Growing up I was always fascinated with people who were immensely successful in their respective fields, whether that be heroic World War Two veterans, or groundbreaking scientists such as Albert Einstein. For some reason, I was just obsessed with their unique characteristics and how their particular personalities affected their greatness. My entire life I was always convinced that they were born with these God-given gifts of intellectual spontaneity or soul-wrenching bravery. But as I got older I began to realize that the product that we all see in front of us was not formulated and solidified at birth, but rather formed, cultivated and polished through a life of challenges and breakthroughs. So I stopped asking myself why I am not like the great individuals I look up to.
Instead, I ask, “what journey do I need to undertake to help mold myself into the person of character that I so admired when I look at those great individuals.”
So over the past few years, I have really tried to look at my journey to see how it has molded me and brought me to the place I am today.
Looking back at my always ongoing journey, I can say that it all probably started the day I switched from an ordinary/traditional school to a new, unproven school that was specifically designed for elite soccer players. At the time, I was attending a “prestigious” college preparatory school named The Shipley School. This school was filled with teachers, parents, and kids whose main focus was to study, go to college and follow the proven path of life. While that path looked easier and to a point more stress-free, there was something about it that made me unhappy. I am someone that always wants to create my own path.
Even at a young age, I was always looking for a challenge so when the opportunity of going to a new school that was for kids of great physical talent I immediately seized upon that opportunity. And when I switched over to YSC Academy from The Shipley School, I was motivated and excited to see where this ongoing journey would take me.
I spent four incredible years at YSC where I was exposed to fierce and ruthless competition, motivating stories of struggle and best of all, an innovative environment that allowed me to dream a future for myself that otherwise, would not have been dreamt of.
After finishing those four years of high school it began time to think of college and what my life would look like in the future, so I decided to give college a try. Knowing myself the way I do, I knew that college would not be a place that would satisfy me in the way that I needed. And after one semester of college, I had decided that college was not the place where innovation and creation were cultivated and it definitely wasn’t the place where I could add to my unordinary journey.
So my next step was onto a semester of working on my mindset while also working on some entrepreneurial ventures. After those few months of truly figuring out who I was as a person, I had really built a strong sense of self-awareness that has become incredibly valuable to my decision-making process. And that self-awareness came into play when I decided to join a program called Praxis.
Praxis is a program where you learn valuable life skills and then you get to deploy those earned skills when they place you in a start-up company. While in the program participants complete 10 hours per week’s worth of coursework designed by professors contracted with Praxis. The academic and non-academic subjects in the curriculum are designed to instill a level of entrepreneurial thinking in the participants and to challenge them to think broadly about complex questions.
When I was making the decision to pursue the application process to get into Praxis, [in which they only accept 11% of applicants] it became a relatively simple thought process for me. My thinking was, “will this provide a challenge that will pay off for me and will it contribute to that unknown nature that I so covet?” And so far I can say that Praxis has provided me with skills and motivation that I had not foreseen for myself before joining Praxis.
To tie everything together, when I was younger I was so focused with the destination that these great individuals arrived at, but I realized by reading more about them, that life is so much more about the journey than it is about the destination, and that is why I will always focus on the journey that I embarked on to become the person that I truly want to be.
Originally published at maxsakiewicz.com