[Note: This is the ending excerpt from a 6-minute talk from 2015 that I gave to a group of high school teenagers about to go into the workforce or on to college. I think it might be good for any age or condition.]
Throughout my life, I encountered resistance, some from others, but much of it from myself. I used to call them problems. Sometimes it was called drama. As I grew, I began to call them challenges. And, now, I call it contrast. Still, the one thing that stands out is the fact that all of them were helpful though I may not have had eyes to see that immediately. The contrast has caused within me a desire for something else, something more, and I made new choices or course corrections which has led me quite perfectly to where I am today.
Here’s some of the best advice I can give from my own experience:
1. Be willing to try and fail. Take chances. Change the word work to play.
2. Never fear losing your job. Have confidence in your ability and abilities. Change is a given. Be the best you can be.
3. Always be looking ahead, while enjoying the present fully. Discovery is meaningful and valuable.
4. Invest and reinvest in yourself throughout your life. Become more every day.
5. Be a life-long learner. Educate yourself. Leaders are readers!
6. Do what you love, and love what you do. Follow your heart and passion. Be your own counsel.
7. Develop and expand constantly an attitude of gratitude and appreciation.
8. Learn to express yourself and your value. You are worthy and important.
9. Give willingly and openly. Become a generous person.
10. Enjoy yourself. Seek joy. Decide on purpose every single day.
Remember, the American Dream is not about money, things, and position. It is and always was, about freedom–freedom of choice, freedom to move, freedom of speech, freedom to grow. And, it has nothing to do with where you start because everyone starts somewhere. There is no way. There is your way, my way, and their way. Everyone has a way. You and you alone are in charge of your choices, decisions, and actions. You are worthy. You are loved, and you matter.