The Secret Ingredient for Success in College and Career

So here’s the deal. If you want to have a successful career, in college or anywhere else (but especially pertaining to college here), there is one secret ingredient that must be thrown into whatever recipe that you use for happiness in your life: Respect.

Respect for yourself, your dignity and the dignity of others. Only then will you be able to maintain a healthy, happy relationship with yourself and others. It seems kind of obvious, but if we really look at our day-to-day actions, how many of them embody respect? How much are we just acting mechanically or automatically and not living by the principle of respect?

I guess this topic was brought up into my ever wondering mind by the fact that I put everyone else first during my first week in college, running myself into the ground by the end of the week. In other words, I showed myself no amount of respect.

I got to college and was like, “Must make people like me”. Thus I stayed out, put off doing my coursework, put off my usual workout schedule (the only thing that keeps me sane) and went out as much as possible. By the end of the week I was sick and run down. But here’s the thing. Acting like that isn’t going to make people like me any more than just being myself is. In fact, if I’m not taking care of myself, I’m going to be much less pleasant to be around, give a worse performance academically, and mentally feel “off”… I actually make things worse in the name of making things better.

This week, I decided to balance things again. I will get my coursework done, and then tell my friends that I can see them later. If I’m exhausted, I will go to bed. It’s not like I will run out of time to do things. Just because I’m in college doesn’t mean I have to go out every night. Going out should be something special, something that I actually enjoy and has value in my life, not something that feels like an obligation. I went to the gym or ran at End Point again this week. My usual running routine has dropped down in the past few weeks, given all the stress of move in. I would get mad at myself for missing a day. Then I’d be so down on myself or I’d be too sick and miss another day. Now I will set aside time to work out. If you want to hang out with me, fine, but I also have a schedule /routine of my own – I will pencil you in.

This brings me to the importance of not slipping too far to the other side, where I am totally inflexible. That will leave me feeling just as stuck as being worn out and worn down all the time. As long as I am doing the things I need to do to keep the aspects of my life balanced and alive, then yes, I will be fine.

Now I’ve talked about self-respect. Respect for others is another issue. Respect does not mean bending to everyone else’s whims or desires. In fact, that might make them respect you less. People admire strength and independence, and people admire values. You can say you have values, but you will not earn respect for them until you show them. So act on your values. Also, listen to others and be open to new ideas: you never know when some new way of thinking can enhance your life.

Don’t cling so much to old ways of thinking that you never move forward, especially if those old ways of thinking aren’t working for you and are holding you back. And the key way to respect other people is simple: be kind. Don’t do any damage or harm; offer a helping hand or a smile; and people will see that you can see the dignity within them. And they will also follow your example if you see the dignity in yourself. Interactions and social relationships are much harder and prone to drama and negativity if you are not grounded with a deep-seated respect for the dignity of yourself and others.

Well, I know this got a little deep, but it’s really all about mind-set and being aware of living out of respect. So much of the time we are completely unaware of what we are doing or what is going on around us; we simply react instead of act. When we take the time to step back and look at how our behavior affects ourselves and others, we can make our lives much healthier, happier, and more successful.

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