Becoming The First You

Becoming The First You

No one has ever become you, and no one ever will again
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About 15 years ago, there was a highly anticipated professional wrestling match between two of the best wrestlers in history, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. The storyline of this match was that growing up, Jericho idolized Michaels, but now wanted to surpass him and become the better performer. It was here, during one of Chris Jericho’s promos that he said something that has always stuck with me: “I grew out of wanting to be the next Shawn Michaels, and I concentrated on becoming the first Chris Jericho.” Putting personal feelings about professional wrestling aside, that comment is quite profound. Here is a man, who was trying to be someone else only to realize that his best course of action was to become the best, and first, version of himself.

We often find ourselves wanting to be other people. Whether it be good looks, fame, money, or luck, there are always people who appear to have what we want. It is easy to attempt to emulate these people’s traits and characteristics. It is easy to want to become the next Beyonce, Brad Pitt, or Mark Zuckerberg. They are are rich, famous and successful. Why not try to be just like them? It relieves us of the burden of trying to carve our own path and make our own decisions. We can just do what they do. However, they didn’t become that person by trying to be like someone else. They reached that status because they focused on becoming the first version of themselves.

Becoming the first version of yourself is incredibly difficult. There is no roadmap to becoming yourself because no one has ever done it before. No one has ever become you, and no one ever will again. To become the first version of yourself, you need to determine what type of person you want to become, what you will stand for, and what you desire to accomplish while alive on this earth. It also means, doing what makes you happy, regardless of anyone else’s opinion. It means going against the crowd, going left when everyone you know is going right. It means doing something because it is what you want to do, not because it is what society is telling you to do.

I myself have often struggled with this problem. I have always strived to be me, do what makes me happy and what I believe is right. I listen to music I enjoy, not what is popular. I eat foods I like, not what everyone else likes. I could care less what anyone else thinks about any of the choices that I make. I have never tried to be the next Ryan Gosling, Kevin James, or Mark Cuban. I have always focused on becoming the first Kyle Grappone.

So, I ask you this question. Who are you trying to be like? Do you behave the way you do because it’s what the cool kids are doing? Do you make sure your interests are in line with what social media and the masses tell you it should be? Do you find yourself trying to copy the behaviors and actions of celebrities or acquaintances whose life you wish you had? If you do, you will only end up becoming a dollar store version of them, and no one is going to buy that version.

Be yourself. Find what makes you happy, and do it. It doesn’t matter if it makes anyone else happy. Determine what you are passionate about, seek it out, hunt it down, and capture it. Figure out what kind of impact you want to make on your family, friends, community and the world, and then spend every day trying to make that impact. Become the first version of yourself, and let others try to become a dollar store version of you.

About Me

I’m a youth/education public speaker and blog author. My goal is to use these mediums to inspire high school and college students to think differently about the next steps in their lives and choices they are going to make.

Thoughts on this topic? Have a suggestion of a future post? Interested in learning more about Kyle’s talks? E-mail me at Kyle@KyleGrappone.com and be sure to visit KyleGrappone.com!

The views expressed in this blog and all my content are mine and do not reflect the views and opinions of any companies and/or educational institutions I have had current or past connections with.

Cover Image Credit: Stocknap.io

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39 Things Every Girl Should Really Know About Life By 20

38. When vacationing by airplane, try to fit everything into a carry-on.
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1. Dispute ALL tickets... even if you were going 35mph over the speed limit.

ticket

How can it hurt? If anything you can save yourself some money.

2. If you're not 10 minutes early, you're late.

Your boss, your teachers, your co-workers... They all notice. Be the early one.

3. If you find yourself waking up feeling miserable, start the day by making your bed and washing your face.

Coming back to a made bed after a sh*tty day can change the world.

4. It's okay to fall off track once in a while. You'll only be wiser for next time. (Don't push it, though!)

When I say fall off track I don't mean COMPLETELY off... Just make sure you hold onto something that reminds you to keep going. You'll figure it out... Sometimes it takes years and that's okay.

5. Don't fight your family. They ARE always going to love you.

family

I used to fight my family and try to push them away... It was probably the dumbest thing I've ever done looking back. So, even if you say, "I'm never going to like them!" Trust me you will. Unless they're actually toxic a**holes...

6. Mom actually, seriously, literally, insanely knows everything.

It's crazy, I swear my mom is psychic. Or she can see the future. I used to do the opposite of what she said and my life was messier... Now that I found out about her powers I listen and things run smoother. Weird. Love you, Ma.

7. If an elder in your family tries giving you money as a gift or to cover lunch... Reject it first.

They won't stop insisting and they will force you to take the money even if you say no 3,000 times. So why not earn some brownie points and act like you seriously didn't need it. Meanwhile, you know how badly you need it.

8. An e-mail and/or a phone call goes a long way.

Don't pester... But if you're the one who calls to "follow up on a resume," a week or two after you applied, you're the standout!

Also, as a college student, I find e-mailing and staying in touch with professors builds a relationship and engraves your name into their brains. As long as you're good at writing e-mails and a good student, they'll usually instinctively like you more; seeing how much effort you spent on communicating.

9. If you hate school, just suffer through the attendance, and make sure the teacher knows your name.

Even if you actually have no idea what Descartes sixth meditation is about... Just show up, do the work consistently, and build a relationship with the teacher. They won't fail you if they see effort. (Just don't give them a reason to!)

10. It seems like the end of the world sometimes... it's not.

"And this too shall pass."

11. If you hate yourself one day (or even all the time), just pretend you don't.

Did you know our facial expressions can influence our emotions?

12. Line up another miserable part-time job before quitting your current one.

work

Waitressing, customer service, reception... We've all been there and it usually sucks (Unless your parents spoil you too much). So, if you need to get the hell out of there, make sure you have somewhere else to go before you quit. And give 'em a notice in advance, don't be a d*ck.

13. Traveling is the best thing in the world.

travel

I don't need to explain much more. I think we can all agree we want to witness the beautiful parts of this world we've never seen before.

14. If someone doesn't say thank you when you hold the door for them...

...hit them with the classic under-your-breath-but-you-know-they-heard-you type of "you're welcome!"

15. Respect authority, even if you think you're right.

cops

Just FULLY cooperate and it WILL be easier. It's also great to make friends with authority figures. Talk to everyone! Make connections and maybe you'll learn something new.

16. Spend time outside and in public.

After high school, you aren't forced into a classroom five days a week where you will have to socialize. After high school, you can decide to chill in your room and do nothing. But seriously don't make a habit out of it, you will end up feeling like crap when you realize you have no friends.

17. Don't roll your eyes at people.

So rude. Eye-rolling just makes it look like you're admitting you're wrong and you have no defense to whatever made you roll your eyes.

18. Life's a b*tch and then you die... But guess what? Even B*tches have fun!

mean girls

News flash, we are currently all in the process of dying. Stop worrying so much and try to have fun even in the dullest of moments.

19. If you're speaking about something professional, call don't text.

You do realize we still have a call feature on the iPhone, right? Use it.

20. Decorate the Christmas tree with your family amidst your teen angst.

 christmas

It really seems like a horrible excursion to pile into a mini-van, cut down a tree in the freezing cold, and then hang shiny balls while developing a rash on your hand from the prickles... But down the road, you'll regret not doing it.

21. The D.A.R.E. program makes it seem like drugs are just freely handed out.

drugs

That sh*t's expensive. And you don't want to do it, anyway (Minus weed it's harmless, just wait until you're old enough!) .

22. Smile and say hi to as many people a day as you can.

You never know if you just made someone feel a little better or accepted.

23. Make sure the E-brake is OFF.

brake

It will sound like you're dragging a dead body attached to your car and will ruin your brakes. Just double check.

24. Use all your resources even when it seems pointless.

Even if you learn absolutely nothing, you gain connections.

25. What's most important in life?

Connections.

26. Know how to swim.

swim

It is a basic skill everyone should know. You don't need to be Phelps. Just doggy paddle if you're really that bad.

27. If you don't have a firm handshake, learn how to, a**hole.

handshake

If you are a lady shaking a man's hand, strive to have a firmer grip than him. You'll either scare the sh*t out of him, gain serious respect, or get complimented on how great your handshake is! That's my favorite compliment if I'm being honest.

28. Step back and think before you explode.

Seriously dude, don't press send. You probably used the words, "like" and "literally" too much in your text, anyway. Wait 10 minutes and see if it's worth it.

Also, it's better in person.

29. Question everything.

question

Never assume you're safe or well-informed. There could be a murderer in that restaurant... Question anything that you aren't sure of. Hell, even question what you are sure of.

30. Don't trust a headline or statistic until you know it's credible.

What if you're looking at a bar graph from 1968, not 2018? You might think this is obvious, but there are clearly plenty of people who share false information. We've probably done it ourselves before. We should all work on that.

31. Park far from the store.

parkng

Walk, you lazy youthful soul. Unless you require a handicap spot or weather conditions are poor.

32. Take the stairs.

"I have no time to workout!" *takes elevator*

33. Don't text people when you want to tell them how you feel.

It only makes you feel good for like 20 seconds and then you'll probably read it back saying, "What was I thinking?"

34. Have something to be proud of.

Otherwise, you'll get lost. Life is confusing.

35. Listen to old school music, the classics, and artists who inspired what we hear today.

music

We cannot let the real instruments die people. Do you know how fun a jam band show is?

36. If you're inspired, act fast.

Don't let inspiration slip away. Sometimes it's easy to forget that great feeling.

37. If you start, finish.

Finish what you start and do the best you can at it. We all have off days, that doesn't mean you suck if you mess something up a few times.

38. When vacationing by airplane, try to fit everything into a carry-on.

beer

You don't want your favorite bikini stowed in the wrong plane when you go on vacation. Plus you spent all of your money on Corona's and can't buy a new one.

39. Change your oil.

Love your car and it will try to love you back.

Good Luck!

Cover Image Credit: Emily Fahey

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To Any Student Who Has No Idea How To Deal With The Last Few Weeks Of School

We've all been a mess at some point, but high school is usually when you start getting crushed by the massive expectations of everyone and everything you have to do.
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Dear very stressed student,

It's that time of the year — late May. For some reason, your teachers thought it was a good idea to hold all the major projects and tests until now and suddenly expect you to be able to study for and do well on every single one of them. And then there are extracurriculars to deal with. It might be an end of year music exam or the last game of the season. You feel like you're ready to explode from all the pressure and just can't wait until everything is over. Sound familiar?

The truth is, every student has experienced this, especially high school students. This is only my first year in high school, yet the pressure that everything adds to me builds up over time, and when the due dates come up, it's like a cold hard hand slapping you in the face, ordering you to toughen up. No one enjoys that, and it certainly doesn't help with morale.

One thing that most people don't understand is that these end of year examinations don't completely define your success. They certainly don't define you as a person. Some people can handle stress better than others, and not every test is going to be something you excel at. The next time you feel overwhelmed, try sitting back and thinking about all your accomplishments and the good things you've done to get to where you are right now. Surely if you're so stressed, you worked hard in the past to get yourself to that level.

Congratulate yourself, give yourself a little pep talk and move forward. Remember that in about a month, you'll look back on this time and laugh at yourself and how desperate you acted.

You also absolutely positively don't want to procrastinate! I know that it is tempting, and I know that your device may call to you. You must understand that you only have to stress about most of these things for a few more weeks, and then you get a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, no matter what you're doing in the summer. And sorry to break it to you, but hardcore studying for five hours straight will do nothing good for your memory or your health. The night before the exam, you either know something or you don't, so cramming will just hurt you.

Instead, try to make sure that you really know what you know and let instinct guide you on what you don't. Your first guess is usually right in pretty much everything.

SEE ALSO: My Ultimate Pep Talk For Students Stressing: What To Do When Everyone Expects It All From You

Make sure you go into whatever you're doing with a clear mind, with 100 percent of your focus on the task at hand. It may not seem like it, but it is a huge commonality for people, especially teenagers, to be thinking about something else or doing something else when they are supposed to be focusing all their efforts on what they need to do at the moment. I've experienced this firsthand and often caught myself contemplating life during my EOC testing when I was in the middle of writing an essay or reading a passage (oops!).

The truth is, you cannot completely control your thoughts, but you can train your brain to weed out thoughts that may be unnecessary at the moment. Meditation helps to focus your thoughts immensely. Just sit in a quiet spot and focus on one image or word. If other thoughts come to you (which they will), just leave them and refuse to think about them. Act lazy!

Take a deep breath and relax. Whatever needs to be done will be done, and you will end up doing it eventually. In the meantime, there's no point in stressing about something you have no control over until it's upon you. A little optimism never hurt anybody. Good luck on your exams, and walk into them with a smile.

Best,

Kashvi Mundra

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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