Successful people don't wait their turn Print
Youth Column
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

When we're young, we take the lessons taught by our parents at face value. Be friendly. Do the right thing. Eat your Brussels sprouts.

We accept these lessons because we trust our parents to guide us in the proper manner. Sometimes, however, our father and mother don't know best.

When we realize this, it comes as a shock. Initially, we think the issue must be us; we're not applying the lesson the way it was taught. Next, we feel disbelief; how could our parents deceive us or let us down.

Finally, we embrace acceptance. Sometimes we grow beyond the ability for our elders to guide us. We must learn to make our own path.

For each of us, the lesson that reveals this reality is different. For me, that realization came when I discovered waiting for opportunity wasn't advice that served me in a positive or beneficial way.

Like many with older parents, I was taught life has an order: You start work at a low level. You progress as you get older. Through patience, you reach your goals.

In my parents' experience, that may have been true. From my perspective, for our generation, I see a different world.

Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in college. He didn't join a company and wait until he had enough seniority to share his ideas. He created a company and those who were waiting their turn came to work for him.

Justin Bieber may be a huge star today, but he began as a teen posting videos to YouTube. He didn't wait for a record deal to launch him to celebrity. He turned the formula on its head and used celebrity to land himself a record deal.

Michael Dunlop may not be a name you know, but his story of success is inspirational. He dropped out of high school because he suffers from dyslexia and teachers didn't believe in him. He founded a website called and earns six figures a year. He overcame when others told him he could not.

These people, and countless others, taught me life success is about seeing and seizing opportunity. Don't deny yourself any opportunity. If you're willing to take a step forward, do it. Don't wait out of a sense of propriety.

That's one of a handful of lessons that have never been proven wrong. First, don't wait for an ideal time, there isn't one. If you're always waiting for a perfect moment to occur, you will always be waiting. You can't cross an ocean with one foot on shore.

Next, don't wait until you're better connected; you get connections by moving forward. If you don't know a person who is key to your happiness, introduce yourself. First dates are for business partners as well as relationships.

Don't worry about your competition; if you're better than them, let them worry about you. You have ideas that no one has ever had before. If you don't share them, they'll be lost forever. Don't let that happen.

Most important, never ask what will happen if you fail. Instead, always focus on your potential for success. It's not the 99 mistakes you make that matter, it's the one time you get it right.

Finally, when you look back, don't blame your parents for lessons that didn't hit the mark. You've just grown beyond their ability to guide you. Trust me, they're not mad. Watching a child succeed beyond expectations is every parent's dream.

In the end, parents give the best advice they can. Except when it comes to Brussels sprouts. On that issue, parents are 100 percent wrong.

Erick Rommel works for a nonprofit youth organization. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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