Like a Fish in Water

14 years ago, we jokingly called him “Dr. Formula.” He wanted a pattern for every subject. “Is this the right order of the steps?” “What if I use this scheme to solve the algorithm?”

“Well, it depends,” we used to try and tell him. When you must take exams in seven different subjects, sometimes, even the best formula stops working. “You need to understand why you’re taking the steps. That way, if the question changes, you can still solve it.” One friend in particular made this point over and over again. I’m not sure to how much avail.

This week, the student formerly known as Dr. Formula made partner at one of the top three consulting firms in the world. I am so happy for him! For as much as we could tell that college was just something he had to get through, even back then most of our friend group also agreed that the consulting industry would likely be a perfect fit for him — and it was.

Then as now, he always worked his butt off. The difference between barely passing grades and becoming partner in record time, however, is that he went from being a penguin in the desert to finally finding his water. He landed where he belonged, and the result was as natural as a plant’s reaction to being watered: he bloomed.

When you’re struggling through something you instinctively know is still part of your path, remember: Just because you’re not top of your class right now does not mean you’ll never end up at the peak of a tall mountain. Take your time, find your element, and one day, when you feel like a fish in water, your old friends’ proud claps will only be the confetti swimming on top of the ocean that is your beautiful life.