If you are someone who finds themselves surrounded by mediocrity, low expectations, and malaise in general, you may feel doomed in your existence. It appears the path is set, that your course in life has been plotted out and you have no choice but to go along with it.
The fact that even just one person who has had a similar background to you has made something of themselves should be plenty of proof that it can be done. NO ONE is born with the capacity to out-suffer, out-hustle or out-work anyone else. These are learned habits and skills and ANYONE can acquire them. If you look at an example of a single mother who is raising two kids, working full time and going to school to get a degree, then you know what I am talking about. That is a lot of stuff to balance and be responsible for. But you would be amazed what you are capable of doing WHEN YOU HAVE TO. If life hasn’t given you all of the options that you would have liked, I am sorry to hear that. Make it work anyway. As the old saying goes:
“I haven’t ever met a strong person who had an easy upbringing.”
It is just the way life is; you have to struggle, to overcome, and then you can start to understand the secret to all things. The secret is this: Life is hard, and it requires work to get ahead. That is all there is to it. Sometimes that work is clawing your way out of poverty to graduate high school and get a job. Sometimes the work is having everything handed to you for most of your life and then all of the sudden it is all taken away. We all have our crosses to bear, there is no way around it. What matters is how you see it, how you approach the task at hand, and how much intestinal fortitude you can muster when necessary. Pain tolerance is an acquired skill as well. Learn to compartmentalize things to deal with them more effectively is something you (hopefully) learn over time as life throws things your way.
Whatever you do, don’t except things as your fate. Nothing is etched in stone for your life. Don’t look around and think that this is the life that lies ahead for me. Everyone in your family smokes? Don’t. Everyone is overweight and unhealthy? Fix it. Dirt poor, living in a one room house in the sticks? Evolve.
If you are reading this, you have access to everything in the world you need to make the changes you want. Look at it this way: maybe what the menu of things life has laid out in front of you is a list of all of the things you need to deal with / overcome to be the person you need to be. I don’t consider my background or upbringing a difficult one. I grew up on a small farm in rural PA; there is baggage that goes along with that story as well. I am the person I am today, doing the things I am doing, BECAUSE of that background, not in spite of it. Everyone has it; some much worse, some way better, but everyone has something thrust upon them which they must overcome. Some figure out how to get around this (these) obstacles, others look at them as a ball and chain they must drag with them forever.
To quote the lead singer of INXS in one of my favorite lines from a song ever: “What if I told you, that we could fly. ‘Cuz we all have wings, but some of us don’t know why.”
Learn, adapt, overcome. That is the key to success in life. It doesn’t matter where you start, it matters what you overcome and where you finish. Money is not the only measure; if you came from an abusive family background and are a great parent, that is a HUGE win. If you grew up as an inner-city kid with nothing to your name, and now have a job and a car and a place of your own, that’s a major win. Don’t think the number of zeros behind the dollar sign is what matters. The world is more accessible now that ever, you just have to figure out how to move forward, slowly, but always forward. I’ve done my own version of it, others with WAY more to overcome than I have done it. YOU CAN TOO. You just have to believe, and then give yourself a chance. When you get knocked down, get back up and try again. Never, ever give up…that is the only rule.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.
by Darrin Schenck
by Darrin Schenck
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