You know that feeling when you realize you’ve been blindly following the script that society has written for you? The nagging sense that there must be more to life than chasing promotions, accumulating possessions, and meeting expectations that aren’t even your own? Well, wake up and smell the fair-trade coffee! There are people out there rebelling against the status quo and forging their own paths. In this article, you’ll meet three individuals who threw out the rule book and pursued their dreams on their terms.

Get ready to be inspired as you dive into the stories of a nomadic entrepreneur, an activist artist, and a philanthropic farmer—all who broke from convention to lead self-determined lives rich in meaning, impact, and adventure. The moral of their stories? Don’t be afraid to go against the grain. Happiness and purpose await those brave enough to cut their trail. So what are you waiting for? Start blazing! as in here we are talking about both self-determination examples and how it apply when it comes to reality.

What Is Self-Determination?

What Is Self-Determination
What Is Self-Determination

It means having the freedom and power to make your own choices and shape your future. When you pursue your goals and dreams despite obstacles or naysayers, that’s self-determination in action!

Some real-life examples of self-determination include:

  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for “lacking imagination” and had many of his early businesses fail, but he persevered and built the Disney empire.
  • J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 publishers before being accepted. Her self-belief and determination made the series a reality.
  • As a child, Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for $10 million for “acting services rendered” and carried it in his wallet for years until he achieved success. His unstoppable drive and vision propelled him forward.
  • Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, overcoming immense barriers through her resolve and perseverance.
  • Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison before becoming South Africa’s first black president and dismantling apartheid. His steadfast courage and conviction changed history.

The History of the Self-Determination Movement

The self-determination movement has a long and inspiring history. Going back to the 18th century, visionaries championed the idea that all people have a fundamental right to make their own choices and shape their own destinies.

In the 1960s, disability rights activists began demanding more self-determination, control, and choice over their own lives. This led to deinstitutionalization, the move to provide community-based services rather than institutionalization. The Independent Living Movement was born, fighting for disabled individuals’ civil rights and ability to live independently.

In the 1970s and 1980s, self-advocates emerged, speaking up and self-advocating for their right to direct their own services and supports. Parent advocates also began advocating for more choice and control over their children’s services.

Read more – Self-determination From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1990s: A Turning Point

The 1990s were a pivotal time. Several US federal laws affirm the rights of individuals with disabilities to direct their own services, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1992. Medicaid also approved the self-direction of services.

The new millennium brought greater self-determination and consumer direction in health care, education, housing, and employment. People worldwide are demanding more autonomy and control over their lives.

The self-determination movement has empowered so many to pursue their dreams and shape their own destiny. Its inspiring history can motivate all of us to advocate for the rights and well-being of others. The future is bright as we forge our own paths in life.

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Self-Determination Examples

Here are some examples of self-determination in different contexts:

1. Advocating for Your Rights

Advocating for Your Rights
Advocating for Your Rights

You have rights, and you deserve to stand up for them! Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter or that your voice doesn’t count.

Speak up and advocate for yourself whenever you face injustice or feel you’ve been wronged. Politely but firmly tell the person that their actions were unacceptable and that you expect to be treated with dignity and respect. You may also want to document specific instances of unfair treatment in case you need to report the issue to HR or a manager.

Don’t be afraid to ask for reasonable accommodations at work or school if you have a disability or medical issue. Your needs are valid and important. Explain your situation professionally and provide any required documentation. Most institutions aim to provide inclusive environments, so don’t feel like you’re causing trouble.

If you witness discrimination against others, say something. Silence implies acceptance of unfair behavior. Support colleagues and peers who are facing adversity. Sign petitions for good causes you believe in. Call or write to political representatives about issues that matter to you. One person can make a difference!

Every voice has power. Use yours to stand up for justice, equality, and human rights. Channel your passion into positive change. The world needs more self-advocates willing to speak truth to power. Be that voice of courage, and inspire others through your actions. Together, we can create a society that values all people.

2. Choosing Where and How You Live

Choosing where you live and how you set up your living space is one of the most fundamental ways to express your independence. When you have the freedom to decide on your own dwelling, the possibilities are endless!

Find Your Dream home.

Do you long to live in a tiny house, an RV, or a converted school bus? Maybe a houseboat or yurt is more your style. Don’t feel limited to traditional houses and apartments. Find what energizes and inspires you! Search for places that spark your creativity and sense of adventure.

Decorate Freely

Now is your chance to craft rooms and spaces that truly reflect your vibrant personality4. Paint the walls your favorite bright colors, fill the place with beloved collections, hang unusual art, or add fun furnishings. Don’t hold back; go bold with your decorating choices! An eclectic, cozy space you can call your own will lift your mood and fuel your determination.

Set Your Own schedule.

Living independently means organizing your time as you see fit. Keep the hours that energize you, wake up when you want, and engage in hobbies and social activities that fulfill you. Maybe you’re most productive late at night or early in the morning. Follow your natural rhythms instead of society’s rules. Achieve the perfect work-life balance that leaves you feeling cheerful and motivated.

Forging your own path in life begins with choosing how and where you live. Find a home that sparks joy, decorate in a way that inspires you, and set a schedule that maximizes your happiness and productivity. Make your space a reflection of your free spirit and zest for life! Independence never felt so exhilarating.

3. Selecting Support Services That Meet Your Needs

Selecting Support Services That Meet Your Needs
Selecting Support Services That Meet Your Needs

Choosing services and supports that genuinely meet your needs is key to living a self-determined life. The options available today are vast, so do some research on what’s out there. Talk to others in similar situations about what has and hasn’t worked for them.

Once you have an idea of the possibilities, think about what really matters to you. Do you value maximum independence or the security of more assistance? Are low costs a high priority, or is quality most important? Consider your goals, abilities, and limitations. You know yourself best, so listen to your instincts!

When you find services that spark your interest, schedule visits to check them out in person. Meet the staff, ask lots of questions, and pay attention to how you feel about the place. An empowering support system will encourage your self-sufficiency while also providing help when you need it. They’ll treat you with dignity and respect, valuing your opinions and choices.

Don’t settle for anything less than an ideal fit. The services you choose will play a huge role in your quality of life, so take your time exploring all options thoroughly. When you find the right match, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing trusted help is there to assist you on your journey to greater independence and fulfillment. Staying determined in your search will lead you to the supportive communities and empowering services that suit you best!

Keep your head high. Believe in yourself and your ability to shape a life of meaning on your own terms. With self-confidence, creativity, and the right kind of help, you can achieve amazing things. Stay focused on your dreams and never stop discovering ways to make them come true!

4. Making Your Own Healthcare Decisions

You have the power to make your own healthcare decisions. Don’t rely on doctors, parents, or partners to decide what’s right for you. Take charge of your health!

Doing Your Own Research

The internet puts a world of health information at your fingertips. Look into your symptoms or conditions and possible treatments. Read reviews from others in your situation. The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel in taking the lead in your care.

Asking Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor lots of questions. If you don’t understand something, speak up! Doctors are there to inform you so you can make the best choice for your needs. Come prepared with a list of questions and take notes on the answers.

Exploring All Options

Discuss all available treatment options with your doctor, not just the most common ones. Get second opinions from other doctors if needed. Look into alternative or holistic therapies in addition to traditional medicine. The path that’s right for you may not always be the most mainstream one.

Trusting Your Instincts

You know your body and health situation better than anyone else. Go with what feels right to you, not what others pressure you into. If something doesn’t seem quite right, say so. Don’t proceed with any treatment you’re not fully comfortable with.

Staying Flexible

Your health needs may change over time. Be open to re-evaluating your options and the course of your care. The choices you make today don’t have to be set in stone. You have the freedom to adjust as needed to suit your wellbeing.

Take charge of your health; you’ve got this! Do your research, ask questions, explore your options fully, and trust your instincts. Your self-determination and flexibility will serve you well. Stay empowered!

5. Pursuing Meaningful Employment

Pursuing Meaningful Employment
Pursuing Meaningful Employment

Pursuing work you find meaningful and impactful is one of the most rewarding ways to gain self-determination. When you do work that motivates and inspires you, you’ll find an inner drive and passion that propel you forward.

Several options to consider for meaningful work include:

  • Finding a job that contributes to the greater good Look for work at a non-profit organization, school, or healthcare facility. Roles like teaching, nursing, and social services allow you to make a positive difference in people’s lives every day.
  • Turning a hobby or interest into a business If you have a skill or talent you’re passionate about, consider ways to monetize it. Give guitar lessons, sell handcrafted goods, or offer tutoring in a subject you love. Pouring yourself into work you genuinely care about is tremendously fulfilling.
  • Volunteering your time for a good cause Donate your skills and talents to an organization you support. Help build homes for Habitat for Humanity, walk dogs at your local animal shelter, and tutor underprivileged children. Helping others in need provides a sense of purpose and meaning.
  • Traveling to gain new perspectives. Take a job teaching English abroad, join the Peace Corps, or volunteer with an international aid organization. Immersing yourself in different cultures expands your mind and allows you to make a valuable contribution. You’ll return home with a fresh outlook and renewed motivation.

When you pursue work that ignites your passion and desire to help others, you’ll gain independence and feel empowered to shape your own destiny. Make the choice to follow a path that inspires your creativity, fuels your motivation, and contributes value to the world. Meaningful work is the key to unlocking your full potential for self-determination.

6. Planning Your Own Day-to-Day Activities

Planning your own day is the ultimate act of self-determination. When you take control of how you spend each day, you open yourself up to new opportunities and adventures.

Make a Flexible schedule.

Create a loose schedule for yourself each day that includes time for work or school as well as leisure activities. Pencil in blocks of time for things like exercising, socializing, pursuing hobbies, and relaxing. Leave some open space for spontaneity! Having structure will give you a sense of purpose, but flexibility is key.

Within your schedule, focus on including activities that energize and inspire you. Do you love reading, painting, or playing an instrument? Make time for your passions each day. Try waking up a bit earlier to watch the sunrise or go for a morning walk. Intentionally beginning your day will motivate you to continue making self-determined choices throughout the day.

Explore Your interests.

Now that you have more control over your time, dive into learning about topics that fascinate you. Have you always wanted to learn how to code or speak Italian? Find interactive websites, apps, podcasts, and online courses to start developing a new skill. Read books on subjects that motivate and excite you. Let your curiosity guide you to discover more about yourself and the world around you.

Reflect on Your choices.

At the end of each day, reflect on the choices you made and how they impacted your mood and productivity. Did you feel inspired and energized or bored and restless? Make note of what worked and didn’t work to build on your self-determination skills. With regular practice, planning fulfilling days and making self-directed choices will become second nature. You’ll find new confidence in your ability to shape life into what you want it to be!

7. Develop an Internal Locus of control.

Develop an Internal Locus of control
Develop an Internal Locus of control.

Developing an internal locus of control is all about believing in your ability to influence the events in your life. When you have an internal locus of control, you feel empowered and motivated. You recognize that your own choices and actions shape your destiny.

To strengthen your internal locus of control, start by setting small, achievable goals and following through. Each success, no matter how small, builds your confidence in your ability to steer your course. Make decisions, both big and small, and own them. Don’t blame outside forces if things don’t go as planned; look for the lessons and how you can grow from them.

Surround yourself with a strong support system of people who share your growth mindset. Their positive influence can help drown out the voices of the naysayers and empower you to forge ahead. When self-doubt creeps in, turn to your cheerleaders to help build you back up.

Also, avoid language that implies you are not in control, like “I have to do this” or “I can’t”. Replace it with empowering phrases such as “I choose to do this” or “I will find a way”. Your words have power, so wield them to strengthen your internal resolve.

Every day, look for opportunities to make choices that align with your values and priorities. Start with something small, like choosing a healthy lunch option or committing to a regular gym schedule. Then build up to bigger life decisions. The more you practice, the more second-nature it will become.

With time and conscious effort, you can transform your mindset to believe that you are the captain of your fate. Developing an internal locus of control is a journey, not a destination. But with each step you take, you are building a life on your terms. Stay focused on progress, not perfection, and never stop learning and growing. You’ve got this! Success is yours to shape.

8. Accept Responsibility for Your choices.

When it comes to self-determination, accepting responsibility for your choices is key. You alone are in control of your destiny, my friend! Every decision you make shapes your journey. Rather than blame external forces, embrace your power to choose and commit to owning the outcomes.

Once you acknowledge that you are ultimately responsible for your situation, you gain the freedom to make changes. No longer can you make excuses or shift blame. You recognize that you alone can alter your course through the choices you make each and every day.

Every choice, no matter how small it seems, matters. Choose to start your day with exercise or hit the snooze button. Choose a salad or burger for lunch. Call a friend or watch TV after work? Our choices accumulate like compound interest, determining our direction and destination over time.

Rather than feeling overwhelmed by responsibility, feel empowered! You have the power to build the life you want through your choices and actions. Stay focused on progress, not perfection. Celebrate your wins, big and small, and learn from your mistakes. With each choice, ask yourself, “Is this getting me closer to where I want to be?” If not, choose again.

When you accept responsibility for your situation and choices, you open the door to possibility and progress. You alone hold the key to your happiness and success. Unlock your potential by choosing wisely and following your heart’s true path. The journey is yours to shape!

9. Pursue Your Passions

Pursue Your Passions
Pursue Your Passions

Pursuing your passions is one of the most fulfilling ways to live a self-determined life. When you follow your interests and dreams, life becomes an exciting journey of discovery.

Find Your spark.

What lights you up inside? What topics could you talk about for hours? Your passions are the activities that energize and inspire you. Maybe you’ve loved art since you were a child, or you geek out learning about science and technology. Don’t dismiss your passions as unimportant; they are clues to your purpose and potential.

Nurture Your passions.

Once you’ve identified your sparks, nurture them through learning and action. Read books on the subjects, take a class, join an online community, or start a project. As you immerse yourself, your knowledge and skills will grow, fueling your motivation. When you pursue your passions, life’s challenges and setbacks won’t derail you because your internal drive is so strong.

Share Your passions.

Don’t keep the joy of your passions to yourself; share them with others. Start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. Teach a skill-sharing class in your local community. Look for ways to spread your enthusiasm, even in small ways. As you share your passions, you’ll inspire others and gain valuable experience. You may even find new opportunities and connections that lead you down an unexpected and fulfilling, self-determined path.

Pursuing your passions requires courage and commitment, but it leads to a life of purpose and meaning. Don’t settle for what others expect of you. Choose to follow your own interests and dreams instead. Take that first step today to nurture your sparks and share your passions with the world. A self-determined life awaits!

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10. Develop Self-Confidence Through Practice and preparation.

Developing self-confidence requires practice and preparation. The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more your confidence will grow. Here are a few ways to strengthen your self-confidence through action:

Get comfortable with discomfort. Do one thing each day that makes you slightly uncomfortable but that you know you can handle. Maybe it’s starting a conversation with a stranger, asking a question in a meeting at work, or joining a recreational sports league. Pushing your limits in small ways builds courage and self-belief over time.

Prepare and practice. Never wing it. Practice your presentations, speeches, pitches, etc. out loud, ideally in front of a mirror or in front of friends and family. Hearing yourself speak the words will make you more comfortable with the material and help you avoid “ums” and awkward pauses. Feeling well-prepared boosts your self-confidence.

Start small and build up. Don’t go from 0 to 60 in one day. Set small, achievable goals and progressively make them more challenging. If public speaking scares you, start by speaking up more in meetings, then do a 2-minute speech at Toastmasters, work your way up to 5 minutes, and so on. Celebrate each small win along the way. Success builds success.

Do your research. Know your material inside and out. If you have to give a work presentation or speech, learn as much as possible about the topic. The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel while speaking. You’ll sound more confident when answering questions, too. Knowledge truly is power.

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11. Stand Up for What You Believe in.

Stand Up for What You Believe in
Stand Up for What You Believe in

Standing up for what you believe in takes courage, but it is so important for following your own path in life. When you see injustice or something that goes against your values, speak up! Make your voice heard. Don’t sit by silently while others make decisions you disagree with.

Find your inner strength and confidence to stand up for yourself and others. You have a unique perspective to share with the world. Rally others to support a common cause or sign a petition to create change. Write to government officials or start a social media campaign to raise awareness about issues that matter to you. Every action makes a difference.

Some examples of people who stood up for their beliefs and made a huge impact include:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. organized nonviolent protests to fight for civil rights and an end to racial segregation and discrimination. He spoke up in the face of adversity and ultimately lost his life for the cause of justice and equality.
  • Greta Thunberg, the teen activist fighting for action on climate change She started a grassroots movement that has spread worldwide, inspiring young and old alike to demand a sustainable future for our planet. Her brave actions prove that one voice can make a difference.

Standing up for your beliefs may not always be easy, but it will help you stay true to yourself. Have the courage of your convictions and speak up against injustice. Make your voice heard; it could change the world! The path to self-determination starts with action. Be bold and stand up for what you believe in.

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Real-Life Examples of Self-Determination

When you pursue your goals and dreams despite obstacles or naysayers, that’s self-determination in action! Keep your eyes on the prize, believe in yourself, and never give up. Success is rarely achieved overnight, but with determination and grit, you can achieve amazing things. Stay focused on your vision and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’ve got this!

1. The Life of Helen Keller: Overcoming Disability Through Perseverance

The Life of Helen Keller Overcoming Disability Through Perseverance
The Life of Helen Keller Overcoming Disability Through Perseverance

Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree, and her story serves as an inspiration to anyone facing adversity. Despite losing her sight and hearing at 19 months old, Helen persevered against immense challenges through her education.

At age 7, Helen met her lifelong teacher and friend, Anne Sullivan. Anne taught Helen to communicate using sign language, braille, and later speech. Through Anne’s patience and devotion, Helen learned to read, write, and speak, opening up a whole new world of knowledge and independence.

In 1900, Helen became the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree, graduating from Radcliffe College. This monumental achievement demonstrated Helen’s relentless determination to overcome her disabilities. She went on to become a prolific author, writing a dozen books and hundreds of essays advocating for social justice.

Helen spent her lifetime championing the rights of those with disabilities. She lobbied for workers’ compensation, aid for the blind, and suffrage for women. Her tireless activism and spirit of perseverance in the face of adversity made her an international icon.

Despite the immense challenges of her disabilities, Helen Keller lived an extraordinary life as an author, speaker, and activist. Her story reminds us that through perseverance and determination, we can accomplish incredible feats, even against the greatest of odds. She proved that disability does not define destiny, and with passion and hard work, we can shape our lives into whatever we set our minds to.

2. How Muhammad Ali Refused Military Service During Vietnam

How Muhammad Ali Refused Military Service During Vietnam
How Muhammad Ali Refused Military Service During Vietnam

Muhammad Ali is remembered as one of the greatest boxers of all time, but he was also an influential civil rights leader. One of his most courageous acts of self-determination came in 1967, when he refused military service during the Vietnam War.

As America became more involved in the war, the government began drafting young men into military service. When Ali was called up, he refused to go, saying, “I’ve got no quarrel with them, Viet Cong.” He was stripped of his boxing title and sentenced to five years in prison for draft evasion.

Ali stood firm in his beliefs, appealing his case to the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, the court overturned his conviction, upholding his conscientious objection to a war he saw as unjust. Ali’s brave stand came at great personal cost, but it helped cement his status as an icon who fought for justice and equality.

His refusal to be drafted demonstrated tremendous self-determination. He could have easily avoided trouble by going along with the government’s orders, but he chose to follow his conscience instead. Even after being stripped of his title and facing imprisonment, he held fast to his principles.

He proved that exercising self-determination often requires great courage and sacrifice. But by refusing to bend to societal pressures that go against one’s values, a person can stand up for justice and shape the course of history. Through his defiance of an unjust system, Ali inspired millions and advanced the cause of freedom and equality.

His steadfastness showed the power of self-determination and serves as an enduring example of how one person can change the world by staying true to their beliefs. Ali marched to the beat of his drum and altered the rhythm of society as a result.

3. Greta Thunberg and the Rise of Youth Climate Activism

Greta Thunberg and the Rise of Youth Climate Activism
Greta Thunberg and the Rise of Youth Climate Activism

Greta Thunberg has become the face of youth climate activism, inspiring students around the globe to make their voices heard. At just 16 years old, Greta began protesting outside the Swedish parliament, demanding that leaders take action against climate change. Her lone protest soon grew into the global movement called Fridays for the Future.

The Rise of a Movement

Through social media, Greta’s message spread like wildfire. Young people in over 100 countries walked out of school to demand climate justice and a sustainable future for all. Greta’s impassioned speeches at events like the United Nations Climate Action Summit gained worldwide attention and acclaim.

Despite facing criticism and personal attacks, Greta has persevered with positivity and determination. She encourages youth to educate themselves about climate change and take action, however small. Everyone has a role to play in mitigating and adapting to this urgent problem.

An Inspiration to All

Greta’s courage, conviction, and resolve in the face of indifference and opposition have made her a role model for people of all ages. She proves that one voice can make a difference and inspire change. While world leaders debate, youth are raising their voices for urgent climate action. They give us hope that the next generation will not stand by while their future is at stake.

Greta’s message is one of empowerment and equality. She stresses that no one is too small to make a difference in tackling climate change. Greta’s vision of a sustainable future for all aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Her activism shows how youth can drive progress on issues that will impact them the most.

Greta Thunberg’s stand against climate change inaction proves that self-determination and moral courage can change the world. One young woman with a handmade sign has given rise to a global movement that is determined to forge a path to a greener future. Greta shows us that we all have a role to play to make that vision a reality.

4. J.K. Rowling’s Journey to Publishing the First Harry Potter Novel

J.K. Rowling's Journey to Publishing the First Harry Potter Novel
J.K. Rowling’s Journey to Publishing the First Harry Potter Novel

J.K. Rowling’s journey to publishing the first Harry Potter novel is a shining example of determination against all odds. As a single mother living on welfare in Edinburgh, Scotland, Rowling first came up with the idea for the Harry Potter series in 1990. She spent the next five years meticulously planning the first book in her spare time while struggling with depression and poverty.

Many Rejections Before Success

Rowling received rejection after rejection from publishers for the first Harry Potter book. She was told that children’s fantasy “didn’t sell.” Despite more than a dozen rejections, her belief in her story never wavered. She refused to give up in the face of failure and adversity.

Finally, in 1995, Bloomsbury Publishing agreed to publish the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. They took a chance on the unknown author and her magical tale. Rowling received an advance of £1,500 for the book, allowing her to finally stop relying on welfare to support herself and her young daughter.

An Unparalleled Success

When published in 1997 in the UK (and 1998 in the US), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was met with unparalleled success and acclaim. Readers young and old were enchanted by the story of the boy wizard. The series went on to break sales records around the world, gaining popularity through word-of-mouth and launching a global phenomenon.

Rowling’s extraordinary journey from an unknown single mother on welfare to an internationally renowned author is a testament to following your dreams and never giving up in the face of challenges or naysayers. Through hard work, perseverance, and belief in yourself, you can achieve amazing things. Let Rowling’s story inspire you to pursue your passions and stay determined, no matter what obstacles appear in your path. With self-belief and persistence, you too can achieve your dreams against all odds.

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You now have inspiration from real-life stories of people who pursued their dreams against the odds. Armed with determination and grit, they overcame obstacles and naysayers to forge their path. Their self-determination led to happiness and fulfillment, not regret. So what’s stopping you from going after that big dream you’ve always had? The only thing holding you back is you.

Believe in yourself, take that first step, however small, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Before you know it, you’ll be living a life on your terms, filled with passion and purpose. While it may not happen overnight, stay focused on your vision and never stop learning and growing. You have everything it takes to determine your destiny. Now go out there and make it happen! The world is waiting for people like you to make a difference.


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