I was just talking to some of my close friends the other day, reflecting on the past. I can't believe it's been 9 years since we stepped out onto the field and threw our hats up in the air, effectively starting the first day of the rest of our lives. The emotions came running back through my mind when I spoke at a Career Day event at a local middle school last week. Amazing how fast time flies. While we can not control that aspect of life, we CAN control our road to success and our ultimate destiny.
It doesn't matter if you're reading this as a middle schooler, high school senior or college graduate. The theme is the same. YOU are your ONLY blockade in life. What do I mean by that? Well, to me it's simple. There will be many obstacles that will pop up over your lifetimes, some so big it will feel as though you should crawl up into a ball and retreat into a cave. This is life. It is how you deal with these obstacles that ultimately determines who you are as a person and where you will end up. There is NO obstacle large enough to alter your vision of success. There is NOTHING that can be put in front of you that can stop you, as long as you are willing to accept that, you will always have satisfaction of knowing you can move about the world of chaos focusing on your goal.
I've endured many hardships in my life, hardships that no child should go through, however I learned at a young age to turn the negative energy into something positive. I used what terrible things, the obstacles, the unfortunate happenings into a substance that would fuel the vehicle I jumped aboard to get me to my final destination of success (I am still riding, as all of you should be as well). Dwell not on the past and hold steadfast to your dreams and ambitions. Motivation, determination and passion are the three ingredients needed to succeed. Learn them, love them, make them your best friend.
Graduation is a very bitter-sweet moment. You don't know if you're crying tears of joy or sadness. Perhaps a little of both. While you leave your school career behind, you are now leaving your safety blanket and will move into a period of time where you will have to fend for yourselves and develop as an individual. My best advice? Surround yourselves with people of like mind. They will become your driving force. They will become the people you will later thank for pushing you.
Congratulations Class of 2019, I have no doubt you will land amongst the stars. Never give up, never lose sight of your goal and NEVER, under ANY circumstances listen to people who put your dream down and don't have your best interest at heart. You've made it. You begin the first day of the rest of your lives after departing that field. Are you ready?
I will leave you with this last thought:
A lot of people try to cover up who they are to fit in. They try to be "one of a group", they tell themselves they are happy, but deep down they know they are not. Why pretend to be someone you're not? Don't fit in. Life is all about sticking out and succeeding by doing so. Always stay true to yourself because at the end of the day, there will be no reason to discover yourself.
Best of luck on your personal journeys!