Finish the drill!
When I played football in high school and college, I would often hear the coaches yell at us, “Finish the drill!” That meant that we were not to stop until the whistle was blown. It meant, “Keep playing! Keep pushing yourself forward! Don’t quit and don’t give up!”
Years later that message came back to me in full force when I was in graduate school. I had no idea how difficult it was going to be. I did not realize the extent to which I would have to study, write papers, do research and other disciplines that would be so taxing.
One day when I was studying in the library, I noticed some professors unrolling a scroll. They were pouring over letters and words written in an ancient language which had been copied onto parchment leaves. (Scribes often would write on animal skins or parchment leaves in order to preserve the writings of the day.) I was so amazed at the level of scholarship that some of my professors possessed. It was truly a humbling experience to be around people who were so smart and skilled at their trade!
I remember being completely overwhelmed that day. I felt that I was totally out of my league and that caused me to be depressed. Tears ran down my cheeks because I felt like such a failure. I remember thinking to myself, “I will never be able to do anything like that! Why am I even in graduate school? This is so far over my head I ought to just quit, give up and go home. I am a complete failure!”
You know, sometimes things happen to us that we cannot explain and something happened to me that day that I will never forget. While I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself in a deep state of depression, I heard a voice speak to my heart. It said, “I did not make you for that!” I remember being confused about what had just happened, but as I sat there very quietly, I heard the voice again. “I did not create you for that. I created you to talk and encourage and entertain people. I designed those people to be scholars and do a different kind of work from you.” I cannot tell you how much that meant to me! Something went through my heart and mind at that moment that took me out of my depression and moved me into a place of encouragement. It caused me to realize that I did not need to give up and quit and go home.
The words of my coaches rang in my ears, “Finish the drill!” I knew that meant, “Don’t quit; don’t give up! Even when things look dark and hopeless, keep trying; keep striving; keep straining; keep moving ahead; keep attempting to do things better and in time, there will be a turn. Things will get better.” You know what? It was true, in time things did get better. I learned more and realized that I did not have to major in areas of academic endeavor that did not fit my design.
Please don’t get me wrong; I am very, grateful for the scholars who devote their whole life to translating ancient scrolls into English so that we can have a better understanding of words that were written so long ago. I am also grateful for scientists who are committed to helping us learn more about medical advancement and technology and for others who pour their lives into inventions that make life better for all of us. But, we would not have any of that if they had not finished the drill. It does not matter whether a person is a physician, a dentist, a researcher, a social worker, an educator, a business person, or any other profession; no one will ever become what they need to be or succeed in life until they “stick with the stuff” and finish the drill!
Whatever difficulty you are facing today, I want remind you that it is too early to quit. Staying a little bit longer, working a little bit harder, growing a little bit more and learning a little bit more, will always help you to be a better person.
I’m glad I didn’t give up. I’m glad I didn’t quit. I’m glad I had people yelling at me earlier in life, telling me to finish the drill. It really is an important concept to grasp and even more important to do!
The next time you are ready to throw in the towel, say to yourself, “finish the drill”. You will be the winner for it and in the long run, you will look back and be glad that you remained faithful and used self-discipline to help you to be the winner you were designed to be!
Robert A. Rohm, Ph.D.
Personality Insights, Inc.
Copyright 2010 Personality Insights, Inc. Reprinted with permission. You may subscribe to the “Tip of the Week” for free at http://www.personalityinsights.com and receive Dr. Rohm’s weekly Tip every Monday morning.