First off Happy New Years, Let’s thank our veterans, service members, family members, and everyone else that has helped us on this journey called life.
For the longest time, I never saw myself as a leader. I tried several times throughout my youth, where I tried to take charge, and lead my different group of friends. However, as time passed, and the failures mounted on me, I came to a realization that I was much more comfortable being alone with my own thoughts. The only sport I did in high school was wrestling, and that was a single sport. You had no one to rely on but you, now of course, this was not true at all, and I developed great meaningful friendships with the other wrestlers on my team through the hell that was our conditioning training, I realized that I flourished when I was by myself.
There are two parts to this blog post: the part where I was right, the part where I was wrong.
I was right in the fact that I was not a good natural leader. I grew up an only child, and was use to playing by myself. Sure I had a lot of friends at school, but as soon as I got home, most of the time I had to find ways to entertain myself by myself. I played with my friends every now and then, but most of the time, I was by myself.
I got good at being by myself, and doing things by myself. I had no one else to rely on, and so I learned to rely on myself. During my childhood, I remember if there was a toy that I wanted, I got so use to not getting any new toys, that I had to make them by myself. I would usually use paper and tape to create swords, guns, and anything else that my imagination would allow.
And so, as opposed to playing with my friend’s toys, I had to make due with my imagination, which is what I believe has allowed me to flourish intellectually later on in life.
But as much as I was alone, I was also surrounded. I was blessed in an ironic sense by the fact that my father was a pastor. What this meant for a child was that 2 times a week, I would be surrounded by kids my age, and would be able to learn and play with them for the good part of a day. This was a blessing because it did one of two things.
- 5 days of the week, I would learn how to be by myself, and develop my imagination to fill the gaping holes of boredom that were prevalent in my childhood.
- With the remaining 2 days, I would learn how to interact with other kids, and be normal.
I remember when I first started getting introduced to other kids, where I would be forced to separate from my parents. I was very shy, more shy than most kids, and I had a hard time making friends. My shyness would never completely go away until I hit my high school and college years, to be honest I am still shy to this day, but the forced exposure that my father’s career as a vicar gave me was a huge blessing in disguise. It gave me the bare minimum social skills that I needed to not be outcasted long enough to the point where I was emotionally strong enough to not care.
So. . . 2 Blessings
- Time to Develop my imagination(Which I utilized completely)
- Time to Develop my social skills
What did this do? I was smart enough to fit in, but also smart enough to know that I did not truly belong.
Throughout my childhood, I never truly felt that I belonged, or that I was a necessary part of the group. This was a product of 2 things that combined together. 1, every time I tried to lead, my friends would seem bored and would later lack any initiative to follow my lead. 2, in order to fit in, I forced myself to like the things that they liked, and I did not allow myself to have any REAL opinions, and was more of a social palm tree that moved however the winds of my social groups moved me.
And so on a general scale, I was correct in assuming that I did not have the natural traits of a leader, but I was wrong in assuming that I was not fit to be a leader because I would never be able to be one, and that I should try to be happy as a lone wolf.
Becoming a lone wolf was the first step into becoming one.
A Leader must have a vision that is attached to an integrity that can never be compromised.
I had a vision, but my integrity was constantly being compromised. I cared too much about other people’s thoughts and opinions, and so I let my ideas die as soon as any resistance was met.
It was only until the traumatic experience of leaving my home for the final time, experiencing homelessness, living by myself, and so much more that finally made me realize that life was too short to worry about what others thought about you.
This was during my senior year of high school, and it was in that year that I decided to take my first steps to becoming a leader, by becoming a lone wolf.
What did I do?
The biggest thing was to leave my friend group, and decided that I would hang out with people that I actually wanted to hang out with, and that I would not be tied down by any social pressure. Meaning that if I got bored and wanted to leave, I did just that, I left and moved on.
And although I call this step my journey into being a lone wolf, I had one loyal friend that would stick around with me as I walked around school, but later, I would leave even him, and go on my own journey. And so, I still call this period my first step.
It was a scary time, but also an extremely fun time. I would talk to random people, complete strangers. I would high-five random kids, play guitar and sing songs about people that would pass by. I would give random massages, started talking to girls. I would test my fears, and try to push the idea of not giving a FUCK about what people thought about me by laying down randomly where other people were walking.
And after senior year was over, fueled by the excitement and novelty that was breaking out of my shell and living life on my own terms, I fully evolved into a lone wolf.
It was after senior year where I went after every and any dream that I had.
I became a model, an actor, a chef, an amateur mma fighter, read thousands of books, went to one of the best universities in the world on a full scholarship, checked off a whole bunch of financial goals, met tons of new people, learned new languages, learned new instruments, and have basically lived multiple lives in the past 5 years.
I went on my own journey, and guess what happened when I came back to my old world? People began to listen. People began to follow. People became curious as to what it was about me that allowed me to be who I was.
And of course I came back to my old world multiple times during my journey(a journey of which I am still on by the way), and each time I came back, I would gain more and more respect. Why? Because, I was living life on my terms. And whether you agreed with my decisions or not, you could not disagree with the fact that if there was something I wanted, I went after it, and I got it.
Over the half decade, I forged an integrity that was uncompromising, a passion that was impossible to extinguish, and a will that was unstoppable. I forged a leader.
It was not that I did not have the traits to be a leader, or that it was impossible for me to become one.
It was rather that I had all the tools and marble that I needed, but I just needed to do the work to become the man that I wanted to become, and I believe that the same is true for all of you.
If there is anything in this world that you want, if there is anyone that you want to model yourself after, if there is a trait that you wish to obtain, you can, all it takes is an immense hard work, and a disgusting amount of will and never giving up. To me, once I realized that, it was really easy for me. Because I knew that if I had the right direction, I just needed to grit my teeth and get through the pain, a pain that I knew would not last forever.
Enjoy the suck, and you will get to wherever you want to go.
It’s that simple,