MECHANICSBURG – “People will forget what you said, but will never forget how you made them feel.”
Inspirational speaker Marc Mero spent Friday speaking to students in Mechanicsburg and Triad, encouraging them to set high goals and to steer clear of bullying, drugs and alcohol.
Mero, a WWE wrestling champion, former boxer and author, created the “Champion of Choices” program to speak to youth about the importance of making the right choices in life.
Mero grew up poor in New York, and was bullied by other students because he was wearing second hand clothing that his mother bought from garage sales.
“You never know what another student is going through,” he said. “Words can kill.”
He then bullied his own family members as he got older. He wrote down goals to be famous, rich, to own a house, a car, a boat, and he achieved all those things.
But he also spent time with those who were drug and alcohol addicts, which turned him into one. He lost friends while on that path, then remembered his goals.
Mero said he lost his sister to cancer, and his brother to an injury he received while in a doctor’s office. His mother died from a stroke caused by years of smoking, and his father from lung cancer. His first wife divorced him.
“If you choose to surround yourself with people involved in alcohol, drugs, pills, it’s a dead end. I led that life. It leads to broken hearts, broken dreams, broken relationships,” he said. “And it leads to death.”
Mero said he made a decision in 2003 to take his own life, but didn’t because he talked his issues out with someone.
“I thought being rich would make me happy. I had to win the race at the expense of my family, my friends, my parents for what – to be all alone in the world? Life is not about winning a race.
“The world teaches us, the media portrays to us that success is the key to happiness. The truth is happiness is the key to success. And happiness is a choice we all have the ability to make. It’s not so much about your circumstances or situation, it’s how you respond to it,” he said.
Mero encouraged students to be kinder to each other, to help each other, as you never know when you will be the one who needs help.
“Making a living is not the same as making a life,” he said. “Making a living is by what you get. Making a life is by what you give.”
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.