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Arty Stepanov


  When I was six years old, I started to play the violin. It was such an extraordinary instrument—its shape, its sound, just everything about it.

  I spent hours practicing the violin every day for four years. It was a fun game for me. But one day, something stopped me. I wasn’t willing to practice it anymore. I found better things to do, like watching TV or YouTube and playing video games. Suddenly, the violin didn’t seem so extraordinary anymore. It was just a boring piece of wood with strings on it.

At the same time, I didn’t want to clean my room or go to school. I didn’t want to help those around me. I thought that while I’m still young I should play as many video games as I can, because in the future I will have a day job and never have fun anymore.

A few months into the program, I started noticing something interesting. I was working on my student service, and another student was checking my work. I noticed that the better I did the work, the happier that student was and the faster we finished. So I started playing a game and started cleaning better and better, and soon, I was in charge of checking the jobs. And THAT was extraordinary for me.

  I got inspired by Elon Musk. He said that sometimes he worked 100 hours a week. When I got on Form 8, I got an opportunity to try it. I set myself a schedule and I followed it. Even though I didn’t quite make 100 hours a week, I still made good progress on my program.

  Les Brown says, “Shoot for the moon. At least if you miss it you will land among the stars.” I did shoot for the moon. I set myself crazy targets. I worked hard. And I loved it. And with a blink of an eye, I realized I’ve changed from a boy whose only enjoyment in life was getting entertained, to a man who looks at the night sky and follows his dreams.

  I realized that life is the best game I could ever play. It’s about being here and now. And it is totally up to me whether to see life as a boring piece of wood with some strings on it, or as an instrument with its shape and sound so extraordinary that it creates magic.

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