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Personal Development

Personal Development is something I am genuinely passionate about. When I think about what makes humans so incredible, I always find myself dumbfounded by the capacity for growth that we all have. An example of this is in James Clear's Atomic Habits; he talks about the power of 1%. He explains that if we grew 1% from the day before, by the end of the year we would be 37.78 times better. Growth isn't linear, it's exponential.

Books and Thoughts

Here are books I have read that have changed me. I hope that I can help you understand what goes on in my head.

"The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino

One of my all time favorite books that goes over 10 scrolls that can change your mentality and help you grow.

Other Great Reads

"12 Rules for Life" Jordan Peterson

"Take the Stairs" Rory Vaden

"How to Win Friends & Influence People" Dale Carnegie

"Atomic Habits" James Clear

"Redefining Possible" Dustin Hillis and Ron Alfred

Books and Thoughts

My Story of Growth

My story starts in my sophomore year of High School. I had talked to my parents about my need to join a sport to stay in good shape, and they had both recommended cross country. I chose to try it for a day. I hated it. I really didn't like running; it was painful. I had to push myself to keep up; worst of all, it was hard. I still decided to do it, but not for the right reasons. A cute girl was in the club, and all the guys were cool. I also imagined that it would get easier after each practice. Boy, was I wrong! Every day was rough, and I wasn't getting any faster. I still remember my first couple of races. I was getting followed by a bike or a tractor, as I was last in the race. Stuff like that really destroys your ego. That being said, the only way I could go now was up. In reality, up wasn't very impressive. For my entire high school career, I would continue to struggle with the mental barrier I had set of going sub 30. Every race, I would push myself as much as possible, and I would be among the last ones to finish every time. I hated that feeling so much. I hated the back, being told a good job when I didn't do well, and this feeling of uselessness. 

During cross-country season, I got introduced to the gym, and I was just as bad in the gym. At the time, I was 180 pounds, 6 foot, and I remember lifting as much as a friend who was 130 pounds, 5 foot 4. Needless to say, that was another humbling experience. Thankfully, I stuck to it. I was dedicated, and I made sure I would go every weekday. I would go after club meetings and after cross-country practice. I was almost always the last one out, but I didn't have much to show the work I was putting in. At the time, I didn't know how to build muscle, the importance of sleep, and that hydration was essential.

I graduated High School in 2020. I remember being excited about going to Clemson the next year. I was motivated to fix my life up, and to start working on achieving my goals. However, when it came around, I was completely lost. I was an introverted kid who didn't know how to talk to people. I often returned to my room and played video games or watched TV. I was hungry for more but didn't know what to do.

Then came the turning point in my life. My internship at Southwestern Advantage during the summer of 2021. It was the hardest thing I could do, and I was beyond excited. My mentor for the program, Jacob Flores, talked about all of this self-growth I could achieve, and I was practically drooling. I could be challenged, make money, and learn sales skills simultaneously. It was exactly that. Southwestern Advantage was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I have ever done. It was 80 hours a week of going door to door in a brand-new state (Louisiana). The funny thing is that I was pretty awful at the start. I was learning a lot but couldn't seem to get sales. I hated that, too. I wanted to be at the top of the group. I wanted to be the best. What I lacked was mental fortitude. I was letting the no's get to me, and it was affecting my day. Then, one day, I learned about self-talk. This was supposed to be the magic cure. If I was feeling bad about a no, all I had to do was acknowledge it and then remind myself why I was doing this. And guess what? It worked. I probably looked like a crazy person, talking to myself in the car about how I could do it. "This is the time, and I am the person who can do anything." I still say this to this day. I ended that summer in 98th place out of 1800+ interns, but I can't say I was that happy. I still wanted more. I was hungry.

Thanks to Southwestern Advantage, I learned some skills that would revolutionize my life in college. The first one was to have a schedule and to protect it. I loved my schedule and still love it today. I no longer have to think about my next move. It's always go, go, go now. The other skill I learned was the power of time and work. When you've worked 80 hours a week, school seems like nothing. I felt like there wasn't enough for me to do. So, I decided to start to focus on learning other things. At this time, I began learning about logo and website design. I would spend a lot of time learning anything I could. Most of all, I would do what I could to apply what I learned in a professional sense. I practiced what I could and applied it to freelancing and entrepreneurial work. Sadly, after a while, I lost my momentum and began to focus on other less important things.

Fast forward to fall 2022. I had just finished an internship, had a good month-long break, and was ready to focus on myself during my time in France. During that semester, I worked out harder than ever before and was beginning to become really happy about where I was physically. This was also the same time where I learned to be completely comfortable being alone and how to say no to things I didn't want to do. I could now focus on what I wanted to do and eliminate the things that didn't matter to me. 


At the end of that semester, I got some big news. My counselor told me that I could graduate early, and after looking into it, I found out I could graduate a whole year early. This changed everything. It meant that I only had one semester to be work-ready, and work-ready for me meant having the habits necessary to be successful.

So, come spring 2023, I have developed a lifestyle that would allow me to achieve my goals. I essentially made a schedule that mirrors a working schedule. I would wake up at 5, work out from 5:30-6:30, go home, and get ready. By 7:45, I am in the library ready to start working. I would do what I could work-wise, relax afterward, and get to bed by 9. All while doing this, I would focus on my goals and remind myself why my work mattered. I live this life now, and I protect my schedule very carefully. I protect it because it allows me to grow, and I am confident that that growth will be the key to my success.

My Story of Growth
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