Graduation season is upon us. College and high school seniors are sending invitations to celebrate the end of a successful journey. They are also making preparations for the next chapter in their lives. Some of the young people leaving high school will choose to continue their education in college. Others may decide to serve their country by enlisting in the military. There is another group who will immediately enter the workforce. The college graduates will have similar options. Some will choose graduate school, while others will begin their careers.
Before any of these post graduate decisions can be made, the students must complete their tasks (studying) and tests (final exams) in order to receive their trophies (diplomas and degrees). We can use this analogy to describe some of the scenarios that occur in our day to day lives. The Ten of Clubs will represent the tasks, tests, and trophies that we encounter on a regular basis.
Some situations that the categories would apply to include a job search, weight loss program, and sticking to a budget. Stories about the current unemployment rate are reported daily in the news. You may know someone who is looking for work or even be a candidate yourself. As job seekers complete applications and submit resumes, they are doing the initial tasks necessary for consideration. If they are selected for an interview, there are additional tasks to be completed (company research, question and answer preparation, etc.). For this example, the interview itself is the test that must be passed and the trophy, or reward, is the job offer.
While the number of people looking for jobs may be driven by the economy, there are always people who want to lose weight. The topic is usually more popular at the beginning of the year as resolutions are made. However, there is a very profitable weight loss industry that indicates there are plenty of people who seek to shed pounds at any given time. Some of the tasks include changing the diet, starting an exercise routine, and adopting a healthier lifestyle. The test is simple. When you step on the scale, the number should be less each week. The trophy for this particular effort can vary depending on why you wanted to lose weight. If your doctor instructed you to do it for medical reasons, then the trophy might be lower blood pressure, better heart health, or less joint pain. If the weight loss was for your vanity, that is okay. The trophy could be a dress or pair of jeans that you used to wear but did not fit with the extra pounds. A lower dress size is a great reward.
Do you have a budget? Do you follow it faithfully? If the answer to either question is no, there are some tasks that you can do to help you. List your monthly bills and estimate how much will be needed pay them. You can get the figures by looking at past amounts. Write down everything that you spend. Identify needs versus wants. Your test will come when you are tempted to buy something that is not in your budget. If you pass, the trophy will be a balanced budget and increased confidence in yourself.
There are other goals that can be broken down into tasks, tests, and trophies. When you encounter obstacles between you and your desired results, remember the Ten of Clubs. Complete your preparation activities, measure your success, and claim your prize.