100x Tougher

“Every man in the world is better than someone else and not as good someone else.” – William Saroyan

Competition is one reason why I refuse to go back to college. I remember sitting in my Introductory to College class and my professor asked me “Ms. Ladson what do you want to do. Why are you here?”

different world

I had been waiting for this question for a lifetime. After I saw Cree Summer and Jasmine Guy in A Different World, I knew that I wanted to be a college professor or some kind of professional. So I cleared my voice sat up straight and said, ” I want to be an educator and one day open up a charter school for children that live in urban communities.”

I was just getting ready to give myself an internal high five when he interrupted with, “Well, you’re not going to be very rich.”

I was infuriated! How dare you believe I came to college to earn more money! I thought. I am here to change the world sir! I fumed. Who the heck comes to college to make more money?

Those questions made me ponder my motives for wanting to attain a college degree.

Well, I truly thought that receiving this accolade would make me “somebody”. I would be more than a stereotypical depiction of poverty. My mother would be proud of me. I would be able to say, “Boo yaw!” to everyone that had ever said anything negative about me.

In a way, I had come to college to compete even though it had not been for money. It was me against the past. I wanted to measure up to everyone else around me. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but I was more concerned with what the people around me expected.

I have always been taught that as an African-American female I have to go harder and be braver than others. I have to be 100x stronger than anyone else on this planet. Put my guards up. Have the best weaves and cars, and above all of these things……TRUST NO ONE.

So I quit. I am truly graceful under pressure.


Three in a half years later that experience has started to become clearer to me.

After reading Successful Women Think Differently by Ms. Valorie Burton, I began to view competition in a new way.

In the past, I would dive into things head first without truly examining why I was doing it. Our intent is the driving force of our success.

Take my college experience for example. I did not enroll for the right reasons at all. I was not going to college to truly benefit myself. If we used a pie chart to graph the percentage it would be about 10%. The other 90 would be about pleasing others and my striving and studying would be in vain.

Since reading Ms. Burton’s work I now realize that I was viewing my success through the validation of others. True success is measured by the internal joy that comes with doing something that you love to do.

Some people are great at taking notes, writing term papers and being on time to class. I am great at blogging when the unction comes upon me, reading in a cozy chair and writing poetry.


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