From Settling and Dying a Slow “Hidden” Death to Living Life Once Again . . .
All my life I worked hard to learn, grow and improve my current situation. I always had dreams and goals that I worked towards. They pulled me and kept me going from an early age, all the way into my 30s.
I embodied the underdog role and relished being in that position having come from nothing. I was a child of immigrant parents who didn’t speak the English language or have any formal education.
My father worked hard but he didn’t have much to show for it. It didn’t help that he was an alcoholic. Unfortunately, he was the type that turned into a mean drunk. And, although my father didn’t show any aggression towards me or my siblings, all of it was directed towards my mother.
We lived well below the poverty line, in constant emotional turmoil and stress, but somehow managed to survive.
All of this served as motivation for me.
I vowed to do everything within my power to break away from the vicious poverty cycle many fall victim to. I vowed to be exactly the opposite of my father.
I didn’t really know anything or have any legitimate mentors. I was essentially all by myself with no one to guide me. I had to formulate my own thoughts and figure out how to succeed on my own.
I liked school and figured higher education was going to be my ticket out of poverty. As far as I could tell, there was no other path to success. This was my only option. I had no Plan B.
The fact that I wasn’t going to have any financial support from my parents for college made me work extra hard to maintain good grades. I had to get good grades in order to get grants and scholarships to fund my college education.
It was do or die for me . . .
I approached school in this manner because I was deathly afraid of living in poverty for the rest of my life.
The problem is that I had more than just school grades to worry about. In my teens, I realized that I needed to provide for myself and get a part-time job. Wearing hand-me-downs and even homemade clothes wasn’t going to cut it in high school.
Honestly, I don’t know how I survived my freshman year of high school. I was humiliated and made fun of daily. The worst was getting food thrown at me or getting shoved in line because I had free lunch and looked like a poor version of Pedro.
Somehow, I made it through, and thoughts of suicide didn’t cross my mind back then. Not yet.
That would come years later . . .
All I had back then was my dream of going to college. That’s where my full focus was at all times. It helped me survive all the bullying and humiliation.
My sophomore year of high school is when I started to look for a part-time job so that I could have enough money to buy school clothes, shoes and other bare essentials.
I also figured that eventually, I would need a car to get around where I needed to go considering where I lived. Finding a part-time job became a “must-do”.
Another life and death situation for me if I was going to survive and make it out . . .
Finding a job wasn’t exactly an easy feat as I lived in rural California where I was literally surrounded by orchards. The nearest town (population 1200) was about two to three miles away which might as well have been a hundred miles.
I lived in old farm laborer housing from the 1950s and ’60s. Our housing condition was horrible, to say the least.
The walls were made of metal and they had no insulation. The windows were single panes and we didn’t have air conditioning or heating. It was barely big enough for my family. I’m guessing it was roughly 500-750 square feet.
The temperatures varied greatly from 115 deg F in the summer to about 10-20 deg F in the winter. The spring and fall seasons were our best friends as they gave us a short reprieve from the hottest and coldest months.
I set my eyes on a grocery store in the small town nearest where I lived as the best place to work. I was persistent and showed up frequently to ask if they were hiring. Sooner or later they had to hire me, I thought to myself.
Sure enough, I got hired eventually at a whopping $3.15 per hour. This was below minimum wage even at that time. I was barely fourteen and probably not even of legal age to work.
I desperately needed the job so I took it, no questions asked.
The distance I had to travel to work presented another challenge. I did have an old ten-speed bicycle so I had to make do with that for the time being. That kind of worked out.
The “real” challenge was that I didn’t want to ride my bike along the most traveled country road in fear of being run over or even kidnapped. That meant that I would have to ride my bike through orange orchards for a part of my journey and the back country roads for the rest of it.
It wasn’t exactly a better option but I figured it was the best alternative overall.
I was lucky because I never ran across anyone on my trips to and from work, except for that one time . . .
If I rode in daylight it actually wasn’t that bad and it actually provided me with an outlet to de-stress. It was riding at night that tested my mettle.
The worst was when I would get home from school in the winter. I’d rush in the house, eat something, do a little homework and change for work before I had to bolt out of the house.
It’d be daylight when I got home from school but dark when I left for work. I absolutely hated having to ride to and from work in the dark.
Riding home at night is when I realized how much light the moonlight actually provides. It’s like a great big natural flashlight. On the flip side, when there was no moonlight, I could barely see in front of me.
I did pretty well because, at the early age of two or three, I managed to overcome my fear of the dark. I remember the exact moment when this happened. I never realized that this would’ve helped me twelve years later.
That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t scared. There were many times when the hairs on my body would raise, mostly because I would freak myself out. I had to learn to stay composed and mentally strong.
One pedal stroke at a time . . .
The only time I was in real danger was when I noticed that a car was following me from town onto the country roads. It was just me and that car.
Luckily it was a Sunday afternoon. It was still daylight and I noticed them right away before they got too close.
It scared the life out of me, but lucky for me, I was just outside of town. I was able to cut through some orchards and ride back into town. I rode around until I lost the car that was following me, and I pedaled as fast as I could toward home 30 minutes later.
After my first year of part-time work, I was able to save enough to purchase my first car for $1500 at the age of 15. I paid for my driver’s ed and got my driver’s license at 15 and a half years old.
It was awesome because I never had to travel those back country roads ever again from that day on!
Back then, I could have easily given up at any step or obstacle along the way. But, my dream was just too big. I had to break it up into small steps and take it day by day without getting overwhelmed about the rest of the long journey ahead of me.
One day at a time . . . focus on today . . . focus on the moment!
It was during these trying times that I learned many important lessons such as time management, discipline, positive thinking and goal setting.
This carried me through high school and into college after getting accepted to my dream college. I was one step closer.
Seven years later (after changing majors a few times) I graduated with a Bachelor of Science and two engineering degrees. I guess that makes me twice as dumb.
Just another dumb engineer . . .
Funny enough there’s some truth to that as I found out years later. When you’re young you think you know it all and you feel like you’re on top of the mountain.
I thought I had made it when I graduated college. Sure, I realized my dream which is a great accomplishment. But, years later, I would find out it was just the beginning.
My career started off well. I worked for a top twenty Fortune 500 company and enjoyed some success. My salary was great, as were the benefits, which are really important when raising a family. I had stability and career growth.
I received many opportunities and career promotions . . . until I didn’t.
Back then, I blamed it on everyone else and didn’t realize that the outcome was driven by me. I got used to the growth and expected that I would automatically continue to get more opportunities and promotions.
The problem is that at the end of the day, no one owes me or you anything.
If I want it, I have to work for it. It has to be earned.
Don’t get me wrong, I was still a top performer but my mindset was off. Plus, it certainly didn’t help that I ended up working for what I consider, the worst supervisor I’ve ever worked for.
Looking back, I could’ve done many things within my control differently to drive a different outcome. I could have been better.
Somewhere in the middle of my career, I began to settle. Coupled with a strained relationship at home, I figured I was going to be stuck in the same situation forever. I felt like I had no control over my life.
This is when the thoughts of suicide first crossed my mind.
It scared me to death and the sole thought of that kept me going, even if just a tiny bit. It was just enough.
How could I leave my kids in this cruel world to figure it out on their own?
There was no way in hell that I could do that to my kids.
Something was missing . . . but I didn’t know it then.
Fast-forward five years and I came to an important realization that freaked me out the most. It was a question I asked myself with all honesty.
I thought hard about that and realized that if I kept living in this manner with the same mindset, the simple answer to that question would be “yes”.
Then, I thought long and hard about why my answer was “yes” and not “no”.
Soon, I realized that I had buried some of my dreams some time ago. I always had the itch to build something from nothing. To do my own thing and build a side business.
Besides, I was once nothing and eventually built myself up to become something more. I had already proven to myself that I could do it. Why not give it a try and do it again?
This started a journey that will literally never end if I do it right.
The path I’ve taken has led me down many roads. Most importantly, it led me to realize that I wasn’t happy with my life because I stopped dreaming.
In turn, I stopped growing. I stopped living . . .
I was literally already half-dead.
Unfortunately, many people today have stopped growing, and in turn, have stopped living. It’s a scary place to be because you feel as if you don’t have control of your life.
All my life I had goals and dreams that kept me going every day until one day I didn’t. It snuck up behind me like a thief in the night.
I didn’t know it was happening which is the scary part!
I truly feel very fortunate to have learned what I have over the last five years. I’m a better person because of it.
All I needed was to realize that I needed to dream once again. Something that would make me hungry once again.
Something that would allow me to grow, learn and create . . .
What an important lesson to learn that my happiness was driven by me. It wasn’t driven by the external world.
Not my wife. Not my kids. Not my career.
Me . . .
The life journey I’m on has generated a ton of self-growth and development. It also led me to explore opportunities online and different ways in which I could create and continue learning.
It has led me to learn a great deal about website development, how to run a successful blog, email marketing and a ton more in the online space.
To date, the biggest benefit of being on this journey is not that I learned a ton of online skills. But rather, what I’ve learned about self-motivation, having a growth mindset and striving to be the best version of myself.
In the midst of all this, I also fell into another rabbit hole and learned a ton about relationships and zodiac signs. I could probably write a book about it but I figured that it’d be a good topic to learn so that I can teach my children about forging strong long-term relationships in their life.
My previous relationship struggles with my wife almost led me to divorce and I flirted with thoughts of suicide. This was a huge driver for me to learn more about these topics.
These invaluable lessons have helped me become a better husband, father and all-around better human being.
Most importantly, these are lessons that some people never learn in life but I managed to come across the right people. The right ideas . . .
And now, it has allowed me to teach my children extremely valuable life lessons as they grow into adulthood.
That is the true value and worth of being on this never-ending journey . . .
All of my life experiences and learnings have culminated in the development of this website. Whether it’s getting two engineering degrees, coaching soccer, having a deep understanding of relationships and zodiac signs, or learning multiple online skills while maintaining a career and raising a family.
This is a website geared towards helping you realize your full potential. A site dedicated to helping you expand your growth and learning in different areas of your life.
This is what LifeIQBoost is all about.
I thank you for taking the time to read my story. I wish you and your family everything that you desire in life.
Feel free to contact me via my Contact Page if I could be of any assistance to you.
All the best,