Tomorrow, I am visiting my alma mater, Grace Christian College, to talk to high school students for the Dedication Day celebration. I was requested to share my testimony and to encourage them to love God more.
After much consideration and devotion, I have decided to share three major major myths and major major truths which I would like to hear if I placed myself in their shoes. It is my prayer that the students will truly learn from my sharing.
Myths are strong mental models, beliefs or assumptions that determines our conscious and unconscious actions. The myths we hold are powerful in that they serve as decision filters whether we know it or not. If we are not careful, myths may hinder us from reaching our full potential.
Major Major Myth #1: “I am too young. I lack experience.”
Major Major Truth: 1: “I am a child of God. I can do all things.”
Many young people falsely assume that they are not experienced enough to achieve something great. Indeed, it is valuable to respect and honor our elders. It is, likewise, valuable to learn from the wisdom of the experienced. Youth, however, is not an excuse for idleness or false humility.
When I started my career in education at aged 19, I was the youngest member of the faculty in De La Salle University’s Psychology department. I initially felt inept beside professors with doctoral degrees. Still, I did not let my youth stop me from teaching one of the most difficult courses–Biological Psychology. Yes, brain dissections, baby! I also taught challenging pre-requisite or foundation courses such as Elementary Statistics and General Psychology. I always got “Very Satisfactory to Excellent” ratings from my students. So what if I am the youngest? I can still be one of the best.
The Bible supports this truth. In 1 Timothy 4:12, it says “Don’t Â let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (NIV)
The youth are powerful and blessed. Let no one stop them from achieving great things for the Lord.
Myth #2: “Success is predestined. It is only for lucky people.”
Truth #2: “Success is the Lord’s intention for me.”
In the bestseller Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, he discussed the “10,000 hour” rule. This rule maintains that experts and successful people in various fields got there because they had put in 10,000 hours in whatever endeavor they specialized in. Gladwell’s examples included The Beatles and Bill Gates. My examples include Super Junior, SHINee and Rain. =) Kidding aside, becoming successful is not a matter of luck. It is a matter of hard work, divine favor and opportunity. Some people say that opportunity does not come to them but to them I say “Then create one!”
After about a year of teaching in DLSU, I got an opportunity to work for De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) as an Assistant Research Coordinator. The 10,000 hours that the Beatles put into practicing music and Bill Gates put into programming, I put into statistical analysis and research. Look where that got me. 😉
The Lord values and rewards sincere labor. In Colossians 3:23, it says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (NIV)
Myth #3: “I failed once, I’ll probably fail again.”
Truth #3: “I might fail but so what?! Failure is one of the best teachers. I choose to fail forward.” (See, I corrected the spelling! The students who heard my sharing will understand this quip.)
During my student days at GCHS, I was not an ideal student. In fact, I often played hooky in elementary. Even if I graduated first in my class in high school, I was actually at the tail of my sixth grade graduating class. I also had to repeat a Chinese grade level twice. Surprised? It is true. Check my records. Student Number 813133 Family Number 3983. (Hahaha!)
A change in perspective altered a lot of things. When I entered high school, all the students were mixed and I took this as an opportunity to change my ways and my poor academic reputation. I started to put effort on my studies and was pleasantly surprised to receive third honors during the first grading period of high school. I never lost the confidence I gained from that experience.
Failure is part of life but it does not define us. Error analysis and personal reflection are the best ways to learn. We learn best from our mistakes and when we look back to reflect on our actions. The good news is the Lord gives us the opportunity to live fresh everyday. As it says in Lamentations 3:22-23 “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great is your faithfulness!” (The Message Bible)
What I am really trying to say may be summarized in these three words:
Evangelize. Excel. Educate.
Evangelize through your life. Achieve success through hard work and excellence. Educate others through unselfish sharing of your experiences even those that may make you look foolish.
and oh…let’s not forget another E–Â Enjoy!