“But theres a whole lot of silver lining out there for those of us who haven’t been lucky enough to be born with silver spoons in our mouths. And for a lot of us, the silver lining covers the whole damn cloud. What it comes down to, I think, is mindset- the poverty of the mind. Are you a have or a have-not type of person? Are you a want or a want-not? Its how you approach your situation, and what you do to make the best of your situation, that makes all the difference.
When you grow up on the side of have-not, you’re used to hearing the word no. In fact, you probably hear it more than any other word in the English language. No you can’t afford this. No you can’t have thats. No thats impossible. When you finally do hear the word yes, you tear off after it – whatever it is you’re chasing. You’ve heard no so often, you’re numb to it. But yes – it lights you up, fills you with possibilities. On the other side of that, when you grow up privileged, you never hear no, so as soon as those resources are gone, you’re in a tough spot. You hear no for the first time, its tough to recover, tough to look for another way to get to yes.” – Daymond John, The Power of Broke
This is one of my favorite quotes from mega-entrepreneur, Daymond John’s book “The Power of Broke.” It’s one of my favorite quotes because I can relate to it in a lot of ways. I am also assuming that many of you reading this blog can relate to it. Although, I didn’t really grow up struggling for food, shelter, or clothes, I certainly was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Nothing has ever just been given to me, I have had to earn everything in my life. When I was younger there were many times that I wished I had it easier especially in the sport of soccer.
I remember being brought to tears and slamming the door to my bedroom, after finding out I didn’t make All-Ohio for the second season in a row in high school. I remember receiving email after email from club coaches and the olympic development teams telling me I hadn’t made the team. I remember many college coaches telling me the best I could do would play mid-level division 3 in college. I remember being told I wouldn’t play varsity my freshman year of high school because I was too small. I remember being told that I wouldn’t start on my first travel/ club soccer team because I was too small. I used to think, why is it so much harder for me then it is for everyone else?
I choose to think it was God preparing me for something greater in life. It taught me the value of hard work and consistency. Now being 25, I realized that the lessons I learned growing up have given me a huge advantage over my peers in my career, business, and on the soccer field. When I dropped out of college, I did not accept any financial help from my parents or anyone for that matter. I remember going door to door knocking on businesses asking if they needed help. I sat down many days making call after call to local businesses asking if I could come in and work for them. I didn’t call my parents and ask for a few hundred or thousand dollars, because when I was a kid playing soccer, I had to work for everything and I knew I could do it without the financial help of my parents. When you have that fight, and hunger to do whatever it takes, because nothing is given to you, you have a massive advantage in life.
I am writing this blog because I see so many young people, who have been spoon fed their entire life, and when they hit inevitable adversity, they squander. They breakdown, complain, and many times quit. I see it in college soccer players all the time. They were given everything as a kid, highly recognized, and talented, then they get to the college level and they are humbled. It isn’t so easy for them. Now they are competing against 20 other guys that are just as good or better then they are and they don’t know how to handle it. They don’t know how to handle the fact that they aren’t “the man” anymore. Their ego was stroked for the first 18 years of their life, and now that ego has been damaged. I see it all the time.
I read this in a book called The Road to Success: “But if you have sympathy to squander, give it to the man who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and who has never known what it is to go hungry, and who has never found it necessary to permit any desire to go unsatisfied.” I know why I had to go through all that growing up. I had to experience that because now at age 25 when I hit adversity, I don’t squander, I rise above. At 25, I know I have to work for everything I want in life. I’m steady as you go because I know the end result. I know if I keep pushing, if I stay steady, I’ll be rewarded in the long run. I know that nothing is going to be given to me. My parents did a great job of not hiding me from adversity and pain growing up. They let me experience it and encouraged me through it. I told my JV soccer team this last fall that I will NEVER hide them from adversity because its that adversity that teaches them the life principles they will need to succeed later on in life.
If you are experiencing an adversity right now and it doesn’t seem fair. If you feel like no one else is having to experience it, I understand, I’ve been there. You might not be able to understand it right now, but over time if you choose to keep going you will understand fully why you had to experience that adversity. I don’t believe adversity or pain is to be avoided, I believe it is to be embraced. Because it’s that exact adversity or pain that makes us stronger. It’s what makes us into the person we were created to be to fulfill our god-given purpose. Be thankful for adversity because it’s always teaching you something you need to know for something bigger you can’t see right now. If you didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in your mouth, be grateful because its that strength you developed as a youngster that will help you to overcome the inevitable adversity you will hit later on in life.