The Secret to Success

    By Elizabeth Veldboom

Today I’d like to take the time to look at the varying means of higher education, and just what it takes to succeed.

I know a lot of parents who are worried about the “post-high school phase” for their children, and though in today’s culture we are very blessed to have more than one option available to us, those same options can also be very overwhelming. Traditional colleges, trade schools, online schools-how do you choose?

There are many arguments surrounding which course is the best one to take, but I’m not here today to shove a bunch of statistics at you or plead any one path.

Success, I believe, comes down to the individual. Can a 4.0 student from a prestigious college do very well and succeed in a career? Absolutely, yes. Conversely, can another student attend that same college and leave thousands of dollars in debt and no better off than when they first arrived? Yes.

Same college, different experience. Why?

Because education is and should always be unique to the individual. What works for one person will not always work for another.

For me personally, the right choice was an online school for writing. Not only would a traditional college have been financially difficult for my family to maintain, but my focus was also in one very specific area. I didn’t see the point in trying to get a degree in creative writing and then be required to take numerous other classes that actually had nothing to do with writing.

Although the school I ended up choosing is not technically accredited and recognized by the majority of people, so far not a single editor has worried about that or even asked me if I have a degree. Instead, they look at the product: is it good writing?

I have another friend who graduated high school and started her own clothing store without taking a single business course. You might think that would spell disaster. Instead, her store took off and has been named “Local’s Choice” for three years running.

A family friend failed to graduate from high school by one credit, and yet, within a year’s time he was promoted to a high-paying managerial position. How did he do that when he didn’t even have a high school diploma? His work ethic. He was good at his job and he didn’t stop until the job was done.

Another friend found her life’s calling through attending a local college and getting involved in a nonprofit organization, and yet another started her own photography business after taking just a few classes.

All that to say this: success is not defined by the education or lack of education you receive. It’s what you choose to do with the education you’re given.

It’s not the college you go to, the degree you receive, or even pursuing higher education at all. Although our culture would have you think differently, I believe it’s much more simple than that.

Benjamin Franklin knew the secret. So did Albert Einstein. The pioneers and inventors and founding fathers knew it, and this is the “it” that we’ve got to get back to: be good at what you do. Know how to work hard. Learn how to learn, and have integrity in your work.

It may be a simple formula, but it’s a formula that’s been tested and proved.

So if I can encourage you at all today, maybe I can encourage you by saying this: don’t worry about training your child into a certain model of education the world says they should fit into, but rather, focus on training a hard worker of good character. Do that, and you’ll have trained them how to succeed in any situation they’re given.

And as just one final thought? “Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3, NLT.)

Commit your child to the Lord’s loving care, and you’ll see them soar.

How do you define success?

(Dear readers: I just wanted to let you know that my devotion “No Higher Love” will be appearing in the July/August edition of “The Upper Room Magazine”! If you’re interested in ordering a copy, you can find out more at their website: You will also be able to view it online at the same place on next Saturday, July 6. Thank you, and I can’t wait to see you there! -Elizabeth)


    Elizabeth Veldboom is a 2009 graduate from The Garden School, and a student in Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She has previously been published in places like Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters, and She has a huge heart for homeschooling families and would love connecting with you, so visit her blog anytime at