I met Siraj at the warehouse, where I sometimes volunteer over the weekend. He is one of the sweetest persons I have ever met. Always so warm and cheerful. And he frequently makes our time volunteering feel like we were having some kind of fun, like someone having a good time at Disneyland.
His positively contagious attitude quickly drew me to him. I wanted to know more about this guy that exuded so much life, love, and goodness. The families we serve love him. And all the volunteers also love him to the extent that we always look forward to having him with us.
If for any reason he is unable to show up, his absence is quickly noticed. Even the families would go out of their way to ask after him. That is the kind of person I am about to talk about.
He can be comfortably described as one who lights up the environment. And I wanted to find out how he got to that place of radiating so much charm.
And I was shocked to my core when he decided to unabashedly share his story with me.
It turned out that Siraj hadn’t always been that way. He hadn’t always been the fun, loving, cheerful and interesting guy that we had all known him to be.
In fact, Siraj described himself as “a deplorable fellow who at one point had nothing but scorn to add to the world.” He said he was someone that was detestable, contemptible and unworthy of any good thing.
But something spectacular happened in his life that seemed to turn all that around. Siraj decided to walk away from his past and is now living a life that he loves more.
Siraj was raised in a family of substance abuse victims. His parents both abused drugs, and by convention, he also grew up abusing all manner of drugs.
He never could finish his high school, because he was incapable of focusing on anything that required great details. And that included school work, and as a result had dropped off, even before he could get a good grasp on his education.
He continued to indulge in substance and alcohol abuse, abusing whatever drugs he could lay his hands on. He frequently became high and was incapable of making good judgments about his own life.
And he continued to live his life like that until he witnessed the death of his childhood best friend who had died from substance overdose. They had both abused the same medications that night. But, unfortunately, his friend had died in his sleep, an experience that shook him to his core.
And that was when he decided to turn his life around for the better.
He actually used these words, “I had to advice myself to live a better life if I didn’t want to go the way my friend went.”
Thankfully, he sought help from an organization that helps victims of substance abuse and provides them with job training skills in order to get reintegrated back into the society.
Today, Siraj works as a very responsible construction worker and spends some time on the weekend volunteering to help other families in need.
Siraj has transitioned from being a very Deplorable young man to becoming a very Dependable One. And his story did more than just inspire me but also resonated with me.
I may not be a substance abuser, alcoholic, porn addict or be involved in any other negative societal vices. But, personally, I have had to give up some “not so great” (or bad habits) in order to get to where I am today.
I used to spend too much time sleeping. My love for sleep was so bad that I would rather sleep than eat or do anything more productive.
My sleep craziness was robbing me of my productivity as I couldn’t find the time to engage in anything else.
Until I realized that I wanted more for my life. I knew I wanted to impact the world more. But then I had to contend with that creepy over-sleeping tendency of mine.
Because, in order for me to engage in more productive activities, I had to give up something that was posing as a barrier. And for me, that was my sleep.
Making that journey and transition was not an easy one, but I knew it was a necessary one. And today, I have been able to turn my life around for the better. Because, I have moderated my sleep pattern, and have become a more productive, motivational and inspirational person.
But, how did I get to that place where I am now living life on my own terms:
- I had to own up to what I knew I needed to change. You see, we may never get to that place of living more fulfilled lives if we do not acknowledge the things or impediments that may be standing in our way. It’s not easy to give up or break a bad habit. But the first step in the right direction begins with you acknowledging that you have a problem and developing the courage to fix it.
- I had to make the commitment to change. And that involved identifying what I was losing out on by not making the change. Correcting a bad habit without identifying the gains that would result from that change may be an effort in futility. If I didn’t realize that spending too much time sleeping was standing in the way of achieving other important milestones in my life, I probably would never have made that change.
- I understood that change might not come immediately. The mindset that achieving change may happen all at once may be the wrong one. We have to understand that giving up a bad habit or a ‘not too fun one’ may not happen all at once. Whether it be a drug, smoking, alcohol, porn or in my case sleeping addiction, change is generally a process. And that process may not happen immediately, but gradually.
- Picking myself back up when I experienced those little set-backs. Going from deplorable to dependable may not happen without some bumps in the road. But in order to achieve the desired result, we must learn to stand back up when we experience those stumbling blocks. And then, continue to stay focused on the endgame, which is what really matters.
And finally, like they always say, “the only constant thing in life is change.” The fact that you were deplorable yesterday, six months ago, one year ago or decades ago, does not mean that you cannot become dependable today.
You can always walk away from a dirty past, and begin to live your best life today! But ultimately, that decision is yours to make. And it begins with realizing that anything, including giving up that bad habit is possible, regardless of how many times you may have tried in the past and failed.
You just have to be willing to get it right this time. Would you?
All the very best,
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