Deposits and withdrawals

A response in the Q&A portion of yesterday’s recommended podcast got me thinking that for students, one of the best ways to stay motivated and positive during your journey to college is to make regular deposits to compensate for the inevitable withdrawals.

Reminders that your dream school is a huge reach. Losing the election you wanted so badly to win. The A you missed by three points, the starting spot on the team that went to another player, the SAT score that didn’t raise as much as you’d hoped—those are withdrawals. Withdrawals are inevitable for ambitious people who regularly put themselves in failure’s path. You often can’t control when they happen. But they can withdraw from your motivation, your drive, and your confidence.

Unless you make regular deposits.

Reminding yourself that what you do in college will matter more than where you go. Taking pride in the work you put into that election or that sport or that test prep. Celebrating your strengths over fixing your weaknesses. Focusing on what went right over what went wrong. Accepting that no one grade, test score, or admissions decision from any college has as much impact on your future as does your curiosity, character, and work ethic—these are all deposits. And you can make them in unlimited amounts.

Of course, you can also get deposits from wins, from successes, from things that went right. But those aren’t always in your control. Sure, it’s great to save money by socking away what Grandma sends for your birthday this year. But you’ll save a lot more if you regularly set aside your own money you’ve earned just by working. Emotional deposits work the same way. Gratefully accept them when they come from outside sources, but train yourself to make regular deposits on your own behalf, too.

And parents, have you contributed to your own student’s emotional account recently?