Who You Are

It is always eye-opening to read about someone’s history. How did events affect them? How did they become who they are? “Batman Begins” is a great film because of such interest, and biographies on J.D. Rockefeller and Benjamin Franklin tend to be popular as well.

Steve Pavlina’s Meaning of Life series starts by documenting how one person can change his/her outlook on life. He talks about questioning his long-held religious beliefs when he was younger and being unsatisfied with the (lack of) answers from those around him. He went from straight-A’s to a disinterest in college studies. He started to steal for the fun of it. After almost getting a 2 year jail sentence for grand theft, he was expelled from school for low grades.

This story is a stark contrast from the Steve Pavlina who is passionate about personal growth and graduated with honors and awards within three semesters.

Yet it is the same person. And it isn’t uncommon. I was raised Catholic, and I’ve heard plenty of stories about saints who were the worst sinners in their time. People go from living in the streets to becoming incredibly wealthy. Others are born into wealth and can become destitute or depressed. Many people never do any more than coast through life and stick with the status quo.

Steve Chandler said that we need heroes. They show us what is possible. Without heroes, we don’t know what we can do. If everyone is mediocre, then no one worries about doing their best. “Just enough” is perfectly fine. Apple’s “Think Different” campaign was great because it talked about how the people who make a difference in the world are those who don’t simply accept what everyone else thinks is good enough.

Steve’s story is great because it demonstrates that no matter how bad life gets, you can always improve it. Who you are depends on what you do, and it is clear that we can all be great. After all, many have shown us how already. It is just a matter of carrying out the appropriate actions.

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