When I look back on my 30 years on this earth, it has been one heck of an adventure. I have made more mistakes than I care to remember, but I have also enjoyed enumerable successes.
For the most part, the mistakes have been of my own making, while the successes that I have experienced have always been in part my own doing, but there has always been someone in the background who is at least partly responsible for who I have become.
Advice is a double-edged sword. Everyone is willing to give it, but few are willing to actually accept it, and even when it is accepted, there is such a thing as bad advice, which can lead to disastrous consequences. For my part, I have learned who I am willing to accept advice from.
Learning who to accept advice from has been a long and painful process. And if there is one thing that I have learned throughout the journey, it is that a person needs to earn the right to give you advice, don't just assume that someone has your best interests in mind.
With that being said, there have been a few times where I have received advice that has had a massive impact on the positive direction of my life, but there is one instance that stands out from all the rest, which I will never forget.
It was the lowest moment of my life. I was unsure if I had any future because of the massively epic mistakes that I had been making, and the future that I was unsure of was completely (or so I thought) outside of my own control.
During that time, I could always be found sitting in my bedroom, reading or playing video games, as I went through a period of self-loathing and "poor me." I did my best to ignore everyone around me, including my family and closest friends. It wasn't until someone who I considered to be a father figure showed up at my house because he got tired of waiting for me to figure s**t out.
We shall call this gentlemen, "Mr. Smith." Mr. Smith showed up and walked into my room. He wandered over to my television, turning it off while I was in mid-game, and stood there staring at me like an angry high school principal that just caught me smoking in the washroom.
"Alex, it's time for you to put your big boy pants on." It wasn't a question, it was a statement. He then proceeded to tell me that I would never be considered a man if I chose to hide from life, and that the only way I would be able to move past this life debacle would be to grab it by the horns and mount it on my wall like a trophy.
To quote him word for word, "A boy does what he wants to do before what he has to do. A man does what he has to do and rarely gets a chance to do what he wants to do."
After delivering that line, he walked out and closed the door leaving me to my thoughts. See, it wasn't just the advice he gave me, but the way he delivered it as well. In essence, he challenged me to become the man I was meant to be.
I have lived by that statement since that day nearly seven years ago, and everything I have done has led up to where I am now. It's a great lesson for all of us: do what you have to do, when you have to do it.