Today’s topic is a highly discussed one, so why not give my two cents? I actually love this topic soo much that I have it as a talking point in my speeches. So Josh and Joshettes, get ready to hear my take on the topic of nature.
I know what’s on everyone’s mind right now, what speech am I talking about? It’s just a little side project I started but let’s talk more about why I include this topic in my speeches. It is my firm belief that WHERE YOU COME FROM DOESN’T DICTATE WHERE YOU END UP. Sorry for the caps but I want to make sure my opinion is clearly known. So why am I so adamant about this topic? It’s because of where I come from. Even though I was born and raised in NYC doesn’t mean I was brought up in the best neighborhood. If you were to google my neighborhood, you will find that it was the murder capital of NYC. The average income of my neighborhood is less than 20k a year. Just reading these facts is enough to change the way some of you view me. The only thing is, my neighborhood has never affected who I am. Even to this day, the street I grew up on is filled with drug dealers and gang members. Why am I telling you all the bad things about my neighborhood? Because despite my neighborhood, I have managed to achieve my goals.
Some may say that maybe my family is different than every other family in the neighborhood. Nope, most of my family who lived in the neighborhood ended up like the masses. They dropped out of high school and let the hood define them. To this day some of them don’t even have a GED. Same family, same opportunities and same neighborhood, yet different results. What makes me special? Honestly, I think it’s because I had goals. I didn’t want to go to my zone high school, so I made it my goal to go to a specialized one. I spent all of my free time studying, I even took additional classes during the summer. Over a hundred students from my school took the specialized high school test. Do you know how many passed? Two and I was one of them. Same neighborhood, same teachers and opportunities yet once again different results. If you are “hungry” enough then you will make your dreams come true. Whenever someone tells me I can’t do something because of my background, I laugh and do my best to prove them wrong. You know how many people laughed at me when I told them I couldn’t write a book because of my background. I was told that I couldn’t write a book because I didn’t have a college degree. I was told because I had a speech impediment that I couldn’t write. Yet, I self-published my own book. It’s not a NY Times bestseller but it’s something.
“Josh, you might be the exception to this rule,” that might be true if it was just me who succeeded like this. Oprah Winfrey had a horrible background yet she became the icon we all know today. For those of you who don’t know her story, I will give you a quick summary. She was born to a teenage mother and was raised by her grandmother. She was molested by a family member, she even got pregnant at the ripe age of fourteen. So despite all of this, she became one of the most successful and influential women of all time. Still not sold on the idea that your background doesn’t define you, take a look at rappers. Why rappers, because many have very humble beginnings. Eminem, Biggie, Ice Cube, Jay Z and many more have achieved greatness despite how bad their environments were.
Some people might let their environment define them and that’s fine, not everyone wants to be different. What I can tell you is if you use your environment as a crutch then you can’t expect to reach your full potential. Like Jocko Willink often says, you need to take ownership. Our backstory defines us, only if we allow it. Now I ask you, what defines who you are? For me, my content defines who I am.
Remember to be successful it's your right, duty, and responsibility.