It’s graduation season. Schools at all levels are hosting commencement ceremonies to congratulate the newest grads.
Graduation comes after passing a series of tests. For each course that is taken, a test is given. The purpose of the test is to determine whether you have mastered the material the instructor gave.
Life gives you tests. My biggest growth experiences have come when I “graduate” to the next level. Just like school, until I passed the test, I was likely to return to the same place and re-take the test. Once I passed, I could move on to higher levels; levels of performance, satisfaction, and growth.
Here are some examples:
1. Relationships – Relationships can be trying. If you hold onto a certain behavior that alienates others, you will be losing friends and having to start new relationships. The behavior might be something like being stubborn, opinionated (to the extreme), unyielding, uncaring, or hard-hearted. Lack of forgiveness can be counted too.
Relationships can test you at many levels. If you fail to recognize that, on occasion, YOU are the common denominator for failed relationships, then you have to re-take the test until you get it right.
2. Attitudes – The way you look at the world is shaped by your attitude. If you wake up grumpy and discouraged everyday, then the world will not look so well. On the other hand, being excited and encouraged for each new day gives you a far better outlook.
Sure, there are bad days, but allowing them to rule your permanent worldview only serves to sour your soul. When the bad days happen, there is a test to determine whether you can snap out of it. Failing that test keeps you in an unfulfilling state of mind. Passing the test and graduating to the next level can lift your spirit and show you how something as simple as changing your attitude can be.
3. Habits – Nothing undermines future success more than bad habits. Repeating behaviors of any kind is a habit. Take a look at the routines you follow. These too can be tests. Choosing a certain pattern may not lead to the right results, yet you repeat it. Think of this as a kind of test. To pass, you have to agree to change or delete the bad habit.
It is not uncommon to experience a kind of silence while you are being tested. In school, when it was test time, the room was silent. NO noise was allowed. The teacher watched over the room keeping it silent.
Life’s tests can feel silent too. When you are the one being tested, you may feel alone. You may not sense any feedback to help you during the test. One could argue that the silence is the key indicator you are being tested.
When tests come (and they will), be prepared. Know that testing is what helps us graduate. Recognize a moment that feels challenging may just be your next test. Get into test mode. Work through it.
I know some will say “I don’t test well”. I get that. If that is true for achievement tests and SATs, fine. But if you argue that you do not test well in life, then you may just stay stuck in one place for a while.
If you are not passing those life tests, get a coach to assist. Just like tutors help students move through school, coaches can help you pass life tests too.