Legal full adulthood.
Being 21 (almost 22), my life is so dramatically different than it has ever been and honestly, I personally never knew the possibilities of where diligence could take you until now. My academic past as well as former personal path was me simply trying to find the right fit; I've switched schools 9 times, I've been a serial boyfriend (in one relationship after the other), always looking at my skills and trying to plug those abilities into whatever seemed to be the most accessible outlet.
However, the truth of the matter is, there is no easy road to success and no shortcut to happiness. I've come to the realization that you have to look at your life as a timeline in the span of the existence of an organization, business, or civilization. Your present is shaped by your past, and your future is shaped by the present.
Granted there are serious situational advantages and disadvantages for everyone. In present-day America, if you do enough in the present, you can catch up to or fly past those with the advantage, even though the rich definitely have a leg up in the power and resource department. However, given the right teaching in a world of hardship, those who have a history of struggle can be much more physically and mentally tougher. The bottom line is, as Ghandi said, YOU have to make the change YOU wish to see in the world; and it is generally more profitable and influential if you do so.
M.I.A. has been a perfect example of this in the music world. A child of Sri Lankan political conflict, she embraced all things danceable but not altogether related: Dancehall, Electro and Hip-Hop. And also, added her own political belief and "fight the power" mantras from a cultural minority rarely heard from. Now, she is everywhere; radio, movies, clubs, and television.
The economic law of supply and demand applies to original thought. The rarity of truly original thinking, that is embraced by the mainstream world consumer, yields the highest returns monetarily and influentially, as you have the most intellectual property ownership, control on the supply (unless you have signed this away), and you have begun a new trend in consumerism; which if sustainable, will be built upon.
However, there is a problem with the simple equation of O(riginality) + D(emand) = R(eturn on investment). Without the right exposure; the resources for promotion and marketing, the "hook-ups" from your social network, this equation falls flat. Also, you have to add in the costs for producing your product. Therefore, it really is A(wareness) x (O + D) - C(ost) = R; simplified, A(O + D) - C = R.
All of this being said, you have to start with building your financial backing far before you have your idea formalized, and this same formula can be applied to how you attain that backing from an employer. This part I truly wish I had understood sooner. The more connections you have, times specialized experience or training, plus the demand for that skill set, minus the cost of keeping you on, is the basis on which employers will hire and fire you. If any of your fellow employees start beating you in one of these areas, that is a loss in job security, and makes it much harder to earn that next promotion.
Sounds simple, right? But as I look at my fellow deuce-and-a-singles, as well as people who are older, I am astonished at how many people do not realize this. Or maybe they are missing the final major component.
Socrates wrote, "Let him who would move the world, first move himself." Motivation. Without motivation, we can throw everything else out the window, because it won't be completed. And for all the skills you have, if you do nothing at a job long enough, you will get fired in the modern American economy. M(otivation) x [A(O+D)] - C = R.
Everybody, somewhere along the line, has a dream. And if you read, or listen to every American success story, we hear what? "It began with a dream." This equation, in my limited experience, separates success stories from just, well, stories. If you have love in your heart, please take heed and pass it along.