Can You Find Your Purpose Amidst Life’s Trials and Tribulations?

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If you can’t tell already, I’m a very optimistic person. I choose to view the glass as half full, not half empty. I believe that if we come across an undesirable experience or setback, it is our job to find the lesson hidden in it, and utilize it to our advantage. 

Let’s look at my life, for example. Growing up in Panama was no vacation. My father was never around. I was never the best student in class (in fact, I was voted the worst student in the school). We very rarely had enough food in the house, and many times I’d go to bed having nothing more in my stomach than water and one piece of bread. My family didn’t have electricity, so I have memories of running extension cords to my neighbor’s house or reading my books by candlelight. I eventually came to the US to live with my stepmother, but it wasn’t easy because she had to work extremely hard in order to take care of us.Therefore, I was left alone to make my own decisions. After bouncing around from state to state and fighting my own inner battles, I learned from all the experiences, and my purpose became clear to me. 

Ever since I was a child, I always wanted to serve in the US military. It was something I was always interested in for as long as I can remember. Although I was a born in the US, and therefore a US citizen, I didn’t know how to speak English. However, I saw these soldiers coming into third world counties and helping the people who lived there, and I wanted to do that. I wanted to serve my country and I wanted to help those in need. My purpose became distorted as I grew up, due to what I was going through at the time. But despite all the personal obstacles i had to face, I followed my heart and found what my life needed at that specific time. 

My point is this: growing up, things happen in life that can get you sidetracked. You must fight your own inner battles and keep focused on accomplishing your purpose. I lived and fulfilled something that I felt passionate about — something I’m still passionate about and proud of to this day. At that specific time, serving in the military was my purpose, and that really brought me joy in my heart. I give thanks to all of those experiences and to the military for the person that I am today. 

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Dr. Alex Ledgister is not your typical “Success Coach.” The former Marine who holds a Ph.D.

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