• It isn’t your fault you were born into this mess.
    • As a child, you are the victim of your parent’s inability to provide a better means of living, you had no choice in who you were going to be born to, it is just unfortunate you weren’t dealt a better hand. However, God gave us all a shot at this life, learn to play the hand you have until you’re able to ask for new cards.
  • Kids will be cruel because you’re poor.
    • Just remember rule #1, it isn’t your fault you don’t have new clothes or  you’re wearing last year’s clothing; however, children will be cruel because their parents have money (a key thing to take notice on). Just remember this, a lot of the kids I went to school with, who picked on me because of my unfortunate circumstance, aren’t doing so well today.
  • Education is important, no matter what.
    • I am a high school drop out, plain and simple. I was set to fail in this life because I gave up and didn’t see education as an important resource to survive in life, I felt I could make it without it. I also needed to work for help pay bills and eat; however, that intention got shot to hell (and it will for you too because you’re too young to make these kind of decisions). High school is a critical point in your life, you’ll get to experience many things which will never come your way again. I hear people talk about their high school experiences, from the everyday goofy, prom, football games, and graduation…these are things I never got to experience and, just like me, you’ll feel left out of the conversation. Stay in school, no matter what.
  • When you’re old enough to make choices to impact your future, you’re no longer the victim.
    • I stand by lesson #1 because children are innocent; however, when you’re grown enough to make a decision for yourself, you are no longer the victim, suck it up and start asking yourself “Ask not what can society do for me, but what I can for society”. This simple quote is powerful, what can you do for others to show you’re destined for greatness? No one likes someone who pulls the victim story, people love success stories about someone pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. You have a choice, the happy ending success story or the never ending sad song of playing the victim. When I tell my story, I tell a success story, one born into poverty, the troubles I faced and how made it to where I am, never once blaming anyone besides myself for my dumb decisions, instead, I talk about the lessons I learned.
  • Quit blaming others for everything.
    • You can now make your own choices which can have immediate and long term impact on your life; however, there are things which either you have no immediate or long term control over; however, this gives you absolutely no right blame others. There is no “man” with his foot on your neck, no one gives a damn about the color of your skin any longer, people care about your attitude and how you handle yourself, you will be judged by this. I grew up in the ghetto of West Palm Beach, Florida and was treated the same by “outsiders” who only saw where I came from, they didn’t care that I was white, I was to be avoided because I was on the wrong side of the tracks because I acted like it, plain and simple. When I carried myself like a respectable human being, spoke clear English, and treated others the way I wanted to be treated, no one realized I was from the ghetto.
  • Respect everyone, even if you absolutely hate them.
    • Having spent time in a juvenile program which based itself on basic military principles, I learned the hard way I can hate a person so much I wouldn’t piss on them if they caught fire, but I still had to not only give them respect, but learn to function as one dysfunctional team. You’re not going to like everyone in this world and they’re not going to like you; however, you must treat them with respect and if you have to work with them, learn to work with them in a way that you function as one well designed machine. In life, you’re not going to choose who you work with and sometimes you’re going to wish they get run over by a bus; however, you must learn to work with them during the times you need to, after that, you can pretend they don’t exist. People are going to recognize quickly if you’re disrespecting them or choosing not to work with them, this is selfish and childish. If the other person is behaving like a child, take the high road. It isn’t a good trait to throw people under the bus or “show them out”, a lot can be said of someone who’ll stand up for someone when they’re being kicked and already down, intelligent people will notice this trait, idiots will cheer for the opposite, decide who you want on your side?
  • No one is going to throw a parade for doing your job.
    • Don’t be a show boat, every respectable adult hates this. Getting a paycheck and advancing in your career is reward enough. In the business world there simply isn’t time to pat everyone on their back each time they do their job. Be thankful for the job you have now, do it to the best of your ability, even if the job isn’t your “destination job”, see point #8.
  • Do your best at everything, no matter what the circumstance.
    • This trait will show, even while working for minimum wage, you gave it all you had. I worked at various minimum wage jobs early in life and I gave them all I had, knowing these jobs were not what I would be doing forever, the job was not below me. If you say the job is below you, you’re insulting the people who have to work these jobs to survive and feed their families. My mother worked at McDonalds for not much more than minimum wage to give us a roof and food in our stomachs, if she could have done better, she would have in a heartbeat, but she was doing all she could do. There are some people who, if they could, would find better jobs and there are some people who don’t care to do any better and prefer to just “get by”, by choice (likely the victim and/or the leeching kind who only do the minimum to get by in life by choice). The former person you have to respect, because they’re doing all they can do in a shitty situation, the latter person, while still deserving of respect, you should have no sympathy for.
  • Focus on your future and yourself
    • I only had a GED and wasn’t in college, I didn’t have the luxury of living on campus getting free meals, I had to work to survive and plan my future through hard work and self-study. Thus, I had little to no time for weekly clubbing, parties, and other excursions. I made one major mistake, I settled down with a woman far too early in life, which distracted me from doing better than what I could do now. Friends are invaluable, but do not fall into their lifestyle choices by following them into the clubs each weekend spending copious amounts of money and time into something which does not benefit you. Learn to budget your money and spend wisely, this trait will follow you the rest of your life, even when  you’re making $100,000/year. Focus on how to get out of poverty, focus on what it is you want for a career to reach the former goal. Learn to spend your free time studying and internships in the discipline you want to pursue. I worked various engineering companies before I realized I didn’t want to be a mechanical engineer; however, when I landed some time in an IT department, I was hooked and knew IT was to be my career. While it seemed fun to go out to the clubs each weekend, I knew there was more to life than living weekend-to-weekend, paycheck-to-paycheck; thus, I kept my eye on the prize on the horizon and kept accelerating until I got there, one minor goal at-a-time until I reached the end . As an example, only one guy I knew from the days of clubbing each weekend is doing well, everyone else is back to living paycheck-to-paycheck, weekend-to-weekend…except now they’re the creepy old guy in the club.
  • When you’ve made it, find someone with just as much to gain and lose to marry
    •  Once you’ve accomplished pulling yourself out of poverty, landed in your career, and have a stable life, it is ok to find someone to spend your life with. But take it from me, you will want to find someone with similar goals and has as much or more to lose than you do. Never settle on a person, no matter how lonely you are, never settle. Once you’ve become the person you want to be you’ll learn to associate yourself with the successful type of person you desire. Just remember, you have to ask yourself, I want them, but will that type of person want me? This is why you have to look for someone with just as much or more to lose than you do, because someone with nothing to lose and everything to gain will be easy to find and they’ll do whatever they can do to sink their claws in you. My ex-wife was exactly like this and this cost me a lot of pain and suffering, not to mention major monetary losses because she was at rock bottom in life and I was on the rise, she just wanted a free ride. There are plenty of women like Carolyn out there, be aware of them and leave them alone, they’re not even worthy of a one night stand, you’ll never turn a trick into a treat. However, my current wife and I met at a key point in our lives, both on the rise in our careers and looking to accelerate as fast possible. We both knew we needed to take risks and with each of us having exactly the same and more to gain or lose, we took the leap of faith and took the risks and we are pleasantly rewarded. You should evaluate our situation with the same amount of observation, learn from others failed endeavors, try not to repeat them and life will be that much easier.

In all of this, thank God for the believers who take the chance on you when you’re up-and-coming in life, they’re the ones who really did believe you.


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