Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college professor and writer from Chicago, who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here. Follow J Reed on Twitter @jreed913 . Check out The Reeders Block Podcast and subscribe there to hear more.
In quiet moments of self-reflection, I have continuously examined who I am and who I want to become. To say this year has been a complete success would be untrue. Yet I have experienced more professional success this year alone than I have any other. The question becomes, where do I go from here, and how do you yourself achieve such success?
This year, I have become an English professor for two different colleges, three if counting the one my tight schedule obligated I turn down. Now, I am the coordinator of a center as well. I contribute this success to the timing of the Universe, my exceptional résumé writing skills and my dynamic interviewing style.
At this relatively youngish age, I have jumped tax brackets twice over and experienced meaningful careers that drive me. However, it has not ever been about the money for me, though it helps. Positively impacting the future of students who will change the world for the better is the fire that ignites me.
People often wonder how I did it. From humble beginnings, I came from a place that got more bad press than anything. But I didn’t ever doubt myself. And self-doubt is something you must learn to avoid.
Recently, I was speaking to someone experiencing a rough patch in life. This person complained how no one was doing anything for them. I listened with both my ears and my heart. Yet I had to let this person in on a secret: no one cares.
The world can be dismissive and cold. It can turn its back on you when you need it the most. It’s not always malicious. People have their own lives, bills and situations to deal with. In their strive to do better, they may not always have the time or resources necessary to help you.
As I explained to the previously mentioned person, accepting responsibility for your own life is the first step to success. If you believe that your life is yours to control, if you do not blame others, if you hold yourself accountable, you will achieve more than you ever thought possible.
Life is a series of decisions, and there will be good times and bad times. Your success is determined by how well you maneuver the bad times. No one’s life is without trial and error. What separates those who make it and those who do not is the will power within the person.
When you are alone, utilize that time. Examine your situation. Ask yourself, what do I want? How can I get what I want? Write it down and then act on it. Tell yourself, my life is mine to cherish and control.
As an English professor, I have heard students brag and say, “I got an A on my essay.” When their assignment is not as successful, they say, “The professor gave me an F.” In the instance of success, they own it. In the instance of failure, they blame their professor. In both instances, this student wrote the essays. So, this student earned both grades.
The above noted, I can say success is not easy. It is not infinite, either. You must work to keep it, or it will be washed away by the ever-present tide of failure that is not ever fully at bay. Success has a formula: self-accountability + planning + action = success. Failure is empty words + no action + no accountability.
This has been a wildly successful year for me but only because I live by the formula for success. None of this was given to me. I earned it with the backing of the Universe. I do not know where further success will land me, but I know that there are no limits. Don’t doubt yourself or let failure dishearten you. Own it, grow your wings and take off.
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