"Khalid, we're going to start tennis lessons for you," my dad said with his eyebrows up and a smile. We were sitting in the car right outside of the Resident Services office in my neighborhood.
I'll never forget that day. I was running errands with my dad and when we got to our neighborhood, he made a quick stop to that office. It was a nice, warm, and sunny Sunday. But right after he mentioned tennis, my mood changed.
See, this happened around 5 years ago. I didn't like to do any sort of exercise or anything even a little challenging at that time. Heck, I was overweight. But not just a little chubby; no. I was obese.
5 years later, I'm grateful to say that I'm a certified high school tennis coach and a respected player on Orange Coast College's Men's Tennis team.
Sometimes, I don't even know how I got here. No one, not even myself, thought that I would be where I am right now 5 years ago.
But after grinding on the tennis courts 6 days a week 3+ hours a day all 4 years of high school, not to mention all the friendships I had to end, sacrifices I had to make, sleepless nights of analyzing tennis videos on YouTube, and missing out on way more hangouts than I could've been in, I am beginning to make it.
So if I can do it, so can you.
If you know me personally, you know I'm not what you call a "talented" tennis player. To be able to add something to my tennis game, I had to show up to practice an hour early and leave two hours after practice ended. If you were my teammate at FVHS the past 4 years, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Something that always resonated with me during those 4 years of relentless hard work is a quote by Serena Williams, whom all of you should know (if you don't know who she is, "Houston, we have a problem"). Her recent outbreaks of emotion aside, this quote kept me going through every loss and setback. She said, "Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come."
In all honesty, I had no idea when it would come. To be frank with you, I had extreme doubts last year (my senior year of high school) of even being a sub on a college level team. I remember one day I thought to myself, "I'll be so grateful if I be a sub for any college, no matter the division."
And now, I am grateful to say that I'm competing for the #1 spot on Orange Coast College's Men's Tennis Team. I wish all the best for my teammates, and I know some of you are reading this. You better be playing your best at tryouts, because as usual, I will show no mercy.
Now, you probably are thinking to yourself, "Oh Khalid, quit being a showoff." The thing is, I'm not trying to. I know for a fact that a motivating factor for someone on the path to achieving their dreams is knowing that someone in their same shoes is achieving their dreams. Just like "If I can do it, so can you" then "If you can do it, so can I."
It's a huge factor into understanding that our lofty dreams are achievable and that we will one day be able to grasp them in our hands, one way or another.
For example, Coach Harshul Patel's story has been extremely motivating for me. Before he was the Head Coach of the FVHS Tennis Team, him and his brother, Jay Patel, where the #1 doubles team in all of India (so out of more than a billion people, they were #1). Not only that, but they were coached in Australia from one of the greatest tennis coaches of all time, Tony Roche. And as a cherry on top, they trained with tennis G.O.A.T. Roger Federer during their stay in Australia. Patel once told me that he can't remember the countless times he'd lose in matches just like myself, and how constant economic challenges with his family in India only made it tougher for himself and his brother.
And look at what he and his brother achieved. It's like that typical cliché feature story we see on the news sometimes, as well as the countless inspirational stories humanity has to offer. Truly, from Lao Tzu to Abraham Lincoln, and Serena Williams to Harshul Patel, there are countless stories like these.
Think about it. When I say countless, I truly mean countless. Therefore, as the saying goes, "If you can do it, so can I" and "If I can do it, so can you."
The reason why I began The Dreamer's Alchemy is because on the journey of self-development as I walk on the path of achieving my dreams, it hasn't even been 5 whole years yet and I've learned so much. It is simply unacceptable for me to keep these lessons to myself as humanity cries out for another inspirational story (see the end of this article for a prayer I made after I wrote this paragraph).
I write about my successes not to brag. I'm 100% honest with you. If I wanted to do something purely for clout, I wouldn't be writing articles on self-development and self-alchemy. As a student of religious history and history in general, I know for a fact that the truly essential lessons of life are those which got the least amount of clout.
All you have to do is open different scriptures such as the Torah, Gospel, Quran, or Bhagavad Gita, and you'll know what I mean.
So as I continue on my journey, I will proclaim to the world my successes. I will do so for the benefit of humanity and so that everyone on earth may know that if Khalid did it, so can I.
Attention: Below is the prayer. Read it at your own convenience.
Oh Allah, I, your humble servant, Khalid Ahmed Fekry Alsadek, direct descendant of your last Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad, supplicate to you. I invoke your names of mercy, love, compassion, and care. It is You who have seen me and cared for me every step of the way. From being born as 1lb 7 oz all the way to this moment, I have been under your Divine Care and Supervision, often forgetting that great phenomena. Glory be to You, Lord of the Worlds. Words cannot comprehend the amount of gratitude my heart contains, oh Allah. I feel as if I do not deserve these blessings you have given me. They're all coming so fast. I am afraid I won't be able to use them for the goodness of humanity. I feel as if I will become greedy and selfish. But it is You who knows best and I know not. Verily, you are the Best of Planners. If there were a million ways to give thanks to You, it would still not be enough for the gratitude in my heart. I simply cannot explain it. And so beautifully, I do not have to, for it is You who knows what lurks in every creature's heart. I supplicate to you not necessarily to ask anything of You, but to pour my heart's love to You. As your Sufi servants say, "You are my Beloved; my friend." So as You watch over Your creation, Forgive me and all of humanity for our transgressions, for we are descendants of Adam and Eve, Your forgetful and yet blessed successors on earth. May the hearts of the faithful of all faiths find peace and tranquility from this prayer, for regardless of what they may believe, You are their merciful Lord and Savior. Amen