Pressure is a privilege

Ryan Houston-Dial, Opinion Editor

 During his Dallas Cowboys press conference after inking a massive four-year $160 million dollar contract, Dak Prescott said the phrase “pressure is a privilege” after reporters asked about Super Bowl expectations placed upon his shoulders. Prescott meant there was value in feeling pressured because you are closing in on achieving success not catered for everyone. I mentally took a step back for a moment after hearing his statement. A rush of joy took over, and my body couldn’t hold back a smile any longer. I felt a sense of completeness that the work I have been doing with mental health and other organizations was contributing to mental health awareness. For the first time in a while, I found purpose and looked at my accomplishments in my college career and gave myself credit. Days and nights of stressing about who I wanted to become and what I wanted to represent were an indication that I was afforded the opportunity to transcend my previous limitations. I found comfort in myself. A self-identity that once was in question somehow found its way to unify physically and emotionally. Overthinkers and those who question their ability to achieve their goals, this is for you. 

When working towards success, sometimes we gloss over the fact of the smaller wins because we are too preoccupied with the bigger picture. I understand there are the stressors of right now; however, pressure is a privilege that highlights we are on the precipice of something great. 

 As individuals, we sometimes place lofty expectations on ourselves and then proceed to ask if we are even capable of such success. I am also aware that these expectations can be placed upon us by our peers, family and friends. I advise you to give priority to your mental health; if things are weighing on you a lot, take a moment to breathe and give yourself a pat on the back. Our versions of success to others can seem minuscule, but to ourselves, it can mean everything, so you owe it to yourself to keep going. 

 Social media apps such as Twitter and Instagram can be a facade of what ideal success may look like for you. I believe that people often compare themselves to other users and get lost in what’s really important to them. Success is a term that’s defined differently by each person. Some people may believe it’s monetary, spiritual or self-fulfilling. Either way, find and analyze what success means to you, not what others have placed in front of you to believe. If you are unsure, it is okay.  Feel free to venture out and not be bound to what society has deemed as a good representation of success. 

To some degree, as an African American male, I endure oppressive systems that are meant to disadvantage my capabilities as a man and student. However, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pursue a college education and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. I found power and disbelief to say that in my current position, I am privileged. I could have lived a different life that kept me from even dreaming of the goals I want to achieve. I owe it to those before me and those I might never meet to continue the work. Most importantly, I owe it to myself that no matter what comes my way, I can persevere and go beyond what I thought I was capable of. Whether I want to realize it or not, deep down, I know I am capable and so are you. There is beauty within the struggle, and I challenge you to go identify where it resides for yourself.