When I say I started from nothing, I mean it. I was born in a small town in Louisiana, and my childhood conditions had an influence on my success today.
My dad died when I was 10. When you don’t have that male role model for you, it’s hard. Younger me had no direction, and I missed having a father figure in my life as a mentor.
After he died in February, my mom sold our house in March. My father passed 15 days after buying his dream house.
At 10 years old, I learned that a house — single-family home — was a liability. As a kid, I learned that Americans live paycheck to paycheck. And I learned that people have a constant fear about money, overspend it, and don’t know how to produce it.
My mama didn’t know much about money, let alone earn it herself. Instead of focusing on how to increase her income, she took care of the home and our family. She had her hands full. I remember her sitting at our kitchen table clipping coupons.
We saved every penny we had left. My mom’s mindset was about the conservation of money.
Money = control
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an adult.
I figured out that whoever had the money had control of the environment. At 12, I wanted to be “the man” and start making money. I watched my dad and other men control what we did because they were the ones with money.
Growing up without many positive influences, I turned to drugs as a teenager. I smoked, popped pills, and drank like a fish.
From 15 to 25, I used drugs almost daily, and I lost myself daily.
To this day, I don’t think my drug addiction was pain driven; it was a lack of self-esteem, boredom, or mission. It was the absence of a male figure and not having any sort of vision for my life.
What changed the way I see work
There’s one memory that will always stick with me and that had a massive influence on the way I think today.
My dad taught me how to work. We were in the yard one day, picking up leaves and branches. To the 9-year-old me, he looked like an artist. It was like watching a cook in the kitchen.
He inspired me. There was beauty in work. It showed me that it was a gift.
Do I believe in the “four-hour workweek”? No. It’s unrealistic for me, and I have zero interest in working part-time. To be Great, I need to work at something all the time, 24/7. I have to dedicate time, energy, and effort to hit my goals. I have to be frequent.
It took me 30 years to find success. I only got comfortable on stage after speaking 3,000 times. Even three businesses were jamming before I could even call myself a legitimate businessman. Recently, I thought that maybe — just maybe — I’ll “make it.”
Ultimately, my childhood conditions set the stage for the success I have now.
The things that I experienced me made me who I am today and the man I continue to strive to be.
A Great one.