Many times, we like to feel angry at the missed opportunities and become envious of those who succeed in the wake of our downfall; however, there is more to be said for the person who rises above the losses. The person who remembers to find love and compassion and sees the bright side in every situation is the person to admire. Author, producer, inspirational speaker, and New York Yankees Executive, Ray Negron is someone who chooses to see only the positive side of situations. He has an exceptional story which he not only finds strength in but uses the exceptional deeds he experienced to help others feel empowered as well. I had the privilege of speaking with Ray, and in talking with him I learned so many things about him and his life; however, most importantly, I realized that Ray represents the fact that there is more to life than just finding success. Success means nothing if you don’t have a positive legacy to leave behind with those accomplishments: Ray Negron’s life demonstrates this fact in spades.
When Ray was a young man, he was caught doing graffiti at Yankee stadium; however, he was given the opportunity to work for the Yankees as the bat boy instead of going to jail for his crime. “Being around the Yankees was a great experience, they were great people,” he stated, “I learned how to love more.” That statement struck me, anytime we are part of a group where we can be our best self only adds to our potential. For Ray, the start to his relationship with the Yankees was only the beginning of his career and the tip of all of the extraordinary things he would accomplish.
Sometimes we take the things we have for granted; we do not look at what’s right in front of us because we are waiting for something better to come along. Ray remarked that “you have to live life one day at a time, I grow a little every single day, I’m still growing.” He’s right, there are so many things we should appreciate every day but overlook. Ray talked about his proudest moment being the moment that Mr. George Steinbrenner congratulated him on his first book, “The Boy of Steel” becoming a national best-seller. Ray said that the most rewarding words were those of Mr. Steinbrenner commenting “when I won my first world championship, I wasn’t as proud as I feel when you became a New York Times best-selling author.” Ray continued on to express that moment was when he knew “he had done the right thing in Mr. Steinbrenner’s eyes.” I found this story very touching, and it made me recognize the fact that we should do things not to validate ourselves but to honor others. Ray Negron is a phenomenal example of this idea. He honored Mr. Steinbrenner and the choice which he made to give Ray an opportunity. Ray took the opportunity Mr. Steinbrenner gave to him and not only made him proud but did extraordinary things with it.
During my time speaking with Ray, he came back to a consistent theme: people may be jealous of you, they may tell you that you cannot possibly do something, but you must prove them wrong. Ray explained to me that there were people who doubted him after the success of his first book; however, Mr. Steinbrenner told him “you have to show them that this wasn’t a fluke.” Ray not only held sight of the importance of persevering and staying true to himself, but he took the high road in going on to accomplish even more. In looking back on the start of his journey and all of the people that talked down to him, Ray stated that, “in life you’re supposed to take negative things and turn them into something positive, when I think of those people—I don’t think of them as bad.” I liked what Ray said and I think he is correct; the way in which we react to what is said to us, comments made about us, and the way people speak about us is important to how we will succeed in life. If we only view what is said as negative then we can never rise above it, we can never see the bright side; however, if we choose to only find the positive side of things, then we are choosing to find success.
Ray embodies this idea that success exists in the positive. He told me that he always comes back to the fact that he never held anger, he only felt love. He has love for others, and he chooses to take the high road. I believe that Ray’s story is not only inspiring but demonstrates that a meaningful life is led when you stay true to your values and carry respect for those who have helped you. Ray is emblematic of the notion we must do unto others as we wish others do unto us. Every gift, opportunity, or chance Ray was given he not only made the most out of it but showed appreciation for that gift. The relationship he created with Mr. Steinbrenner and holds with the New York Yankees is inspiring. Ray’s life is a wonderful example of someone who has lived their life to the fullest extent and continues to create a legacy which will last forever.