Enter the dragon: My american dream and nightmare (part 2)
(Second of two parts. Read Part 1: Humble roots)
I asked myself, "What was I living for? Just to keep paying bills?"
Looking back, relief came when the economy tanked in 2007. I was burnt out and wanted out of the stupid rat race. So, unconsciously, I found a way to get fired. And boy what a train-wreck that was!
It was like a roller-coaster getting unhinged from its tracks.
I lost the sporty car. I lost my savings. And I lost my house - the one symbol that I projected to the world to say "I've finally made it!"
I lost my identity. Partly because I let my possessions define who I was instead of me defining my possessions.
This turned my American Dream into an American Nightmare and it was nobody's fault but mine. I slipped into a depression. At my lowest point reality looked me straight in the eye and said "How do you like me now?"
Hope and promise
They say broke is a temporary situation while poor is a permanent state of mind. And I was certainly broke at that point in my life. But it wasn't just financially; in actuality that was just a manifestation of how broke I was - mentally and spiritually.
Isn't it interesting how when we're overcome by challenges and deciding to push through no matter what, that it's in that place where we find something deep within ourselves that we thought we never had.
In the midst of the most embarrassing financial crisis I've endured, my biggest truth revealed itself when I dug deep down and asked "What did I really want in life? What does wealth and success really mean to me?"
That's when I really got honest with myself and realized that to me it meant peace, simplicity, contentment, and love.
But do you remember the intention that I set forth earlier in my story?
It all came together while attending the University of Washington - the very same school that I wanted to go to because Bruce Lee studied there. It was that very same school where I met my first business mentor and everything took a magnificent turn for me.
It was then that he told me one of his biggest secrets for achievement and fulfillment. He said the law of contribution states that "The level of your happiness and success in life is directly proportional to the number of people you serve unconditionally."
And just like that my life significantly changed. I took that message to heart. This reawakened my spirit and blazed a trail to find new ways of turning my life around.
On that day I decided to make a decision and come from a different place. Today, what really inspires me is making other people happy. Seeing other people succeed and create massive transformations in their lives because of an idea that I taught or shared with them. For me these are the true rewards in life. It is the most rewarding work.
I still like having nice toys and fancy comforts but today it's not in the expense of proving myself to the world. Today, it's more a symbol of rewarding myself because I have done something that's really positive for somebody else. It's not something that I aspire to get to fulfill me - these are things that I use to compliment and reward me.
This experience has taught me that wealth without freedom is not truly wealth. I live below my means and instead use money as a tool to enrich my life with tithing, education, & experiences. That is the true measure of success for me now.
The law of inertia states that an object will stay at the same state unless a greater outside force knocks it out of its current state. For me the best feeling arises when I can wake other people up from a zombie-like existence.
For me the journey of self-discovery has lead me finding that "every thing" I could ever want and I am getting every thing that I need now because I had helped other people get what they need. And I am still on my journey. In order for me to reach my true and full potential I would have to find more people to help and inspire. The focus now is external instead of internal. Now it's sustainable because it's not about me anymore.
Today as a coach and mentor I've committed to creating as much freedom for the next person as I do for myself.
This is my response to poverty.
I could be indifferent or I can be creative. Although the sages would say in life you are always creating, it just depends on what it is that you are creating--strife and misery or joy and felicity.
This is my #BalikBayan story. - Rappler.com
Teddy Lim wears many hats and has been in sales for most of his life. Currently he works for the internet sales and marketing division of AutoNation INC. A blogger since 2010 he also uses his expertise to vlog and coach about a myriad of self-development topics. His mission is to help small-business owners and entrepreneurs increase profits by providing tools that expand their audience and influence online. Follow him on Facebook and YouTube.