As much as it may seem like the world wants you to fail, you don’t have to. I know that can be difficult to believe, especially when you have anxiety and depression to fight against. But let me tell you a few things that may help.

The guy who defied the odds

Have you ever heard of Stephen Hawking? He was a very intelligent theoretical physicist who helped do many things in his life. He wrote books, had many scientific achievements, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest scientific minds in history.

Today would be Stephen Hawking’s 80th birthday. Why is that significant? Because, after being diagnosed with a serious disease at the age of 21, doctors believed he would be dead in 2 years.

He did live for 2 more years, followed by another 53 years.

Stephen Hawking didn’t just say, “hold my beer.” He said, “hold my brewery.” Not only did he prove those doctors wrong, but he went on to do many extraordinary things. And for most of his life, he was barely able to move and couldn’t speak. Still, he achieved things that many believed he could never do.

From nothing to everything

For a long time, Joanne Rowling saw herself as a failure. After losing her mother to a debilitating disease and finding herself caught in an abusive relationship, things continued sliding downhill. She became depressed and suicidal. She had no job and needed help from the government to get by. But there were two things she did have: a baby to take care of and a love of writing.

As much as the universe had it in for her, she never did actually give up. She continued fighting forward, using her passion to pull her out of the pit she had found herself in. And because of the work she put in on her writing, the world now knows who Harry Potter is, and JK, as she’s known, is one of the wealthiest people on the planet.

Stronger than they’d ever believe

When Lou Ferrigno was a small child, he lost nearly all of his hearing. This resulted in a speech impediment and a need to wear hearing aids. It also earned him the attention of a few bullies. As you can imagine, name-calling and ridicule soon followed.

However, that’s not why the world knows his name. No, the world knows Lou Ferrigno as the 6’5” bodybuilder who went on to win several competitions, including Mr. Universe—twice. But despite this achievement, it’s not what he’s most known for. To me, and everyone who grew up in the 1980s, Lou Ferrigno is and will always be the real Incredible Hulk.

Against the expectations of bullies who made fun of him and believed he’d always be a weak target, Lou Ferrigno became a monstrously strong person, both physically and mentally. He inspires people around the world and works hard to help others be the best they can be.

Becoming Something

When I was a teenager, most people didn’t really believe in me. They never thought I’d have a girlfriend, much less ever get married or have kids. Many never saw me as being skilled in anything. And a lot of people believed that I would remain poor forever.

And I believed these things too. It stuck in my head and screamed at me constantly. I saw myself as trapped in the position I was in. A broken heart turned my brain into a broken record, constantly saying, “You’re a loser. You’ll never have anyone or anything.”

I was like this for a very long time, well into my 20s, before I finally met my wife. And things got better for a while. Eventually, they went sideways, and I found myself under the most stress and depression I had ever been in. At the highest point of that moment, I was jobless with two kids to take care of and only weeks away from losing our home. I had to borrow food and money. I was a failure, and every part of me knew it.

Braddock, from my album MFMK (Music For My Kids)

But I made it. No matter how much life came at me, no matter how many punches the universe threw, I kept fighting. I worked hard to find my way out of the darkness I was trapped in. I used music to deal with the emotions trapped inside me, the ones that worked hard to destroy me. I used my interest in technology to become a web developer. And I now use my life to help other people.

I worked my way through emotional trauma, heavy depression, truckloads of self-hate, poverty, and a failed marriage. I now have a wife who is ambitious and loving, our own house on our own land, and a better view of myself. We’re not rich, but we’re more financially stable than I’ve ever been.

And I have a path forward that I’m working more toward every day.

This is the part where things turn around

I’ve often said that the universe hates me. That’s my explanation for bad things that happen. But I’ve also come to know that no matter what happens, I have to find a way to get through it. Things won’t always be easy. In fact, sometimes they’re damn hard. But giving up isn’t an option I’m willing to take.

You have your own troubles, and some of them are probably pretty heavy. They may feel like someone just laid a dump truck on your chest. I understand how stressful it can feel when your life is collapsing around you. When things are falling apart. When you know you failed.

That kind of stress isn’t something I’d wish on anyone. I’ve seen how it can destroy people, especially when they can’t see any bit of hope. It’s a shitty place to be, but as much as it may seem to be permanent, the truth is that it is only temporary.

There are people who understand what you’re going through. There are people around you who can help. You may feel alone, and you may not believe you have a future, but you’re wrong.

You see, this is the part of your story where things change. This is where they begin to turn around. This is when you start to see that all the bad shit that has happened to you may be heavy, but you’re stronger than you knew.

You never saw it before, but things are different now. You fought through tons of garbage before this, and you made it. You’re playing this game on Legendary Expert Ultra Supreme mode, and you’re not about to give up now. Fuck that, you’re about to kick shit into overdrive and push through. Do you know why? Because you know that you can. You’re tired of feeling the way you have, and you’re sick of losing. You’ve seen yourself fail for a long time, and that tells you that you can take a hell of a beating and keep on going. And you will because you know that something better is out there for you, and you won’t stop fighting for it until you get it.

Things can be tough and make you want to give up. People will tell you that you should. They’ll say you’ll never be anything. They’ll tell you that what you’re doing is pointless and you should just quit.

Those people are assholes who don’t know what they’re talking about. Do not stop fighting. Do not give up on yourself or your future.

As I said before, this is the part of your story where things turn around, so don’t stop now. The best parts are coming, and they’ll all be thanks to your continued fight.