By Tonny Brian
Realizing our life purpose is definitely every youth’s goal. The sooner you get to know what you created for the easier your journey through life. But every one of us gets to realize it in different ways. Some of us it’s through hard moments while some of us it is easy. I can to discover that most of us don’t get to know their life purpose since they are quite blinded by their past issues and events. While some of us this past events are the goal to our future. One wise person told me that we can’t forget our past; it is part of us but what you do with it will determine if you end up poor or rich, happy or sad.
I coincidently got in a conversation with one motivational speaker and I was quite touched by what he had to tell me. I realized that my life problems where too little compared to what he go to pass through. The thing that amused me was that despite all that he had the strength to find his purpose and drive his life forward. It is true that what doesn’t kill you strengthens you. Like where and what do you do with three children at the age of 16?
So I decided to interview him so that we can all learn from his mistakes rather than waiting for our own time because we would eventually do what he wanted to do or even worse. We have heard cases of parents killing their children and also killing themselves in the same process. It’s sad how we prioritize death when we suffer. But this conversation will for sure change your mind
- Tell me a bit about yourself?
I was raised in New York City by immigrant parents that came to the U.S. for a better life. Unfortunately, they struggled with language and acculturation leading us to live in very poor conditions. I was raised in a neighborhood called Washington heights which was a bad area; it was full of violence and drugs, with schools that followed the same narrative. In school, they would remind us how much trouble we were really in because statistically, people that came from where we came from ended up in jail or dead by the age of 18. I believed this to be true and took a stroll down the wrong path. I met a woman older than me which was abusive. I started to hustle in the streets to support her and her kids. By the age of 15, I dropped out of high school. Then by the time, I became 16 I had my first child. This was a bad situation as I made it worse by having two more children (twins) before the age of 18.
But, something happened as I reached 19…I realized I was not dead or in jail making the narrative I was told, not to be true. You see; something I learned is that you cannot live the perspective of others and must be sure not to live in the negative worlds of others because only you can decide what your future holds. So, I went back to school to obtain my G.E.D or High School Equivalency. As I began to take steps to become the director of my life a major barrier appeared that I could not control. The mother of my children left us, and I lost the little I had. I became a single father of three children, which became a major challenge. This led me and my three children becoming homeless, hungry, and hopeless. One night as we slept in a hotel I looked out of an 8th story balcony. I decided it would be best for me to end my life and allow the kids to be placed in a foster home for a better life. But, my daughter woke up and it changed my life forever as my purpose was revealed. I went back to school obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Business, followed by obtaining my Master’s degree in Business Administration, and now I am finishing my Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. I am also V.P. of a mental health organization called Change M.F.C.R and my family has become happy and successful. As I look back I am very happy I did not take my life because of the good I have done for others. These things would not have happened if I would not have been around. With the kids getting older my purpose has changed to help motivate as many people as possible.
- Many people strive to know what their purpose is. What triggered you to the optimum realization of your purpose?
Well for this I must first tell you a quote from the great Shakespeare
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”. The day I looked out of that balcony and my children called out my name I realized that my purpose was what I thought my problem was. Because I realized I was born for the situation I found myself in. I was born to take care of these children and help them become great humans. Once my perspective changed, my life changed. You see sometimes we look at things in the wrong way. Limitations, barriers, and adversities most of the time is greatness being thrust upon us. I realized my purpose in the darkest time. Once you know your purpose every decision becomes simple…if it fits or helps the purpose the decision is yes! If it doesn’t, the decision is no. For people that struggle to find their purpose, I say this. First, believe it or not, your purpose can be the quest to finding a greater take on life and make that your purpose trying all that makes you happy if that makes sense? Second, a purpose does not have to be a lifelong purpose, to begin with. What I mean by this is life’s finish line is ever changing and the purpose you have worked for could and probably will change as you reach success in that purpose. See I found my purpose with the adversity I faced with my children but now they are grown and living their own successful lives, leaving me to find a new purpose. I now feel my purpose is to help others by motivating them. It’s like John By the way says “inch by inch, life’s a cinch, yard by yard life is hard”. So, we must take our time in finding our purpose and realize it might lie in our darkest places. We must do what truly makes us happy, things we have a passion for. Your purpose; your why will come from what gives you passion. Find your truth and become honest with yourself. For a long time, I thought my purpose was money. Not because I was passionate about money but because society says its important. Once I reached a level where money was always coming in I realized I was not happy which lead to an unhappy life.
- Most of us youths face the same challenges but are blinded by our past. What is one thing you would tell them to do differently?
I Love this question as it is one that affects many people. First, I would say we will probably never get over our past as they have shaped our present. We must change our perspective and use our past as a catapult to thrust us to our future. The past is a lesson that we can use to guide us. We can see this as we use history text to build society and we use religious text to guide our morals. It’s the same with our past experiences. Use that experience. It is a blueprint that will show you your limits, talents, and how to avoid living the same experiences. Currently, I use this past to inspire others by getting paid to speak to organizations. My speaking events talk about the past and how I learned to use the past to live a great future. So, I would say stop seeing the past as bad place or as a bad situation see it as your blueprint. Believe or not this helps in finding your purpose! An example of this would be a person that has been abused in the past. Now that they are out of this abuse they can build their purpose by helping others get out of that situation by joining non-for-profits or working as a social worker.
- Death is always a priority when we human surfer much than we can handle. What made you change your mind and give life another trial?
This is hard because when you are in a situation in which you believe death is a good option you really believe it is and it becomes a great idea and normal. As I looked out the balcony ready to jump I really felt it was the right thing for my family. I felt as if this would solve the problem. But I started to realize that my children needed me. I realized I could not fix anything if I was dead. I would also be letting those who said I would not make it be right or win. If I would take my life I would be giving up any hope of becoming something better. I began to understand that for me the fight would be over and lost but I would have left the few people that loved me, and I loved them a whole new fight or new miseries caused by me. This is when I found my purpose. To never let my children hurt for food, love, or life. I could not leave them with the thought that I left them as well. One way to put it is you must believe in something bigger than yourself!
- What did it take you to reach where you are after you realized your purpose?
I committed fully to my purpose. Every plan or move I would make had to help my purpose big or small. Decisions in life became easier as I would not do anything that did not add value to my purpose and only did things that added value to my purpose. Yes and no became very powerful to me. Yes, if it fits and no if it doesn’t fit.
I use this in all my speeches because it’s vital for successfully realizing one’s purpose. Winston Churchill said it best “success is the ability to go from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm”. Just because you have found your purpose doesn’t mean you will win in everything you do. You will still fail at things, but I always say it is impossible because you should never stop until you win! You must take the failure as a lesson just like your past. You must have the courage to face that which you cannot control. So, courage is vital!
Belief in self!
You must believe in your plan, thoughts, dreams, skills, and purpose. No other has the ability or will believe in you the way you can believe in yourself. You must make that decision to believe in yourself and grow confidence so strong It becomes a stain they can’t wipe off! Believe you are great, special, smart, and unstoppable. Believe the world needs your ideas and thoughts! Believe you have something you were born with that will turn the world on its head…believe in yourself without worrying if others do.
This is a big one for me. You must have passion in everything you do. Remember you are committed and every move you make is to add value to this purpose so everything you do…do it with passion. People feel the passion and will help create support for your purpose. Put your heart and soul into all moves you make no matter how small.
I love to say when you dream with your eyes open you are ready! I dreamt every day every night all the time. A picture in your mind or what people call daydreaming about what is it going to look like when you are successfully living your purpose. If it’s to become a rap artist, singer, or doctor picture yourself in the studio lying down a track or with a patient if your purpose is to be a doctor. One of the rules I live by every day is
” Dream, plan, execute, repeat”
This is how I work my daily routine.
Tool up, plan up, and do it!
Tools are vital to successfully realizing your purpose. Whatever it is you must tool up and get the tools needed. A mechanic can’t fix a car without tools, a surgeon cannot operate without his/her tools. Get the tools you need whether its education, training, or equipment. Plan it up! You must have a plan, or you will not know what works, making it difficult to do it again and succeed again. Right down the plan and work the plan. Do it! Do what you planned and plan what you do. Organize yourself and give yourself a blueprint on how to become what you want.
- Youth have energies that can’t be tapped just by education. Some of us can’t capture things in class but we got the ability to strive other sectors. What is your point of view about all this?
Well, education is still vital, but you must educate yourself in what it is that you truly want to do. If music is what you want to learn everything you need to know about music from the engineering of music to the business side of music. Learning is a great tool for success because the more you learn the more you earn. In some cases, like myself, I could not get a good job or start my business without business school. I had no one to teach me all I needed to know so college provided that for me. But, don’t go to college or school just because it’s the right thing to do…go for what you want to do in the future. Lawyers need school, doctors need school. We can’t all be the people that made it huge with no school because we don’t all have those resources or support. We must gain knowledge of what we want to do in today’s world many resources are around that can help you start learning what you need to know immediately. I am a big believer in education but there are many ways to get that education. Don’t waste time on doing something that does not fit what you want to do. Finishing high school is the only way to go let’s mention that. First, learn how going to school can fit or even does it fit your plan. Example, most trades or most talents like music can be enhanced by a business school because it teaches you the back end of industries. So, education or school should be used as a strategic advantage to what you are doing. It’s not vital for every industry but school set me free. It allowed me and my current wife which migrated here to own our own businesses instead of working for businesses that paid us very little. It allowed me specially to have choices and opportunities I never imagined. So even though school is not a popular strategy within the thoughts of today’s society I can tell you first hand, my life completely changed after obtaining my bachelor’s, and then my Master’s degree. And now that I am in the Ph.D. level I am learning more about myself and the world around me than I ever knew. But my dream was always to own my business, so it was a great fit for me. The word education means something different today than it did in the past. Anything that teaches you in your trade can be considered education.
- As a motivational speaker, what advice would you give to youths who want to venture in the world of effecting chance to other lives?
You must start with your why? Why do you want to do it? If the answer is to help others, that’s a great star. Then you must put your story together and understand how it can help others. Then you must practice, practice, and practice. Get your family and friends together and perform your speech on them. Get feedback and adjust the speech with the feedback you receive. Find your niche and start making videos. Many platforms exist such as gig masters that will allow you to advertise your services. Start speaking for free at schools, event, and even churches. This will allow you to get videos of them in action, feedback, and reviews. Make sure your story can have an impact on listeners. Using social media for exposure is crucial! Find courses on digital marketing as this is the best tool for the industry.
- What are you most afraid of? Getting your way or not getting your way?
Honestly, I am not afraid of either. It is not about just getting my way. It is more about living my experience. I am afraid of being afraid! Lol, I am afraid of the day I stop myself from doing what I want because of fear. I live life in such a way that the experience is all that matters. One of my sayings goes “I live for today, but plan for tomorrow”. Never regretting the chances, my take is to live life to the fullest. I fear a height, that’s about it. Even the loss of loved ones does not scare me because I spend as much quality time with them as possible. If you live a full life every day of your life the outcome is less important than your experiences. One must live an experiential life.
- What one word best sums up you and your vision?
- What and who inspires you with awe?
Many things inspire me as life has many beautiful things. But if I had to choose one it would be the power that humans must overcome limitations. I am in awe every time I hear a story of a fellow human overcoming a limitation or sharing an act of kindness. We, humans, are awesome and together can solve the unsolvable. As far as who, my children! Because they had every excuse to fail in life such as their mother leaving them behind but instead they have chosen to be productive members of society. They have shown me that success is a choice.
- Do you believe in working as a group to solve issues or working it all out on your own?
Groups! Bringing together different people with different backgrounds and different perspectives can bring about innovation. Innovation is key to solving the greatest of issues. But, leadership is vital to bringing together all the different perspectives and backgrounds.
- Being an author is a passion for many youths like me. But, the world of writing and publishing books is an expensive one. The fact that there are not many readers in the world not leaving out the publishing cost. What is one this that you would tell the young writers to look upon?
Become an indie author and self-publish. Organizations such as Amazon allow you to self-publish an electronic version of your book which is what I have done. Author resources such as www.thebookpatch.com allow you to offer the printed version to clients without paying a cent. The difficult part becomes marketing the book and getting out there as a first-time author. But using public, business, or motivational speaking allows you to market the book. But, one piece of advice I would give is if you are writing a book do it because of love. Don’t do it for money but to get your skills, story, or ideas out to the public. It will help give you validity in what you do and gain respect for the subject you write.
It is one of the best stories one can share about themselves.With the spirit focused on helping a lot of people, get to realize how much our past can change our future positively.It is not much about what you pass through,it much about what’s worth fighting for.Generate a positive mindset and your path to realising your purpose will be wide and open.
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