As children, most of us are privileged and fortunate enough to hear and believe that we are capable of accomplishing anything we put our minds to. Our minds are free, full of imagination and limitless possibilities. We don’t concern ourselves with the opinions of others, or the risks of failure. We simply follow our hearts and intuition, and move freely towards what we want, driven to get what we want, no matter the costs.

Then, we begin to interact with people. We begin to see that our dreams and goals are something others have attempted and have failed at. We begin to question if it’s really worth it to take so many risks. We learn about the way things are “supposed” to be, and how we’re “supposed” to live our lives, and are brainwashed into believing that there isn’t much out there for us to achieve, beyond what has already been accomplished by others. Honestly, to call this bullshit would be an insult to bullshit.

Growing up, I was the type of person that had a great deal of potential, and would be reminded of it often by teachers and relatives. The problem, however, was that I would be placed in the most conventional and typical scenarios to fulfill that potential, that I wasn’t able to find a space where I was able to be my true self. In the eyes of teachers and relatives, I was an academic flop, but simply for the reason that they believed I wasn’t trying hard enough. Parent-Teacher interviews usually went like this:

Teacher: Nadir is one of the best young men I’ve met. He’s smart, he’s intelligent, he gets along well with others, and he is always there to help when needed.

Parents: (grinning) Thank you.

Teacher: But…he seems to be very distracted in class, is often late with his assignments, and seems to struggle with tests, even if he understands the material.

Parents: Oh…

The conversation would then lead to my parents asking the teacher how they could help me, the teacher suggesting tutoring, a schedule, my parents checking and signing my homework book every night, etc. I tried every single one of those things, but nothing seemed to work. It worked for some others, but for me, it just didn’t work. This continued all the way into university, until I came to a point of making the conscious decision to find a new way.

That was when things seemed brighter in my eyes, despite the fact that I was now being called, “A jack of all trades, and a master of none.” That didn’t sit well with me, because I knew that it was possible for me to become more than just one thing. I didn’t want to be mediocre. I looked at the lives of those around me and those I heard about on TV or in the dreadful gossip circles you see at most events. Most people seemed to be miserable with their lives. They hated their jobs, they had lost all romance in their relationships (if they were in one at all – some find singlehood to be the ideal lifestyle, by the way…for me, having someone to share a life with and to be completely comfortable with is one of the most beautiful things life has to offer), they always wanted what they didn’t have and were upset and unsatisfied with what they did have. I looked at that and saw horrifying examples of what following the societal path to “success” looked like.

I decided that enough was enough. I decided that I would go after my goals, and create more dreams and goals as I went along. I decided that if someone told me that I would never be able to accomplish one of my goals, it would then be a personal challenge to make sure that I accomplish it, simply so I can know in my heart that I’m capable of more than what’s expected of me.

I quickly learned that being mediocre was something that just didn’t work for me. I believe I am destined for greatness, destined to be more than mediocre. Why let others dictate what I am and am not capable of?

“Never let anyone’s thoughts, words, or actions towards you dictate the value of your life. Do right by God and do right by you. Focus on those two things and, by the will of God, the rest will come together in the best way possible.” – Nadir Keval

The world is filled with people with lives that are so incredibly similar, while having the potential of being so incredibly unique. What takes us away from being the best we can be is the fact that we become accustomed to living according to what others tell us is okay, acceptable, and realistic. Personally, I call bullshit on that again! I often tell this to my mentoring clients, and I’ll share it with all of you: The key to success lies in a balance of two things…knowledge of your beliefs and values with the action to back it up, balanced with a ridiculously driven and unfaltering work ethic towards making your dreams and goals a reality.

I hope you can take this information and go after your dreams, knowing that every single one of us is capable of being far more than mediocre. You have your own unique purpose in this world, and the best way you can achieve it is by never giving up on becoming better at being you. I’d love to hear your stories on how you’ve come up against the challenges of being your best you, and how you dealt with it. Leave a comment below to get the conversation started!