Hope Beyond Hope, to overcome adversity one must overcome themselves.

Five years ago, I had found myself taking a plea bargain on a crime, that has yet to ever be proven if I was in fact guilty of. In the time that has past I have been through what seems like every challenge a man can face in the gauntlet of life. I have watched so many others give up the fight or bury themselves in a pool of self-pity during this time, and others have asked me repeatedly how I can continue to move forward. This is the story of how…

George Patton once said that “I am a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight”, this quote has stuck with me now for over twenty years, and each time I face a new adversity in my life, I find it ringing ever so loudly in my head. Throughout my life, not just the past five years, I have walked a very hard road, a road I have come to name “my path to greatness”. The Path to Greatness is something that everyone in this world can walk down, but it is also one of the roughest paths that they will walk down. It’s different for each person, it has its own goals and its own obstacles along the way, how one chooses to face these obstacles can have a lasting effect on themselves and others around them.

I see people all around me, all the time, that complain about their inability to find a job due to a criminal background, or their inability to gain higher education because of the same. I refuse to believe that a person’s background can inhibit their ability to further themselves in life. With each adversity, I have faced in my life, I refer to the quote by George Patton, and I always find myself winning whatever battle I must fight. It comes down to the mettle of a person, not the background that has caused the challenge in front of them. Do they have it in them to never quit? Even when everyone says they will fail.

Employment for me, has never been easy, but having confidence in the fact that I will always win has been my key to success. When I didn’t have the correct clothes for a interview, I would work odd jobs until I had saved enough money to buy them. If I felt my vocabulary wasn’t up to par with the job I may be interviewing for, I would research ways to better conduct myself during a interview in a more professional manner. These are just tiny things that a person can do, that will enhance their ability to gain employment 100%, if you go in looking and acting like a street thug, that is exactly how you will be seen to a prospective employer. Now days, finding a job has become just a reflex for myself, I can walk into any job I apply for with the confidence that I will more than likely walk out with a start date.

Education, especially higher education I.E College, trade school etc. can be a bit trickier. Today, a criminal record is the first thing looked at, and if say a person were on the registry, such as I am, then being accepted into college is almost always rejected. However, I have attended one trade school, before being on the registry, and one college while being on the registry. When I had first applied to college, my application was rejected within two days, which I appealed the decision and asked to go in front of the board of education for the city the college was in as well as the board for the college itself. Through my employment background I gained acquaintances that were willing to write character letters on my behalf, this teamed with my confidence walking into the meetings allowed me to win that battle within a matter of moments, to which I started college classes the following term. During my classes my tool bag of experience came into play a lot, it gave me the ability to seek out help for mathematical classes, and the wisdom to have structured professional debates in legal and political classes. Upon graduating with my Associates of Science In Business Administration, I was presented with not only my degree, but also a Certificate of Commendation for being on the Dean’s list for two years straight. The college has since then pushed heavily for me to return to work on my Bachelors and I have agreed to return this fall and continue classes.

Everything I have done is because I have chosen to walk my path to greatness, and refused to give up and sit on the sidelines. I have built a strong tool bag of confidence, professionalism, and humility that has made me the soldier I am today, the Soldier who will always win where he fights. I leave you with a quote of my own, in the hopes you may choose to begin your walk down the path to greatness, or to get back off the sidelines and continue the journey,

“Don’t ever stop walking down the Path to Greatness my friends. The biggest obstacle you will face is yourself, those that mock you are just ones who gave up and sat on the sidelines.” – Scott Roberson

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