Monday, February 24, 2014

Try again: Mama AnnMaria's Second Best Advice to Young People

Recently, I posted my best advice to young people, which boils down to "work harder than you think is reasonable and never, never, never give up".

My lovely daughter, Julia, often complains to me that I expect her to study more than most people. My answer is that if she wants to have a better life than most people she is going to have to work harder than most people. This is a continuing saga. Stay tuned for the next 6-8 years to see how it plays out.

The never, never give up part is super-important.

Thanks to Brad Slater, William Morris Entertainment, for the photo

I've had every reason in my life to give up. I tore my ligaments and cartilage in my knee when I was a teenager - back in the day before orthoscopes, ACL repair or knee replacement. I lived in a small town in the Midwest hundreds of miles from the nearest well-known judo instructors. So, I had focused on mat work and conditioning. It was what I could do with what I had at the time. Then, when the opportunity was there, I went to Japan as a foreign exchange student. I came back to the U.S. and lost the national championships. Then, I came back the next year and won.

There are people who believe that if you don't get into Harvard, Yale or some other Ivy League school that your path in life is going to be a dead-end. You're wrong. Sure, the old school tie will get you some interviews, and maybe venture capital, that other people don't get. In our case, my company has been very successful obtaining grant funding. There are other ways.

Don't give up doesn't mean to keep banging your head against a wall. In that case, maybe you should consider climbing over the wall, going around it or tunneling under.

For example, Ronda thought she would go to the Olympics in swimming when she was a little kid. After swimming competitively for five years, she got bored with it and started judo. She went to two Olympics and a world championships, and though she got silver and bronze, she did not win the gold. However, it wasn't what she wanted any more and instead of going for a third Olympics, she made the switch to mixed martial arts.

There is a difference between giving up and changing goals. In one, you stop and sit in the road and in the other, you keep going forward, but in a different direction.

For a good example of this, you can read a post I wrote about Justin Flores on the day he married Shirley.

You don't give up on your dreams, but sometimes you find a different dream.

Other times, you decide that today is not the day. My husband died when I had three young children, so it wasn't really feasible to start a company writing educational games. A lot of my professional and personal goals were delayed while I took care of other priorities, but I kept learning new programming languages, developing more skills until I was in a position to start another company, to write a book. I never gave up, and I really wasn't unhappy, because I knew that eventually, I would do those things if I kept working towards those goals. In the words of Mary Anne Radmacher.

“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.” 
-------------------Shameless Plugs --------------------

You can buy our beta version of Spirit Lake:The Game for $9.99 now and receive the update in May for no extra cost. 

Jim Pedro, Sr and I wrote a book on mat work. It's good! You can buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Black Belt


Jen Kerford said...

You're like the Mum I've always wanted! :) Between yourself and Ronda my life has turned right around and I'm back chasing my dreams again. I can't thank you both enough for sharing your passions and experiences with the world. xx

Sylver said...

That's one great quote!

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Thanks for the kind words, Jen. Glad things are going well for you.

Rick Matz said...

I'm so glad to have discovered your blog. I will be a frequent visitor.

Keep up the great writing!