Michigan Promise (!) Scholarship…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, November 2, 2009

You know, sometimes it isn’t so much the actual failure that feels bad — it’s the knowing that you set yourself up for the failure that’s painful. I do this to myself all the time. Every week I make an impossibly long task list for myself, and by Friday late-morning (right around now in fact) it becomes eminently clear that I have no hope of crossing off half of them. Then I compound that by Friday late-morning (right around now) making a similarly impossible list of weekend tasks. No doubt that when Monday rolls around many tasks will remain untouched. And I can tell you, if that means that I’m scraping frost off my windshield at 5:45AM because I didn’t make room in the garage for my car, reality will = unhappiness. Cold, painful reality.
In my defense, I make these lists mostly knowing I have no hope of completing them — my first goal is not to forget anything. So if I make a note to update my blog’s interface or replace the uneven bricks in the front walk, it’s stressful knowing that I very likely won’t do it, but at least I’m keeping track of it. I never call my lists “My Holy Covenant of to Be Completed Tasks” or “Resolutely Affirmed Guarantee of Accomplishments I Will Achieve Successfully” or “The Highest Order of Soon Realized Commitments I Humbly and with Much Fidelity Pledge…” well, you get the idea. I make no promise.
So, a few years ago when the State of Michigan set up a scholarship for college students to receive $4000 toward their education, it was a good idea. And when funding for this program was cut because of the current budget crisis, that was cold, painful reality. The bad idea was naming it the Michigan Promise Scholarship, because that was just setting itself up for failure.

Gotta go. I have a long list of things not to get to this afternoon….

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