What does success mean to you? To Far Rockaway resident Calvin Stanley, success is “finding true happiness.” And after successfully publishing his first book, Stanley is on his way to achieving his own personal success story while inspiring others.
At 26 years old, Stanley works as a personal fitness trainer, a construction company employee, the owner of a new moving company, and now is a published author. On May 8, Stanley released his first book, an inspirational quick-read called “Auspicious: The Journey Behind Pursuing Your Dreams.” In his book, Stanley tells the story of overcoming struggles, pursuing dreams and achieving success, whatever that may mean for an individual. To do this, he not only shares his own story, but those of his peers, as they find their own path to success. As Stanley points out, “No path to success is the same.”
A graduate of Channel View High School, Stanley opens his book with a synopsis and quote from a fellow Channel View student, the late Justin Zemser. “My success isn’t defined by how much money I make, or by going to Harvard or Yale, but rather by how I can change the world. If it just so happens that I make a large amount of money doing that, then so be it,” Zemser said. Stanley says Zemser, a Naval Academy Midshipman who died in an Amtrak accident in 2015, told him this during a conversation back in high school. “He opened my mind up. I didn’t understand what he meant by that quote when he first said it, but it played perfectly into the message I wanted to get across in my book,” Stanley said.
In his book, Stanley goes on to demonstrate the various ways of achieving success through stories of his friends, including Far Rockaway natives. As a young black man growing up in an urban environment, Stanley speaks of how he’s watched his peers grow up in difficult circumstances and come out of them, successfully, or on a pathway to success. He begins with his own story, growing up playing various sports and going on to play college football. A car accident and further injury derailed plans of pursuing football further, but instead of letting it set him back, he went on to become a certified personal trainer.
He also speaks of a friend, Jahleek, who grew up in an area surrounded by poverty, gun violence and drug abuse, but successfully graduated college, and is now working, married and has two children. Stanley says he wishes his friend would write his own memoir. While his friend wasn’t up for the idea, it inspired Stanley to tell his story and that of others who have followed different pathways to success. “Success is not a linear process. What success might look like to you, might not be success to me, but we can be successful in our own ways,” Stanley said.
In his book, he points to many other examples. One such is the story of another friend, Foley Futukasi, who successfully worked his way up through his dedication to football, and is now a player for the New York Jets. He speaks of a woman named Brittany who overcame tragedy and went on to launch a successful THC and CBD treat business, particularly filling the needs of those who need medical marijuana treatments.
Through the various stories and mentions of music that have influenced his life, Stanley aims to show that anyone can achieve success. “Success is in us all. We all have something special inside of us, whether it is a talent, skill, work ethic, etc. We just have to tap into it and discover the thing that makes us unique,” Stanley says in the book. He adds that the main tools required are “discipline, dedication and desire.”
By Katie McFadden
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