In the academic world I grew up in, a “success story” was someone who topped the class, or went on to do something prestigious. Missing from the honouring was the person who struggled and never gave up, was the person who was always kind and supportive to those around them, was the person who set up the goal for the hero to kick into the net, was the person who came to understand that their own dreams were worth pursuing even when no-one else understood them.
That single story of success (being the fastest, the loudest, the strongest), is a kind of mind poison that I’ve been trying to leach out of my system for a long time, and the great blessing of the work I’ve been able to do, interviewing people, and hearing their stories, is that I’ve come to a new understanding of “success” or “greatness.” I have very little interest in the conventional success story, these days. (Often those folk are driven by a deep pain that they’re not even aware of. It feels crazy-making to me that we keep on platforming them, trapping them in an illusion that prevents them from finding their own wholeness.)
The people who I see contributing the most to the world, are inevitably the ones who had to confront their own challenges and put energy towards healing, reconciling, and transforming their pain or challenges into a beautiful contribution. Those are harder stories to tell, though. That’s why I’m heartened to share this short video from Ts’zil Learning Centre/Cap U honouring a learner, Cassandra Mckeown.