Hi, my life story is nothing out of the ordinary. There would be a million others who might have similar dreams or goals in this planet of 7 billion other people; but in-spite of that, I would confidently say that I am unique, with a distinctive journey, just the way, every one of you who is reading this is an extra-ordinary person in their own way. Undermining our own self always paves the way to become a follower, and to shine out and be the exceptional person you are, that belief in your uniqueness needs to be ingrained within you.
Most people don’t like being different or standing out. Generally, most individuals don’t want to be noticed. But, it’s not as bad as you’d think. In fact, when you live a life as someone who’s different, you learn right away that it is cool in a different and amazing way. You get to meet amazing people and get in on special opportunities. When you’re vanilla, no one notices.
Well, WHO am I? I am a son to exceptional parents, a best friend to amazing people in life, a writer to those who read my words, a marketer to the brands out there, a consultant to the budding companies in the world, a (future) engineer who definitely has paved a way in a completely different career, but what am I NOT, is Handicapped.
To those who got confused with the last word right there, I must clarify that I am physically disabled in the way that I have an extreme hearing loss, with my right ear completely deaf and being 90% deaf in the left one. I have accepted that as a part of me and have lived with its ups and downs throughout the last 23 years of my life.
Even if it is a huge part of me, that in no way defines me. And that’s what makes all the difference. I am not a person with disability, I am a person living with disability. Sure, it has limited my life in a lot of respects. Considering it took me to reach my 20s to finally be able to have a social life and have long lasting friendships and relationships. The same way it has definitely caused hiccups in the academia and career side of things too, but none of them were ever hurdles high enough I couldn’t jump with the determination I had.
We all have goals, dreams, hopes and aspirations in life. Some big. Some not-so-big. Some that involve changing your life. Some that involve making a difference in someone else’s life. There’s no reason that you can’t overcome your bumpy obstacles along your path and come out smiling on the other side. What makes the difference is the sheer will power and determination, and that comes from whether you are passionate about your goals or not.
That actually brings me to the most important point. Sometimes, through people we grew up with, the society around us, or even some unrealistic expectations we have from ourselves, we end up making our goals completely detached from what we love and are passionate about. I took up engineering, not realizing its definitely not something I loved; and I had two options right then. Forget my passions, and unhappily drone along with others and just live on society’s expectations of myself, or just break those shackles, and get in search of what I actually love instead.
In our secondary school, all of us have read the poem “The road not taken” by Robert Frost. I know most of us out here might have just read it for the sake of answering the textbook questions based on the same. Which is the perfect example where the society tends to shape up the way we look at things. But for now, I’d implore you to re-read the poem again. At that moment I mentioned in the paragraph before, I was at that fork in the road. And I decided to choose the “one less travelled.” Everyone around me questioned this decision of mine. From professors to my friends, I heard critical comments regarding this decision from everyone.
I consider myself the luckiest son when I say that it was my parents who were least critical of me and my decision and told me to go forward with my love for marketing and do what made me happy. At this moment right now, even though my academic record faltered in this route, I am my happiest self because I am doing what I love. Advertising, Marketing and Supply Chain have been my favourite verticals in the industries since then, and I have been learning more and more, and exploring and experiencing a lot more than I would have had I been stuck in my engineering field and might have reached a plateau in terms of growth.
That should be the most important lesson in life – never get caught up in what other people think of you or their expectations. No one else matters in your life more than you. Pursue exactly what makes you happy and what you are passionate about, ardently and without any hesitation. Stay true to the things that fill you with a sense of wonder.
Howard Truman once remarked, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Life is so short and infinitely precious. I have lost friends and seen their flames be extinguished in a matter of seconds. We never know how long we have, don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
But there is another important thing. Never shut your emotions down about whatever you’re feeling. Had it not been for my parents to be at every step of my life lending their support and time, helping me get over my issues all the time, I wouldn’t have been able to reach where I am right now. Opening up to others, be them your parents, your siblings, or even your best friends, is the most important thing. No use comes out of shutting yourselves off from others and going in a recluse. It is not a sign of weakness that you need support, it’s a sign of strength that you’re able to let your emotions out and share them, and pro-actively work on them along with the ones that are ready to support you any time of your lives.
Just remember – YOU are extraordinary, YOU are amazing, and YOU are unique, and capable of achieving the unprecedented and deemed impossible things in life.