HAWTHORNE, N.J. — A Hawthorne motivational speaker used his defining moments, both good and bad, to teach life lessons to people around the country.
Yahya Bakkar, 27, originally planned on becoming a doctor before his instincts told him to choose another path.
Instead he picked a calling as a speaker and life coach. His decision to switch directions toward the end of his senior year of college is one topic when he speaks to youth.
"The greatest thing is seeing the impact that is being made when I wear my heart on my sleeve and I'm courageous enough to share my experiences," Bakkar told Daily Voice. "All I do when I get up on stage is, let's say there's a timeline of birth to death. I am just a dot on that timeline, but that dot can create a ripple effect of how that person leads their life."
Bakkar recalled the struggle with leaving his supposed destiny behind when he chose not to continue his medical studies to become a doctor. It led to a falling out with his father and left him in dire straits.
A friend suggested he become a motivational speaker because of his interest in helping others and spirituality.
"I said, 'That's a dumb idea,'" Bakkar said. "Who's going to listen to a 22-year-old dropout talking about life."
Nevertheless he studied the craft until he made his first speaking appearance in 2011.
Since then, Bakkar spoke at Harvard University, Georgia Institute of Technology, TedX and other venues. He wrote two books on the subject of motivation and teen life as well.
He also talks about his family life, and is an avid health enthusiast.
Bakkar sums up his message as giving people a greater sense of confidence and self-esteem.
"A lot of young kids today, they don't know who they are," he said. "Because they don't know who they are, they don't know what they want."
MORE INFO: CLICK HERE
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.