"I read Tyler's blog about taking risks and all I have to say is:
LOL. Thanks for writing a biography about my life... goodbye
investment banking... goodbye search and rescue diving... goodbye
3 countries... goodbye MTV & Jerry Bruckheimer... I'm working
with RSD and UCLA now... solely passionately and intrinsically
motivated... Sometimes I miss the money, but I had to figure out
the hard way that the way I was doing it wasn't worth it.
Internally it was like slowly dying when I wasn't doing what I
knew I needed to do. You have to follow your path.
I look back now at all my many life experiences, hard and good,
as awesome social and cultural experiences that I LEARNED from.
Trust me, some lessons really hurt. But, they all gave me depth
and wisdom beyond belief. I feel I can relate to anybody on
almost any level because I've been there in one way or another.
From hanging and fighting in the streets of Baltimore, to corn
husking in the fields of Iowa, to picking my neighbor's grape
harvest in Italy, to riding camels in the sands of Oman, to red
carpet events and the social elite of Hollywood. They've all
expanded my reality to the point where nothing surprises or
intimidates me. I've made all this my reality.
Here's just a few other crazy things that are possible in
I'm also a decorated war veteran, been recognized on national TV,
was adopted Chinese (I'm white), dated Playboy, Hawaiian Tropic,
and Budweiser models, have been kidnapped, worked for the US
Embassy in Central America actively fighting Colombian drug
traffickers, modeled, was a top ranked wrestler, helped write
porn scripts for a friend in Budapest, started businesses, saved
a man's life, am an expert pistol shot, cliff dove in 2
countries, managed over $300 million dollars, played stickball in
brooklyn, hang glided over Brazilian rain forest, written my own
TV show, graduated from a #1 ranked program in the world, hiked
mountains, dealt drugs (long time ago), ATTACKED BY A GANG OF
WILD MONKEYS, lived on a boat for 3 years, partied for Carnival
in Rio, Venice, and New Orleans, been arrested and put in jail (a
couple times), been to close to 30 countries (lived in 4), am
fluent in renaissance art, broken too many bones to remember,
speak parts of 5 languages, was actually kicked out of a country
once and made to fly home (not my fault), was almost a father and
engaged, ran a black market, had sex in 2000 year old plazas
where saints were once burned on a stake, thoroughly well read in
classical and contemporary literature, met, partied and am
friends with famous Spanish bullfighters, been questioned by the
CIA, taught at a renowned university, stowed away on a train once
out of desperation, camped in complete wilderness, traveled to
East Germany while under Soviet Union's control (it was as crazy
and depressing as the movies portray it), ran with the bulls in
Pamplona, been part of a pit crew in the mexican Baja 500 twice,
been courted by the Russian Mafia (long story), won ski races in
the Alps, promoted parties, and also kicked the tree of life. I
just turned 30 and have been completely independent since I was
I guess the only thing left is to own a monkey, be in a heist,
and get shot. Seriously, these are my goals for the next 5-20
years... climb a mountain, write a couple books, start a
philanthropic organization, motorcycle around S. America, go on
safari, visit the north pole (before it's gone), buy a home in
Europe and in the great state of Texas, get married and have
kids, and finally put an end to the mystery and hunt down the
Loch Ness monster.
Anything's possible when you're living your own legend. What's
Question: You can "shed society's standards and live the way you
want to", but who's gonna pay for all that? lol Who's going to
give you food, water, shelter? Welfare? Rich daddy?
I don't know. I never really focused on that. I just focused on
the experiences I wanted and let the rest take care of itself
(and I voluntarily got off the parents payroll when I was 18).
Now, that being said, I've had a lot of help from my sister,
friends and strangers that would always seem to help when I
needed a pick-me-up the most. It's funny, but people always say
I've got amazing karma because I've gotten into some real jams
and they ALWAYS work out great. Granted, I've never been
destitute and I've always worked hard. I've worked REALLY hard.
It didn't matter what job I did I always did it the best of my
capability--which I normally mastered.
Here are some examples of some of my thought processes and how I
got into things. I was in the Navy and NOBODY could believe it. I
am as independent as it gets and people knew that and couldn't
believe it. I did it on purpose. It was a challenge and not what
people expected of me at all. Out of respect, I also didn't want
my father supporting me for the next 5-6 years, which he would
have gladly done (there's more meritocracy stuff I believed in
too). I joined the Navy and I never really liked the ocean or
boats. My family's legacy was always Army. The ocean, in its
infinite power, kinda scared me. Yet, I became a diver. I would
never do anything normal or average because it doesn't challenge
me. Later I became an investment banker. I've always sucked at
math and disliked it with a passion, but it was a challenge and
wanted to master the art of finance and numbers. I did it, and
did it at a top firm. I willed myself into these things and
mastered them. It wasn't easy at all, but I gained immeasurable
skills and ability. I guess from living in Italy and studying the
Renaissance, I always admired the Renaissance men that did and
mastered many crafts. On top of it, I hate being told I can't do
something or that it's not possible.
There were things that I accomplished that opened opportunities
that I never would have had otherwise ie. graduating from a top
school, search and rescue in the Navy, etc. Life builds and
connects itself in weird ways--there's no way I coulda planned at
20 for the way my life has gone. I always just stuck to a certain
set of principles.
As for making things work out financially, I've never been more
than 3 grand in debt. I've always lived pretty comfortably and in
some VERY pimp pads. I only buy top quality stuff, but I only buy
things that I need and I take care of them. I am very much a
minimalist. I've been forced that way, because I never know where
my next opportunity may take me. I am always prepared to leave,
if need be, at a moments notice.
When I was in banking in Texas was when things probably got
toughest for me. Near the end, when I was REALLY about to make a
lot of money, I left. I was running MILLIONS of dollars in
investments, but I didn't like where I was at. At the time I had
a house and a ton of furniture.
I left it all in a matter of about a month and moved to LA after
going to the Rose Bowl Game (Texas vs. Michigan). While I was
visiting, I was offered a job at MTV making comparably nothing
and took it. All I brought with me were two loads of things that
I could pack in my Jeep. I had recruiters banging on my door with
lucrative job offers that I turned down. I rarely even listened
to them. My mind was made and my heart wasn't in it anymore. It
took a ton of courage, but I knew I was done with that chapter in
I can say or write all I want-I've told people similar things my
entire life-but you will only understand this if you are bold
enough to do things for yourself. Do what interests, excites,
challenges, and scares you, always. Only you can figure this
stuff out for yourself.
Btw, I hardly plan for the short term and always go with my gut.
Last October, after spending 3 weeks with my near-death
grandmother in a hospital in Iowa, on a moments notice I flew
back to LA and 4 days later I was in Europe for 3 weeks. I did it
based on a feeling that I had that I just had to do it. I loved
every moment (except how cold London was) and looking back I see
how important it was for me to do that at that time. It changed
my life and I learned some really important lessons--it all
happened because I followed my gut.
The answers are always within you and always have. Yes, there is
a point when I've asked myself, am I just a jack-of-all-trades
and a master-of-none. The answer I found was absolutely not.
Everything I did was for a PURPOSE--I MASTERED many trades and
got what I wanted to get out of them and moved on. This sometimes
took YEARS and at times of real diffuculty, where people normally
fold or become assimilated to 'average' thinking, I would almost
forget my purpose.
It was hard. I've left jobs and women the same way. Fortunately,
my truth has always righted my way. It's a blessing and also a
curse. I am not built to not live truthfully with myself. I
cannot. I WILL die and I feel it so strongly in every part of my
mind and instinct. Dying is a strong word, but I literally felt
physical pain it was so strong. I had to move on after I wasn't
challenged and the lessons I needed were learned.
How can I freely admit this to you and myself? I have no fear
because I *know* beyond a doubt in my mind that my ultimate goal
will bring a greater benefit. It's not just, "Hey man, I'm
following my path. Leave me alone". I HAVE to do this. How else
can someone trade a lucrative investment banking job to make the
pittance I do now.
Tyler and I have both spoken about this. There will be a time
when we will move on from RSD and what we're doing now. That's
because we EVOLVE and we get a higher form of understanding of
OURSELVES. We will undoubtably be doing something along these
lines for when we do move on (experiences like this always leave
imprints on our lives), but it won't be anything quite like what
we're doing now. We can't. No worries, I don't think it will
happen anytime too soon.
My purpose that has taken me here? To help people. There's beauty
in simplicity. In order to do that, I had to know my strengths
and weakness'. I'm a firm believer in leading by example.
Everybody hates a poseur. That was a core reason for all the
things I've done in my life. I always put myself out there and
pushed myself. I broke rules and did what scared me. I learned
that the times I listened to society, family, or friends it
consistently only hurt me. You have to think for yourself.
Because of what I've learned and experienced, I am a vastly
different person and better man than I was when I was 20 or 25 or
29 for that matter-- mostly for the better .
As I said before, I believe EVERY question you have in life can
be answered in yourself. You just need the courage and strength
to follow what you already know. That being said, time is sooo
precious in my life. Time flies by so fast. I would, and always
have, set daily and long-term goals. For some reason, it brings a
clarity to your smaller purposes. It gives you permission and
reason to do different things.
Second. Find inspiration and recognize greatness in man. I find
inspiration in my family. My grandfather is one of the most
amazing people I have ever known. Truly an idol. He came from a
small farming town, super poor as 1 of 16 children (many of them
died before the age of 18), he frequently slept in ditches, never
graduated high school because he had to work, went on to fight in
WWII on the small South Pacific Island of Tonga, hitch hiked all
around the country from town to town (Jack Kerouc style)
including old school California, was a gold prospector in
Montana, was a great mechanic, built his own house, sang country
western music across the West, and experienced tons of amazing
adventures. Later, he got his GED, taught himself college
algebra, trig, and calculus and climbed to the top of an american
The best part is that EVERYBODY loves my grandfather. I saw this
growing up, it particularly resonated with me when I lived in
Italy, he would, and still does at 89yrs, just talk to everybody.
People are infected by his amazing stories and friendliness
(definitely a Casanova from the stories). Additionally, one of
the things I'm most proud was that he grew up when America was
highly segregated and my grandfather was intelligent to know
people as people. He admits to the times when people just said
things like, "that's mightly white of you". He got it and changed
with the times when people weren't so easy to let go of the past.
My other inspiration would be my adoptive father. He grew up dirt
poor and the son of immigrants (in the 30's all of his siblings
born before him had to be left in their country and were sent
money). Growing up he and my grandparents were continuosly hated
just for theirs race and threatened by the US government to be
deported (he was born in the US!). Growing up in the streets of
Brooklyn, dirt poor (he had rickets from malnutrition), in the
back of his parents single room laundry cleaning store he studied
on a 3 legged desk that my grandfather pulled out of a dumpster.
He went on to go to get a scholarship to one of the best high
schools in the country and from there to Columbia University and
on to medical school (he was rejected from Harvard Medical school
because at the time Harvard had an allotment of only one person
from his race per year--to this day he still knows the guy who
was accepted over him). He just retired as one of the most
respected, most senior, and most decorated officers in the
military. Yes, he also served in Vietnam.
So, in respects to my life, there's very little that I could ever
do that would compare to either what my father or grandfather
achieved. No matter how hard life can possibly get, it would be
NOTHING compared to what they endured. There's no excuses for not
succeeding; they did. I respected my father and what he did so
much that I left at the age of 18 to stake my claim and do it ALL
ON MY OWN. No excuses. This is where I come from and, yes, I grew
up always believing in meritocracy.
Have balls and just do what you know you need to do.