Refusing To Be A Passive Victim Of Circumstance

A hard and profound life lesson


I was born and raised in the midst of the civil war in Lebanon. I was 4 years old when we had to leave our family home in search of safety. My family was forced to sell all we had for next to nothing just to survive…

I won’t talk about what I and my family had to endure those years, as we are all able to see it every day in the news about Syria.

When the war finally ended, I was in grade 9. We returned to what was left of our home and tried to rebuild a normal life. A few years later and just after I graduated from a technical college, my dad abruptly passed away-and doing so, so did my dream of a higher education. I had to join the workforce to help my mom raise my younger brother, helping to put him through school.

For a long time, I was angry with the world and all I could think was how cruel and unfair life had been to me. During this period, I lived day to day but my childhood honed survival instinct kept me going. It had taught me a powerful lesson: how to adjust to a world of constant change, and how to focus on what I needed to do to move forward.

War taught me to keep my hopes alive for the future. I found being hopeful for the future was the most important lesson I had learned from our Civil War.

It also taught me about the importance of exercising my free will. It taught me to make every moment of my life count and to relish the feeling of confidence that comes with the knowledge that I can stand against obstacles even when the odds seemed stacked to high.

It is with such a mentality that I began to realize my dreams. I have surpassed many obstacles, I have worked hard and have had a good career thus far. I have traveled the world building strong relationships where ever I have landed. I met many good people with great minds whom had taught me along the way.

While It is true I never had the privilege to complete my higher studies, I have never stopped learning. I have had many great mentors and many people who believed in me. Their belief and wisdom along with the benefit of online learning has shaped my mind into what it is today.

I recently completed an executive education program at Columbia Business School to fulfill a dream that was long overdue. For the first time I have had the opportunity to invest in myself and for myself, and that was a powerful experience, giving me even more hope for an even greater career ahead.

On this note, I would like to commend everyone reading this for your dedication to have come thus far. Let us remember the good fortune and hard work it took to have reached this juncture, along with the many helping hands, seen and unseen, that led us to today.

As we continue on our journeys, may we always reach out to one another and help each other rise to realize our full potential.

I would like to end my story with a saying inspired by the american actor and political activist Bradley Whitford:

Take action. Every story you’ve ever connected with, every leader you’ve ever admired, every puny little thing that you’ve ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life. -