Until not so long ago, james brandon always had an excuse to skip classes

Until not so long ago, James Brandon always had an excuse to skip classes.  We all know he is not the only one; skipping classes is a habit the majority of students have, although it is not a very healthy one.  However, in James’ case, he discovered something shocking the last time he did it.

This is what happened:  the professor had given the class an assignment they were supposed to deliver the next day, but James had just received the latest video game in the mail, and he was so excited about telling his friends that he already mastered “The Death Raiders” that he spent the whole day playing it and neglected the paper.  The next day, he continued playing. The thought ‘class paper’ never crossed his mind, even though this particular professor was the one he admired the most. He loved the way he taught class and considered the work he assigned the most valuable for his career until now.

Once the excitement for the game started diminishing, about two hours before class and as James started thinking about what he had done, how he had neglected his work and how he was going to face his ‘hero’, his conscience started punishing him.  The feeling of not having done the assignment started to swallow him like a whale swallows schools of fish; if you are not the fastest swimmer, you won’t escape.  And that’s exactly what happened to James; he was eaten by the shame of letting his favorite professor down, he was blinded with shame and couldn’t find a way out, so, he skipped class.

However, once he decided not to go to class, and for the rest of the week, his shame for doing so was greater than the one he felt for not doing the paper, and this is when it hit him:  if shame is so powerful as to make him do things he later regrets so strongly, maybe if he could channel this force appropriately. He could reach his biggest potential.  Perhaps shame could make him work on the things he had been putting off; perhaps it could motivate him.

James decided he would never miss a class again, and ever since, he has been working on determining what things make him feel a lot of shame and how to get the best out of them.

Shame is an external motivator; it depends on what others think of you, and it makes you run from what you see as shameful.  If James hadn’t been so fond of his professor and his opinion was not so important to him, he wouldn’t have minded going to class without the paper.  

Thus, ask yourself, what types of people and events produce shame?  Is shame so powerful as to use it to motivate?  Is it correct to shame others in order to make them react positively?

One thing is certain; shame can be a very strong self-motivator.  Just as it did for James, it can turn your life around, set your priorities straight, and honor your existence and those around you, turning you into the better version of yourself.

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