I remember as a teen hearing this quote, "youth is wasted on the young". It sounded good at the time but to be honest, I didn't fully appreciate its message back then. It is easy to live for the moment without understanding the power of what we have in our hands. Whether or not we realize it when we are young, youth has the advantage of opportunity without the awareness of experience. When we are young, there are endless possibilities and while we may see the possibilities we don’t always know how to realize them. Quite the oxymoron. Having the ability "to" without the understanding of "how". The punch line or final irony is that by the time we figure it all out we are so ingrained in our ways that it becomes very difficult to change. Ergo the purpose of this article. To help you, the youth, to understand the "how" when you can still say as the Rolling Stones sung, “time is on my side".
I know this paradox of youth well because part of it is my story. In my youth, I lived for the moment, thinking each moment was the only moment. I became addicted to drugs. Fortunately my path changed over 15 years ago. I am not here to preach to you. I am just a guy who has spent 15 years focusing on why we do what we do and how we can change. So I would like to offer you insights not answers. The answers are for you to figure out. That is what life is about, finding the answers, your answers. This process is far from perfect but it works perfectly. Very often it is the mistakes we make that cause us to grow the most. It is through growth that we build self-esteem, which is esteem for self. It is about learning what you believe in and how to stand up against the pressure that causes you to waiver, to give up your dreams. Growing up and life isn't always comfortable or easy but we either learn to "be true to thy own self" or we end up losing who and what we could really be.
There are 5 specific insights I wish to share with you. I wonder what each will mean to you.
Insight #1 - You must take full responsibility for your life.
People will make mistakes and will let you down, including yourself. This is a fact of life. Life is not fair but by allowing people and events to control your life, you give up your ability to respond to your life. That is the definition responsibility, the ability to respond. No matter what has or hasn’t been done to you, you always have the ability to choose what you do and feel. Nobody can take that away from you but beware - you can give it away.
Insight #2 - Your situation does not define you - only you can define yourself.
It is too easy to define who you are by your challenges, obstacles, past, and prejudices. The price we pay for allowing this to happen is that we essentially limit who we are and who we become. You are more then anything that has happened and will happen. You always have resources and options even if you are unable to see them from your current position. Rise above the ordinary and align yourself with what is greater - who you are inside.
Insight #3 - Things can and do change.
Nothing lasts forever, not even pain, disappointment, frustration, set backs, heartaches, or mistakes. Every winter has a spring. It may sound a bit "too good to be true" but it is the truth. Even the Boston Red Sox’s found their spring. Each moment is a new opportunity, open to new choices. You past doesn't make your future...unless you allow it.
Insight #4 - Believe in you.
Sounds simple and you may have heard this all of your life. Just believe in yourself. Even though this often sounds like a platitude and sometimes it is, it is still the foundation for anything you build. Pick your champion Tiger, Lance, Michael, all believed in themselves even when things looked bleak. Their belief in themselves gave them the ability to push through and to succeed. When all your plans go awry, your belief in you will carry you through.
Insight #5 - You are enough.
This is perhaps the hardest thing to grasp. I coach many clients through this very issue. Sure it comes in many flavors - career, relationships, past, future, money but underneath all these concerns it is still about overcoming the fear. The fear that you are not enough. The truth is that you're enough, in fact you are more then enough. You always have been. Regardless of whether you realize this now or perhaps later, you are here on this earth for a reason. Discovering it is the journey of life. Not knowing it is what creates the drive for the answers to your questions. It is not proof of what you aren't but rather validation that you are on your path. Imagine how different life would be if the likes of a Dr. Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, or Abe Lincoln choose not to seek their purpose.
Choose your path, your light - be kind to yourself but never allow yourself to fall below your standards. Never settle. Dream big and often and don't give anyone permission to take away your dreams. They are called your dreams for a reason. They are yours to keep. Lastly believe in you, if you don't how will anyone else.
I wish love and passion