Below is a speech written and delivered by Si’i Lynn to the Saturday Tongan Education Program (STEP) community this past Saturday. Her perspectives of struggle and success, through the lens of a Polynesian-American middle school girl, are both humbling and inspiring. Through this speech, she shares her own story in a way that all of us STEP tutors were able connect with on a very personal level. We are truly grateful to work alongside such bright and inspiring youth every Saturday.
“Success—the achievement of something desired, planned or attempted. My name is Fehi’a Cystelia Lui Lynn and I honestly believe that success has its own special meaning to each individual and today I’m here to tell you my own.
I’ve always seen the world a little differently. I was taught the Polynesian way by my grandparents. For example, I don’t “gotta work”; I “get to work.” Any work is noble work, but working to be successful takes time, patience, effort and a positive mindset. “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” This is a meaningful quote by Bill Cosby that reminds me that we must erase fear from our vocabulary because without fear there’s no failure and without failure you’re bound to succeed. I see it as, what do I have to lose? To try is to put forth an effort that you won’t give up on. Have hope, be determined and always know that when in doubt God is always by your side. I myself can honestly say I’m striving for success and I know I will succeed. But when times get tough for me and I stress out, ready to throw in the towel, I always remember what my grandma told my sister and me before she passed away. She told us we were the first two in the family that are bound to be something great in the future. Her words stuck with me like glue and I realized she wants us to do what’s best for us, so that our next generation will have a better life—to not have to struggle.
Like Bill Cosby once said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody else.” Now, if you want to succeed, you must, at your own will. Remember these 3 C’s; Choice, Chance, and Change. You must make a CHOICE to take a CHANCE or your life will never CHANGE. Do your own thing; if you want to be a football player go be a football player and if your parents tell you it’s a waste of time, just think, it’s your own dream, your future. You determine what happens or what you truly want to happen in your future. If you know what you want, take a strong hold to it and know that you will succeed. With faith there’s no way you won’t be able to overcome those struggles that come along with your journey to success. Your parents have done what they could whether they regret it or not, now it’s your time to shine, rise above all difficulties and chase your dream. Be the dream catcher because like they say “impossible is nothing, but nothing is impossible.”
Nowadays, if we want to succeed we must focus on education…because nobody wants a clueless person with no type of education working for them. How you use the material given to you in school or even through homeschool is up to you. Jim Rohn, an author and motivational speaker once said, “Formal education will make you a living, but self-education will make you a fortune,” which no doubt in my mind is very true. There are plenty of people who go to school for years and say they want to do this and that in the future but end up working at McDonald’s because they gave up on their dream. They still have a chance, they just need to get their stuff together and they will be on the right track. On the other hand, there are people who’ve been through so much but never give up and keep it pushing one-hundred percent of the time. These are true success stories.
As Polynesian people we must work together, walk hand and hand to put us on the map for success, be known for something great and stand up for our people—our talents must not go to waste. Be successful for yourself but in the process represent your people. Don’t limit yourself to what you think you can do but prove that you are determined, striving for more, not only for yourself but also your family. We Polynesians are more than what people see of us. Not only are we warriors but we are strong minded individuals. Stand up and prove to your family that you are capable of striving for much more than just I ate or cutting boxes. Prove to yourself that you are success bound. God blessed you with a brain—use it as your weapon to the top. Do not doubt yourself… remember “impossible is nothing and nothing is impossible.”