I have (kind of):
After I graduated university and pursued a legal career, I was unsuccessful not once, or twice, BUT three times! On my final attempt, I quit my job within 12 days of working as a Paralegal at a slightly above average Law firm.
However, this isn’t going to be a sob story about the little boy who has “always dreamt” of becoming a lawyer who then quickly discovered that he wasn’t good enough and had to overcome immense adversities and is now earning £100Gazillion per hour at a different ‘prestigious’ occupation due to sheer hard work, dedication and determination because quite frankly, my black ass is still broke (but give me some time *winks*).
I figured the least I could do is share the lessons I learned from my experience in the hope of helping someone avoid certain pitfalls of life, and so, my objective today is to provide 5 key points that I’ve come to learn on my journey of becoming a successful legal drop out.
#1. “Fuck your dreams”
Lenard McKelvey aka Charlamagne was the first person I heard said “fuck your dreams if they’re not yours” and, I definitely agree. Everybody needs to hear this humbling statement at least three times during their lifetime especially when they are pursuing “their” ambition. Let me explain:
Most of us are controlled by the dreams of others.
Let’s be honest: how many of us are actually pursuing our “dreams” simply because it’s what we truly desire?
How many of us even know what our “dreams” are? Some might be chasing a certain ambition as a result of a herd mentality, that is, simply because everybody else is doing it.
Ask yourself: are you making informed decisions rooted in sound judgement? Or are you simply following instructions from someone else who is adamant that they know what’s best for you? Or are you just trying to convince yourself, that you truly desire something like I did when I was 17 years old lying to myself that, “I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer” when deep down, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life but I went ahead with it anyway because I didn’t want to bring shame to my parents.
Fuck your dreams if they’re not yours!
You need to start questioning why you’re doing certain things. I encourage you to interrogate yourself. Challenge your own thoughts and motives. Figure out your “reason why…” and, above all, you need to start living rather than simply existing.
#2. Define success before you spend your entire life chasing it
The massive conundrum is that we all have an idea of what “success” is but, at the same time, we don’t.
We live in a society that loves to impose its own superficial definitions on us and, we are constantly bombarded with what “success is” or should look like.
However, ‘success’ is quite subjective and varies from person to person, doesn’t it?
The problem is if you don’t define what it means to YOU from the outset, you can rest assured that all of your accomplishments will leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled, regardless of how great they are.
Look at it this way: how do you know you’ve arrived at a destination when you never set one in the first place?
I’ve concluded that the key to living a progressive and fulfilled life is to set a goal, accomplish it, set more goals, accomplish those too, and then keep the cycle going. This is my own definition of success, that is, getting from point A to B then repeating it as many times as possible.
#3. Stop chasing “dreams” and start creating life visions
These two may seem synonymous at first but they are very different. Trust me. (It’s also related to #2 above).
Without being condescending, here’s how I view the two:
For me, ‘dreams’ seems quite passive, celestial, and somewhat unattainable whereas, a vision is more goal oriented and allows room for strategic planning and execution. This is what brings success.
How many times have you heard people utter these two deadly words “I wish I…”?
“I wish” is too passive for my liking. It’s an aspiration killer. Imagine saying “I am going to________ [*insert delusional ambition here*]” instead of “I wish…” Which one sounds more powerful?
When it comes to creating a vision, you are a very powerful variable because you are able to dictate, create and change the state of play:
You can construct a roadmap to your destination.
You can plan even the smallest detail and by referring to your roadmap, you have no choice but to remain focused. This is what the gatekeepers refer to as a ‘tunnel vision’. And, with your plan of action, you can consciously assess the “worst case scenario”- something worth doing to help you determine if the journey is even worth embarking on in the first place or if it would be a waste of time.
“A goal without action is just a dream.”
I am going to have 10,000 web visitors per day and I am willing to do what it takes to make it happen. Watch this space!
It’s about time you created some life visions as well Wouldn’t you agree?
#4. Hard work and ‘success’ CAN be mutually exclusive
I recall devoting numerous amount of hours to a piece of coursework when I was in Law School only to achieve 42%. (40% was the pass mark.)
I recall studying for 8 hours a day in private, a few months before sitting my Land Law examination. I was religiously working my ass off only to get an exceptionally average grade (52%)
I recall having to undertake unpaid work at a Law Firm in the hope of securing a permanent position due to the competitive market.
I also recall having to take the bus as well as a train journey just to arrive at work as early as 5.a.m for a job I was grossly underpaid for. I eventually abandoned working in law because it wasn’t a career that I actually desired. I basically stumbled into it because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, although I still have no regrets.
I say all that to say this: I’m no stranger to hard work but, evidently, my “hard work” was not rewarded with the level of “success” I may have anticipated.
However, all of these things helped me to develop a tougher skin and, taught me that sometimes, hard work does not automatically equate to success (whatever that may mean to you).
Don’t misunderstand me though: I am not advocating that you shouldn’t work hard. Instead, I want you to be prepared for those moments when your hard work will not manifest the result you had expected and you need to be okay with this. In those moments, you should know when to move on and take a few lessons from the experience rather than beat yourself up or begin to complain about how unfair the world is because truthfully…nobody cares about your problems and life is full of those! How you choose to deal with your problems is what matters the most #MentalToughness
(Between me and you, life is a combination of things: luck, timing, hard work, and being smart).
I want you to set a goal, strive to attain it, you might be successful OR you might FAIL miserably. It doesn’t even matter because it’s all part of the process of being a human being. Get used to it. However, while it’s perfectly fine for you to have a vision, irrespective of how delusional it may be, just don’t forget to deal with your reality!
#5. Never confuse motion for progress
I simply cannot stress how crucial this final point is!
Building on from #4 above, remember how I stated that I was studying for 8 hours a day in secret for my Land Law examination? To the outside world, this may look proactive, but in reality, I was actually wasting my time because I was studying WRONG:
I was atrocious at taking lecture notes and even worse at preparing for written examinations.
I didn’t complete enough mock tests and critically speaking, I just hadn’t sufficiently cultivated great habits to pass this examination. Nonetheless, I would have looked like the hardest working student in the room with the number of hours I was putting in!
I highlight the above because I want you to know that simply because you’re ‘taking action’ does not make it the right course of action. (Read this again one more time!)
If you’re overweight and wants to change this, you won’t see much progress if all you do is weight training. Granted, you’re in the gym lifting weights, which may seem proactive (motion), but the truth remains that you won’t achieve your weight loss goal unless you reduced your calorific intake while increasing your cardiovascular activity in order to burn your body fat.
The bottom line
Never confuse motion for progress because it’s possible to travel in the wrong direction!
Simply because you’re “moving forward” does not mean you’re moving in the right direction. Take care.
Well, there you have it folks. These are some lessons that I’ve learnt over the years and I strongly believe that they will still be relevant in 10, 20 or 500 years to come.
Don’t you agree?
Don’t forget where you found this article and remember to like, comment and share it! #BeSafeTho619