Taking risks and falling forward

Graduation day at the university of Northampton

In the last few weeks I have read stories of students heroics and being grateful for achieving their dreams of graduating from universities and this week, my some of my students graduated to become part of the elite (7% of the world) in terms of education.

One of the most inspiring speeches I have ever heard was one by the actor Denzel Washington. The speech was to graduating students about taking risks and falling forward. For people leaving school or finding new opportunities, the road will be difficult, you face many rejections and it is easy to get discouraged by lack of opportunities, but you must keep believing. The speech emphasised the importance of perseverance and dedication to your dream. Despite the challenges and rejections, you must keep moving forward.

Most of us are afraid of failure but when we imagine the worst case scenario, then we will understand that things are not that bad. The story of the 21 year old Lexie Alford who recently became the youngest person to travel to all the 196 countries in the world in May 2019 is a good one. I can only imagine what most parents would have told the young lady as she planned her travels. Most of us would have been worried about security, health issues in many of the most dangerous countries, unsafe flights between small islands, bandits, potential terrorists attacks and the list goes on, but for Lexie, the regret she was going to face for not making the trip outweighed the potential risks, even the risk of death and guess what, she can now tick travel regrets from her list.

The regret of not trying one more time or not following your dream must outweigh the feeling of rejection. The focus must be firmly on the future and the big picture, when you get turned down, pick yourself up and try again. Remember, JK Rowling, one of the most successful authors of all times got turned down 12 times. Apparently, according to the Denzel Washington speech, Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb failed 1000 times, but finally became successful at the next attempt. Your success may be one more try away. Remember not everyone can recognise a diamond covered in mud, but you will sparkle through to those who have the ability to spot a gem from a pile of other precious metals.

You will not be everyone’s cup of tea, some people because you are too young, too opinionated, too tall, too short, male, female, blonde, brunette etc. It does not matter, don’t let them discourage you on matters you are unable to change, focus on the best way to improve yourself and learn from past mistakes and keep moving forward. Remember to always fall forward and keep moving towards your goals and never believing people who tell you, you can’t do it because it’s never been done before.

Records made by people can always be broken by others who follow behind. Be ready to shine like the diamond that you are.

Wishing you great success in the future.

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