The reason I never went to my University Graduation

It was supposed to be a moment of celebration, after years of hard work, sacrifices, and overcoming obstacles, I found myself in a dark place not wanting to attend my graduation. How could this be? Where I come from it is rare for someone to finish school ( a lot of my peers and friends didn’t) but even rarer for someone like me to graduate from university with a degree.

The weeks leading up to my graduation were filled with intense anxiety and a state of depression because my expectations of what graduating meant were not being met.
My goal was to graduate, find a good job and grow in the company. But here I found myself approaching the ‘finish line’ with no job in sight and no idea what to do next. I went from interview to interview with no success.

I pretended to hold it together but on the inside, it felt like I was dying.

Looking back I was more afraid of what my fellow graduates would think, they all seemed to have things figured out, and here I was ‘lost’.

A week before the graduation ceremony, I told my parents that I would not be attending. They were surprised as this was a joyous moment for them, as neither of them was fortunate enough to make it to university. I didn’t want to let them down but I was in such a dark place that I just couldn’t get myself to go. I told them that I would take them to my next graduation, even though at that moment I hadn’t planned to pursue a post-graduate degree.

Well, I felt a personal obligation to give them the opportunity and decided to enroll in honours in Psychology the following year.

This dark period started to slowly fade as I started shifting my focus from the ‘right now’ to the future. I started looking reevaluating my goals and started taking small steps in the direction of who I needed to become to achieve them. I then started my own cleaning business, began volunteering as a counselor at a community organization, and even started working on mind and body.

This was a very dark session in my life was one of my greatest teachers and planted the seed for the man I am today.

The core lessons were:

1. Life does not owe you anything, if you are not getting the results you seek, find a new strategy or a new goal.

I often find that it is easier to blame than to take responsibility. When I was an unemployed graduate, I blamed the government for the high unemployment rate. I blamed the companies I had been interviewed at for not giving me a chance to prove myself.

But at the end of the day, my energy was misguided. I took responsibility and this gave birth to my entrepreneurial spirit. Our power is found in taking control of the pieces that we have, even if they seem insignificant.

 2. When life gets hard, find a way to level up.

Instead of taking pity on yourself, see how you can level up. I looked at my situation and realized that I needed to make myself worth more in the market. One of the easiest routes to becoming more worthy in the market is to develop skills that are highly valued. Some of the skills I focused on were learning to sell, learning to motivate, and building my psychological skillset.

This is a life hack, to earn more, you simply need to learn the right skills, and guess what, all skills can be learned.

 3. Basing your decisions on what others will think about you, is the surest way to fail.

I slowly stopped looking at what others were doing, what they were achieving, and how great their lives were. I simply decided to forgo the immediate gratification of instant results and would no longer focus on what my peers and people thought about me. I was now pouring my energy into playing the long game. This gave me room to explore, fail and discover my true path.

Life is a journey of discovering, but so many of us are overly focused on what others think of us, limiting our ability to discover and grow. Remember discovery is often filled with mistakes and failures, but it is through this process of discovery that we carve our own path to success.

You are going to face dark times in your life, but don’t let that make you believe that your next season won’t be bright.

Sometimes the best thing is being lost, as it forces you to find your true self.

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