Taking in the View at the Taj

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In 2011, I backpacked India with a few classmates from my study abroad program. Our primary goal was to see the Taj Mahal. Our research told us that it was best to arrive as early as possible to solidify our spot in line. So, what did we do? We SACRIFICED sleeping in and woke up at the crack of dawn and waited in line. As a result, we were one of the first groups to enter. Therefore, we had free reign to get all of the pictures and video footage we wanted before the crowds came. The best part of the visit was watching the sunrise. Watching the sun’s rays elegantly light up the magnificent ivory-white marble structure was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget.

Reflecting back on this experience allowed me to realize an important life lesson: the early bird catches the worm, or in our case, a less crowded Taj Mahal experience. Waking up early was a SACRIFICE of sleep. The reward for the bird? Finding the worm for her babies to eat before another bird does. The reward for my classmates and I? Taking in a beautiful view of the Taj Mahal at sunrise without the big crowds.

Let me expand on this lesson. You see, my classmates and I had to give something up in order to get something in return. This is called SACRIFICE. In life, SACRIFICE is the common denominator in most success stories. Behind every person’s success story, you will find that they had to give something up; they had to make SACRIFICES. They either stayed up late, woke up early, showed up to practice early, stayed after practice, turned off the tv, stopped playing video games, avoided eating unhealthy foods, went against the norm, risked being laughed at for their idea, completed the extra credit assignment, did extra chores, worked three jobs simultaneously or trained even though their body was in pain. The list goes on. The worm represents the goal or the finish line. Establish what your goal is, then determine what effort or SACRIFICE is needed to accomplish that goal. The bigger the goal, the bigger the SACRIFICE. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward. Accomplishing big goals aren’t easy! If it were, everyone would be doing it. You have to be willing to make the necessary SACRIFICES. It takes SACRIFICE!

So, educators, parents and students, I leave you with two questions. What is your worm? And how early are you willing to wake up to get it?

Stay Educated. Stay Empowered. Stay WellTraveled.

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