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On-the-job inspiration

Note: I wrote this post on Tuesday, but my Internet went down for awhile and so I had to post it after midnight–technically Wednesday.

So, today I wrote a story about local schools and how they did or didn’t show President Obama’s speech to students.

I went into a classroom when they were watching the speech but I’d also read it beforehand. And I’ve got to say, that after yesterday’s post and my ongoing stresses in life, Obama’s words actually made me feel a bit better. Here are some of the highlights:

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is.

Sometimes I forget this. Sometimes I get so caught up in this bubble of anxiety I forget I’m not chopped liver and I have what it takes to be a productive member of society (trust me, it’s easy to forget, sometimes).

…the truth is, being successful is hard.

…Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time.

He’s right. Nobody’s perfect and almost nobody succeeds their first try. Definitely something I need to remember whenever I feel discouraged.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new.

This is often a big issue for me. For the most part, whenever I’m struggling–especially professionally–I don’t ask for help. I tend to tell myself to just suck it up and get it done. I try to deal with things on my own and it doesn’t always have the desired results.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself

You have no idea how easy this is to do. How easy it is for me to want to just give up and throw in the towel.

So, a non-student inspired by a speech for students. Not bad for a day’s work, Mr. President. I applaud you.


One comment on “On-the-job inspiration

  1. Hey Samtha,
    Sorry to hear that things have been a little rough, I know it is frustrating, but I am so glad that you have found some inspiration. I hadn’t read/listened to the speech, but I too find those excerpts that you shared inspiring. I do not know exactly what your everyday life is at work, but to me I find writing about education to be a very powerful thing. Being about to observe a classroom is a fascinating aspect of the job. The US holds education as fundemental for building a society, as Obama’s speech demonstrates, and you do a wonderful deed by sharing your observations with others, because it is with knowledge (whether of its faults or successes) of the education system that we can improve upon it.

    There are two French expressions that I enjoy and heard a lot while I was there, the first: “Il faut profiter,” the second: “bon courage.” “Il faut” is a construction used to demonstate commands, thus translating to “it is necessary.” “Profiter” can be translated to: take advantage or get the advantage. Essentially, il faut profiter, is telling you not only to seize the moment, but also find the moment.
    The next expression, “bon courage,” literally means “good courage” doesn’t have the same ring in English, but if you put il faut profiter et bon courage together it creates a nice overall message of: take advantage of life’s opportunities, whether stepping outside for a minute when there is sun or just taking advantage of the learning experience one gets from a failure. Then we all need a little courage sometimes.
    Sorry, I don’t know if I am able to properly articulate, but I am sending you much courage as you figure out solutions to the frustrations of a quarter-life crisis. I too share a bit of uncertainty with the prospect of entering the business world.

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