Think about where you’re at in life at this exact moment. Ponder back to when you were younger. Are you where you planned to be, doing the things you love and are passionate about? If not - take a breath and don’t worry.
Few of us are ever truly where we intended to be right at this exact instant. It sounds cliche, but life is a journey that unfolds gradually. The destination changes as we grow and our interests and goals also change. When I was a child there were a million things I wanted to do and they even changed on a day to day basis. I’m not an archeologist or a dinosaur wrangler...and that’s OK. Wherever you are in life is OK. This is part of your journey, but it isn’t your final destination.
There are a literal plethora of famous and successful people who became that in the face of adversity. I’m not talking about trust fund babies or someone otherwise born with a silver spoon in their mouth. These are individuals who were disadvantaged, probably spent time in poverty, and were forced to believe in themselves when no one else would.
Some people have one dream that they hold onto their entire life. Maintaining the drive to achieve your life goals requires persistence and copious amounts of determination. Mostly that means you have to be really, really stubborn and when someone tells you to give up on your dream...don’t.
People like Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk faced rejection, frustration, and trepidation and managed to fight through it and keep fighting until they finally found the right opportunity on which to build their success. I’ll introduce you to these two famous individuals and share with you what they did before they were successful.
Oprah Winfrey was not always the media magnate that she is now. She wasn’t always a news anchor or reporter. No, before all of that she was a little girl with a talent for memorizing Bible verses and a passion for public speaking. She was raised in poverty but didn’t stay there. After distinguishing herself on her High School speech team, she won a scholarship to Tennessee State University, where she decided to study communications. At the same time she attended college she worked at a grocery store. Before long she attracted the attention of a radio station in Nashville and was hired part-time to do the news.
From there she gained experience and moved to a Nashville television station and then later worked in Baltimore as a co-anchor of the 6 o’clock news. Her dreams took her to Chicago where she hosted a morning talk show called AM Chicago. It was dead last in ratings, but within months of her arrival it became the highest rated talk show in Chicago. From there she created The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986, and daytime talk has never been the same. She’s accomplished many things in the time since...but these early years of her life are an example of someone who never gave up. She understood that where she was wasn’t where she would always be. She’s written books, traveled the world, owned many businesses, started and supported many charities, and is as far from poverty as possible with a net worth of $3.1 billion.
Elon Musk is another individual who has climbed his way to the top against the odds. He grew up in South Africa and when he was young his parents divorced. He was a bright kid with an interest in computers, but was severely bullied as a child. On one occasion he was hospitalized after a group of boys threw him down a flight of stairs and beat him unconscious.
At 17 he moved to Canada, and before long attended Queen’s University. While in Canada he worked low-paying jobs and lived in poverty. Two years later he gained the opportunity to transfer to the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied physics and economics. Later he and his brother created a web software company, which was built up and eventually sold for $307 billion in 1999. From there he used the money he’d built to jump from project to project, even founding a financial company before finally pursuing his love of engineering and computers by founding SpaceX. Each new project demonstrates his drive and determination - now he spends his time at Tesla Motors and developing the Hyperloop transportation system.
Both of these individuals possessed grit and determination. They didn’t settle for where they began in life or allow the obstacles in their path to hold them back. Oprah Winfrey exemplifies the truth that where you are right now on your journey isn’t the final destination. You’ll grow, you’ll change and who knows...you might be the next Oprah or Elon Musk.