When you ask the majority of the youths today to define success, many will say it is to reach the financial levels that they see with the images portrayed by the rich and famous. They speak of the ‘bling’, the popularity, and ‘stacks on stacks on stacks’, in layman terms, bundles of hundred dollar bills, and driving exquisite foreign cars such as Bugattis and the always spoken of Lamborghinis. Rarely do they speak of what is already present in their lives.
The thought of success in many youths is any situation that is better than what they are going through at the present moment. Much of this clouded perception is due to the lack of mentorship and leadership that is sadly almost obsolete within urban communities. Commercial mainstream trends lead the path for many of those in reach of that ‘swag,’ thinking this is how they will gain respect and taste the sweetness of success, but this is not the case and it must be taught that it is not.
Success is defined as getting or achieving wealth, respect or fame in many dictionaries that have been published. These are the same dictionaries that school our youth and feed their brains with knowledge, so how can we judge them for their clouded perception of true success? We have provided the text for their teachings, but yet we have not broken down the complete concept and manner in which to define success.
We need to teach the youth that the definition found in the dictionary is accurate, but that there are other definitions that define success. They do not need to become a part of mainstream trends to feel successful, to live successfully, or carry themselves as successes. They must realize they have already succeeded. When they wake up every morning, they are breathing success. When they participate in their community’s programs to help others, they are living success. When they learn something positive and share what they have learned, they are building on success. When they refrain from participating in street activities that have bounded their family members and friends behind bars, they have surpassed success because they are breaking the chain of history. They are diminishing the recycled link that continues to get welded into the ankles of all urban city youths who feel they have no way out of their deprived neighborhoods.
No longer is the podium of success too high to climb for any of our youths. They are able to reach peaks of maximum height with courage, confidence, and determination that is already within them, as long as we as society make them aware of these characteristics which they already possess. Standing proud of their achievements, regardless of how miniscule in size, will ensure that these youths know they have already succeeded without the need of all the ‘bling’ and ‘swag’. They will walk confidently and reach out to others knowing they have achieved wealth through knowledge, they have gained respect through their perseverance, and the fame that follows will come from their peers, family, teachers, and community because they have joined the list of those who have made it out of their hood.
The clothes will not make their success arrive faster. The quickly made hundred dollar bills will not assist them to create stronger foundations. True success comes from within. It is felt from within, and it is lived righteously outward. Achieving success is what many youths dream of, while all the while, those who are not taught are unaware they can already taste that sweet, ever so rich flavor that they feel they are yearning for, if they step back and see how far they have come since the beginning of their creation. Success can be defined in many ways, but I like to define it as growing, learning, and bettering oneself. We need make no attempt; we have already reached a major milestone as people as long as we continue to teach. Positive education always creates elevation and this is the definition of success that the youth should remember. Acceptance of oneself provides peace and acknowledging and expanding upon that acceptance is S-U-C-C-E-S-S.
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By contributing writer Linda Oquendo for Young Men’s Perspective Magazine
Linda Oquendo is a full-time freelance writer and blogger. Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised throughout the U.S., she has a diversified writing style that is straight-to-the-point and direct with each piece of work shared. She thrives on empowering others by encouraging them to live not by examples set before them, but by the examples they create for themselves. She believes Positive Education Always Creates Elevation. (P.E.A.C.E.)