Tag Archives: opportunity

“It’s okay to cry behind your sunglasses: A lesson on long-term gratification.” A guest lesson by Michelle Mullins.

I have learned that history tends to repeat itself.  Recently, I stumbled upon this quote on Twitter: “The greatest human tragedy is that we want what we can’t have, grow disinterested in what we do, and terribly miss the things we lose.”  This really hit home for me, personally.  I tend to take things for granted when they’re there, get bored with it, and I’m always looking for something better.

My lesson for you today, is to not be like me: don’t go seeking out something that could possibly be better.  A lot of the time, it’s not.

Now don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying we should be stagnant and not take risks or make changes in our lives.  I believe that change is important, and striving for more is fantastic.  But when it comes to people, relationships, love—appreciate when you have a good thing.  There are so many pictures on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and more of couples that you “should” be like.  As much as those pictures are #goals, it is such a minuscule representation of what that relationship actually is like.  I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but the couple with the cute candid picture of them kissing or laughing could be fighting every night, or may not have even been together for that long.  In a long, committed, and serious relationship it’s not always going to be fun.  There will be times when you get into a “lull” in your relationship or get bored with it—but don’t give up.  Don’t let go, and then end up missing what you have lost.  Sometimes, we need to put in a little extra effort so things don’t get boring. Sometimes, we need more communication to save something that is extremely valuable.

The problem with our generation is that not many people (including myself) understand how to put in that extra effort because it’s so much easier just to give up. In our generation, we all want instant gratification, which eventually leaves us feeling empty.  To have fulfilling and rewarding relationships, we need to learn the value of long-term gratification, the ability to resist temptation for an immediate reward, and how to wait for a later reward.  Next time you think it would be easier to break up because you’re bored or because you got into an argument, think deeply about what you would be giving up.  Ask yourself: am I making this decision based on delayed or instant gratification?  In the long-run, will this leave me feeling satisfied or empty?

I have had this experience twice now, and both times I have been left feeling empty.  Do not make the same mistakes I have, or you’ll end up crying behind your sunglasses at work.  While it’s okay to cry and let the emotions out, it is not okay to make the same mistake twice.  Resist smaller more immediate rewards in every aspect of your life—not just relationships—in order to receive a more enduring reward later down the road.

All I can hope for in my personal life is the “three strikes and you’re out” rule.  I don’t deserve a third chance, but I hope to someday earn one again.  An anonymous person on Tumblr posted: “Never trust a person that has let you down more than 2 times. Once was a warning, twice was a lesson, and anything more than that is simply taking an advantage.”  I hope that someday I can have that third chance, not to take advantage—but to do things right.  I know I personally need time to mature and develop more deferred gratification.

Please use this lesson as a warning. Do not grow dissatisfied when there is nothing wrong.  Appreciate what you have, and don’t always go looking for more.  Practice long-term gratification in order to avoid long-term heart ache.

And in the meantime, it’s okay to cry behind your sunglasses.

-Lesson by Michelle Mullins-



Michelle Mullins is a sophomore at James Madison University, double majoring in Marketing & Advertising and Corporate Communication, with a secret dream of going into journalism.  Her hobbies include workouts at 6am, more extra-curriculars than one can handle, and tumbling. Check her out here at the-michellem.tumblr.com.


Lesson #270. 11 things I learned from talking to the pros.


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a million times again and again.

Use. your. resources.

Any time you see an opportunity to better yourself, take it.

And that’s why I loved today.

Every year, my major holds its own industry-specific career and networking fair called SMAD DAY. Alumni and various professionals, ranging from producers to motion graphic editors, show up to talk to students about what they do, and to help them get their foot in the door. And every year, I go. Not only wanting to make connections, but to actually listen to what people have to say.

Here are some of my favorite things that I learned today. They can apply to anyone in any field—whether you are looking for an internship or job, or are currently working.

1. Take what you can get. Start somewhere. Period.

2. There will be tears. It’s going to be hard, but just when you think it can’t happen for you, it will.

3. One day, someone is going to say something that hurts. And it won’t be the first and only time.

4. Meet everyone you can… ever. Introduce yourself to clients and customers. Introduce yourself to co-workers. Introduce yourself to the mailman. A lot of the time, it’s the people that “work behind the curtain” as Jennifer Cortner (Vice President of Partnerships with Discovery) put it, that can really get you in there.

5. Constantly prove your value. More importantly—constantly build your value.

6. Sometimes it won’t be glamorous.

7. The key to getting out of the junior role or entry-level job is simple: knowledge and experience. Really put in those first few years working on that.

8. Never shit talk anyone, ever. Even if they are kind of shitty. You don’t have to like everyone you work with, but you do have to respect them. Today someone on the panel said, “Every town is a small town.” Things circulate quickly. And you never want to be that person who is known as the trash talker or gossiper. Your reputation will plummet, fast.

9. If you want to break rules, build relationships. Say hello. Get to know them. Allow them to get to know you. Then go to whoever it is explaining where you are coming from and stating clearly what you want or need. They will be more willing to help.

10. Do your job great, then find a way to set yourself apart. You will always move forward in this way.

11. People are watching you all the time. They know you exist, even if you think they don’t. Always be at your best.

I always learn so much from SMAD Day. And it just so happens that today is the day I got the call… I will be interning at E! News in Los Angeles!!! (It was actually really embarrassing… are you supposed to scream on the phone? BECAUSE I DID LIKE THREE TIMES)

So a few notes from myself:

Build relationships, not just connections.

I worked really hard in my scriptwriting class—which is funny—because at first I didn’t even want to be in it. Something in my gut told me to stay, so I did. I ended up loving it! I always wrote two scripts for the assignments instead of one. I went to office hours and asked questions, engaged in class discussions, and gave every project 100%. Little did I know, my professor was also the coordinator of the Los Angeles summer program, and I didn’t know until right before I applied. He knew my personality. He knew my work ethic. He knew I took initiative, and from many conversations, he knew what projects I was working on or had created on my own time. He recommended me to a friend and former student who is the head writer and producer at E!, and they passed me along to the internship coordinator. My resume and interview did the rest, and here I am today because of one relationship built!

Always be willing to learn.

From anyone and everyone. Never stop learning.

Be appreciative and grateful.

And show it.

Lastly, I promise, all your hard work will pay off.

I’m just now seeing that those long nights of homework, projects, editing, revising, and creating were not for nothing. I promise you, it will pay off.

Whatever you are doing, keep doing it.

Your life is just beginning.

Day 270.

Lesson #192: Only takes one time.


I feel like when people say “It only takes one time,” nine times out of ten it’s an old person warning you about going to jail, or getting pregnant.

I’m sure you’re relieved to hear that I’m not here to report to you about either of those two things. Well, at least not today anyways. Sorry.

But I am hear to tell you that it’s true. It only takes one time. Or, at least, that’s a little bit of what I’ve learned in my experience.

Just a few months ago, I made a music video for a class project. If you read Lesson #144, you’ll remember me talking about this. My project partner and I decided we wanted to go all out. Full throttle. We didn’t care that it was just a project. We wanted to actually create something good, something cool. We worked for weeks, edited all night, and even shed some tears at assholes who tried to tell us the story wasn’t good enough. It got more than 1,000 views in 24 hours, more than 40 shares, over 60 comments, and more than 100 likes.

A class project.

People I didn’t even know were sharing it, and I was floored. I couldn’t believe it.

Over the past few weeks, I have been asked to film two weddings, more than four big events, and I even got a job offer—because these people saw that video.

I used to see people around campus doing big things, taking on large projects, and I was scared that I would never be able to do that. I was scared that I wasn’t good enough—that the opportunity would just never arise for me.

But to my surprise, all it took was one time, one video. And opportunity arrived.

I’m not saying one video (or product or presentation or book or pitch) will be your end all be all. Maybe it won’t. But maybe one video or product or presentation or book or pitch could. It only takes one time. One person you know. (It really is about who you know guys, make friends) And then you’ll find yourself in the presence of one opportunity. And then another. And another. And that’s how you get the ball rolling. That’s how you start.

Whatever you do, or whatever you aspire to do—

work hard and persist in absolutely everything you do.

Give it your all (I’m talking 100%), or give it nothing. (My personal philosophy, but feel free to adapt whatever floats your boat)

You never know who will see it.

You never know where one time will get you.

Day 192.


Lesson #69: If you don’t do it, someone else will.


Today I learned that if you don’t do it,

someone else will.

How many tomorrows until you make it happen?

How many tomorrows until it’s too late?

Until the opportunity has passed?

Life doesn’t wait around for anybody.

If you don’t do it,

someone else will.

Day Sixty-Nine.