Peyton Manning sets standard for excellence

9-6-guest-columnIn Peyton Manning’s first year with the Denver Broncos, he was selected to his 12th Pro Bowl.

This season, after seven games, he had thrown 25 touchdown passes and had the highest quarterback rating in the NFL.

At 37, he’s still arguably the best player at the most difficult position in football.

He achieved hall of fame status by mastering every facet of his team’s playbook — his preparation habits are legendary. While Tony Romo is on vacation in the Caribbean, Manning is secluded in a dark room, watching countless hours of game film.

Manning is the best quarterback because he invests in his personal value. Winning the genetic jackpot — NFL quarterback Archie Manning is his father — is also an advantage.

Whether taking snaps in the NFL or serving in the military, investing in personal value is of equal importance.

I’m strengthening mine by completing my bachelor’s degree after 11 long years.

Yes, World Wars I and II combined were fought in fewer years than it has taken me to finish my degree.

All active duty military members receive an annual $4,500 stipend for college. Yet many of us put up roadblocks that hinder the use of this benefit.

I convinced myself it was impossible to attend school for a myriad of reasons: I was working nights, deployed overseas, or wanted to party with friends.

After years of allowing roadblocks to delay my progress, I’ve learned pursuing higher education is like having kids: there’s never a convenient time to start. The only way to overcome this is to register for a class.

If you’re new to the military, go to your local community college or an online school. If you’ve been in a few years, think about how easy it’ll be to write your performance report with your associate’s degree. If you’re working toward your bachelor’s degree or higher, take solace in the fact that you’re further along than most.

It would be a shame to let this generous stipend go to waste because we wanted to spend more time playing Grand Theft Auto V.

Completing our degree requires us to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gains. There are weekends I chain myself to a desk to write a research paper or nights where my wife eats dinner alone while I study for a final. But if I want to be as valuable in my job as Manning is to the Broncos, I have to work as hard as he does.

Kitsana Dounglomchan, an 11-year Air Force veteran, writes about his life and times for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

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