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If there is one thing that I've learned throughout my life, it's that failure is the catalyst for success. My name is Stephen Cuomo, I am 22 years of age and I have autism spectrum disorder or Asperger's syndrome. When I was younger, my behavior was out of control: I beat my siblings, disrespected my parents, and a bunch of other horrendous things that make me cringe to think about. My parents denounced the possibilities of living a normal life, my brothers and sister wouldn't associate with me, and I was bullied. However, I knew for a fact that I wouldn't let that be the case. Fast forward to now, I am one semester close to graduating, I currently have a 3.8 grade point average, I have a car, and I have a few jobs.
It took a lot of time for me to get to where I am today, and in that time, I learned a few things, and these things have helped me throughout my life. It may be common sense to all of you, but to me it's important. So here are the things I learned that helped me become successful.
1: Analyze everything at any given time.
Here's what I mean: you have to be fully aware of what kind of situation you are in — whether it be a job you don't like or an abusive relationship. Once you are aware of the current scenario from every angle, then you should take a step back, breathe, and ask yourself: "What can I do that will help me in this problem?"
2: Surround yourself with people of good character.
I find that success tends to rub off onto me when I'm with my winner friends. My group of friends are in bands, they're entrepreneurs, etc. More to the point, they'll work, promote as hard as they can to produce the results they want. My advice to you, if you're not feeling any kind of connection with the people you are with, leave them and find new friends that share your interests and your passion for whatever the hell it is. Leave the toxic people behind, go to coffee houses, concerts, book stores, and link up with people.
3. Fight and never back down.
To quote a man named Mythias Nygard and one of his songs that he wrote for his band Turisas: "Stand up and fight!" All throughout my life I have had adversity: constantly I was told I was never going to have a decent job, have any friends, go to college, or some of the stuff modern day people take for granted. I had a burning desire to get those things, so I had to do whatever I could do, whether it was finding the right meds, or smoking a joint to relax me, relying on my friends that I met at concerts for support, working in different jobs to find out how to work alongside my coworkers to form a decent work ethic, etc. You have to be willing to fail a few times before you find something that works. You got fired from a job? Put in application after application and secure a bunch of interviews to land a good job that you like doing. If your relationship didn't work out, I implore you not to worry, it happens to the best of us and myself included; there's plenty of people out there. To sum it up: don't be afraid to keep trying.
My life growing up was far from easy, rather it was quite hellish. My siblings hated me and I barely had any friends and I was on various medications that made it a lot worse. But I knew, deep down, that I wasn't going to give up. Where I stand right now, I may not have a lot, but I'm a lot better off than I was years ago.