Forget the test, love the lesson

you’d bury yourself alive just to prove you could handle a shovel

Jill Stagg

That quote above was from my mother just before she passed away. We were talking about how proud she was but how concerned she was that I pushed myself too far. She knew her son. But I started at the end of my point, Jump back with me in time 23 years ago.

January 1997: I attended university after working in dead end jobs for a few years. I got into university via an unorthodox route and was desperate to prove myself better than those who had gained entry the traditional academic route.

January 1998: One year later and a succession of high grades under my belt I had began to take pride in every test, exam and assignment looking to complete faster and more accurately than my classmates. It culminated one cold January with an assignment I totally dropped the ball on due the scope of my chosen topic. I had taken on way too much.

One of my course professors met me for a weekly meeting and jumped straight to the point. “You took on quite an assignment there, didn’t you?” “I just want to do the best I can” She looked at me for a second, “The best you can or the best of anyone in your class?”

I knew what she was saying before she finished the sentence, she continued anyway, “you are seeing everything you are given as a test, as something you must pass rather than an opportunity to grow and learn. You have great potential but you see everything as competition.”

I knew she was right sitting in that University staff office and I knew what my mother was saying 23 years later. Two women who both cared for me and could see the competitive streak would lead to dissatisfaction or worse.

They are of course correct life isn’t to be seen as a test but as an opportunity, an opportunity to learn and grow TO BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE. We are all building our own houses in our own ways and in the end of it all you are not competing with your classmates or colleagues, you are in only in competition with yourself.

Published by NCS

reader of great literature, teller of tales, photographer of mostly awful snaps but on occasion I am half decent.

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