How Much Do You Want It?

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What are you willing to sacrifice to succeed?

How important is your college education to you?

Or, as phrased by Eric Thomas, the Hip Hop Preacher, in the video below, “How bad do you want it?”

Now is when the reality sets in of how difficult this journey is. So all of you should be asking yourselves those questions.

Video—How Bad Do You Want It?

(video link:




“When you want to succeed as bad[ly] as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.”


“Most of you don’t want success as much as you want sleep. Some of you love sleep more than you love success. And I’m here to tell you today, if you’re going to be successful, you’ve got to be willing to give up sleep. You’ve got to be willing to work with three hours of sleep—two hours of sleep—if you really want to be successful. Someday you’re going to have to stay up three days in a row. Because if you go to sleep, you might miss the opportunity to be successful.”


“Don’t cry to quit. You’re already in pain; you already hurt. Get a reward from it.”


All quotes © by Eric Thomas


So . . . how much do YOU want it?


Destination, Determination, Deliberation

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Anyone who is familiar with the Harry Potter novels will know that I lifted the title of this e-mail from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. These are the three guiding principles behind apperating—the way wizards in his world travel, disappearing from one place and appearing in another (like a Star Trek transporter without the technology, just magic).

As a kid/teen, I didn’t enjoy school. So the first time I tried college, it didn’t work. I ended up dropping out at age twenty-one and going to work full time. But working first as a telephone operator for AT&T and then in the newspaper/advertising industries for many years, I started considering my DESTINATION. Where was my life going? Was I on a path that would lead me to fulfillment and happiness? Or was I just jogging in place, not going anywhere? Being honest with myself, I realized I wasn’t going anywhere and that’s not what I wanted from life. So what did I need to do? I needed to go back and finish what I’d started ten years earlier—my college degree.

But just making that decision didn’t give me smooth sailing. Which brings me to DETERMINATION. When I started looking at colleges, I had few options—because I was in a traditional degree program (not a lot of long-distance English programs out there!), I needed a school close to downtown Nashville, where I worked at the time. I also needed one that would work with me when it came time to take classes that weren’t scheduled during lunch-hour times or after hours. But because I’d become passionate, driven—DETERMINED—that I wanted to go back to school, I didn’t let any of the hurdles or problems deter me. And, eventually, I ended up enrolled and in classes at Trevecca. And you know what? It was HARD! It was hard to want to go to class every day. It was hard to give up social activities because I had to study for an exam or write a paper or read something for class the next day. It was hard to give up so much of my time, especially for those required classes that felt useless to me because they weren’t part of my major. But, then, that DETERMINATION would kick in and make me plow through it—because I would remind myself of my DESTINATION: a college degree and a career instead of “just a job.”

But even with a passion for my goals (destination) and the willpower to see those through to the end (determination), I still wouldn’t have made it had it not been for DELIBERATION. I operate best with set schedules and deadlines. Before each semester began, I set a schedule for myself, planning out my evenings and weekends so that I had plenty of time for my schoolwork—but also time for enjoyment and relaxation. And the more deliberately I stuck to that schedule, the less stressful my life was for the three and a half years it took me to finish that bachelor’s degree—and the two years after that for my master’s.

So my challenge to you, as you prepare to enter the last week of your first course, is to ask yourself these questions as you consider the rest of your time at Bethel:


1. What is your DESTINATION? Why did you register for school?

2. How strong is your DETERMINATION? Are you passionate about pursuing a college degree? Are you willing to make sacrifices to see this through?

3. Are you approaching this program with DELIBERATION? What changes have you made/are you willing to make to be able to commit the time needed to your studies?