I am that kid who the teaches told, “You will never amount to anything.” I spent most days at school, staring out the window, lost in my imagination, dreaming of knights conquering their fears, slaying the Dragon, and capturing the treasure. My Mom was called in often to my school, and told, your son isn’t concentrating in class. School was a bore, a mundane drudgery, thought up by hidden powers — all of whom wanted us to be tamed, manageable, and work in their factories. The world inside my head however, was a world free from all of this. I could be whom ever I wanted to be; Ivanhoe, Robin Hood or Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s classic, Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
That’s the world I wanted to live in. Not a world where the teachers told you that you were useless. Not a world, where in another drunken stupor your Mother told you she wished you were never born. Not a world where the bullies in your neighbourhood, and at your school taunted you daily, and knew they could because you had no Father to protect you. But this was my world, and for most of my childhood, and into my teens, I was anxious, depressed, and bordering on suicide. But, at the darkest moments, I could slip away to that imaginary world, and be whom ever I wanted to be. It gave me hope, even if only for a moment of reprieve. Fast forward, and now in my early 40’s, one could say I beat the odds. I proved those teachers wrong, and if my Mother was still alive, I could show her, that even though she regretted my existence – I do matter, and the world knows it.
The question I am asked often is, “How did you do it?”
We are all struggling, going through our ups and downs, and we all (more often than we like to admit) ask ourselves, “What is the point to all of this?” That’s a question I have often asked myself, and to be frank, probably the most important question you can attempt to answer. What is the point of all of this? The answer: simply to find out what you are capable off. Not what others think you are capable of, but you. Growing up, as an avid reader of myths, and hero tales, it was quit clear that all Hero’s had people around them, even those they would consider their closest allies — telling them not to take a chance, not to rise above their status, to stay in their lane, and do as everyone else does. It’s interesting because the writers of these stories, and those of myths, recognised the inherent, mono-experience of all mankind through history, striving to find who they really are, what they are made of, and what their potential really is — all the while fighting off inner demons and outer dragons.
One could read a thousand books on successful people, and what you will learn is that there is no one set of secrets. If anything stands out, all successful people took a very different trajectory to each other on the road to success. However, if there is one commonality among all successful people, is that they found what they believed in, what mattered to them, and moved towards achieving it — in spite of what others said, and especially in spite of those who told them they will simply fail. And even when they did fail (and all successful people do), these successful people among use, saw it merely as one step back, a chance to regroup, to realign to what really mattered, and then to forge along even stronger, more determined, building unstoppable grit, and resilience with every set back.
You see, in this way, my imagination saved me. It saved me, because in my head the Dragon no matter how big it was, ferocious and fearsome, it could always be beaten. He could be beaten, not because of what the Dragon did, but rather what I did to beat him. I see so many people fail, not because they don’t have the ingredients to succeed, but rather because they give to much of their power away to what is happening outside of them, or what their friends say can’t be done, or society who keeps telling them to keep in their lane, stay quite and be apart of the status quo, or family members who want them to live the dreams they were unable to achieve in their own lifetime.
In the end though, there really is only one ship that matters most, your own. You are the Captain of your own destiny. It is how you strategically place your sails into the winds of chance, how you navigate and draw your ship around the coastline of murderous rocky outcrops, it is how you regroup in dry dock, and then sail again towards the sunset. In the end, it is knowing your True-North, and keeping the course you have set, in spite of all the sharks in the water, waiting for you to capsize.