I remember when I was in middle school, a tiny little impressionable 12 year old boy. I wasn’t what you would call popular, but this isn’t some sob story about how I didn’t have friends. This is a story that showed me my own strength and my own values and how they are at the core of every decision that I make.
It was April. Everyone in school was already exhausted from the school year and nobody really wanted to be there anymore. Not even the teachers. And yet we still all sat there, class after class after class. It was especially bitter one day, because the weather was perfect and we had extra long classes that day so none of us could enjoy it one bit. A few kids from my class decided that they’ve had enough and that they couldn’t let such a day pass them by. They decided to leave in a break and skip the rest of the day. And they asked me along.
So here I was, faced with a decision. Either I could go with these kids and maybe we would all become friends and have lots of fun times together, or I could stay here because education is important and Mr. Morgenstern said last lesson that this class he would go over the topics of next week’s test. But if I stayed, my only chance at being friends with these children would slip away.
In that moment I thought about all the things my mother would always tell me about how I should be lucky to have an education and that many people on this planet are not as fortunate. I remembered how I actually enjoyed math class and how most of these kids weren’t really that interesting in the first place. So I decided to stay, because Momma didn’t raise no cheater.
Now, this story might seem incredibly childish to you. And it is (although in that moment this was the hardest decision little Jacob had ever taken). But it proves a point. Things will be tough sometimes and you might be pressured by people or situations, but if you are clear on your values and principles, they will guide you through any situation.
As Roy. E. Disney said “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”
So next time you are faced with a hard decision, just think: what are my principles? What do I really care about? Who am I? And the answer should come running.
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