Let’s just be honest with ourselves here: we all hate to do homework! In grade school, it kept you from hanging out with your friends. In college, it kept you from going to what everyone called that one “party of the year” (and if it was at Northwood it probably sucked anyway). And in your career, it can keep you from spending quality time with your loved ones at home; unless you’re that one guy who hates his wife. Yet at the same time, you know it’s just another one of life’s many speed bumps that you just have to go over, just like taxes. Why? Because you know that if it doesn’t get done, you’re the one who suffers the consequences.
So in a sense, the thing that motivates you to do your homework is the f-word. No, I’m not talking about the one that relates to x-rated action. And I’m definitely not referring to it as a homosexual slur (I’ll leave that kind of language up to James Harrison for now). The word I’m talking about is fear. Think about it: as a little kid in elementary school your parents always stressed to you the importance of doing your homework. More than likely, they often scared you into doing it by threatening to ground you, or giving you a piece of the leather (belt, that is) to that backside. So there you were, running home as fast as you could. Not to watch the next episode of Pokemon or Jerry Springer, but to that table or to your room to do that evil homework assignment. The sooner you got it done, the sooner you could be outside with your friends, breaking your neighbor’s window playing ball, or harassing that little girl from the other block (who’ll likely grow up to be your wife).
Many people downplay the trait of fear. We often hear it associated negatively, and usually those who show it are taken advantage of in today’s society. You hear phrases like, “you have nothing to fear but fear itself,” or, “I fear no one!” But what many of us fail to recognize is that fear plays a part in our motivations. In all actuality, having a small dose of fear is actually essential for doing the things you need to do to live out your dreams and accomplish your goals. Don’t believe me? Consider my personal example.
As some of you may know, I came from Pershing High School in Detroit. I started going there when I was in 10th grade after we moved from Georgia due to my mom’s retirement from the Navy. It was here where I started to turn the corner academically and mentally, making A’s and B’s in 10th grade, then settling for nothing less than an A afterwards. I graduated from Pershing with a 3.65 GPA and was known for being one of the smartest kids in the class (they even nominated me for Class Nerd; an award I didn’t win…but should have if you really stopped to think about it…). But the months before coming to Northwood, I read in a packet that even scholarship students flunk out of college. Add that to the knock that my school was known for poor academic standards (on top of being in arguably one of the worst big city school districts in America) and needless to say I had a bit of fear coming in to college. So to start out my first term, I made a point to stay committed to my schoolwork first and worry about everything else later. The end result, I graduated in four years with a 3.64 GPA, easily among the top 10 percent. Not bad for a kid from “The P!”
Anyone who tells you they walk without fear is probably in denial worse than Roger Clemens. Fear exists in everyone, whether it be penny-sized or twice your own size. The key is to not allow it to debilitate you, but to utilize it and ingrain it into your motivations. Using fear this way allows you to stay humble and keeps you on your toes. I use my fears to give 110 percent into anything I set out to do. Keeping a mental picture of the worst that can happen allows me to think of ways that I can avoid those situations. Question is: how will you use your fears?