How far we’ve come. The further I tread this path of life, the more clearly I see how much further there is to go. Values prove to be worth more than dollars. Relationship much more value than the crass game we’ve made ‘love’ to be. No good deed goes unrewarded, while many foul deeds never see their just punishment. Contradictions occur on a daily basis yet the sand continues to drop from the hourglass neck. Drop by drop, second by second, my world is screaming past me at the speed of life.

I was recently asked by a young man going through a turbulent situation in his life, how I “made it” – e.g. “putting yourself in the position where you have the opportunity to succeed.” And it really hit me hard to think that a young man would view me in such a manner. More so, that my life would give off a reflection worthy of such high regard. It astounds me.

Truth be told, sometimes there is no place to go but up. While we are busy complaining about our cracked nails and inability to schedule a pilates class, a good friend of mine told me of the last memory he had while leaving his native country; stepping over a dead human body as he boarded the bus taking him to the airport for a flight to the United States. We often forget the words “United States” is not just the name of a country, but a description of what we have here; united states – a free land where we many openly pursue what it is we will. A right we so often cover with our disrespect and shame.

Last year, there was a moment where I realized that even if I wanted to somehow ‘quit’ and ‘give up’ there was really no option to do so. Still being in school, I couldn’t have realistically dropped out to get a 9-5. Dropping out of school would negate my opportunity to even gain a respectable 9-5. And even if I had wanted to start said 9-5, I wouldn’t have been able to receive payment for 4-6 weeks from start. What’s a man to do? Hustle, son.

It was in a lot of the places of questioning and despair that I learned to find the true spirit that is within me. I became familiar with my capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, desires, and fears. In a similar manner how one learns to count the rocks when they are placed in a dark cellar for an extended period of time, the three years I spent in borderline poverty were what enabled me to find the true grit and strength that is now becoming the reason that I hope to find success; the ability to grit ones teeth and push through even through the tough times when everybody else is jumping ship – you learn to stay on board, steer it through the treacherous waters until you find smooth waters. You then have a boat and are rid of the freeloading moochers.

Several years ago, I was in Silicone Valley in Palo Alto, CA, presenting a company to investors at a startup showcase. Cool experience. However, during the main conference, I had the opportunity to hear the CEO of a very successful .com startup speak. His last words, he said carefully; as if he were counting the cost, remembering the long sleepless nights, and thinking of every tear to run down his now million-dollar cheeks, were “To everybody out there….follow your dreams. And never, ever give up on them. Thank you.”

To this same effect, I say the same thing. Follow your dreams. Be willing to get out of bed to pursue them. And never, ever think it’s impossible to obtain or do the things you want to do if you have taken the time, resources, and thought to see what it will take to make it happen. There are always solutions, friend. Hang in there.

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