It seems as though it is almost a daily occurrence to hear or read something about the coming of the millennial generation and what it might mean to the generations who came before them.
Over the next three weeks, I have asked the three newest members of the OptiFuse team, to draft a blog relating their experiences of being a member of the millennial generation and what success means to them.
Our first millennial Blogger is Evyn Hewett, a recent graduate of San Diego State University.
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Your attitude determines your altitude
~ Zig Zigler
I have been drawing and painting since I was a child.
I always enjoyed taking an idea, combining it with some creativity, and turning it into an image on a piece of paper/canvas. After 20 years of drawing, I’d like to think I’ve become fairly good at it. But by no means was I the most talented kid when I was in grade school.
Often you hear people speak about raw talent and how some were just born with it. This type of thinking dates all the way back to ancient mythology. Masters of their crafts were rumored to have "gifts from the Gods." You see this type of thinking especially with drawing.
When I first began my quest to become an artist, I recall thinking, "I can’t do this... all I can draw is a stick figure!"
I wondered how people could possibly draw an exact portrait of an actual person. All the minor details made it seem impossible to emulate. But I was passionate about learning the craft.
I remember fondly that while still in elementary school, I literally begged my parents to take me to the art supply store so we could buy step-by-step drawing books.
Fortunately for me, my parents saw the passion I showed early on for art and not only took me to the art store but enrolled me in an afterschool arts and crafts class. This was the perfect opportunity for me to improve my skills.
Our first art lesson was to draw our favorite thing and stand up to share it with the whole class.
As we went around the room, I watched as my classmates shared their drawings of dragons, lions, tigers and elaborate portraits of their parents or pets. Soon after I saw the first few drawings, I immediately realized these students were lightyears ahead of me in terms of artistic ability.
I was so nervous when it was my turn to share. I stood up and showed the class a picture, a very poor attempt of a soccer ball. A wobbly circle, more egg shaped than round, with black and white octagons on it. Not a pretty picture (no pun intended).
My first attempt at drawing was a disaster and I was so embarrassed that I wanted to make a mad dash from the classroom and never come back.
Fortunately for me, my parents had already prepaid for a months’ worth of art classes so the following week I was forced to returned to class.
After my experience that first week, I was determined to learn as much as I could and practice what I already had learned.
Several years after that epiphany moment, I realized that I had learned three valuable lessons from that art-class experience.
First, I needed to stop focusing on everyone else.
Personal growth, in my experience, comes from competing against ourselves and not necessarily others. By setting goals, stretching ourselves to learn new things, and practicing deliberately will yield the greatest results.
We need to identify our own weaknesses and work to make those weaknesses our strengths. We need to push ourselves to become the best person we can be... without worrying what our competition is doing.
Secondly, if we truly want to grow and become better at something, we need a knowledgeable teacher, mentor or coach to help provide us with the know-how it takes to continue learning.
After the original art class was completed, I asked my parents to hire another teacher to help me learn more. Every Tuesday and Thursday after my homework was done; an art teacher came over to our house and helped me develop better drawing skills. Over time, the teachers changed so I could learn new skills from a variety of teaching styles.
Lastly, we need to put in the hours of practice. Learning new skills like art don’t come from reading a book. The skills come from long hours of practicing. To really get good at something, we need to work hard over a long period of time.
Each month, I had the opportunity to go to an art supply store and purchase a new step-by-step drawing book. For the next month I studied it intently and continuously practiced what I had been instructed to do in the books. Just reading the books themselves would not have improved my drawing skills... deliberate practice was the key to my success.
All these lessons interwove and helped me develop constructive learning habits as an artist. I had put myself in an environment where I had the tools to succeed.
After several years of learning and practicing, I started to notice that my skills were starting to get better. I still had not achieved all of the goals that I had initially set for myself, but there was definite progress as I became more proficient at drawing. All my hard work was starting to pay dividends.
Seeing how the process of goal-setting was working, I started applying this process to other portions of my life and noticed marked differences in my skills whether it was in sports, school or any other activities.
We have all heard the many examples where a less-than-average talent works exceptionally hard to overcome the odds to become great at their respective field. A person with average natural talents and a great work ethic and an endless thirst for knowledge can often surpass those individuals born with immense talents but squander those "God-given" talents with a subpar work ethic.
John Wooden, arguably one of the greatest coaches of all time, was never one of the best players on the court when he was playing. He was slow and lacked athleticism.
He should have been a failure when it came to the game of basketball, but he consistently worked harder than anyone on the court and learned everything he could about the techniques and strategies becoming a consummate student of the game of basketball. While playing at Purdue, he was named an all-American three times despite all of his physical limitations.
He took those same qualities that brought him success on the court and made them the cornerstones of his program at UCLA when he entered the ranks of coaching.
John Wooden began his coaching career at Dayton High School where it’s record that first year was 6-11. This was the only time in his 41-year tenure that one of his teams played to a losing record.
While at UCLA, the Bruins won their league title 19 times in 27 years including an incredible 10 NCAA Championships in a 12-year span.
Success is a result of hard work and practice.
As a member of the generation known as millennials, I understand that the world has changed from that of earlier generations.
Technology is threatening an upheaval of the way we all think and what we all do...
...yet it is still the time-less principals of knowledge, hard work and practice that will ultimately define our success in the future.
Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse, where a hard working team is standing by ready to help customers reach their goals.
Regional Sales Manager
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Jim Kalb President
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