Amanda Brail – News Reporter –
Dr. Farrah Gray has a message for the students of Southern Connecticut State University.
“If you dream big and you do not limit yourself you will be successful,” he told students on Wed. Feb. 20 when he spoke at the Adanti Student Center ballroom.
Dian Brown-Albert, the coordinator for multi-cultural student activities, said that although Gray was too expensive for the school to afford, he has “a big heart” and wanted to come share his message with the students of Southern, regardless of budget.
“I told him that I think the students here need to hear his message,” said Brown.
And hear it they did — Gray told students all about coming up from poverty in Chicago to how he overcame the odds.
“When you dream big you have big obstacles,” said Gray, “but I knew I would end up being a statistic. I had to fight to be successful and make it out.”
According to Gray, his first entrepreneurial endeavor. At age eight, was going door-to-door selling painted rocks as paper weights, book ends, etc. He said his big break was when he created his own snack food line. At 14, after making thousands off of his best selling item – strawberry vanilla pancake syrup, he flipped his company and sold it for over one million dollars, becoming the world’s youngest millionaire.
“If I can do it based on where I came from,” said Gray, “then any and all of you can do it.”
He said that he hopes his testimony will reach “the child that lives in all of us who believes only in possibilities” — as he was when he was young. He also told students to not let failure stop them and to make sure to not let negativity cloud their vision.
“Fail forward,” he said. “When you fail you have to analyze why and look at it from another angle – if you allow fear to paralyze you then you will never be successful.”
He shared his keys to success such as knowing your skill set and utilizing it. He said that you have to do work hard at what you’re good at, “chase your passions,” and “monetize” them.
“If you want to be the next Michael Jordan, but you shoot bricks then sit down,” he said, “but do what you’re good at doing and what you have the talent and skill set for.”
Michael Cipriani, a junior at SCSU, said that the main message he got from Gray’s speech was that positivity can lead to success.
“I’m glad I came,” said Cipriani, “it was very inspiring.”
Gray said that he hoped he reached students at Southern, because they are part of “the most powerful generation” that will “ultimately improve the entire nation.” He also said that many of the students attending the event were leaders even though they may not see it yet.
“They say you only reach one percent,” said Gray about his inspirational speaking, “but I think I’ve reached a little bit more this evening.”
His main message to students was to dream big.
“When you dream big, when you have high hopes, when you have aspirations then you are able to attain,” he said, “but if you never dream big or work hard to make those dreams come true then they won’t be possible.”