In the book "The Other Wes Moore," the author recounts the following story:
"Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence?"
The author of the book is actually Wes Moore himself — the Rhode Scholar, the veteran, etc. I had the privilege of hearing him speak at a conference in Tampa recently and I believe this is a message for all of us.
So what made them so different? Wes Moore recounts a meeting with "the other Wes Moore" in prison. He asked the inmate if he thought that where we grow up made the difference in who we become. To which he replied no. Because it is not the place and environment, but the expectations you put on yourself.
What you expect of yourself determines what you do with yourself. And of course, the people you surround yourself with play an important role because if you are not careful, their expectations will become yours for better or worse.
Sometimes this is hard because the people we are with many times may not have too high of expectations for themselves or for you. It is at that time when we need to expect more of ourselves.
The only person that determines what you do with your life is you; you can make it count and you can make a difference. From experience, I can say that it takes time. However, in the long run when you look back at where you are right now things will be different. And they will be shaped by what you expect of yourself today. So my advice is aim high and expect more of yourself.