Adversity can be a pathway to success rather than a roadblock, motivational speaker Aaron Golub told students during a special presentation to the community Oct. 5.
Golub became the first legally blind athlete to play football in a Division 1 game when he was at Tulane University. He was a captain in his senior year, and went on to also become an NFL free agent.
He never let his limited vision get in the way of his success and in fact, it was because of his adversity that he succeeded in achieving his goal.
“I am a strong believer that things don’t happen to you, they happen for you,” Golub told the community. Through his grit, determination and effort, he earned a spot on the Tulane team as a long snapper, a player who snaps the ball on a punt or field goal kick.
He began playing football in seventh grade and his hard-won success underscores that it doesn’t matter what obstacles you face, or what others say about your chances, your goal is achievable with hard work and tuning out the judgment of others.
“What are the greatest adversities, challenges and obstacles you face on a daily basis?” he asked students.
“They are going to be different for every one of you. Each of us have challenges and they aren’t easier or harder than mine; they are just different and unique to you,” he said.
Growing up Golub tried every sport under the sun and failed at most. Eventually he found football and he badly wanted to play.
“At the time, I wasn’t good at that either. But what I realized in the moment was how can I create an environment of belonging. How can I belong on this team, how can I help others, how can I learn, how can I grow and get better each and every day.”
He was a third-string junior varsity player in high school. He realized if he had a niche position in the game, then there might be an opportunity for him and soon after he set a goal of playing Division 1 football.
Because of his limitations, he had to work twice as hard to be as good as everyone else on the team. He was obsessed with getting to his end goal. “People thought I was nuts because I openly said I wanted to play Division 1 sports,” he said.
“But that’s where hard work and determination come in. When you are truly willing to find that goal, and go after that vision relentlessly, you can achieve anything you want,” he said.
“When you think about my adversity and my story the common factor is gratitude and perspective. The challenges you are facing right now, they are there for a reason –– for you to grow, for you to learn, and for you to get better over time. It is OK if they are to be hard now because they won’t always be, and if you look at them from a perspective of gratitude, life will get easier.”
“I am so thankful and so grateful that I was born legally blind; it has allowed me to do incredible things, meet amazing people and to build the life and business I have today. If you take that perspective of gratitude about the challenges you are facing, when you can shift your perspective, then the impossible becomes possible.”