As some of you might know, the end of 2013 was kind of a rough period in my life. I didn’t have a regular job, no stable income, I broke up with my girlfriend and had to move back in with my mom.
But it was at the same time the beginning of a new period of my life, which was introduced to me in one of the strangest, but also most wonderful experiences in my life so far.
I was in Vietnam to spend some quality time with my girlfriend when we unexpectedly broke up. I am not going to tell you what exactly happened, as she might be reading this here as well.
So to get my shit straight, I spent a lot of time hanging out in parks in Ho Chi Minh City, reading books, watching people and thinking about what I wanted to do next.
I had all kinds of crazy thoughts going on in my head, such as making a bike trip through Vietnam, moving back to Asia and quietly working on some projects (this idea is still an option) or going back to work in a corporation in Germany.
That’s when one of the best and surprising things ever happened to me. While I was sitting in a park a weirdly looking Vietnamese kid came over talking to me. In the beginning I thought he wanted to sell me some stuff.
After I figured out that he didn’t want to sell me anything, I quickly assumed that he might be gay and wanted to hook up or something.
This was wrong again and a brilliant example how judgmental and suspicious I had become over the last couple of years. Instead of assuming that this kid just wanted to talk, I was quick about judging him.
But this was not the lesson I wanted to tell you about, even though this might have been it already.
What I figured out after a while was that he just wanted to talk to me to learn more about my culture, talk some English and just generally see whether or not he could learn something from me.
To my surprise, after talking for about five minutes with this young student of 18 years, we were quickly joined by another dozen of Vietnamese kids. Some of them joined the conversation, whereas others just listened carefully and tried to follow the conversation.
I realized that until this day nothing similar had happened to me in my life so far. Kids at the age of 15+ were proactively searching and literally screening for opportunities to learn and understand new things by talking to others.
It was this very moment that I understood the real meaning of lifelong learning and what it means to be passionate about progressing. What these kids taught me would ever since be one of my guiding principles.
Even though their circumstances might be rough, their parents live far away, they have to live in an unfamiliar environment and they don’t have any friends they are taking their destiny in their own hands and don’t wait for things to magically happen to them.
It’s up to us to decide whether or not we want to progress or stand still in life. It’s about whether or not we proactively take the piece of the pie we think we deserve. If we don’t take it, someone else will definitely take it. And that’s exactly what these kids have shown me.
It doesn’t really matter in what kind of life situation you might be in. It’s about willing to stand up, about taking risks, about getting over your fear of rejection, about getting your ass off the couch and trying to learn and understand new things.
There are opportunities to grow and educate ourselves everywhere and right in front of us, sometimes even in the comfort of our own neighborhoods. We just have to grab them.
If we are unhappy with a situation, if we think we don’t learn enough in our job/school or if we feel unchallenged, the only one that can change this situation is us. It won’t just magically happen.
Ever since I read more than 20+ books about all kinds of subjects (death, relationships, money, holocaust, being a teenager, war, sales, drawing, marketing), met more than 15+ people I didn’t know until recently and try out new things every day.
"It's never too late to be who you say you are!"
I worked, lived and traveled all over the world with a carry-on backpack with just 3 outfits in it.
The most valuable thing I own is a $300 laptop.
I never had a place of my own.
I never bought any furniture in my life.
And at one point I decided to I write a book about what I've learned.
And today you can get a free copy of it.
Click here to claim your copy now (it's free, for now)...