Imposing Your Will

One of the toughest classes I took in Engineering School was Introduction to Electromagnetic Waves.  I know what you’re thinking, “That sounds hard?!”  Yes.  You’re absolutely correct.

The first test in the class was worth a hefty percentage of our grade.  I believe it was somewhere between 30-40%.  I scored a 38/100, failing… big time.  It was a huge blow to my confidence.  This class was a notorious breaking point for many students who decided to declare Electrical Engineering as a major.  It was a ‘weed out class’.  I don’t care how high your IQ is, Electrical Engineering is a hard college major.  I met several people who were brilliant intellectually, but just couldn’t endure the grind and the associated sacrifices related to it.  In college, I had no social life.  Work – Study – Workout – Repeat.  I don’t recommend it, but, I do believe that level of output in college is in large part what has given me the mental stamina to see this business through for the last 7 years.

We had to pick up our tests in person from the professor.  When he saw my grade he looked at me with sincere concern and told me that I should drop the class and take it again the next semester.  Why lose the money and damage my GPA?  He felt that my chances of recovery to make a passing grade were extremely low at best.  I listened respectfully to what he said and nodded in what may have seemed like agreement.  I walked out of his office and the only thing on my mind was, “He has no clue who he’s dealing with.”

I wasn’t angry.  It was a fact.  I had lost 100 pounds after enduring years of teasing.  I was well accustomed to beating odds.  Accustomed to imposing my will on a problem.

In my experience, the change we desire is most often about will.  All the strategies in the world won’t help someone who has not decided that change is a must.  Conversely, all the statistical unlikelihood’s and unforeseen barriers in the world can’t stop someone who is doggedly determined to achieve what they desire.

I studied harder than I ever had and I ended up passing the class with a high B.  When I went to get my final assignment from that same professor, he took a moment to look through my grades before giving me my final grade.  The look on his face was priceless.  He said, “Wow!  You had to make up a huge deficit to do as well as you’ve done!  Good Work!”

I said, “Thank You.”  I nodded in agreement.  In my head I thought, “Damn Right!”


Listen to the latest Podcast to go deeper into this story.  If you’ve got teenagers or 20 somethings, this might be a good one for you both to listen to.

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