Walking past a shivering and starving man on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Atlanta made me question success. When I was twelve years old my mom took me to Centennial Park in Atlanta one night during the holiday season to go ice skating. We parked in a questionable part of town, and on the way to the ice skating rink, I observed a man sitting on the curb. This human being was absolutely pitiful, his hands and arms were thin and muscle less. His face displayed an expression of pure defeat and helplessness, and when I stopped to better understand him, my mom grabbed my hand and forced to me keep walking. I simply couldn’t comprehend how we could walk by a helpless man with half full bellies and food in hand, while he clearly suffered in our presence. I had an epiphany at that moment, there is immense pressure on adults to be successful, and if they aren’t there will be dire consequences for themselves and their loved ones. I knew that something in this man’s life caused him to be unsuccessful, and consequently his homelessness was a result. I asked my mom why she thought that she and my father were successful, and this man was not. She explained to me that although finances are important, they are not the sole indicator of how successful someone is. Mom explained that money is useless if you’re not successful in other areas of your life such as: health, love and happiness. I now understood the reality; that every day I need to work towards success and perfection, because success is necessary for lifelong fulfillment.

Similar expression of defeat, to the one I witnessed that night in Atlanta.