The LIVING Example

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I read Tyler's blog [1] and all I have to say is: LOL. Thanks for writing a biography about my life... goodbye investment banking... goodbye search and rescue diving... goodbye 3 countries... goodbye MTV & Jerry Bruckheimer... I'm working with RSD and UCLA now... solely passionately and intrinsically motivated... Sometimes I miss the money, but I had to figure out the hard way that the way I was doing it wasn't worth it. Internally it was like slowly dying when I wasn't doing what I knew I needed to do. You have to follow your path.

I look back now at all my many life experiences, hard and good, as awesome social and cultural experiences that I LEARNED from. Trust me, some lessons really hurt. But, they all gave me depth and wisdom beyond belief. I feel I can relate to anybody on almost any level because I've been there in one way or another. From hanging and fighting in the streets of Baltimore, to corn husking in the fields of Iowa, to picking my neighbor’s grape harvest in Italy, to riding camels in the sands of Oman, to red carpet events and the social elite of Hollywood. They’ve all expanded my reality to the point where nothing surprises or intimidates me. I’ve made all this my reality.

Here’s just a few other crazy things that’s possible in reality: I’m also a decorated war veteran, been recognized on national TV, was adopted Chinese (I’m white), dated Playboy, Hawaiian Tropic, and Budweiser models, have been kidnapped, worked for the US Embassy in Central America actively fighting Colombian drug traffickers, modeled, was a top ranked wrestler, helped write porn scripts for a friend in Budapest, started businesses, saved a man's life, am an expert pistol shot, cliff dove in 2 countries, managed over $300 million dollars, played stickball in brooklyn, hang glided over Brazilian rain forest, written my own TV show, graduated from a #1 ranked program in the world, hiked mountains, dealt drugs (long time ago), ATTACKED BY A GANG OF WILD MONKEYS, lived on a boat for 3 years, partied for Carnival in Rio, Venice, and New Orleans, been arrested and put in jail (a couple times), been to close to 30 countries (lived in 4), am fluent in renaissance art, broken too many bones to remember, speak parts of 5 languages, was actually kicked out of a country once and made to fly home (not my fault), was almost a father and engaged, ran a black market, had sex in 2000 year old plazas where saints were once burned on a stake, thoroughly well read in classical and contemporary literature, met, partied and am friends with famous Spanish bullfighters, been questioned by the CIA, taught at a renowned university, stowed away on a train once out of desperation, camped in complete wilderness, traveled to East Germany while under Soviet Union’s control (it was as crazy and depressing as the movies portray it), ran with the bulls in Pamplona, been part of a pit crew in the mexican Baja 500 twice, been courted by the Russian Mafia (long story), won ski races in the Alps, promoted parties, and also kicked the tree of life. I just turned 30 and have been completely independent since I was 18. Funny thing is, is that I need my friends to really remember some of the crazy shit that’s gone on.

I guess the only thing left is to own a monkey, be in a heist, and get shot. Seriously, these are my goals for the next 5-20 years... climb a mountain, write a couple books, start a philanthropic organization, motorcycle around S. America, go on safari, visit the north pole (before it's gone), buy a home in Europe and in the great state of Texas, get married and have kids, and finally put an end to the ******* and hunt down the Loch Ness monster. Anything’s possible when you’re living your own legend. What's yours?

BTW, file this under an experience I wouldn't trade ANYTHING for-- college. I don't think it's necessary for everyone to go, but for people who don't know who they are or what they're doing--then GO. What did Tyler just say about experiencing new cultures in his blog... that's what college is. That's why it was so awesome. But, to make all the memorized-learning tests bearable, make sure you study things that piques your intellectual curiosity!


Question: The "Here’s just a few other crazy things that’s possible in reality" bit, is it just random things that are possible, or are you claiming to have done all them?

I could write a book, or at least a blog, on almost all of those experiences.

There's a lot of things I've done and seen that I could add also. Here's more: I've fought 3 fires as a fireman, how I was forced into alcohol rehab twice when I was 20 (failed the first time), been forced to testify before a grand jury, was an analyst at a top 5 wallstreet firm, had a top secret clearance, hooked up with girls in at least a dozen countries, I've recently been considering training, with the help from my Olympian friend, to qualify for the next winter Olympics, was president of my school (charisma goes a looong way is what I'd call that story..haha), met congressmen, played 5 seasons of soccer and 4 seasons of baseball in Italy, the story from after tearing two muscles playing soccer in Madrid and kept playing- I was treated by the medical doctor for Real Madrid (good story of not quitting for ANYTHING), meeting Willie Nelson on stage at Luchenbach (a true poet, idol, and outlaw), I once saw my roommate (his father was in President Bush’s cabinet) get kicked in the face AND OFF A BOAT by a bouncer in Spain, my friend who was a drug dealer in the Italian mafia and his stories (fucking crazy!), the time I almost saw a public beheading (thank god I didn’t), the time I passed out in a public bathroom in Amsterdam (one of the grossest and luckiest stories in my life), when our personal driver took us to a Santo Dominican brothel in the Dominican Republic (Ozzie hates that story), I could write a series just on Hollywood, was courted to play DII college football even though I only played my junior year, toured the slums of Rio de Janeiro and witnessed kids with submachine guns, buying a boat in Venice on a whim because the city went on strike, hooking up with a girl, who spoke no English, in Florence by telling her "I'm from Texas like the TV show Dallas", rewritten a US Navy tactical manual, the time after high school my friends and I drank 21 kegs of beer in under 6 days and the only food I remembered eating the whole time were 3 sandwiches and some doritos, doing improv, had glass tables thrown over my head, been beaten up by a gang (a couple times-in hind sight I probably provoked them ), and how insomnia and an over-active imagination has robbed me of years of my life (TD the movie style).

After I told Tyler about my struggles to write the great american novel lately, I've seriously been working on getting in the groove of doing it more regularly by posting. My next one, when I have time, and since it has to do with women, I think I'm gonna write about my Playboy gf/fb that I just broke up with last week. Hopefully, that one will be pretty entertaining.


Question: You can "shed society's standards and live the way you want to", but who's gonna pay for all that? lol Who's going to give you food, water, shelter? Welfare? Rich daddy?

I don't know. I never really focused on that. I just focused on the experiences I wanted and let the rest take care of itself (and I voluntarily got off the parents payroll when I was 18). Now, that being said, I've had a lot of help from my sister, friends and strangers that would always seem to help when I needed a pick-me-up the most. It's funny, but people always say I've got amazing karma because I've gotten into some real jams and they ALWAYS work out great. Granted, I've never been destitute and I've always worked hard. I've worked REALLY hard. It didn't matter what job I did I always did it the best of my capability--which I normally mastered.

Here are some examples of some of my thought process' and how I got into things. I was in the Navy and NOBODY could believe it. I am as independent as it gets and people knew that and couldn't believe it. I did it on purpose. It was a challenge and not what people expected of me at all. Out of respect, I also didn't want my father supporting me for the next 5-6 years, which he would have gladly done (there's more meritocracy stuff I believed in too). I joined the Navy and I never really liked the ocean or boats. My family's legacy was always Army. The ocean, in its infinite power, kinda scared me. Yet, I became a diver. I would never do anything normal or average because it doesn't challenge me. Later I became an investment banker. I've always sucked at math and disliked it with a passion, but it was a challenge and wanted to master the art of finance and numbers. I did it, and did it at a top firm. I willed myself into these things and mastered them. It wasn't easy at all, but I gained immeasurable skills and ability. I guess from living in Italy and studying the Renaissance, I always admired the Renaissance men that did and mastered many crafts. On top of it, I hate being told I can't do something or that it's not possible.

There were things that I accomplished that opened opportunities that I never would have had otherwise ie. graduating from a top school, search and rescue in the Navy, etc. Life builds and connects itself in weird ways--there's no way I coulda planned at 20 for the way my life has gone. I always just stuck to a certain set of principles.

As for making things work out financially, I've never been more than 3 grand in debt (aside from the $3500 in college loans at 2.8% that never seems to go away--regardless the interest is lower than inflation, so it makes little sense to try and pay it off). I've always lived pretty comfortably and in some VERY pimp pads. To some degree I can be pretty damn extravagant (I hate cheap people and the way people can fuss over a few bucks-it can really seem like, to a degree, it can be a waste of energy). I only buy top quality stuff, but I only buy things that I need and I take care of them. I am very much a minimalist. I've been forced that way, because I never know where my next opportunity may take me. I am always prepared to leave, if need be, at a moments notice.

When I was in banking in Texas was when things probably got toughest for me. Near the end, when I was REALLY about to make a lot of money, I left. I was running MILLIONS of dollars in investments, but I didn't like where I was at. At the time I had a house and a ton of furniture. I left it all in a matter of about a month and moved to LA after going to the Rose Bowl Game (Texas vs. Michigan). While I was visiting, I was offered a job at MTV making comparably nothing and took it. All I brought with me were two loads of things that I could pack in my Jeep. I had recruiters banging on my door with lucrative job offers that I turned down. I rarely even listened to them. My mind was made and my heart wasn't in it anymore. It took a ton of courage, but I knew I was done with that chapter in my life.

I can say or write all I want-I've told people similar things my entire life-but you will only understand this if you are bold enough to do things for yourself. Do what interests, excites, challenges, and scares you, always. Only you can figure this stuff out for yourself.

Btw, I hardly plan for shit in the short term and always go with my gut. Last October, after spending 3 weeks with my near-death grandmother in a hospital in Iowa, on a moments notice I flew back to LA and 4 days later I was in Europe for 3 weeks (hence, how I wrote a post on Tim's Sweden is FIRE thread). I did it based on a feeling that I had that I just had to do it. I loved every moment (except how cold London was) and looking back I see how important it was for me to do that at that time. It changed my life and I learned some really important lessons--it all happened because I followed my gut.


hahaha.... yeah, I like this thread. A lot of good dialogue.

There are a lot of good questions posted here--and very necessary ones. At some point in my life I've asked all of them and countless more. Life ain't easy and when you take the path least taken (easy cliche) people don't always make it easy for you either (massive understatement).

The answers are always within you and always have. Yes, there is a point when I've asked myself, am I just a jack-of-all-tades and a master-of-none (a cliche I've been posed tons of times). The answer I found was abso-fucking-lutely not. Everything I did was for a PURPOSE--I MASTERED many trades and got what I wanted to get out of them and moved on. This sometimes took YEARS and at times of real diffuculty, where people normally fold or become assimilated to 'average' thinking, I would almost forget my purpose. It was hard. I've left jobs and women the same way. Fortunately, my truth has always righted my way. It's a blessing and also a curse. I am not built to not live truthfully with myself. I cannot. I WILL die and I feel it so strongly in every part of my mind and instinct. Dying is a strong word, but I literally felt physical pain it was so strong. I had to move on after I wasn't challenged and the lessons I needed were learned.

Here's a couple questions I've been asking myself lately and see if you relate: "Am I completely selfish?" and if so, "I am wrong for it?" I think I am to a degree, but I don't think that's necessarily bad. I always go after what I want and I always have. It's not always obvious, but as sure as the sun rises every day, I do. People continually have broken themselves on me. Ultimately, I may bend, but will never break.

How can I freely admit this to you and myself?" I have no fear because I *know* beyond a doubt in my mind that my ultimate goal will bring a greater benefit. It's not just, "Hey man, I'm following my path. Fuck off. Leave me alone". I HAVE to do this. How else can someone trade a lucrative investment banking job to make the pittance I do now.

Tyler and I have both spoken about this. There will be a time when we will move on from RSD (me much sooner) and what we're doing now. That's because we EVOLVE and we get a higher form of understanding of OURSELVES. We will undoubtably be doing something along these lines for when we do move on (experiences like this always leave imprints on our lives), but it won't be anything quite like what we're doing now. We can't. No worries, I don't think it will happen anytime too soon.

My purpose that has taken me here? To help people. There's beauty in simplicity. In order to do that, I had to know my strengths and weakness'. I'm a firm believer in leading by example. Everybody hates a poseur. That was a core reason for all the things I've done in my life. I always put myself out there and pushed myself. I broke rules and did what scared me. I learned that the times I listened to society, family, or friends it consistently only hurt me. You have to think for yourself. Because of what I've learned and experienced, I am a vastly different person and better man than I was when I was 20 or 25 or 29 for that matter-- mostly for the better .


BTW, I thought I was finished, but I feel I have to talk about motivation because it's so close to what I've said. Call it the practicality part. whatever. This may be a shock to some people, particularly to people in RSD that love him, but I'm not a big fan of Tony Robbins or anybody that tells you how you should do things, UNLESS you use them as a vehicle to realize your own abilities and core intrisic motivations. Sometimes people just need permission to do what they already know.

As I said before, I believe EVERY question you have in life can be answered in yourself. You just need the courage and strength to follow what you already know. That being said, time is sooo precious in my life. Time flies by so fast. I would, and always have, set daily and long-term goals. For some reason, it brings a clarity to your smaller purposes. It gives you permission and reason to do different things. I always set goals, but I think it should be said that I keep a strict-loose like perception of them. Particularly my daily goals. I don't kill myself if I don't get to things. Oh well. I will though. You cannot always plan for the things that need extra thought or time. For example, I find it hard to rush creativity and frequently run over time when writing.

Second. Find inspiration and recognize greatness in man. I find inspiration in my family. My grandfather is one of the most amazing people I have ever known. Truly an idol. He came from a small farming town, super poor as 1 of 16 children (many of them died before the age of 18), he frequently slept in ditches, never graduated high school because he had to work, went on to fight in WWII on the small South Pacific Island of Tonga, hitch hiked all around the country from town to town (Jack Kerouc style) including old school California, was a gold prospector in Montana, was a great mechanic, built his own house, sang country western music across the West, and experienced tons of amazing adventures. Later, he got his GED, taught himself college algebra, trig, and calculus and climbed to the top of an american corporation. The best part is that EVERYBODY loves my grandfather. I saw this growing up, it particularly resonated with me when I lived in Italy, he would, and still does at 89yrs, just talk to everybody. People are infected by his amazing stories and friendliness (definitely a Casanova from the stories). Additionally, one of the things I'm most proud was that he grew up when America was highly segregated and my grandfather was intelligent to know people as people. He admits to the times when people just said things like, "that's mightly white of you". He got it and changed with the times when people weren't so easy to let go of the past.

My other inspiration would be my adoptive father. He grew up dirt poor and the son of immigrants (in the 30's all of his siblings born before him had to be left in their country and were sent money). Growing up he and my grandparents were continuosly hated just for theirs race and threatened by the US government to be deported (he was born in the US!). Growing up in the streets of Brooklyn, dirt poor (he had rickets from malnutrition), in the back of his parents single room laundry cleaning store he studied on a 3 legged desk that my grandfather pulled out of a dumpster. He went on to go to get a scholarship to one of the best high schools in the country and from there to Columbia University and on to medical school (he was rejected from Harvard Medical school because at the time Harvard had an allotment of only one person from his race per year--to this day he still knows the guy who was accepted over him). He just retired as one of the most respected, most senior, and most decorated officers in the military. Yes, he also served in Vietnam.

So, in respects to my life, there's very little that I could ever do that would compare to either what my father or grandfather achieved. No matter how hard life can possibly get, it would be NOTHING compared to what they endured. There's no excuses for not succeeding; they did. I respected my father and what he did so much that I left at the age of 18 to stake my claim and do it ALL ON MY OWN. No excuses. This is where I come from and, yes, I grew up always believing in meritocracy. Have balls and just do what you know you need to do.

http://rsdnation.com/showthread.php?t=5196

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