The Price of Tuition by Jim Stovall

While founding and being involved with the Stovall Center for Entrepreneurship at Oral Roberts University, I have the privilege of working with college students from over a hundred nations who are getting their degrees and learning how to run their own businesses. If you follow the headlines, you are undoubtedly aware that college tuition is extremely high and continues to rise with no end in sight. One fascinating element of college tuition is that you pay the price whether or not you learn the lesson and apply it to your life.

Our experiences in the real world are another form of tuition. Opportunities come to us disguised as problems, and each crisis offers us a lesson for our personal and professional lives, whether or not we learn the lesson. Success, to a great extent, involves taking the information or the lessons we have been given and applying them in our lives. Knowledge is simply being aware of the information. Wisdom consists of putting the information into practice and making it work for us. Failure is the tuition we pay for the lessons never learned. I’m often reminded of the great lyrics Billy Joel wrote in his song The Entertainer. “I am the entertainer, and I’ve had to pay my price. The things I did not know at first, I learned by doin’ twice.”

Winston Churchill said, “Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.” While this is undoubtedly valid from a global or historical perspective, it is equally true in our personal or professional lives. We all make mistakes from time to time and find ourselves in a proverbial hole. The quickest way to get out of the hole is to stop digging. Smart people learn from their mistakes, and the wisest among us learn from other people’s mistakes. They don’t have to burn themselves on the hot stove if they just saw someone else do it.

Whether you’re raising your children, teaching students, or trying to succeed in your own life, never allow a mistake to be made without a corresponding change. Failure is fertilizer if we learn from it and apply it to our future. Otherwise, it just smells bad and will continue to reproduce more and greater failure in the future.

As you go through your day today, learn from failure and embrace success.

Today’s the day!

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Jim Stovall is the president of the Emmy-award winning Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of more than 50 books—eight of which have been turned into movies. He is also a highly sought-after platform speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK  74145-9082; by email at; or by phone at 918-627-1000.

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