Guest columnist Sidney Williams is a student in Mountain View College’s Criminal Justice program.
By Sidney Williams
I can, I am, I will.
Success is something that I feel you have to attract. My one rule, or, should I say, request, is to give up striving to be perfect and just be authentic. I feel that if you have a vision to succeed, then success is possible. If you’re going to succeed, you must be able to give up on the cause of being perfect and state that you’re ready to be authentic. I believe that most of us are at a place in our life where we are typically trying to emulate authentic values or principles.
I feel that the change in my life first occurred when I began to release the defeating aspects of life based on the burdens I held in my past. I felt that I didn’t have sources to channel exactly what I had wanted in a quality of life based on the outcomes and obstacles that faced an individual like me. Lacking education and the mental and physical aspects to succeed was disabling. I had allowed thoughts and opinions on the quality of life and many situations to follow me.
I feel most of us are at a place in our lives where we could be either victims or creators. I remember times when I would be trying to just get through the day. I was so depressed that I would just pass my day in bed, not wanting to approach the day and everything that came with the alarm clock.
Until one morning, everything changed for me.
I took the advice of a sergeant in the Army. He said, “When I feel down, I go for a run. It clears my mind, and I become motivated.”
I was disordered — physically, intellectually, mentally, emotionally and spiritually — until one morning I laced up my shoes and grabbed my iPod. Although I wasn’t a runner, I approached the situation because I was desperate.
I was listening to a track from a motivational speaker. It’s not that I hadn’t heard the speech before — I had heard it several times. The speaker said that your level of successes will seldom exceed your level of personal development. And I went from a brisk jog to a walk … to just turning around towards the house. Because it had finally hit me like a tidal wave of reality. I realized what had been holding me back, what was causing all my depression and situations: I hadn’t been developing myself to be at the level that I needed to be to attract, create and sustain the level of success that I wanted.
We all strive for the level of 10 for our success rate on a scale of 1 to 10. I wanted my level of success to be 10, but my level of personal development was at 2, maybe 3 or 4 on my good days. However, if it were at 3 or 4, it was going to be a constant struggle. So we can all see the disconnect.
I ran back to the house with the decision that personal development would be part of my daily life.
So I had to make a commitment. I had to grow.
I pulled out my planner and looked at my schedule, and I told myself that late at night was certainly out of the question. I looked at the morning schedule and said that I’m not a morning person. I’m already getting up at 6 a.m. because I had to, not by choice. The idea of getting up at 5 a.m. for developmental reconditioning seemed ludicrous, impossible.
But, then I remembered what one of my mentors had said: “If you want your life to be different, then you have to be willing to do something different first.” I was like, “Dang it, he’s right.”
And so, reluctantly, I wrote it in my schedule: personal development, 5 a.m.
When I did that, something seemed to happen. I pulled out a piece of paper and started writing out what I would do in the morning. I began to write all the best personal developmental, life-changing activities that I had learned throughout the years but had failed to implement. I wrote down ideas like journaling, meditation, affirmation, visualization, reading, exercising — the things that I had been told would change my life.
I finally got to try my new routine. The morning was here.
Once 6 a.m. rolled along, I realized that with the decision to interact with my many obstacles and roadblocks, and the need of an education to brighten my future, this new understanding and clarity allowed me to make a plan and change situations and their outcome. I was able to set aside mitigating circumstances that were in my way.
I feel that everyone is a creator; it’s just that they need to place a value and an expectation to achieve the most they possibly can by setting realistic goals and having the motivation to triumph when life has placed roadblocks on their journey to success.
I was once asked why I was pursuing a career in criminal justice and correction when all it was is a piece of paper. However, it’s more than just a sheet of paper to me. It’s gaining the experience to overcome obstacles and set boundaries. I believe that my education/experience in the criminal justice and correction field is merely the tip of the iceberg for many to excel at what they feel is a way to accomplish what they put their minds to.
Despite my many failures in life, it’s not an option for me or anyone around me to quit now; it’s only to achieve. It’s with the awareness of a brighter tomorrow and the quality of life that I seek and that, hopefully, is reached by everyone around me in my education and that I meet.
I was once off course but have found new ways to be creative and not the victim … being able to make a difference in someone’s life … and staying on course in order to reach my own desired outcome in life.
And that is why I chose the Criminal Justice program at Mountain View College as my degree program.