Friday, September 21, 2012


"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I ran New Student Orientation yesterday for--well, for the new students, of course.  In that orientation I always go into some of the basic rules and requirements of life at a career college (e.g., no blue hair, sorry), but the most important bit is right at the beginning when I talk about January 1.  New Year's Day is all of our "Good Idea" Day--we realize it's a good idea to lose weight, to spend less money on frivolous items, to spend time with someone else more often, to import fewer elephants, etc.  So after briefly discussing the whole "I'm gonna get in shape" idea that fills up the gym parking lots, I show a picture I took of a gym parking lot a few days after G.I.D.  An empty gym parking lot, of course.  Why is it empty?  Because all those folks who had a good idea to work out, lose weight, become more fit, suddenly realized there was work involved, and then they had other good ideas.  They didn't truly Decide to do it, and so the winds in life were able to blow them elsewhere.

That's the one thing I ask of the beginning students, and I probably say it five or six times.  DECIDE.  Decide to finish.  Decide to succeed.  Decide, decide, decide.  It's an active process, a choice you make  You have to say "I'm going THERE."  Every year, every graduation, I see smiling, happy graduates who went through their programs buffeted by the same winds that hit those who didn't make it there.  The difference?  They decided; they put a pin in the map and told life, "Hey, that's the port I'm headed to."

Same is true of every endeavor, of course.  The number of people who tell me they're in the process of writing a novel is far larger than I'd thought it would be.  What's the difference between "I'm writing a novel" and "I've written a novel?"  A decision.  Well, that, and a few months, once the decision is made.  It does take time.  But during that time, if the decision hasn't been made, any wind gusts blowing through your life will take you their way instead of toward the final "THE END."

Don't let them.



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