The Path to Outstanding_Part II

Between the three of us, our war cry was, "D for Diploma."

Aspiring to get a D in a class sounds like a distorted way to describe a path to Outstanding.  I suppose the path to Outstanding isn't always straight or predictable.

During my Chemical Engineering curriculum, I didn't like any of my Physics classes.  I was smart but I just couldn't grasp or visualize the concepts of applied calculus.  Physics 251 was my last Physics requirement.  Professor Klontz.  In class, I understood each English word spoken, but when the Professor put them in sentences, the meaning was entirely lost on me.  Oh yea, throw in a few Greek symbols and my head spun. In the evenings, I pored over the textbook, reading each chapter four or five times.  Not much help.  I studied for tests and quizzes, grasping for just one concept to save me.

The final exam came around.  Me and two classmates were in the exact same predicament.  25%.  That's all each of us needed to get a "D" in Physics 251.  That's when the war cry started.  "D for Diploma."  We studied as if we were reading a text written in Greek.  I guess some literally WAS in Greek. 

I remember distinctly sitting down at the final.  5 test questions.  I read the first and decided I couldn't start there.  Question #2.  No idea how to start.  And continued through the remaining three questions.  Not even a hint on how to start any of them.  I look at the clock.  55 minutes left.  Sweat beads emerge as if I had just finished running a race.

Back to page 1.  The next 50 minutes is a blur.  I write concepts from the book, not knowing if they apply or not.  I throw up concepts and formulas like a crazy man.

The bell rings and we turn in our tests.

I have NO IDEA if I achieved the 25% needed for my D.  As I walk out the building, the thought of re-taking Physics 251 gnarls my stomach into a ball.  I turn and look at the Physics building, hoping this was the last time ever I enter the building. 

A week passes.  Grades Posted. 

                         Patrick Mosher    25%

I achieved my D and my path to my engineering diploma is intact!

I was a straight A student all through high school.  Graduated #6 in my class of 285.  Physics 251 was the first time in my life when brute force of studying hard didn't save me. 

So, why is this a critical step on the path to Outstanding?

Because I learned how to stick it out.  Following many other students, I could've given up and walked out of Physics 251 and declared a new major. 

I did not.

Physics 251 taught me something much more valuable than physics.  It taught me Tenacity.  Resolve.  Resilience.  It taught me how to sit in COMPLETE and utter ambiguity with CONFIDENCE that there was a path. 

In 28.5 years of consulting, I never faced a problem that couldn't be resolved somehow.  No problem greater than looking at 5 problems I had no idea how to BEGIN solving.

My Path to Outstanding was accelerated by learning where the boundary of failure lies….and delivering exactly what was needed in that moment.

Think about a failure in your life.  We all have them.  Those failures or near failures are tests.  Tests of our resolve and confidence.  If you examine those failures, there's GOLD there.  Wisdom Gems just waiting to be mined.

Learn Deeply, my friend!


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