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Viewpoint 1/13: Taking a leaf out of Erik Compton's book

Some of the best golfers in the world teed off Thursday to begin the Sony Open Tournament in Hawaii, a PGA Tour event with a $5.5 million purse. Well-known golfers like K.J. Choi, Stewart Cink and Vijay Singh are competing, as well as a long list of players whose names few people would recognize.

One of those names is Erik Compton. Compton has played on the Nationwide Tour for several years, but has, until now, fallen short of his goal to play on the PGA Tour. But thanks to a recent victory at the Mexico Open, Compton is joining the elite group of golfers known as the best on the planet for the 2012 PGA Tour.

Compton’s achievement is remarkable not only because it’s one he’s been pursuing nearly his entire life, but because he has been the recipient of not one, but two heart transplants.

That’s right. In his life, Compton has had three different hearts inside his body and has battled countless medical problems as a result. He has not been deterred, though. Even when doctors told him he was crazy, he was resolved to find success on the golf course.

As college students, we need to take a page from Compton’s playbook. We face countless obstacles on the road to success. For some, poor grades might damage motivation. Others might face financial struggles or conflict in their personal lives. It can be pretty easy to lose hope.

It seems like good news is rare news. One can hardly turn on a cell phone without finding something worth being upset about. We can’t fault anyone for feeling frustrated with circumstances surrounding us.

However, we can’t let those circumstances dictate whether or not we are resolved to succeed.

Occasionally, every person on our campus is going to suffer a few blows. Things aren’t going to turn out the way we anticipated or wanted, but that can’t be used as an excuse to give up. The important thing to remember is that deciding to overcome challenges is the most important step a person takes on the path to success.

“A man can be as great as he wants to be,” said Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest football coaches to ever set foot on the gridiron. “If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive, and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.”

No wonder Super Bowl winners are awarded the “Lombardi Trophy.” This is the attitude that every person fortunate enough to get a college eduction needs to adopt.

No, success doesn’t come easily. No, the path to success isn’t an adventure designed for the average person. No, not every person striving for success is going to make it.

But none of that matters.

If a man who has undergone two heart transplants can see his dream of playing on the PGA Tour become a reality, then we can certainly accomplish whatever goals we have set for ourselves.

Time spent at Weber State University is not time to worry about what stands in the way of success. Instead, it’s time to decide exactly what you want to accomplish and to pursue that goal while keeping any feelings of dejection as far away as possible.

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