By Matt Pana, guest contributor In 2003, studies showed that the average height of a Filipino male was 5 feet 4 inches.

It’s safe to say that we’ve grown beyond the national average. Despite our stature, we as a people have become larger than life. We proved to America that we are the best dance crews. The best pound-for-pound fighters. The best singers, capable of sharing the stage with Motown legends and Rock royalty.

What all these examples have in common is their ability to reach. Capturing an audience. Mass exposure. But you will never reach what you truly desire by lying on your back, or living on your knees. You must take a stand. Stand for something. Your passion. Your dream. Standing upright. Not just a straight body, but a straight morale.

Every movement you make is an extension of who you are. Extending yourself. Every muscle. Every thought. Stretching yourself to your limits. And the more flexible you are, the more options will be made available. Dodging obstacles in your way. Fitting into scenes and situations you never thought you would fit into.

Sometimes, you may need a lift. Sometimes, you may need to climb. Every step, every rung off the ladder is a standard you set for yourself. While there are no shortcuts to quality, remember that there is a difference between setting standards and taking the initiative to reach them. Being proactive, rather than reactive.

A wise man once told me the key to success is growth.

“Grow. If you’re not growing, you’re either a rock, or you’re dead.”

Now think of that one place. A clinic, a classroom, a cubicle or a concert. Your environment should give you the freedom to grow. Your very own greenhouse. Here, your surroundings must be transparent and nurturing. Clear and encouraging. With those key elements. You will need light, giving you vision and direction. Your source of energy. You will need the right temperature. Not too cold and unforgiving, yet not too hot and bothered. You will need the right resources. Air. Water. Giving you a moment to breathe. Giving you a moment to replenish.

Today, size does matter. But I’m not talking about lengths or widths. I’m talking about the lengths you can withstand. Failure. Criticism. Patience. Timing. Because no matter how far you may be, if you can see it, it’s still there. That dream. That goal. In your grasp. At your fingertips. And once reach that high, you may have to hang on for dear life.

Don’t look down. Never let go.


Matt PanaMatt Pana has performed in 2 countries and traveled 11,000 miles by ground as drummer for the band Mitchell Grey. Each week, he sits down in-person with performers and personalities. Episodes include exclusive music, road stories, and humble beginnings. His latest mission is to inspire and cultivate local artists, with the launch of his new YouTube channel. Episodes will focus on three key elements: eating food, telling stories and making music. Matt has since returned to his roots, drumming for indie-rock band Wyland, recent winners of The Break Contest. You can catch them performing at the Skate & Surf Festival Main Stage, as well as New York, Philadelphia and their native New Jersey.

The original version of this post originally appeared on Matt Pana's blog.

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