It seemed like just another day on a school bus filled to capacity.


The ride to the high school was 6 miles. Approximately 25 minutes each way.


While it may have looked like just a regular school bus on the inside, it’s what you didn’t see on the outside that was worth thousands of words…and stories.


Not only that but in many ways it set the stage for the future of those riding the bus.


I was one of those students who rode that school bus for 3 years…


Seems like no big deal…right?


It was to me because I always made it a point to sit as far in the back as possible because that’s where all the “cool” kids sat. And along with that some of my friends were sitting back there as well.


Still seems like no big deal…right?


Well here’s the thing…


Every single person  in the last 4-5 rows from the back of that bus made it a daily habit of smoking…both cigarettes and marijuana.


The only one who didn’t…me. Never did and never tried it either.


But what was really interesting is that I was “allowed” to stay back there…while the so called “nerds” and less popular kids took up the first 6-7 rows.


And even though at the time it didn’t seem like a big deal to the other kids, I knew that it was setting the stage for my future.  




It was preparing me for life. It was helping me to be able to stand up for who I really am.


So, my question to you is…


“Are you standing up for who you really are?”


…And what is it that gets you to realize that?


1. Where are you going

Many people will say what goes on in school is an important factor that determines your future. But how many will say the same thing about what takes place on a school bus…not too many.


And in my case this was an important factor…


Because after all, I would get the other kids blowing cigarette and pot smoke in my face. In fact, there were times when it was like living inside of one big cloud of smoke…the size of a bus.


Along with this they would also try and get me to do drugs. Then of course came the occasional, “you’re a wimp”, along with the other ways they would make fun of me.


But it didn’t work. I stuck to my guns and wouldn’t give in.


Now my question to you is, “how do you handle a situation when someone tries to get you to do something against your will?” And keep in mind that this can be in any area of your life.


Look back through your life and see how you dealt with these situations. Did you stand up for yourself? Did you cave in because “others were doing it?”


And most importantly…


Has this actually dictated the way your life is currently?


What I mean by this is that you want to know where you’re going in your life. And you especially want to know if all those situations throughout your life have actually conditioned you to just lay back and accept life as it comes.


Because you may actually be giving up what is truly most important to you…what you would love to do most in your life, and not even realize it.


In my case, I just knew by not giving in to what others “wanted me to do” each day on the school bus would condition me on how to stand up for myself throughout my life.


And it certainly determined where I was going in my life.


2. The truth of the truth

One thing that was pretty obvious to me back in those high school days was the fact that I really didn’t fall into any one group. Back then you had the jocks, the burn outs, the rich kids, the brains (smart kids), and the nerds.


Even though I was very much into sports and fitness, I never really hung out with any one particular group…


Instead I was friendly with a few people here and there from each group.


It didn’t make much sense what this meant back then…but now it does.


I can now see that this was a way of realizing that every person in some way was a mirror. In other words, I was seeing parts of myself in each of these people who were in each of those groups. This way of identifying with people from different groups continues for me to this very day.


What this has allowed me to do is to realize the truth of who I am while also standing up for myself…while at the same time respecting others for who they are.


For you, what type of people and groups do you identify with? Is there any one in particular or are you a “rover” as I like to call myself?


And along with this here’s something else to realize…


No matter what you do…no matter what group of people you identify with, you’re going to be liked and disliked, supported and challenged, praised and criticized equally.


Not only will you get this from friends and acquaintances, but from family as well.


Since this is the case, then you may as well be true to yourself…even if at times you feel like you’re alone and seen as an outcast.


Because the truth of the truth is that you’ll get both sides no matter what you do.


Whether you try and please others or defy them doesn’t make a difference. It’s standing up for who you are that counts.


And yes, you’ll anger people along the way. You’ll have people come in and go out of your life. But through it all you can be guaranteed of having one very important aspect of your life…




3. You being you

Earlier I mentioned that what you didn’t see on the school bus was worth thousands of words and stories…along with how it set the stage for the future of those riding the bus.


As time went on and we left high school each person went their separate ways. I would occasionally come across some of those kids here and there. But for the most part I lost contact with them…until recently.


It was interesting to see how those I’ve reconnected with turned out. The people I’ve spoken to live in the same area in New Jersey. Some of them are doing well and others still have their “stuff” going on…but for the most part things turned out well for them.


Each person who rode that bus with me has a life story that is important. They may not have realized it back then as much as they do now. And just speaking with some of my high school bus mates, it is pretty obvious that they appreciate life more now than ever before.


Let’s now talk more about you…especially about you being you.


And I’d like to start by asking, “What is it about who you are that brings value to the world?”


By answering this question everyday, not only do you get clear on the tremendous amount of value you contribute to the world through your uniqueness, but you are actually conditioning yourself to stand up for who you are.


Because when you fully realize how much value you give to the world, you become more confident. You become more certain. You get in the habit of living a life of “I love tos” rather than “I have tos.”


This, along with embracing both sides of life—the positives and negatives equally—puts you in a position to stand up for who you are.




In order to care for those people that matter most to you, it’s important to take care of you first. And this begins by you being your magnificent self.


It begins by standing up for who you are.


And notice that I said, “it begins” and didn’t mention that “it ends”…


Because it doesn’t end.


Even after you pass on physically, the legacy of who you are lives on. Being remembered for you being you will always live on.


And this also includes how special of a person you really are…


And that you really do matter in this world.

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