An Excerpt From WAKE UP: 99%
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Excerpt from WAKE UP: 99%
By Jay Kubassek
I was born and raised in a small religious community in South Western Ontario, Canada. A commune, or compound of sorts, that my grandfather started in the 40’s.
Twenty families shared everything in common, 1,000-acres, cattle, sheep, a few geese, and a huge garden where all of our produce was grown.
I grew up on hand me downs and home made bread, without TV, newspapers, or the Internet, and largely secluded from the outside world. I saw The Goonies for the first time when I was 19 years old and have only vague memories of TV shows like The Smurfs and The Dukes of Hazards. We frequently snuck over to our neighbor Doug “the bachelor’s” on Saturdays to watch TV.
In fact it was on Doug’s smelly couch and ancient TV that I watched the Toronto Blue Jays win the ALCS in 1989. What a moment that was. I have been obsessed with baseball ever since.
As a boy, I wasn’t exactly gifted, or particularly good at much of anything, including sports. I seemed to be a little clumsy, especially in the clutch. I dreamt of becoming a professional baseball player and playing for the Blue Jays. I had to work extra hard, it seemed, to learn how to catch a fly ball or throw accurately to first base.
Essentially home schooled in our commune’s two-room schoolhouse, I have the equivalent of an 8th grade education. I now have a GED proudly displayed on my wall, something that, until recently, I was embarrassed to call my own. And although I practiced the cello for at least 10,000 hours before the age of 19, I did not become a virtuoso. Maybe, in part, because my cello was also a hand-me-down; and made out of plywood.
Rather than reading Harry Potter books and watching Direct TV, I spent my teens wishing to I was born into a normal Canadian family. I spent evening and weekends in choir and church band practice, and developing new agricultural devices to increase our community’s crop yield. For fun, I traveled to agricultural conferences and the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto to check out the latest John Deere farm equipment and watch the livestock shows.
Continuing education wasn’t really an option for us kids on the farm. Especially considering that I chose to become the third generation farmer.
Farming is a way of life, a lifestyle of sorts. You live and breathe farming when you grow up in it. The emotions swings are wild and largely dependant on the weather, or and commodities prices set by the Chicago Board of Trade.
I decided this would be my path and gave it 100%. I committed myself to the trade and was obsessed with every aspect of agronomy and soil science. The art of cultivating the land and sustainable agriculture.
But, one day I woke up scared. The utopian life on the farm was over. I had resisted my better judgment and read a book by Neal Donald Walsh called Conversations With God. I was terrified. What if the whole world was waiting to be conquered, and I’ve squandered the opportunity by being a farmer? What if I could have the same, if not more, success outside of the confines of this box called “the farm”?
It was then that I made the hardest decision of my life. I walked away from the family farm and the trust bestowed on me, forcing my father to sell the equipment and rent out the land. It broke my father’s heart.
After leaving the farm at age 23, I went to work for my brother, driving a tour bus for the rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg on the 2001 puff-puff-pass tour. But that wasn’t my cup of tea, so I quit, moved to Lawrence, Kansas, and worked a $15-an-hour job at Midas Auto Service selling old ladies new brakes and mufflers for their ‘89 Oldsmobiles. I struggled just to survive and make ends meet.
At night, however, I was teaching myself how to trade commodities, and built up a decent account balance of close to $8000. This was going to be my college tuition money. I had always dreamed of going to school one day and getting an MBA, or maybe even a law degree. I resented my lack of education. I thought I would never be wealthy, or even make decent money, because of it.
The week of the Enron and Worldcom scandals, I lost my entire portfolio; I still get statements from Alaron trading to this day. The account balance is 57 cents.
And yet somehow, I’ve managed to succeed in life. I have lifetime earnings of over 10 million dollars to prove it—if you see money as a metric for success, that is.
I consider myself wealthy, as I have lots of friends and I get to do what I want, with whomever I choose, however often I wish. I have a beautiful wife, wonderful healthy children, a beautiful home and lots of love to spare.
I own several successful businesses and have produced several feature films with the like of Spike Lee and Abel Ferara, and I regularly speak before crowds of over 1,000 people, trying to convey my story.
My company Digital Experts Academy now has users in nearly 200 countries around the world and we are successfully helping individuals and small businesses transition from the traditional economy to the digital economy.
You might think my situation is a fluke, an accident. Maybe I got lucky or was in the right place at the right time.
But in my experience as an entrepreneur, I’ve met and become friends with many people a lot like me: average, everyday people who started without money, prospects or education, and who nevertheless managed to live the life they’d imagined.
People raised, like me, on shake-and-bake drumsticks and McDonalds as a treat. People who never got the scholarships, grew up in Salvation Army jeans, and never knew the smell of a new car.
People meant to grow up and struggle to survive, not to inherent a life of comfort and leisure. In other words, I have come to understand a segment of society that doesn’t usually appear in bestselling books about success. The cut-knuckled, scrappy, figure it out and do it yourselfers who can fix just about anything with duct tape and a pair of pliers and are not afraid to try!
Opportunity is not something one deserves or is entitled to. It is seemingly given out randomly to members of society. And yet I am grateful that I didn’t require the cards to be stacked in my favor to find my way. I am grateful that I wasn’t born into a wealthy family, or handed a first-rate education.
As a result, I had to learn everything on my own. I had to figure it out and make the best of what I had. I consider myself an outlier of sorts, but not according to Malcolm Gladwell’s criteria. I am an outlier of the kind you rarely hear about: the ones who succeeded simply because no one ever told them to quit.
In this book, I talk about some tough subjects. I talk about people willing to work harder for bosses than for themselves. I talk about people willing to shovel manure, steamy smelly dung, literally, rather than exert the mental energy required to change the pattern of their thoughts.
I talk about the lack of self-discipline, integrity, and old-fashioned work ethic in the world today. In this digital age of point-and-click, plug-and-play, fewer and fewer people are willing to earn their way. Instead, they’re looking for a lucky break, an opportunity to get their idea “funded,” without actually doing the work.
My message is not a mass-market message. Unlike popular books of the so-called self-help genre, it does not allow you to take comfort in the fact that successful people are purely the product of circumstance or ritualistic methodologies.
What 99% does do is stress the difference between knowing and doing. It shows you the difference between earning money and making money. It will teach you that every action you take is your choice and a result of the choices you have already made.
This book proves that virtually every human being was born with 99% of what is required for success in life, however you define it.
Being honest and having strong moral principles; being complete in everything; being unified and sound in character—these are not merely desirable traits. These are the avenues through which one achieves both financial and personal success.
Most people would rather spend their time and money talking and discussing, rather than doing and learning. But I pose this question to you: Are you able to commit to a new course of action and hold yourself accountable while 99 percent of the others give up?
Are you willing to put in the same effort for yourself that you do for a boss? Rather than continue to slave away at a job, are you capable of reappraising your life and reshaping the way you think?
Do you have the courage to look inside yourself and discover what motivates you, to find and cultivate the spark that exists inside all of us?
Are you willing to consider that YOU already have 99% of what it takes for you to be a sensational success story, in this lifetime?
If so, 99% is for you…
But, like water at 211 degrees, 99% is not enough to guarantee success. You are still one degree short. In order to boil water you require 212 degrees. With boiling water comes steam, and with steam you can heat a city and power a locomotive.
Are you ready to generate some steam? C’mon, lets do this together.