June 2006 is the time I stepped foot into a HARD (Hustle, Ambition, Respect, & Determined) Lifestyle as a college freshman at Northeastern Illinois University. Each acronym of HARD Mindset represents my code of work ethic that I’ve upheld since 2006. The system has helped me graduate from college, graduate school, begin businesses, and get me through the hard times. This past April I had the opportunity to speak at my Alma Mater, Northeastern Illinois University about my journey as an undergraduate and how I’ve accomplished my goals over the past years. The moment was ever more special because it was one month away from my ten year anniversary as a freshman undergraduate.
Over the past decade, I’ve accomplished goals that wouldn’t have been possible if I did not apply a work ethic, HARD.
There is nothing sweeter in life than obtaining something you worked hard especially after the potential seemed impossible because of circumstances. I did no have an ACT score higher than 16, of which I took three times, and because of my low score, my chances of graduating from college in four years were slim. I had to work extra hard, meet with tutors and put faith in myself. As Don Zimmer said, “what you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle, and giving 110% all the time.” My commit to the hustle got me through college in four years.
People have ambition, but sometimes it lacks direction or a goal. Some people are ambitious to get home right after work and watch television until their eyes shut. Others are ambitious to reach financial success. But learning to control one’s ambition is important. Having too little ambition can lead to a mediocre life with no meaning. Too much ambition can lead to losing of trust, friendships, or family.
Respect the Process
As a graduate student, I was in a rush to defend my thesis before spring break. My persistence of getting my thesis done quickly led me to disrespect my thesis chair thus causing the chair to leave my committee. After lots of apologies, I realized that the process cannot be rushed and that I have to respect it because it’s done for my good.
Being determined with a goal in sight is better than having a goal but not determined to accomplish the goal. I was resolved to achieve my goals because I set my goal and knew that I had to be determined no matter the circumstances: break-ups, money issues, family or work.
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Personal finance & entrepreneur educator and blogger. Follow Mr. J on social media @MrJRealTalk