I abhorred tests in college. I always felt unprepared when I took them. However, when I got them back from my professors, I usually made an A. It was funny that I always felt like I lacked what it took to pass the test, yet I always had it. Much like life, it's not the task itself, but how you prepare for and undertake that task.

For those courses in which I listened and read, I passed the test whether I felt good about it or not. For those courses in which I slept, or put aside and never studied, I usually struggled. Those courses that I passed with ease, I found great interest. Those courses in which I struggled, I disliked and found no interest. This is where I began to realize that, I have to focus my efforts on things that mean something to me. I can't focus on unnecessary exercises simply to say, "I did it" and find that there is no satisfaction in the result. However, I can work just as hard toward an objective with meaning and the "struggle" would not only be worth the effort, but the lessons are priceless.

--- Preparing for the Test ---

Sometimes everyone feels as though they cannot possibly prepare for what life throws at them. In most circumstances, people are not ready for the various challenges. Instead, they decide to simply give up and exist without attempting to tap into their own vast resources. In this way, challenges are kept at bay. However, in the process, nothing else in life happens. However, the preparation is more of a way of learning how to incrementally handle yourself for when you reach your ultimate goal (i.e., take the test.) But, keep in mind that the only time that challenges occur is when you're doing something. If you choose to take the easy way and simply sit it out, then of course, nothing happens to you because, nothing is happening.

Once you get moving, to prepare for any challenges that life hands out to you, learn to take them as a lesson as opposed to a curse. Consider life as the classroom and your ultimate vision as the completion of a semester with the final exam. To reach the end of the semester with high grades, you have to follow a lesson plan, which is your mission that you must execute to reach your vision. Each night of study and planning is the execution of your goals to fulfill your mission. As you can see, life can provide a positive outcome with hard work and a plan of attack to reach your vision.

If you plan your path carefully, you can take into account many of the challenges that will occur as you pursue your desires. Even though some challenges will occur out of the blue, they will not be as devastating since you raised the bar with regard to your understanding of the core challenges. You'll be ready for the final and, since you're studying life daily, and desensitizing your fears of the unknown, the pop-quizzes won't be as much of a shock.

--- Pass/Fail ---

Believe it or not, there is no real grade that anyone can attach to your endeavors. People will judge you because of your dreams and desires; however, they're making their judgments based on their own belief systems. They don't know what you believe or what your objectives are so they have no real way of critiquing your life. Determining a pass or fail on your life is entirely up to you. Once you're able to make a plan and establish a vision of where you want to be, you'll be able to define a metric that can be used to define your own success.

--- What's next? ---

Regardless of the path you take, whether it is something you love or something you hate, you will always encounter a challenge, or a test. The difference is that, if you are moving toward a vision that is not fulfilling, every challenge will seem monumental. If you are moving toward a fulfilling vision, you will take the challenges on as part of the class work. You will work hard to resolve the issues that are keeping you from moving forward toward your ultimate fulfillment. In this case, even with the multitude of challenges you face when you decide to get in motion, you will be in a situation such that you will never be given anything that you're not ready to handle.

In reality, you can't pass or fail in life. You can either live it, or not. It's not always what happens, but it's how you view and handle each and every challenge you encounter.

Author's Bio: 

Edward B. Toupin is a writer and coach living in the "Entertainment Capital of the World." His inspirational and motivational works, for career and life fulfillment, help individuals realize their potential and establish the directions that will bring them the most fulfillment. His upcoming e-book, "Aligning Your Life," steps through a plan to help you organize your life to reach your vision. You can contact Edward at etoupin@toupin.com or http://www.toupin.com.