I grew up in a mainstream environment until I transferred to the Illinois School for the Deaf in high school. What I wish I could have told my younger self is to not let what everyone else sees to be what I see in myself. I’ve let far too many opinions bring me down instead of building myself up for success.
But what is success? How can I measure it? I used to measure it by how much I contributed to society. I worked several jobs throughout high school, at once, and did everything I could to advance myself. I was awarded a full scholarship to Gallaudet university, but by working so hard, I neglected my mental health, and allowed negativity to run my life. Which made me work harder and harder to try and make myself too busy to be left alone with all of this negativity that I didn’t realize I had been carrying this entire time because I never slowed down to deal with it.
When I arrived at Gallaudet, I was in a dark place. I barely attended classes, and in some classes, I had teachers who didn’t care beyond my attendance. I was in a negative spiral–and I sunk further into the false belief that all this negativity was true. I felt like the full scholarship I worked so hard to obtain was wasted. My measure of success wasn’t working.
But then someone taught me a new definition of success:
Success can be defined by impact over results.
Have you ever made a friend that you just know you’re going to remember for the rest of your life? Where is that friend now? Does it make you happy or sad? What does this feeling inspire you to do? The “successful” impact they have left on you determines your actions and the results.
Have you ever been inspired to change the direction your life was heading? Do you attribute it to any one person? Have you thought about your own impact and the positive changes you may have effected yourself? I found this new definition of success to be inspiring
So what if, instead of listening to other people tell me who I am, why don’t I tell myself who that is? What if I define my success?
Who I am is someone who wants to make a positive impact on everyone he meets. And I hope I have made a positive impact on you.
I am a proud father of soon-to-be three kiddos. I am happily married to a beautiful nurse. I have found my new measure of success to be a proportionate measure for happiness as well!
Don’t let other people define your success for you. Define it for yourself!