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Turning Critiques Into Growth Fuel: Motivational Story5 min read

Photo by Mosoianu Bogdan on Unsplash

A true story of losing it all and turning the odds to my advantage unexpectedly… And how you can do the same with your struggles…

I sat with my girlfriend at a coffee place downtown.

(You know, just a regular and slightly dull Sunday with small talk…)

More than 10 years ago, we both came to the capital to complete our bachelor studies.

Coming from a small town, the capital seemed beyond reach at that time…

Fast forward to today, I have achieved decent success in various fields (engineering, real estate, and blogging). (Beyond what I or anyone else could have imagined…)

After we finished our coffee and were ready to go, my girlfriend asked me something I actually never thought of before

(And this made us stay another 30 minutes at the same spot.)

She said, “We came here for studies as complete brokes, do you remember? And look at us now… What point in your life do you think you owe all your success to?”.

I paused for a while, and my entire life went through before my eyes…

The next second, my brain was 100% on a single event.

(Even though I haven’t thought of it for years.)

The event that changed my life…

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It happened in my final year of high school…

The point when I had to decide if I should go to the university and in what city.

(An alternative would be staying in a small (home) town where nothing much is happening.)

Since my parents were working-class people without formal education, I couldn’t get advice since it was utterly unfamiliar to them.

(They would always talk about very modest alternatives like finding a stable job and not “risking” too much — since unable to finance my studies.)

But there was something in me… Something that wanted more (still, I was doubtful… As others were saying something else).

(It was me vs. everyone else.)

Despite that…

I decided to apply for the best-in-class university in the country (and for a scholarship that those who excel at the entry exams get).

A few months before the entry exam (while still in high school), a teacher asked every one of us in the class about university plans (e.g., where we want to continue our studies).

By alphabetical order, other boys and girls in front of me started announcing the plans (most were from well-educated parents such as doctors, private business owners, and lawyers).

Then my turn came…

I stood up and quietly uttered I had decided to try for the country’s most prestigious business university.

(Since I didn’t have money to pay for the tuition fees, it was in-between the lines that I would have to excel at the entry exam to get there…)

(And I was just an average student in high school.)

Other boys and girls started chattering, but I couldn’t hear clearly what it was…

I felt it was not expected of me to say that… How could I? With what money? And if via the scholarship, I have to be better than 9 out of 10 students (on average).

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After a moment of silence, something happened that would change my life forever…

The professor spoke up.

She was always slightly too proud (and having done that same university herself), she said this…

Igor, the capital will be too difficult for you… Not to mention the university itself (a determined smile broke here)… You should better go for [a local university] if you want actually to complete the B.A. degree.

Who is next? Peter, what are your plans?

I was devastated…

No external voice could give me even the slightest hope that I could make it…

For a moment, I thought I was a total failure and not meant to make anything out of my life…

I went home that day with my head down.

That night, I barely slept. I had quiet and lengthy discussions with myself over the entire night.

Trying to understand what was happening and why…

What to do next?

To listen to my inner voice or what everyone else is saying (especially the authority, such as my professor, who must know better than I do)…

I was lost…

But then, everything changed in a second (just before the first daylight).

I remembered the words of one old, kind lady from early childhood … Once, at a playground, she said to me.

Igor, if other human beings have done this in the past, what would make you think you cannot do it?

(I was trying to go down the slippery slide but was afraid.)

That was it…

From that point on, my will was indestructible.

I smashed the exams, got the scholarship at 100% of the costs, and finished the B.A. degree 4 months before the term (and much before my high-school peers who had gone to the same university)…

And I did all of that with a GPA of 9.18/10… (Above & beyond anyone else.)

(I found out that even the professor herself did worse in terms of GPA…)

So, what’s the message?

Well, it doesn’t matter what others tell you… And yes, it’s hard not to listen to others… But you can eventually do it… And you can find your power…

Just as I found mine…

Because you are a human being.

And if others have done it earlier, what makes you think you can not do it?

Take all the criticism and make it work for you.

It’s completely your choice if it’s going to destroy you or be the weapon that serves you loyally.

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By Igor Jovanovic

Founder & Full Stack Tech Consultant

Experienced tech professional with a strong track record in web services and fintech. Collaborating with Silicon Valley's multi-billion tech giants and offering a range of services committed to excellence. Check the Services page for how I can help you too.

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