Story written by Silas Grant –
As a kid, I loved the movie “Look Who’s Talking“. In the movie, one of the characters was a well-dressed man who was an accountant. From that day forward, I had a desire to be an accountant and to dress like one when I grew up. As an 11-year old sixth grader, I was given an assignment in my math class. Our teacher gave each of us in her class an imaginary $3,000 budget to start our lives with. I was so obsessed with being this sharply dressed accountant, that I picked up the clothing magazines that we had to choose from and I picked all suits, briefcases, and executive furniture. My friends were more conventional with their selections. They picked up house furniture and other essentials. All I could think about was showing off new threads.
A few years later, I arrived at high school, and I took a book-keeping class. The concepts were easy for me and I caught on quickly. The next year, I took two accounting classes; one at school and one at night at my church. These three classes were easy for me. And I’d had so much experience in the subject that I chose it as my major in college.
When I got to college, I didn’t take an accounting class initially. But, when I finally took an accounting course, it was easy again. I began with Accounting 201 and I pretty much aced the written problems section on my tests. My professor was extremely impressed. He was also the Dean of Accounting, so he was a very good person to impress. He met with me and a friend in his office. He was excited about our progress in the class and charged us to be great men in society. He even went as far as saying that young men like us would be destined to be good enough to marry his daughter. We gotta good chuckle outta that one once we left his presence. We didn’t think it was quite that serious. But, he saw something in us.
Apparently, he saw more in me than I saw in myself. For the next year or so, my grades fell off. As concepts got harder in my higher level accounting classes, I didn’t respond well. Unbeknownst to me, my professor was keeping tabs on me. He was putting together an accounting debate team to travel to a competition sponsored by Deloitte in Florida. One classmate of mine was supposed to be a part of the team, but he was in the process of pledging and declined to travel with the team. My professor assigned me as an alternative to travel with the team in his place.
My professor was very clear with me. He knew that I’d fallen off the wagon; he was not pleased. But, he felt that I could contribute to the team. So, I joined the team and prepared for the competition. I always kinda felt that my teammates thought of me as a slacker. So, I put pressure on myself to perform well in this competition. I studied the material and worked hard to understand my role on the team.
We traveled to Orlando and we were gearing up for the event. The moment finally came and we were set to compete. I wasn’t given the lion’s share of the presentation for our accounting case, but if I did my part, I would be satisfied. To make a long story short: I FLOPPED. I couldn’t remember my parts in the presentation. I FROZE. And I believe that me freezing up really cost my team the win. We presented right before the intermission in the middle of the day. During the break, I went to my room. I didn’t speak to anyone. I stayed in my room for the remainder of the time in Orlando. My professor sent my teammates to come check on me. I was inconsolable. I didn’t attend the ceremony to announce the winners of the competition. I didn’t go to the night festivities with all of the students. I literally stayed in my room for the next 12-16 hours until the next day when we flew back home.
Simply put, I was disappointed in myself beyond belief. Someone put faith in me and I failed. I failed big time. I felt so strongly about this. Deloitte sent each participant a copy of the video from the competition. I walked in my parents house years ago and saw my mother watching it. I was angry all over again. I stormed out of the room. And up until this day, I’ve never watched that video.
I can’t say that I’ve totally gained closure on the event. My relationship with my professor was never quite the same. I always felt that my academic career could’ve been much better. The things that came easy to me, I did well. When I had to put more work in, I didn’t always come to “play ball”. I was lazy and looking for an easy way to get the grades that others earned. That’s not to say that I didn’t do any work whatsoever. But the way that I wanted to be revered by others, I hadn’t earned that privilege to be seen that way. I put so much into that moment. I wanted to redeem myself so much. Looking back, I put too much into one day trying to change who I was and how I was perceived as an academic.
Even if I’d put in the work, that didn’t preclude me from being a victim of a botched presentation. I put all of my eggs in the basket that day. And they cracked on me. Or better yet, I cracked. So as I look at the aftermath of the Cam Newton performance during and after Super Bowl 50, I can’t help but think back on my own moment when I didn’t want to face my failure. It wasn’t the end of the world, because my world wasn’t defined by one day or one event. But because I thought it was the end of my world at that time, I viewed it as such.
Don’t allow one moment to cause you to spiral out of control. Do all you can to bounce back quickly from failures. Consider all that you’ve done right and not just the one or two things that didn’t go your way. One flaw or blemish won’t kill you. What my failure that day did for me was a driving factor for me since that point. I know to be prepared for moments like that moving forward. I also look for more opportunities like that moving forward. The more frequently I’m in those situations, the less valuable one failure is in the grand scheme. Now when I make mistakes, I’m more likely to “face the music”. And it’s simply because I’m more familiar with the stage.
I believe that Cam Newton will be a better person as a result of his lackluster performance on the field in SB50, as well as his abrupt behavior after the game. Maybe he put too much into proving himself to others unnecessarily. Maybe this was a redemption for the times in his career where his performance wasn’t quite up to par. Maybe this season was his way of solidifying a new leaf being turned in his career. Whatever it may be, when things are easy, it’s easy to be out in the forefront. But when it’s tough, we have to muster up the belief in ourselves to move forward. And if we all take those moments in our own lives as lessons, we’ll all be fine; Cam Newton included.