Making Your Own Destiny Part 3 – Growth Opportunities


I was watching Terminator 2 a couple nights ago and it made me think of the blog entry I wrote on making your own destiny. The movie ends with the the main characters driving down the road in the dark with the road ahead symbolizing a future that they just changed. The certain disaster has been averted and the future is now uncertain. I watched it with my older son and he freaked out a bit. Apparently all the laws of time travel have been broken and there should be a few paradoxes. It gets confusing and that’s the point. They’re making their own fate. That made me want to write a bit more on the topic from a different perspective.

The road to the future isn't always well lit.
The road to the future.
In order to fight cyborgs from the future, the characters had to learn hacking, strategy, how to set priorities, fighting, and more. Let’s call these growth opportunities that would give them the skills they need in a world where they knew needed to make their own paths. I thought I’d write about a few things I’d learned in college and my career.

The first is work ethic and a sense of urgency. My freshman year in college was an adjustment for me like it is for everybody. My grades dipped some compared to high school because I was having fun, the work was harder, and the only people who go to engineering school are just as smart as you are. The best thing I did that year was meet my wife who started off as a study buddy. I drew a line in the sand and, while I certainly did have fun the rest of school, my grades got better and I learned much more as a result. By the end of undergrad I’d reached a certain level of comfort with expectations and how hard I had to work which is similar to what happened by the end of high school.

Then I went to grad school. Something similar happened but I adapted better this time. I knew that expectations would be higher and the work harder, but the sense of urgency was taken up a notch. Undergrad was based on semesters and grad school on quarters. I also planned on getting an MS in a year which really should have been a clue about the amount of work involved. The first quarter started with team project meetings the first day and ended at 5:00 on the last day. You never know what you’re capable of until you push yourself. Boy has this lesson paid off.

Graduation was a journey with many lessons
Graduation was a journey with many lessons
The next lesson was speaking in front of a group and presenting. I wrote about this in my very first blog entry. School taught me that I could work hard and overcome tough tasks. My early jobs taught me that I could overcome some hurdles in my own personal comfort levels and expand on who I am. This is a gift that keeps on giving because there’s always something new to try and new people to meet.
Presenting from a whiteboard is a valuable skill to learn.
Presenting from a whiteboard is a valuable skill to learn.
My family and friends have taught me plenty more. Those close to each other love you for who you are. They help keep you who you should be and encourage you to grow at the same time. Never be afraid to take their input and always be there for those who need it.
True friends have your back and can count on you to have theirs.
True friends have your back and can count on you to have theirs.
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