I was halfway through my master’s degree year teaching full time in San Francisco. My girlfriend (now my wife) was in Thailand where I had spent most of the past two years living. The email from U.S. Immigration came in for the second time - “Denied”.
A sinking feeling put me face down on the floor.
I was making $20,000/year teaching in the world’s most expensive city. 90% of my income was spent on rent, I was skipping a meal most days and never ate out. I rode my bike everywhere so that I could spend the extra money on applying for my girlfriend’s visa. I was relying on birthday money from my grandma and credit card points to visit home for Thanksgiving.
It became clear to me that getting straight As in a master's program wasn’t enough to bring my girlfriend to my country - even just to visit my family. Having a full-time job couldn’t make it happen.
Nothing short of committing to marriage and moving back to Thailand would get it done. So… that’s exactly what I set my mind to.
As winter break was setting in and the rain was pouring, I was listening to Rich Dad Poor Dad everywhere I went. I learned that the story line of getting a good education, a good job, to retire early and retire well was basically a myth at this point. I learned how employees are taxed at the highest rates before they get to take any of that money home or write it off as a business can.
I saw how layoffs affect those who are older and more expensive for a company. How being indebted to higher education makes one a slave to their job to barely be above board for the next 25 years. How when you have kids and you have more demanding responsibilities at work you’re never getting ahead financially.
And you’re certainly never learning how to put your money to work to make more money. It felt true to me.
I was living in a city with young people so hungry for upward mobility that they had basically foregone taking the period after college I did to find myself and my purpose. Many “successful adults” around me seemed lost and aimless in their pursuits. Weekend invitations often involved alcohol, spending too much money, and status signaling. I’ve never been very interested in those games.
Since I decided to marry my wife in Thailand, forego the job offer I ended up receiving, and move back to Thailand I was on a completely different wavelength than other young adults. I couldn’t afford to coast into adulthood. I made it my business to study adulthood. I thought about what makes for a successful adulthood on my terms?
My answers: time with my wife and kids, world travel and cultural immersion, enough passive income to never need to work for money again, and the complete ability to commit to my ultimate vision and legacy in the world.
Today I want to create the world’s largest purpose-driven mastermind, community center, international retreat center, and purposeful leader summit. It will be a healing center and a place for transformation for those seeking peace, power, and purpose.