Life Lesson from the “General”

Growth arises from our challenges in life.  Let’s face it, challenges come to all of us sooner of later regardless of who we are.  The question is what are we going to do with the challenges we are presented with at any given moment.

How we choose to overcome any particular challenge in life can take any one of a wide variety of routes.  Sometimes educating ourselves and owning a sense of accomplishment can be huge, and far beyond the obvious impact we thought we might experience.

For example, there are many things people assume that a blind person cannot do.  We can choose to live in the box we are placed in by those who are careless enough to try to put us in there in the first place. Or, we can choose to prove them wrong at every turn.  I love the latter!

Earlier this year (2017), I decided to pursue an interest I had in Ham radio.  I had absolutely zero experience with the technical side of radio despite having worked in AM & FM broadcasting for several years.  The entire subject was completely foreign to me.  But, I downloaded a rather large study manual to my iPhone and began to learn.  I also found videos on YouTube that went along with the study manual and helped with my being able to wrap my head around some otherwise abstract concepts.  Within just a couple short weeks, I sat for my technician class exam and passed it the first time!

I enjoyed the hobby and sense of accomplishment for the next 9 or ten months.  I then talked my son into earning the license as well.  He is a pretty gifted kid and thought that him having this accomplishment would only serve him well down the road applying for school scholarships and applying for jobs.  The unforeseen side effect of this was that it inspired me to reach even higher!  After all, I had to stay at least one step ahead of my little guy!

It is a long story, but suffice it to say that the General class exam is much more in depth and in some ways even more abstract for me to wrap my head around.  There was also the little fact that there were schematic drawings that would likely appear on the exam.

In discussing my intentions with a group that meets on a local repeater, I encountered a fellow blind person who was pretty negative on the matter.  He is a very nice man and I enjoy talking to him, but clearly he had bought into the “fact” that a blind person couldn’t possibly do this.  He used this point he made over and over to make himself feel better about not trying.  At least this was my assessment of the situation.

When I sat for the exam after only two weeks of studying, I encountered an examiner who seemed a bit unhappy that I was there.  It almost seemed to me like he had the attitude I was wasting his time.  I really don’t think he thought I would pass.  The other gentleman who read me the exam questions and filled in the answers I gave was much nicer!  To make a long story short, I passed the first time!  Not only did I pass, but I pretty much killed it, including a correct answer involving a schematic diagram!  Basically, I was able to understand the question and I described what the drawing should look like and apparently, much to everyone’s surprise, I got it correct!

The examiner apologized to my wife for being so stern with me.  He apparently was just uncomfortable with the whole thing and didn’t know how to help.

In the end, I now have accomplished a bucket list item that many would have thought beyond the ability of a blind man, well at least this blind man anyway!  Now I have on my resume a license that a very tiny percentage of the population have been able to achieve.  I also was able to turn the attitude of a skeptic.  And, here’s the best part of all.  That blind fellow I told you about that did not believe he could go beyond where he was and achieve the next level was inspired enough by my accomplishment to begin studying for his General class exam too!

Sometimes going after your dreams and goals isn’t just for you.  The example you set for others is worth the struggle all by itself.  What if you decided to go for it yourself?  What if you decided to rise to the challenges before you today?  What if by accomplishing the conquest of a challenge or the attaining of a goal not only gives you great satisfaction, but also serves to educate and inspire someone else to reach their potential in life?

Go out there and conquer what lies before you and watch for the ripple effect to change the world too!

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