Tuesday, May 5, 2015

1: Why Are You Here At This College or University?

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.” - Steve Jobs


You made it! You survived high school and made good enough grades and test scores to be admitted to this college or university. And, perhaps, you have survived the first semester (or first several semesters) of your college career.

Your college years can, and should be, among the best years of your life. Unfortunately, some students won’t “make it” to graduation. Other students may graduate, but fail to find success in the business world. Or students may graduate and achieve some measures of success, but never achieve greatness – in all aspects of their lives. 

Seize this opportunity. Make the most of your college years in order to propel your future success. Not just in the world of business, but in all aspects of life. Such an adverse result should be viewed as intolerable, by you and by everyone around you (i.e. your family, friends, fellow students, faculty, and staff).

This text provides a series of exercises over the next ten weeks to assist you to succeed in college. The valuable tips you discern from undertaking these exercises will also provide also help you succeed in the world of business and in life. 

Begin with the End in Mind

To get where you are going, you need to first have the end in mind. To do this you must first define the person you want to be. Then you can work each and every day to become that person. 

Your First Exercise: “Define Who You Want to Be.”
Complete the three tasks set forth below.

First, watch the online video “Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005.” (14:34)
Second, write a description of your future self.  Imagine it is ten years from now. In your journal, write a description of yourself, assuming you have achieved those things that are important to you.  In forming your description of your “future self,” consider these questions:
  • Where do you live?
  • What work do you do?
  • What would your colleagues at work say about you?
  • How much do you make?
  • What activities, if any, are you taking to continue to improve yourself?
  • What relationships do you possess with others?  What is the depth of those relationships?
  • What do you do to sustain and strengthen those relationships?
  • What activities do you participate in for pleasure?
  • If your family and friends were to describe you, what would they say about you, your personal traits and habits, and ethics or morals?
Write a description of your “future self” in a journal. Your journal can be handwritten or typed. It may be a file on a computer, or a notebook of some kind. This description should normally be at least 250 words, but not more than 500 words.

Third, write your epitaph. If a monument were to be erected in your honor following the end of your lifetime, what would it say? What would someone say at your eulogy? Imagine what you would like others to say about you in an epitaph (i.e., an inscription on a tombstone in memory of the one buried there; or a brief literary piece commemorating a deceased person). Some examples follow:
  • “What he sought, he acquired. What he loved, he cherished. What he had, he gave to others. As he departs, what he leaves behind is better.”
  • “She dreamed of a better world, and assisted others in a quest to make it possible. Through instruction in truths, and through leadership in observing sound principles which guide our lives, she inspired others.”
  • “He found his path to success, for he found ways to serve his family, his friends, his clients, and mankind.  He believed in truth, justice, and peace. He embraced compassion and understanding.  In his own quiet way, he treasured and loved us all.”
  • “At rare intervals there appears among us a person whose virtues are so manifest to all, who has such a capacity for relating to every sort of human being, who so subordinates her own ego's drives to the concerns of others, who lives her whole life in harmony with the world around her, that she is revered and loved by all who know her.”    
Now, imagine and write your own epitaph in your journal.

Dr. Ron A. Rhoades is an Asst. Professor of Finance at Western Kentucky University's Gordon Ford College of Business, where he chairs the (B.S. Finance) Financial Planning Program. An innovative, passionate teacher, he is the author of Choose to Succeed in College and in Life: Continously Improve, Persevere, and Enjoy the Journey (2014)from which many of these blog posts are derived.

Dr. Rhoades also serves as a consultant to the Garrett Planning Network, a nationwide network of independent, Fee-Only financial planners making competent, objective financial advice accessible to all people. He is the author of several books, dozens of articles, and he is a frequent speaker at financial planning and investments conferences. He is the recipient of many awards for his advocacy on behalf of the fiduciary standard. Dr. Rhoades is also a member of The Florida Bar, and he practices estate planning and transfer taxation for select current clients.

Dr. Rhoades and his wife, Cathy, reside in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

To contact Dr. Rhoades, please e-mail: WKUBear@gmail.com.