My Life… And The Mountains Corollary
Everyone is familiar with peaks and valleys. It is an easy analogy/parable to use to describe an otherwise complex situation. Complex being the status and function of my life after pretty much spending the first 16 years at the peak ha.
I was going well, escalating Mt. Everest gradually and methodically. No slips, no missed steps, and then springtime comes and the ice caps begin to melt. That sends melted snow and mud down the cliff, which cause me to lose my footing (the Erythrodermic Psoriasis throughout 9th-12th grade — nightmares in high school; kept me from playing basketball for the school team and relegated me to running track and immersing myself in music erstwhile). I spent the rest of my teen years sliding down the proverbial cliff.
Nevertheless, ever resilient, I rebounded. God healed me of the skin disorder and I began asserting myself with my job and starting my own small business. I also began to speculate in real estate at age 21. I had it all: cars, nice job, healthy savings, potential real estate holdings, looks, nice clothing, able to travel frequently, fine dining and meeting influential people who were willing to help me achieve my dreams. I was on my way back up that rough side of the mountain.
I figured going back to school (I left Long Island in ’98) in 2004 would help solidify things for me. I had an informal education through one on one mentoring from a local millionaire and a family friend who not only is a minister in the church (and his wife is an elder in the church as well), but is a real estate broker also. I learned a lot from these people; further building upon the sturdy foundation that my parents had set with the vast knowledge that I had acquired from them.
HOWEVER, as I continued to build (co-founding a non-profit organization in 2004 — ironically built and designed to help people who were in the situation I ended up in as a RESULT of it not getting off the ground), another avalanche occurred, which threatened to knock me back down the mountain again. This time it knocked me completely down the mountain to the deepest valley. I had never fallen this low; not even in high school, because I still played sports — just not basketball and football like I would have (and excelled at, just ask my classmates and coaches). I had everything. A new 350Z car, which was my dream, in Sept. 2004, three streams of income set up, networking and helping other people get started on businesses (many of whom forgot I existed when I was going through the worst of times) and encouraged many others.
For people who did not come along until 2005 or 2006, they have no idea from whence I came. Instead of them attempting to one-up me, they would be wise to check with me to find out what to look out for in their blind spots and also other things to know in order to achieve and sustain success. Instead, many of them — having never even been through anything in life to this point — are doling out dry advice as if my situation is ever so simple. I don’t wish anything on anyone, but I really want all of these people to remember their “advice” and not run to their parents to bail them out of financial binds when trials inevitably come their way.
I know I have not slipped and fallen this many times for naught. I’m not a quitter. I’m a maverick and a warrior. I’m ever-resilient and will find a lesson in every failure. Besides, every “failure” presents an opportunity for greater success. I embrace it. I learn more every time. This time, I plan to get to the top of the mountain, stay there, and teach others the arduous journey and help them along the way as a tour guide would for amateur mountain climbers.