April 16, 2018

Find your “why” and push through

By Dalton Ray —

We roll through our daily routines often without thinking why we do so. It’s just another day and we’re constantly in the chase. But every so often, the question of “why?” creeps in.

The three-letter word will send any soul down a rabbit hole that seems impossible to escape.

The “grind” of life is such a wearing, endless task. We tell ourselves to just get to point X and everything will be all right — yet that’s never the case. Point X is 15 steps ahead on an endless escalator.

We all chase happiness. It’s the goal of life. Reaching that milestone is on everyone’s blueprint, but sometimes the pathway gets muddy.

While happiness is the ultimate goal, the journey creates the reason for pushing on. The memories made and times shared are the gems collected en route.

But when the path to happiness gets chaotic, the three-letter question comes into play more and more.

Everyone’s “why?” is different. For me, like many, it’s my mom. It’s hard to put into words what she means to me, and on a daily basis she reminds me how blessed I am. I’ll never be able to repay a quarter of what she’s done or made possible for me.

Peel back a layer and my second “why?” is my family. Making my dad, aunts, uncles and cousins proud pushes me forward. My reasons for motivation are endless — and yours should be too.

Not every individual is luckily enough to have family to push them or be their motivation. If that’s the case, friends make the cut. The pride of seeing a true friend succeed is an indescribable feeling.

Still, sometimes those two groups aren’t enough or there, but you should drive on. One never knows the impact they can have on a stranger’s life — and that can happen now or later.

As a sophomore, I was in the Gardner Hall cussing up a storm, frustrated after an advising appointment. Christy Noe, an academic counselor, took time, listened to me and became my adviser from that point forward. When I nearly dropped out my junior year, she was there. When I needed to talk through my next life steps, she was there.

My senior year, I was thrown a curve ball that rocked the foundation on which my family and I stood. Stuck in a tight situation that threatened my graduation, I turned to communication adviser and professor Kandi Walker. She bent over backwards to make sure my situation was resolved.

I am forever grateful for those two women because they helped me when I was at my weakest. I am about to be a college graduate, the highlight of my life, because of Noe and Walker. What if they quit along their way? Would I be where I am today?

You never truly know the impact you can have on someone’s life.

Former boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”

During our pursuit of happiness, adversity comes along the way. Life wouldn’t be the same without it. How could one appreciate the view from the mountain top if they haven’t experience the true depth of the valley?

When adversity strikes, how do you respond?

How do you respond when you get the, “he’s gone” text? You race home and console your mom on the front steps. When you go inside your house, you’re faced with cops who won’t look you in the eyes, but say, “You can’t go past this point.” The thought that you’ve seen your brother for the final time start to set in.

You can either bow down, or start making phone calls. But that’s only day one. What about day 32?

That’s when you turn to people like Noe or Walker.

The pursuit of happiness isn’t easy and you truly never know what role you could end up in someone’s life. When the challenge becomes too strong, lean on the people around you.

ESPN’s Stuart Scott battled cancer during the final years of his life. During his speech at the ESPYs, Scott awed the crowd with a masterful speech.

“You beat cancer by how you live … so live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you,” Scott said.

Everyone has their own version of cancer in their lives. Some as serious, some less. You can’t get through any tough situation alone. When you think, “I can’t get through this” or “Is it worth it?” take a step back and look beyond yourself.

Someone might not be able to fight for you, but allow them to be your motivation to push through.

You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477. 

Photo Courtesy / Dalton Ray

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *