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“You are living my dream” is a common response I get when I meet people from around the world who have either read my blog or heard me speak. I never really know how to respond. I am all at once humbled but frankly, I feel awkward. While I am thankful for the compliment, I feel sad for the person who is not living his dreams and instead lives vicariously through me or others. Most people I meet have accepted their lives as they are and have given up hope of the extraordinary.
I come from humbling beginnings and moreover, humbling genetics. I am not special. I am neither Spartan nor of superior intellect. In fact, like the majority of the people in the world, by definition, I am average. Perhaps slightly below average. I routinely received “Fs” in junior high school. I was arrested twice in my teens. I lost all of my college financial aid after earning a 1.6 GPA. I was nearly booted out of Army basic training, and I was fired from my first career job. I never really dated. I am short. I eventually became bald. Despite all this, I continue to experience the extraordinary in my life. If I, being average, can live these extraordinary tales, then surely anyone can.
This internal dilemma forced me into introspection, searching for an answer as to why I have these extraordinary tales to share while so many people, especially those with superior intellect and resources, do not. What is the magic sauce? Is there a formula? I searched for years, reading books and listening to others about their ideas, their magic potion, even their snake oil. While many theories abound, none hit home for me or resonated with my audiences. I came to the conclusion there really is no formula for success. For some it can be zeitgeist, and for some it’s the silver spoon. But for everyday people like you and me, there is no magic pill or cookie cutter approach that will suddenly jettison us to the top of the world.
The youngest of seven, born of holocaust survivors, I had an auspicious upbringing in Bavaria. Raised with a wooden spoon and not much else, I knew fate did not rule my future, but I could shape my journey. Despite humble beginnings and average qualities, I have experienced life in a way never imagined, except in my heart. These are true stories collected over my first fifty years. These stories are written to inspire you to change and to believe, whatever your present circumstances, that extraordinary tales await. Even for those like me. The average.
If you are looking for the beginnings of your own road map to living your own extraordinary tales, read on.
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