“Nor is it wise to judge yourself based on how you were raised – what you have had or what you thought your talents to be – for we all have in us something of value not only to ourselves but to others as well…” — Rick Cox

Poised to be a success John, (not his real name) was the oldest of four boys. His destiny set for him in that he was raised in a family having the ability to provide all four boys with the best schooling. They were also given extra teaching in music and the arts as well as having them become proficient in martial defense. The boys were raised by parents who understood each had their own unique gifts and talents, which would someday be turned into skills. They were always told, shown and given love thus, providing for an atmosphere of growth and achievement. The parents were respectful to each other as well as to the boys. The boys grew up knowing they were loved and valued, which engendered a very healthy self image.

John was encouraged to develop his own gifts and talents as well as follow his dreams. At the age of five, he started playing the accordion growing in his ability to read and play music. At the age of six he was encouraged to take Judo along with the music lessons. Both helped provide the necessary discipline, which John would find useful later in life. In elementary school John took clarinet lessons then began to play the drums. He was in a band by the age of 15; playing later for a short time with his brother. While in prep school, as a freshman John made the varsity wrestling and football teams. He was a place kicker on the varsity football team. As a result, this made him a four year letterman. The following year John joined the gymnastic and diving teams. Of importance to note is the fact John did all of this not having fully grown for he was quite small in prep school graduating at only five feet four and one half inches tall and weighing only 125 pounds.

Living in a house full of love and encouragement was a large factor behind the intrinsic drive John had for achievement. He believed in himself; his abilities and dreams. John believed he could pretty much do what he set his mind to; the world was his to conquer. At the age of eighteen John took and passed the Drywall Contractors Exam for the state in which he lived and became a licensed contractor; the youngest ever. Though he was a qualified contractor, John continued his studies by attending a major university.

It was while attending college John realized his real love was to be a psychologist. John had always had a keen insight, a special gift if you will, into human nature and relationships. Realizing this, he felt he could best serve others by honing in on and developing those gifts and talents. He also found as he continued his education this helped with his song writing and love for music. It facilitated his ability to put emotion in the words and music. It also aided him in his ability to connect to others when writing books. Soon, John was using his counseling and musical skills to help thousands. Life for John was a dream fulfilling adventure. He not only helped countless others, he was quite blessed in and through the process. John will leave a legacy of books and songs he has written, which will be read and played long after he has passed.

Unfortunately, life isn’t like this for ninety nine percent of us. It wasn’t this way for me and more than likely not this way for you. Like John, I was the oldest of four boys and though fortunate enough to have a home with a Dad & Mom as well as three healthy brothers, we had considerable drama. Our household didn’t have the atmosphere for developing or encouraging a healthy self image. Dad and Mom were always arguing and fighting. Dad put us down with belittling comments rather than giving encouragement through his speech, actions and adoration.

Dad had only gone to second grade with Mom having only an eighth grade education. Dad tried to live vicariously through us; the results were never good for we were never good enough and were told we never would be. To the point, if any of us made a mistake we were chastised or severely disciplined. In this type of upbringing more often than not, we find ourselves focusing on the negative rather than the positive and in most cases, we also become the negative rather than the positive. The end result of this is life becomes a struggle.

So it was for me for after taking accordion lessons for a year at age five, my Dad’s income went down therefore, I had to quit. About fifteen months later when things were better he encouraged me to take Judo. It had been over a year, but I wanted to continue the accordion lessons. My parents couldn’t afford both. I was nudged toward Judo by Dad. Although I did play the clarinet in elementary school for a year I was not encouraged to do so, but was encouraged to remain in Judo.

I was fortunate enough to get a drum set by my freshman year in high school however; I played only a few years as I was told if I wanted a car the drums had to go. The interesting part of this is I was paying for the car so why did I have to give up the drums? I was good at gymnastics; wrestling; diving; place kicking and did in fact make the varsity wrestling and football teams as a freshman. The problem is I was removed from the teams by Dad as he wanted me to work. I worked every single day and most weekends as I was attending a high school that had double sessions. The morning session was out at 11:50 AM, which left half a day for me to work with Dad.

According to my teachers I had good academic abilities, but they also recognized I never tried very hard. The reason I didn’t was due to the drama going on at home. On top of this I didn’t want to graduate from high school as this would only mean more work and I knew it. Because of the resulting horrible grades, I couldn’t have qualified to enter a college even if I had wanted, which I did not. I was a small, short and quiet guy with a poor education. Had you been looking at me on the outside when I graduated, you would have said, “This poor soul has little or no chance of becoming anything. He can’t focus, his grades are horrible, he didn’t play any sports, he seemingly has no skills, and he isn’t going to go to college. I bet he is going to wind up a loser.”

Fortunately for me, I did have something inside. We all have the capacity for it but we may all not exercise it. What I had was “determination.” I was determined to become what it took to succeed. I was resolute, unwavering and single minded in the focus of being and becoming a success.

It does not matter your upbringing or whether you received all the love and adoration you may have deserved or wanted. More often than not your parents have done the best they know however, whether they did or not, it is best you learn to get over it and move on. You cannot go through life reliving the past or carrying sorrows from yesterday. Yesterday is over and gone. Learn from it and move on.

You can only change your tomorrows by what you invest in today. You alone are responsible for your tomorrows. Stop giving others the ability to run your life. Take back that responsibility and do something with it. Don’t allow others to look at you on the outside and by their judgments keep you from being what you are determined to be. MORE IMPORTANTLY, don’t judge yourself by what you see or believe yourself to be on the outside for there is more inside you, it simply needs you to WORK IT TO THE OUTSIDE. This can happen when you are determined so get determined and do not give up until you have what you want.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox