Let's start with a great passage:
“Goals give you a purpose for getting up in the morning and starting your day off in a positive and dynamic way. Life has richness and meaning when you are motivated by goals. And the good thing is, once you set goals, they take on a life of their own. You and your goals become almost unstoppable.
“Goals energize you. They also help you focus this energy. They will show you your path to happiness…but you need to create them. Write down all of your goals first, and then organize them. Put them into categories, like spiritual, health, financial, relationships, personal fulfillment, career, and so on.
“Next, you will need a plan for accomplishing these goals. Just take one of your goals and write down what you will do next week to start working on this goal. Then do the same with the rest of the goals you have written down
“See? They are already taking on a life of their own….”
(Someone help me out on the source - I have forgotten where I read this!)
This is such a wonderful writing. I couldn’t agree with it more, and it is so inspiring. I especially like the quote:
“Once you set goals, they take on a life of their own. You and your goals become almost unstoppable.”
Have you ever felt that? I know I have – and many times already.
I remembered accomplishing so much in high school. First month in the States, I figured out how to get my books and ID, to plan my schedules, and to pay my tuition in the new school. I didn’t want Dad to take days off for these administration stuff, so I talked to so many people in English and got so much information. And just so you know, I hated English in junior high - I did not have any confidence at all. But look I made it!
Then, I was in English as a Second Language with all the foreign kids from Korea, Russia, and India. The program was intensive so we could catch up with American kids in English. (But truly that never happens.) For the first time, I studied my butt off voluntarily! (bad language :) Anyway, I studied actively. I didn’t even think I was the best in class, but somehow teachers thought I was great and allowed me to advance faster. In 1 year, I finished the ESL program which took many kids 3 years of study.
In my 2nd year, I saw many winning projects from the class before me (3rd year students) who were taking the US History class. There were people I know, and I was so inspired by their hard work and the quality of their projects. The next year, I was taking the class, and I wanted to be one of them so badly. I put in days and nights for my project – I wanted it to be meaningful and educational to me and my readers. The next thing I know, my project made it to the state competition! There was even an organization willingly gave me $500 for it. It was absolutely amazing how it happened! (Btw, my research project topic was something like "Taiwanese in Greater Chicago Area")
During my high school years, I also hoped to get into a great university. Every semester, I planned my schedule so much, trying to find courses that I had to take and courses that I loved. Meanwhile, it was a plus that I found studying for school such an enjoyment. (I was so happy because American teachers were a lot nicer, materials were more fun, and the load was much less than in Taiwan. But we can talk about these later.) My point was that somehow I never stopped studying, didn’t bother to watch TV, and actually wasn’t even interested in partying with other kids. (Quite funny since I was always against my parents when I was very young.) Yeah, the most I did was shopping with girls. So what happened was, by my 4th year, I was able to take all hard-core AP classes. I had Physics, Calc, Micro & Macro Econ, and Statistics, earning me a total of 30 credits at U of M. And of course later on, all my friends said that their parents would love to have me as a child. To be honest, I think I would want to have a kid like me when I become a mom too.
I have so many great high school teachers who absolutely adore me and still tell students about me all the time. My beloved sister did the same to me when she’s in high school. But it’s always funny to me when all I did was to give in my best. I couldn’t believe myself that I accomplished so much! But of course, I’m so glad I did. I learned that I was underestimating myself, and that (with the help of many wonderful people) I am capable of making many seemly impossible events come true - that is one greatest thing about living!! And it is very important to be always THANKFUL!
And now I am learning German. It was such a shame that I didn’t start early this summer when I could have easily done so. I decided to learn German without taking a class. I brought some material (CD and books) just 3 weeks ago, and have been studying easily 10 hrs per week. I am now half-way through the book for beginners. I am so glad the CD I got has at least 7 people talking in German so I can hear different voices and the slight pronunciation difference among them. Of course, I can afford to “teach myself” also because there are always German interns from company and Stefan to help me. But also I listen to the audio recording like crazy. I would turn the speakers all the way on and listen to the same sentence over and over again until I can almost talk like that because it has sunk into my ears. I am planning on a career in Germany. If I cannot find a job in Bosch North America, I want to be able to apply for a job in Germany directly. So I have to learn German well in 2 years. Yes, even with my tremendous effort and the German environment in Bosch, I can only read and guess German okay. I cannot speak very well, and let’s not mention picking up the context of German conversations. (Holly molly, I don’t even think we speak English as fast as they speak German!) Just like Stefan said a few days ago, “There is still a lot to learn (for me).” Yes, but no. Somehow I know I will speak German just as well as English very soon (in about 5 yrs). Learning English was much more difficult to me, but look I have almost no accent today! A lot of people thought that I was born in the States. And is 5 years long? No, look I’ve been here for 7 years and everything seemed like it was just yesterday.
With my goal to learn German, I found myself studying from 7pm straight to midnight or getting up at 4am to memorize vocabulary. I have absolutely no trouble getting up early if it is for German. And on the weekends, I rather stay home - I get up at 7am, study German for 2-3 hrs, go back to sleep for an hr, get up and eat a little, and then study again. During the week, I bring my textbook to company every day so I can study when there isn’t any work. I listen to my German CD on the way to and back from work. After work, I rather study than doing anything else. It gets me frustrated when other events take too long – I started to go to ballroom until time is up and leave early too. My house is getting messy because I rather study than do my cleaning. The result shows – I am learning German at least 10 times faster than when I tried to learn Japanese. I finally know what it is like to be crazy about something. English was so hard for me that I didn’t think of learning another European language, but now am crazy about learning German! :) It is meant to be, and deep down I know that it is re-directing my life completely!!
The first greatest miracle happened to me was Dad’s sudden job transfer to Chicago. I used my time here well, and today my English ability is one of my strongest points. I would also have had a very different personality if it were not for my education in Chicago. Over the years, I have unconsciously become the kind of person I’ve always admired. But something new and wonderful is about to happen. I can feel it already! And I believe that learning German is only the beginning of this second miracle!!
Just as a side discussion: Although when I was a little kid, one thing that I doubted highly was my ability to accomplishment tasks. I didn’t try much, just like most kids. And my definition of accomplishments was only test scores, sports, and maintaining my popularity at school. I was also interested in many extra curricula (ping-pong, calligraphy, piano, art, reading, etc), but I never become absolutely passionate about anything and stay that way for a long time. I stuck to ping-pong and drawing for awhile until I had to focus on school, but still they’re not my passion. When I was 10, my teacher Miss Wu told Mom that nothing could keep me interested for long. She also said that I wasn’t a very motivated kid. She suggested Mom to make sure that I was in a competitive environment, because otherwise I wouldn’t work hard.
That last sentence was true, although I think it is true in general for kids that age :P But believe or not, the statement before that BOTHERED me. To see if I was really unmotivated, I started keeping track of how long I stayed interested in new subjects. And the result? Man, I would be glad if it was more than 6 months! So I was sort of convinced that it’d be hard for me to get things done in life. But of course, then I moved to the US, and I saw that isn’t true at all.
Now Miss Wu has been married and has 2 kids already. I visit her every time I go back to Taiwan. Life is funny and sweet that way. :)