I Got This Far Without You

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Don’t you just love those people who were nowhere to be found when you were down and out but suddenly appear out of the woodworks with all their fanciful ideas, opinions and advice when you start to make some breakthrough? Better still, you will come across those people who are ready and eager to tell you that your dreams are unattainable and your goals unrealistic – not fully grasping the fact that you making it this far is a miracle by itself. Then it starts to become laughable when they take offence to the fact that you respectfully but firmly decline any so called ‘help’ or ‘support’ that they are claiming to offer. As far as I am concerned, if you weren’t there during my struggle, you have no business sharing in my success. If you have never had the courage to do the impossible, you have no business advising me about doing what has never been done before. Lastly, if you don’t believe in what I hope to achieve, use that energy to park your derriere on the sidelines instead of trying to convince me that I will fail. If you’ve decided that you will succeed in your endeavours then all that remains is hanging in there long enough to survive the roadblocks and delays that will inevitably mark your journey – that includes people and circumstances alike.

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You Underestimate Your Power

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure……..” Marianne Williamson

Too many of us do not go beyond the benchmark of ‘having potential’. Truth is, we can possess all the potential and embody all the promises of success but it is up to us to translate that potential into full self-actualization. It is up to us to translate that raw passion into pure power. Some believe that the biggest crime is not knowing love. I believe that the biggest loss is not knowing what you could have become.

 

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I Saw It Long Before I Had It

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Where I am today wasn’t where I thought I’d be some years ago and yet my mind still runs wild with possibilities, with expectations and with dreams. Everyone has their own idea of what success looks like and what seems to be a ‘given’ for some may be a miracle for others. What was the norm for you may have taken blood, sweat and tears to achieve for me. Either way, what encourages me is the fact that my subconscious and my dreams remain a constant reminder that there is still work to be done. The difference now is that instead of rushing to the finale, I’ve now learnt to enjoy the ride!

 

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The System Was Built To Keep Us In Debt – Part 2

Student Loans

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It wasn’t too long ago that I graduated from university and whilst I appreciate the excellent work that most lecturers do and that my alma mater was stellar in what it provided to its students, the fact still remains that going to university doesn’t guarantee a bright future.  As a matter of fact, it is criminal how so many jobs demand that you have the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree when that is never enough for you to find an entry level job in your field. Therefore, you are faced with the prospect of either racking up even more debt in order to secure your Masters or working in jobs that could be acquired with a high school diploma. It is also unfair that after 3 – 4 years of arduous studying (for those that even bothered to study hard), in exchange for the piece of paper that validates that we are degree-holders, we are awarded with a debt so big that it’s enough to initiate a start-up business. However, the most cruel joke of all is the fact that many before and after us have proven that you don’t need a degree to be extremely successful. All you need is a dream, what you nurture is your talent and combine that with the tenacity to fight through failures, the will to not concede defeat and some business acumen and you can actually earn thousands in income rather than generate the same in student debt. People may read this and think that only prodigies or the obviously talented are the ones that have such success stories. This is not the case. The problem is that very few care to discover their true potential, let alone be brave enough to tap into it to the extent that it becomes an avenue for income. In this article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1301921/Weve-gone-degree-Why-university-longer-passport-success.html there is a celebrity journalist who started to earn £18k only four months after taking a ten-week course in Journalism. There is also a 20-year old mentioned who is currently earning £22k although he only has a diploma in business and an A level in English. These and all the other stories appear to be modest cases of success in comparison to the likes of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg who are currently earning billions despite being university/college drop-outs. However, what both stories have in common are that NONE of these individuals have student debt.

Is University A Con?

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Considering the number of people who find jobs that are completely unrelated to their degree or find themselves in odd, random jobs after university, it begs the question as to whether or not going to university is just an over-rehearsed rhetoric? If you ask a child what they’d like to be in the future, the answer will most likely be ‘lawyer’ or ‘doctor’. This way of thinking is not only unimaginative but it also ignores the fact that everyone is NOT academically inclined and there are other ways of being a success without having half the emotional and work-related grief of lawyers and doctors. Studying at university is a very expensive undertaking. The debt acquired afterwards doesn’t justify the often humiliating experience of scrambling for jobs which are always in short supply. Furthermore, it is too expensive a gamble to go to university in the hopes that you will eventually discover what you really want to do career-wise. It would be cheaper to go to a palm reader. However, with that being said, the system has been rigged to feed this vicious cycle of debt. Too many jobs are insisting that they want candidates with degrees which feeds into the whole idea that a degree is essential. There are many ways to acquire the relevant skills and experience in your field and since the constant slap in the face for recent graduates is that experience is required for the jobs they seek, then why isn’t the emphasis on this instead? Why isn’t the educational system programmed that if you want to learn a language, instead of labouring for hours in the classroom, you just spend all your semesters in the host country? Why aren’t there more apprenticeships, internships and vocational qualifications that are not only on par with university degrees but can substitute them in every career field? Why should you acquire so much debt from a government who ultimately expects you to reinvest your skills, talents and knowledge back into your country? A degree isn’t proof that a graduate has the common sense, intuitiveness or resourcefulness to do the job. At the very least, all it proves is that they can read and regurgitate what they’ve been taught. Therefore, for university students not engaged in technical fields, why don’t they have the option of doing all the relevant reading from home, each semester, and just show up to the exams on campus when required? Going to university works out brilliantly for those who can actually put their degree to good use. However, for those who don’t?

Big Business For The Government

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Regardless of what happens, one thing remains certain and that’s the fact that the government will always stand to benefit. Here is a very interesting and comprehensive article about the ins and outs of the student loans scheme in the UK (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n05/andrew-mcgettigan/cash-today). In effect, students will bear the brunt of the financial catastrophe caused by greedy bankers through their liability to pay back student loans with interest. The government will attempt to repackage and sell these loans to third parties in exchange for ready cash (so that they can cover their current national debt) while the third parties will profit from the interest students pay. Have a look at the extracts below:

After the election, the coalition awarded the contract for the feasibility study to Rothschild. The higher education White Paper published in summer 2011 stated that the ‘full range of options’ would be considered, ‘including retaining the loans on the government’s books, selling them outright to financial investors, or selling loans to one or more regulated companies set up to manage the loans.’……. The main aims of a sale, from the government’s perspective, were to reduce its exposure to the risk of non-repayment, and to lower national debt.

We were told that the value for money of a sale would depend on a comparison of how much purchasers are willing to pay against an estimate of what the loans are worth……..

Higher education is devolved in the UK. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills is responsible only for English universities and colleges. The administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have different policies on tuition fees. Scotland, for example, charges no fees to Scottish or EU students: those from the rest of the UK are charged £9000.

The figure put on the national debt is obtained by adding up the nation’s liabilities – money owed – and subtracting the value of the assets owned. The net amount is ‘public sector net debt’. The government borrows to create student loans, but the loan is an asset…….

Here is another article which speaks to the effects of student loans on American students (http://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/15/the-high-economic-and-social-costs-of-student-loan-debt.html) with the following extracts:

Men and women laboring under student debt “are postponing marriage, childbearing and home purchases, and…pretty evidently limiting the percentage of young people who start a business or try to do something entrepreneurial,” said Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University and the former Republican governor of Indiana. “Every citizen and taxpayer should be concerned about it.

You wind up disadvantaged just as you begin. It has reduced the ability of our educational system to be a force for upward mobility, and for an equitable chance at upward mobility,” said Melinda Lewis, associate professor of the practice at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. “It is still true that you are better positioned if you go to college, but you are not as much better positioned if you have to go to college with debt.

There is also the matter of “credentialism,” the trend in many professions to screen for ever higher qualifications for jobs that may not require them. A 2014 study by Burning Glass, a labor analytics firm, found that 42 percent of management job holders had bachelor’s degrees, but 68 percent of job postings required them. In computer and mathematical jobs, 39 percent of employees had bachelor’s degrees, but 60 percent of job listings called for them.

Studying at university has become a commodity. While we rack up debt under the notion that our studies will somehow create a brighter future, the powers that be use our debt for either financial leverage or profit.

 Look out for the third and final part of this discussion. Don’t forget to share your views, give feedback or leave a comment.



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Why Should You Apologise for Doing Well?

Haters

The more ambitious, driven and industrious among us know the hard work, pain and disillusionment that come with the territory of being successful. You fight to keep your vision and dreams alive in the face of setbacks, doubts, ridicule and criticism. You fight to not let your drive and ambition be at the detriment of the things and people you hold dearest. You fight to keep your integrity and moral fiber intact while painfully clawing your way to the top. You fight to prove your naysayers wrong and your gut instincts right and you fight to ultimately realise your true potential. All this fighting truly makes you your own life’s version of Rocky Balboa and, like him, you eventually get to reap the rewards. However, what you are never prepared for is the hate, envy and jealousy that accompany your ascension to the top. How do you fight against people’s negative perception of you especially when you’re the last to know that you’re being vilified? How do you convince others that your enjoyment of the fruits of your labour is being misconstrued for pomp and conceitedness? Why has your struggle to the top attracted so many enemies when all you needed was a friend? Why should you even care about any of this?

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Well there’s one thing I know for sure, no one has the ability to completely block out the hate, vitriol and envy that they encounter. Even a strong and formidable character is not hermetically sealed off or immune from such sustained attacks. So we just have to find a way to cope. Now there are two coping mechanisms that are usually employed – humility before all or complete disassociation from some.

HUMILITY

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Humility seems prudent, doesn’t it? We have all those quotes: ‘Don’t burn your bridges’, ‘A great man is always willing to be little’, ‘Pride cometh before a fall’, ‘You must eat humble pie’ etc. which try and reinforce this concept. Furthermore, given the fact that too many of today’s rich and famous seem to exemplify avarice, selfishness and arrogance, it would be nice to see them more appreciative and humbled, especially given the fact that after reaching the top, there is only one way to go and that’s down. I actually agree more with this approach because you are prevented from harming and abusing the very people who stood as your backbone when you were at your worst. The only problem is that humility and success are an oxymoron. Humility is really having a modest or low view of your own importance. Unfortunately, this attribute is the greatest hindrance to being successful. Furthermore, malicious people will use this concept as a weapon to subdue your efforts and stifle your dreams. Success demands complete faith in oneself, an indomitable will, raw passion, fierce determination, a competitive disposition and the burning desire to do better. So how do you suppress all of that once you get to that place of accomplishment? Understandably, you should come humbly to those who have been your most fervent supporters but why should you also prostrate yourself humbly before those who only had ill-intent towards you?

COMPLETE DISASSOCIATION FROM SOME

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This brings me to the other approach which is ‘complete disassociation from some’. The idea of brutally and confidently cutting away all the naysayers, dream-blockers, idea crushers, mockers and sneering idiots from the fabric of your life is extremely appealing. After all, you already have your own doubts and demons to contend with so why add third-party negativity to it? I really love the idea of this except that this approach would evolve from ‘complete disassociation from some’ to ‘complete disassociation from all’. That’s because in your rise to success, some friends become enemies and, surprisingly, enemies can become friends (sometimes very loyal too). So if you completely disassociated yourself from your purported ‘enemies’ at the start and cut off all ties with those friends who have been relegated to the ranks of ‘unfaithful swines’, you would be left with no one. The worst thing to being a success is having no one to genuinely share it with. That makes life a very lonely place.

SO WHERE DO WE STAND?

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The fact is that both mechanisms are highly effective. In life you learn that with every habit – there’s a norm, with every norm – a rule and every rule has an exception. This is no different. You will need to be humble enough so that you are able to accept correction along the way; form and maintain sustainable relationships with people who will aid in your success and maintain a quiet and respectable dignity about the whole affair (especially when you’ve accomplished your goals) so that you don’t unnecessarily create enemies among people you have come to call friends. As for those that are wholly incorrigible, who despite your best efforts just can’t help but despise, vilify and hate you for your progress, by all means – cut them off and cut them off completely. I do not subscribe to playing the sacrificial lamb to people’s cruel nature especially if I’ve already survived my own baptism of fire. You should not have to apologise for doing well. Why should you? Realising your potential is the least you can do with the talent you were blessed with and the short life span we were all cursed with. Know when to exercise humility, be smart about who you surround yourself with but NEVER apologise for doing well.



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What Recession?

It seems like the recession represents the age old adage that ‘misery loves company’ since it has surely dragged most of us into the abyss of uncertainty, worry and even frustration.  I am sick and tired of working so hard and dedicating so much time and effort to my job, university and every other aspect of this wretched life only to have months and years of hardwork destroyed within minutes by the avaricious and wealthy elite.  But I will not waste my time on a reality that I can hardly change, I can only control how I will approach the future henceforth and I will start by taking it one step at a time 😉

Christmas is approaching and I am broke.  As a full-time student job hunting I have had my fair share of disappointments and headaches due to failed interviews, unanswered emails and ignored CVs.  The government has voted for a raise in University fees, I have an exam approaching that I have barely managed to study for and I have already exceeded my overdraft.  What is my response to all this?  I’ll let you know when I can think of one lol.

The thing about this life is that things tend to happen when you least expect it; things take a turn for the better when you stop worrying about it; you tend to find things that you’ve lost when you stop looking for it and ultimately however tough and rocky the road may be, fate doesn’t tend to cast a blind eye on a hardworker.  I will always cherish my mum for her wisdom when she said to me that life is like a wheel that is constantly turning.  Each spoke has someone’s name written on it and with every rotation, however small, that someone will receive a breakthrough.  When I first heard it I thought to myself, ‘well whatever makes you sleep at nights’…..pretty much the same way that people say that it’s the ugly ones that insist that beauty is on the inside.  But on the contrary, there is some truth to what my mother said.

Regardless of what happens I know that the race is not for the swift but who can endure.  I can’t say that I was built to win but I sure as hell know that I was built to fight and that’s exactly what I intend to do.  In the end when I am sitting around that dinner table with my family and friends, singing christmas carols, opening gifts and reflecting on the good times this year…….I will look back at all of this and think ‘What recession?’

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