Name: Ben Humpal (@humpapi on Instagram)

Write Story: I make it my goal to share myself with the world in whatever way I can, whether it be through my music, my photography, my writing, or through random acts of kindness throughout my day. I guess the reason I’m writing this is to inspire people like myself. If you’re one of those people who didn’t fit in for a long time, who always went through your days wondering where your place was in this world, you are NOT alone. I mean, that’s how I spent most of my 17 years on this planet. Only recently did things start to fall into place. The difference is simple: wanting to make a difference. It sounds stupid, like one of those motivational posters teachers put up around middle schools to show that they’re apparently “making a change”. But it works. It takes effort. I’ve always been an introvert by nature. And yet, nowadays I’m always the first one to greet someone or ask how their day is going. People, I’m telling you, little actions go a long way. You just have to take a risk and put yourself out there.
The most important advice anyone ever gave me was that “a few minutes of discomfort could create newfound freedom”. At face value, it seems impossible. Why would I want to be uncomfortable? I said the same thing. But I also wanted desperately to open up to people, to be liked and known for who I was, and not the boring, awkward kid who sucks at small talk. If you’re like me at all, I’m gonna tell you this: that advice works and it does wonders.
People had no idea I was an accomplished musician. (I use that term loosely; it’s up for your interpretation. One of my songs has over a million streams across all platforms. That has to count for something, right?) People had no idea I was an amateur photographer. People had no idea who I was. Until I put myself out there. It was terrifying at first, and I’m still learning as I go. But it’s worth it. I know who I want to be as a person. I want to make a positive impact on everyone I meet in some way. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. A small act of kindness could potentially change someone’s life. You never know until you try.
And so, I’m challenging all of you to do two things: First, don’t doubt yourself any longer. Go try out for the team you’ve been working your ass off to get onto. Go ask your crush out on a date. Reconnect with that old friend you saw at the store the other day for the first time in years. And finally, and most importantly, go out and make a difference. You never know; your small act of kindness might change the world.

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