Don’t just live life; build one

Once in a while, a celebrity can say something that is not only intelligent, but also meaningful. They may even say something transforming, moving or life-changing.

Sadly, it seems that when movie stars, athletes or those “15-minutes of fame” pop culture idols open their mouths that is not what you get. More often than not their words amount to nothing more than a bunch of self-promoting drivel about their new movie or abilities in the world of sports.

As we know, however, our “elite” members of society are not always quite the idols that we place up on that pedestal. All too often we are usually left with a sour taste in our mouth based on what they say or do.

However, we look up to them or want to be like them, just the same.

But once in a while, they surprise us. And that was the case recently with TV and movie star Ashton Kutcher. While accepting an award at the Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards, Kutcher, who is currently on the CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men,” spoke directly to today’s youth.

His words were pretty impressive and I just hope that the children that were watching really listened to what he had to say.

After saying that his real name is not even Ashton, but actually Chris, he went on to talk about the three amazing things he learned about life when he was Chris. Or in other words, before he became a super star.

1. Opportunity

“I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work,” Kutcher stated. Listing off the jobs he held in his life, from working in a deli to sweeping floors in a factory, Kutcher says “I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job. And I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work.”

2. Being sexy

“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart and being thoughtful and being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart. Be thoughtful. And be generous.”

3. Living life

“Steve Jobs said when you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is. And your life is to live your life inside the world. And try not to get into too much trouble, and maybe get an education, and get a job and make some money and have a family. But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing. And that is, that everything around us, that we call life, was made up by people who are no smarter than you. And you can build your own things. And you can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life. Don’t live one. Build one. Find your opportunity and always be sexy.”

The show that Kutcher is on is known to be quite raunchy and often distasteful, and Kutcher, himself, is no angel.

But whether you like him, his acting, movies or TV shows, the message is relevant. Today’s youth, and in some ways all of us, need to hear messages like this, because all too often we are told that we can’t do something. We are told we have to look a certain way or live our lives a certain way because, well, that is just the way it is.

Is that how you build a life? If that was the case, I would have given up my dream of becoming a teacher years ago, because I did not finish college when I was in my early 20’s, as is “customary.” My life and career took a different path, but each stop along the way helped me to get to my eventual goal.

Life should not be defined by a strict set of rules that you feel you have to adhere to because that is just the way it is or based on how you look, but rather what you make of it and yourself.

You are the driver of that car called destiny. If you can believe in yourself, you can do amazing things. That is actually one of the reasons why I have always wanted to become a teacher; because I want to make sure students know this and help cultivate that spirit of enthusiasm about life and their future.

Let’s face it; our future is in the hands of today’s youth. We need to make sure they are on the right path in order to build their life and get out of the shadows of feeling that they cannot succeed for reasons that should not even exist.

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