Richard Branson

Two nights ago I was on the verge of a panic attack because I felt my finals were just too daunting. Deep down I knew it would get done, but writing for me doesn’t get easier as time goes on. The style is more succinct and informed, but the actual effort of logical and narrative progression still takes the same amount of work it used to.

The remarkable thing about an education lies in the statement “deep down I knew it would get done.” An advanced education and the pressure of responsibility forge an awareness in you that you can’t grow unless you are forced to be continually adaptive. It makes you take stock of your priorities, get disciplined, and understand your capabilities – else you’ll fail.

There’s a beauty to sink or swim strategies. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard was by Richard Branson. He said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

There’s a greatness to experiencing the limits of your capability. Not only is it growing your character (forbearance, equanimity, and willfulness), it’s deepening your abilities to perform, which gives you the power to simply be more effective and efficient – to achieve better than you could have without the experience of struggle.

This is how we become masters of ourselves. This is how we become leaders.