I certainly did, too.
But then I lived through some extremely hard times. The sort of times people don’t make it to the other side of. Along the way I met some interesting people who gave me a different perspective.
Use this story to level up your life and achieve extraordinary results.
The perfect example of hungry, broke, and dateless
I remember his unshaven face.
Underneath his beard I imagined a different man. The untidy beard full of grey tips was his camouflage from the world.
He was always in-between jobs. The man could never catch a break. He wore what can only be described as builder boots with metal caps. The chequered shirt made him into a lumberjack wherever he went.
His travels took him all over Australia. The only job he could get was as a traveling salesman. The wife left him and took his two kids. They were still fighting over custody.
It felt like he’d given up. He called himself a ‘deadbeat dad.”
Some nights he stayed in a motel. Other nights he slept in his small, white Mitsubishi car. After a while I think he got used to the car. Almost as if he preferred sleeping in it instead of on a soft mattress with a luxurious duck feather stuffed doona.
I don’t judge his choice. He was in a difficult position.
At company events he tried to pick up girls to replace the wife he lost due to his bankruptcy. The ladies weren’t interested.
They thought he was going nowhere. After all, they could just as easily have had a cleanly shaven man with a boat in his backyard.
Most people saw him as a loser.
He blended in with the crowd. You’d have easily missed him.
I knew his secret…
Underneath all of his struggles was an incredible human being.
Before all the tragedy, he’d been quite successful in his former life. He was a natural at business. Even more so, people who got to know him really took a liking to him.
His secret was a huge amount of empathy and his ability to listen quietly to someone for an ungodly amount of time.
The empathy came from the fact he went hungry so often, lost all his money many times, and had a broken heart. He missed his wife — he still loved her even though he could never get her and his two kids back again.
The quietness came from all the adversity. See, he spent a lot of time reflecting on all he’d done — or not done — in his life.
He got used to being alone and sitting in the quiet of the early morning. One of his favorite things to do was wake up at 4 am before the rest of the world and start his day.
The stillness was a drug. The early morning birds were the soundtrack to his quiet life punctuated by more tragedy than most can endure.
All of this made him one hell of a salesman.
When he got to build a relationship with a new customer the quietness and empathy he displayed put him in a different category.
He became memorable because of the struggles that made him different.
A slow crawl back to the top
His daily results didn’t amount to much.
Over the time I observed him I saw him quietly rise up again. It felt like it took a lifetime. Gradually his knack of getting customers to do (almost) anything made him quietly successful in business again.
- He signed unwinnable deals.
- He found deals everyone else had given up on.
- He could relate to the strangest of customers when nobody else could.
The momentum started to go in his favor. He closed a good amount of deals. He got himself a proper place to live instead of sleeping in the car. He eats okay food now.
But he won’t sell that Mitsubishi.
I asked him why…
“It reminds me of where I’ve come from so I never forget.”
The best part is he’s earned enough money to pay for things again. So he supports his kids and is on his way to getting the legal help to see them again. It even looks like his wife is coming around.
A hungry stomach, empty pockets, and a broken heart is the inspiration he used to rebuild his life from rock bottom.
We’ve all endured rock bottom
I relate to this man a lot.
The little success I’ve had online is partly because I’m wired differently. Losing our family home as a kid created a short circuit in my brain.
Walking away from a business helped me see how you can go from zero to hero by the end of the work day.
Getting fired from a social media agency job I loved further humbled me. Fighting various illnesses throughout my life helped me respect my health more. None of this is unique to me.
What’s often missed is we see these negative events as a burden rather than an opportunity.
Desperation can be the exact inspiration you need
It’s hard to be lazy when you’re desperate.
You push that little bit more in a job interview. You try harder to close the sale — because you must. You don’t let people rob you blind in a financial transaction because you can’t.
Desperation is energy. Energy forces you forward even when you don’t feel like it or think life is over.
I’ve learned desperation can easily be reframed into inspiration. The reason to endure is automated for you.
What this all means for you
If you’re hungry and struggle to buy food, or your pockets have no money in them, or you’ve lost the person you love … don’t give up.
This situation may seem like a burden, but it can be reversed. People want to help an underdog. People are inspired by anyone who has faced human challenges like them and is willing to share them.
None of these struggles are unique. We can all relate to one of them.
So use rock bottom experiences as inspiration to go out there and get what you want. Whatever has been lost can be found again.