Aubrey “Drake” Graham is currently one of the most renowned rappers in the world. He is also a songwriter, actor and has produced four hit albums that have gained him millions of fans and boatloads of success. Born in Toronto, Drake was raised both in the west end of the city and the affluent Forest Hill neighbourhood in the north. When he was five, his parents divorced, which was hard for him through his early teenage years.
Although his parents’ divorce fazed him, he found solace in music. Loving it from an early age, he started writing songs when he was ten. At 15, Drake met an agent who was a friend of his father’s, who then found him a role on the revival of a popular Canadian TV show.
Degrassi: The Next Generation would be Canada’s introduction to Drake for a lot of the public, as he played Jimmy, a basketball star who was confined to a wheelchair by a school shooting in later seasons. He tried a few more small shows on television and gained some popularity through them, but did not dwell on acting.
“My mother was very sick. We were very poor, like broke. The only money I had coming in was off of Canadian TV, which isn’t that much money when you break it down. A season of Canadian television is under a teacher’s salary, I’ll tell you that much. It’s definitely not something to go f—ing get.” — Drake to Complex Magazine
His major breakthrough came when he entered the music industry in 2006. He released many mixtapes at that time, one of which was Comeback Season; the mixtape had a single titled “Replacement Girl” which peaked at number 21 on the R&B/HipHop charts and took Drake to new heights. It gave him a foothold to the fame and recognition he needed to become the person he always wanted to be.
The one thing that separates Drake from a lot of people is that he was constantly learning and tried overcoming life’s hurdles one step at a time. He knew what he wanted from the beginning and did all he could to achieve it. In 2012, Drake went back and finished his high school diploma at 26. At his graduation, he gave a speech which included lines about his commitment to escaping his adversity.
“You know, for me, my follow through was different. I had to double back. I had to realize that there weren’t — I reached a point in my life where I realized that there aren’t material things that can give me the excitement that I’m looking for. There’s a void, there’s a gap in my life that I need to fill and I needed to sit and think long and hard what that was. And it was the fact that I had left a gaping hole in my story of following through[…]
Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination. And sometimes when you get there you’ll look back and you’ll realize that you wish you could go there again, because all of the experiences that you went through are the reason that you are who you are today.”
Like Drake, your journey might be fraught with things that seem insurmountable, or events that affect you greatly. Despite there being a nagging voice that might say you can’t overcome your problems, making the effort to break through will allow you to look back at those experiences and draw confidence from the fact you conquered them.
Hardship is unique in that it can either hamstring your approach to success, or fuel your desire to escape it. It is up to you to choose which one applies to your life.
To watch Drake’s full graduation speech, check out the video below.