The life of Joshua Coburn: as interpreted by aspiring writer and speaker Adina Blazevic, 8th grade student, Johnston Middle School.
Our life is how we define ourselves. Our character is what shows our true colors. Finding the courage to move forward through everyday struggles and dark times is what defines us. It’s those moments that make or break you that show who you really are. They define you. They define your purpose in life. They show you what you’re meant to be. Everyone is here for a reason. It might take time, but you will eventually see what you’re here for. Your life is only beginning. It’s a long road, and people make mistakes, but that’s what life is all about. Making mistakes gives you an opportunity to learn. In life, all you do is learn. Every day is a new lesson. I am proud to say that I will be speaking about Joshua Coburn. Joshua Coburn has displayed several acts of selflessness, persistence, and resilience throughout his life, showing that he really can do anything he sets his mind to. He has helped others, for nothing in return except a smile. All he really wants is to make people happy. He wants to help them find their purpose in life. He helps others in ways that are unexplainable. He is a true role model. He goes the extra mile. These type of people touch lives in ways that is so magical, and he wants nothing in return. He doesn’t need money, or nice things, or a new car, he needs a smile. That’s all he wants in return. I don’t think people could get more selfless than that.
People always say, “be who you want to be, not what others want to see”. This was something Joshua struggled with. Growing up in Brooklyn, Iowa played an important role in Joshua’s life. When you think, ‘Iowa’, you think small towns, and big farms, but not everything can go perfect even here in Iowa. He grew up with an alcoholic dad, and his parents eventually divorced. This all added tension between family members, and anger to his life. When you add bullying and anxiety, and depression on top of all that, it’s a recipe for pain. So much stress every day can eventually take a toll on your body, self esteem, and well being. He was so focused on what people were saying about him, and trying to please everyone that he didn’t take time for himself. He couldn’t even leave his apartment to get groceries because he was so worried about what people would think of him. One day is all it takes, and one day he decided no more. He decided he wasn’t going to care about what people thought anymore. No one, no matter what they did, deserved to feel the way he did. He was done caring about what others thought. He just wanted to be happy.
In order to be happy, he had to realize what he was doing wrong. He was so hurt as a kid, that he had trust and control issues, and growing up with an alcoholic dad only made it harder. Since alcohol was viewed as a very dark, and destructive thing in his family, they never talked about it. When he started working, he encountered people he knew who drank. This caused him to be very judgmental. It caused him to basically hate people who drank alcohol. One day he realized that him judging people made him no better than the people who judged him. It was a reality check. He had to make things right. This was the turning point in his life where he knew he was destined to be something. He was ready now; he was ready to make something of himself. This was not easy though. He didn’t live in a big city where he could get discovered or anything along those lines. People always told him he could never accomplish anything from a small town in Iowa. He proved them wrong. He showed them that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. He had to work his way up. He didn’t take the easy way out.
Being heavily tattooed as well caused others to discourage him even more. People always told him he couldn’t work in an office with tattoos. Well guess what? He did! He’s still working in an office! It’s just a way of expression! Should we not let every person who dyes their hair, or paints their nails, work in an office because they might express themselves differently? People are different, and have different ways of expressing themselves. He wanted to show others that judging someone by how they look doesn’t give you an insight on who they really are. Joshua once told me, “A life accomplishment of mine was being heavily tattooed and still being able to work in an office.” He really did prove them wrong.
He started small. He spoke to book stores, church groups, and then eventually schools. “I remember sitting in the gym in high school listening to someone speak and thinking I could do so much better,” he told me. That’s what drove him. That’s what propelled his career forward. He set goals, and worked his way further up the ladder. He eventually wrote books, and got connections and started to speak to high schools. Then, after a lot of hard work the Manners and Motivation Tour was born. The demand for Joshua to speak increased. Fox news, Mtv, and more places were now contacting him wanting to book interviews. Bright Futures developed as well. Things were finally coming together.
He could proudly say he made it after all that hard work. Think about how big of an accomplishment it was for him just to be happy again. He embraced himself and his unique personality. He turned his life around. He helped shape society in an amazing way. He touched lives along the way, and most importantly made a difference. I’ll leave you with one last quote from Joshua. "Opportunities are created, not given. Carve out your place in life, even if it does not exist. If you don’t belong, make others feel as if they belong with you. We create our world, we choose our attitude, and we surround ourselves with the the people we choose! If life is not to your liking, change it today! It is possible!"