that feeling to continue forever. I discovered that what anyone has done, I could do and I alone determine the limit I place on myself. I have never looked back since then. Over the years I have become a student of continuous personal development and the returns you get for that is immeasurable. The satisfaction that comes from sharing my ideas, coaching, mentoring people and watching their lives blossom is unimaginable. You too can become a channel of blessing and fulfillment to others if you decide to start today. Remember, it is never to late to starting setting goals that motivate you to becoming a better you. Most importantly, remember that what you get by achieving your goals is not as important as who you become in the process.