Who We Were—And What We’ve Become

What we were is not who we are—and who we are is not who we will be. I believe this because from birth to death, each of us influences someone else, and someone else influences us. Without question, we affect those close to us, and they affect us.

As proof, I suggest we ask those close to us as children, teens, and adults, to tell you who they thought you were as a child, teenager, and young adult (student, worker, father, mother, friend, etc.). In other words, How did they experience 

you? This is an impossible request if the person is an acquaintance. They must be close to you at certain ages.

Because I wanted to know myself, I recently called a person I grew up with. He and I were the last two survivors of our gang in Chicago from 1933 to the second world war, when most of us served in the military. I asked him to tell me what kind of kid I was, what I was as a teenager and as an adult.

His answer blew me away. He said I was always the best listener and a leader as a teen. I was totally blind to that. After the war, I went to UCLA and opened a Day Camp. After leaving the Navy, my friend came to Los Angeles to work at the camp. I pushed him to return to Chicago and get an education.

He returned to Chicago, earned a Ph.D., and became a principal and an outstanding educator. He told me that I made him what he became. I doubt that but look at what he achieved!

We are both examples of who we were and who we became and are. I believe life is a series of incidents and serendipitous events. We came out from the Great Depression, the streets of a ghetto, and a world war and evolved into who we are and maybe to still become. Remember the “Fat Lady?” She has yet to sing.


Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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