I truly believe there is very little that can’t be achieved. You can achieve anything! Those dreams that you have bottled up inside, they are attainable. If there is one thing that I wish for young people to understand it’s that you are noticed. It’s very important that you understand this, young people, because knowing that someone sees you helps you to flourish, nurtures your dreams, helps them become realized. And every young person must have a dream.

It means something when someone believes in you. It makes you believe in yourself. When I was a senior at Kokomo High School in 2004, a man who I’d known a long time but never really engaged in conversation with, approached me. The words that this man would speak into my life have left such a great impression on me; they still ring out in my mind today. 

As a three-sport athlete all four years of high school – I was blessed having excelled in all three – it gave me the opportunity to be seen. All along this one gentleman in particular was watching, and I would have never known it. In passing one day he must have just felt moved to compliment me, and then he simply expressed to me what was on his heart. There’s the difference; he spoke it. He said to me, “JC, you are 10 times stronger than you think you are, and you are 10 times smarter than you think you are.” These words in written form do them no justice. It was how he said it to me that meant everything; it was in genuine love and from someone who wasn’t even my own blood. That meant a lot. Since then he and I have become great friends, speaking every now and then, and as always it is a great pleasure. 

An enthusiastic reader of inspiring literature, I’ve developed a love for an author by the name of Andy Andrews. He has such a unique perspective on life and conveys his messages clearly and powerfully. Perspective is a word that he uses often in his writing. By the time you are finished reading one of his works, you are left with the overwhelming sense that things no longer look the same as they did before, having gained a viewpoint like never before. 

The essence, the word “perspective” is great because of the power it has to change a life. Andrews wrote a book called The Noticer, and of course this is my favorite book of his. The fact that this book was given to me by my mother is of no surprise to me, as she has quite often in my life been the source of the change in direction of my thinking. 

Within this brilliant book, a mysterious old man shows up in the lives of several people to meet them in their darkest moments. Described as “a man of indiscriminate age and race with white hair, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt, and an old battered suitcase, he is a unique soul with angelic-like qualities.” When Jones introduces himself, he describes himself as a “noticer.” He says, “I notice things that other people overlook. And you know most of them are in plain sight.” He goes on to say, “I notice things about people that produce perspective. That’s what most folk’s lack – perspective – a broader view. So I give them a broader view…”

Someone sees something inside of you that is extraordinary – believe me someone does! That amazing man who stopped to tell me what he thought about me,he was my “noticer.” He didn’t have to say a single word to me, and to tell you the truth, nobody owes us anything. So when words like the words my good friend spoke to me, expressed out of the kindness of his heart, it is a responsibility to ourselves to listen to them. We have “noticers” all around us that we encounter every day; we must be vigilant of these people and welcome them. They can help lead us in a direction we may have never seen otherwise. It takes just one word spoken into the ears of our heart to be the difference in us acting upon our dreams. 

As my mother says, “Blessed to be a Blessing.”