To be successful isn't a matter of aptitude, but a matter of attitude, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson told the Paine College community Friday.
Mr. Jackson delivered the convocation address commemorating the 123rd anniversary of the college's founding at Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel in hopes of inspiring its students.
Part of that inspiration was explaining the difference between being involved and being committed.
The chicken was involved in the eggs you had for breakfast, but the pig was committed to the bacon, he said.
"What you withhold from life, life will withhold from you," Mr. Jackson said, calling on students to commit themselves to their dreams.
Recalling an African proverb his father would tell him, he said if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. A recent study of successful people found that 85 percent found their way to where they are because of their attitudes, he said, asking students to examine their own attitudes.
"People who are shooting for nothing in life usually get nothing," Mr. Jackson said.
Rely on self-motivation, drive and self-reliance in making things happen, rather than letting things happen to you, he said.
"You have something to give so please give it," he said. "The future of our nation, indeed our world, will be in your hands."
If you attempt to fly, people will step on your wings, he said. It's up to you whether you let them keep you down or you take them with you.
"The message is simply this: That within you lies the power to seize the hour and live your dreams," Mr. Jackson said.
His words made an impression on graduating senior Stacy Rozier.
"It just inspires me to go ahead and live out my life and dreams," she said after the convocation.
As secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Jackson oversees a $32 billion dollar budget, serves as a member of President Bush's cabinet and is 11th in line to succeed the president.
Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.