Never learn just enough

September is here and autumn has begun. I imagine that most of you are now fully immersed in your studies and giving it your best shot to learn as much as you can. What is your attitude toward learning? Are you willing to go the distance and earn that diploma or that degree in a specific discipline? Are you doing everything you can to reach your full potential and become successful? Remember, the sweetest victory is the one that’s most difficult. Dig deeper so in the end you can echo the words of St. Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:6-7).

Being successful isn’t going to be easy, and it shouldn’t be! There will be times of failure. It’s these failures that not only bring about success, but also are good for success! Have you noticed that society doesn’t reward failure? How you look at failure is how you deal with fixing it. Take for example, Thomas Edison, whose most popular invention was the light bulb. It’s said that it took him a thousand tries before he got it right. A reporter once asked him, “How did it feel to fail a thousand times?” “I didn’t fail a thousand times,” Edison responded. “The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Thomas Edison didn’t avoid the prospect of failure because he knew he could learn something new from each failure. Just enough wasn’t good enough. Yet, some of us avoid failure altogether. Don’t get me wrong. Everything we say and do should be well thought out before saying it or doing it. This minimizes risks, mistakes and failures. But on the other hand, be open to these failures by looking at them as life’s greatest teacher. If you’re willing to learn from your mistakes and failures then you have a powerful tool in reaching your goals.

To achieve your personal best you can’t fear failing. This will help you push yourself forward. John C. Maxwell, a writer and speaker, says in his book “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success,” “To achieve any worthy goal you must take risks.” He points to the example of aviator Amelia Earhart, who set several records and achieved many firsts in her lifetime, including being the first female pilot to fly solo over the Atlantic Ocean. Although her final flight proved fateful, Maxwell believes she knew the risk — and that the potential reward was worth it. Earhart once offered advice when it came to risk: “Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.” Of course, the risks you take should be calculated; you shouldn’t fly blindly into the night and simply hope for the best. Achieving the goal or at least waging a heroic effort requires preparation, practice and some awareness of your skills and talents. 

We cannot know everything there is to know — no one can. Recognize this about yourself because it shows that you have the gift of humility. And this alone is reason to keep learning, not just enough, but as much as you can. Make it a lifelong journey, adventure and a personal goal. Take risks. Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t worry about how you will save the world on your own. Rather, allow yourself to trust another person to build a deeper relationship and together work to do your part in making the world a better place. What you don’t want to do is be complacent. Never think someone else will do it. You have the potential and the talent, so take it upon yourself. You don’t have to know everything nor do you always have to be successful. 

Blessed Mother Teresa once said, “God doesn’t require us to be successful. God asks us only to be faithful.” Be true to yourself. Know what you can and cannot do. What you can do, do it well, always finding ways of doing it better. What you cannot do, learn how to do it. Your mind is waiting for you to expand it and make it the beautiful gift God created it to be. Never think just enough. Never do just enough. Never learn just enough. Live to fulfill your life. Love to fulfill God’s will. Learn to fill your mind! 

Oh! And don’t forget to pray. There’s never enough of this! God bless!

Anchor columnist Ozzie Pacheco is Faith Formation director at Santo Christo Parish, Fall River.

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