What can I say, James Sowers is a legend – the epidemy of excellence! His story of success is filled with credits of luck in the creation of living his dream come true life. Yet, the truth be told, his life tapestry is made up of threads rooted in intention and effort with consistent practice of energetic rebounding few can match, upheld with his rising power of master student and determined endurance. Today, James is an angel investor who currently has 65+ investments,
a mentor for many and sought-after hero in the world of finance. And his personal story of how to #breakfree and triumph over trauma makes him even more of a hero of hope, authenticity and iconic success.
He entered this world abandoned, without any of the advantages of most newborns. James shares. “I’m adopted from South Korea. And I was in an orphanage and the first cohort (who) came over in 1974 with Catholic Charities.” A couple from Baltimore, Maryland paid only $300.00 for him, as he explains, “I think it was for the flights, and also, for the immunizations.” James adds, “I was really malnourished…there just to survive. It’s kind of like a miracle” Yet he adds, “I think, instinctively, you learn to be a failure and you just don’t know it.” Yet, James turned his failure to thrive as he rebounded to good physical health and didn’t stop there.
James’ challenge of belonging continued, as he shared “I never really noticed until I got to kindergarten (that) I was different, believe it or not because you know, your parents don’t say… you’re Asian, you’re different. But um, so even though you look in the mirror, you might be different. For some reason, you don’t realize it. And then, when I got the school kids will point out that you were different.” Adding, “But you know, I always wanted to be like everyone else to fit
in. I always said, ‘Oh, I wish… I was Caucasian’ going to school and finding out you don’t look like everybody else.”
Faced with being an anomaly to conformity, closet racism and discrimination he searched for insight, mental stamina, understanding and appreciation for diversity. This hunger to learn resulted in his appetite to think like heroes, reminiscing, “And I remember going to the library… I used to read about Jackie
Robinson, Babe Ruth Ty Cobb, Ted Williams.
He further stated, “I think too many people in life conform. That’s one thing I learned from the books.” He emphasizes, “I remember reading Warren Buffett saying that his sister was just as smart as him, but she was put he called it the funhouse mirror. And now that he’s, you know, so successful, he says she could have been just as successful but back then she wasn’t given the chance the way
that women are now.”
The dichotomy of his life continued with the social-economic status of his parents and his abundant life. James notes, “It was kind of interesting, too, because my parents, they were poor, and they kind of had the poor mentality, for whatever reason, I don’t know if it’s in your genetics or what it is in my head. I was like, I don’t believe that. I believe that you can become something you could achieve. You just get the right way of thinking and learn how to find your way.” James
continued to offer a list of other heroes, like Shelby Davis, Ben Graham and Jess Livermore, who assisted in his formation so of who he is.
He continues his enthusiasm sharing, “I found books about people like the Rockefellers and the Carnegie’s (who)also learned that in life, everybody has like, a hard time. It’s not like one big upslope to the top, adding, “…and thought, I don’t know how to do that.”
“So, sounds like everybody’s life is full of up and down…I learned about odds and the probability of success that eventually something good is going to go your way, as long as you keep on trucking is beautiful.”
Following his mentors lead, James too, stepped into the finance world. He went back to the roots, adding, “When I was a kid, I was a little hustler, I would find pennies on the ground, and I would save them up and I would buy something and then sell it you know for a little bit more.
Eventually, I stumbled on the swimsuit card. It’s kind of funny. (they sold for) five cents a pack. So, I’d buy a pack, had 12 cards in the pack, and I would sell the cards for anywhere between 25 cents to $1 and whatever other kids would pay.
And then at the flea market…I got to be known by the older people… (as) a little hustler.” Yet tragedy hit again, as James shares how his father passed away from cancer when he was approximately 15 years old. James notes, “they say we can’t pick our families, you know, but we can pick how we behave in our families. “ It’s not just reading which James does a lot but it’s his pulling out those golden
nuggets and putting them to use that’s behind his rebounding stamina and rising against all odds. James shares, “I got to college, I opened up a brokerage account.
And I got really lucky because there was a company called Hansen natural. And I had invested in that and they became monster beverage…I accumulated approximately around 40 some thousand dollars.” Yet he clarifies. “… if you put in the work and keep them going, just by sheer probability, you’re bound to have some type of luck. I did it, it’s what you do with that luck, I guess that makes or
breaks you going further.”
One of the golden nuggets that James carried forward was to prepare for the peaks and valleys that comes with life period. And he learned how to manage the ups and downs.
Again, James credits the heroes he emanated, re-emphasizing, “I’ve noticed a pattern of all the successful people, they had ups and downs like even all the little tycoons. They had times like Henry Ford…he failed like millions of times and then he finally got it right… so obviously these things happen in the most successful people in the history of the world so I think that it just kind of got my head
not…that anybody could become them someday.”
James’ notes another hero’s analogy to this, adding, “Steve Jobs talks about connecting the dots in your life, all the things from backwards years later, something might come forward. And it, kind of connects the dots.” More dots play into the rebounding stamina James exhibits, which include a car accident in 2012, sharing, “I had lost weight down to 106 pounds. I still have you know, stuff. But, you know, I keep on going on and even during that time.”
“I have always been a real curious person and tried to learn so I think there’s been a childhood wonder…I became such a hard worker because it’s all the grief…I remember at the Mayo Clinic in the arm pain rehabilitation, they talked about distraction…distracts you from all the things that have happened in the past.”
James is an example of someone who is not to be deterred. What he calls distraction, I hear curiosity. And I think curiosity manifests our creative imagination that empowers us to move forward and problem solve. And the balance of the two seem to be the magic behind James’ success in dark times.
As tragedy to triumph presented in 2013. James goes on, “I had discovered the Bitcoin and I started participating in Initial Coin Offerings in 2016. The returns on those are ridiculous.” James’ career of investing in multiple startups began, adding “So that that’s kind of how I stumbled into different things… I eventually became a mentor.”
As James talks, I can hear the mechanisms that ring strategy, walking the steps of root, rebound and rise. This is not just happening, as he puts in the work, joyously! I have to wonder if the work combined with the joy fuels him with the tenacity to rise above the challenges of unresolved grief from multiple abandonments and losses, trials of searching for an identity and left to manage the ups and downs by his own will and desire. With his gained wisdom, James shares, “And like you say, it was a hard time, I think people need to find what
they’re passionate about and what they’re good at and try to go in that direction.
Great, you know, things get hard, you can keep on going. So that again, when things get tough, if people are doing what they love to do, they can keep on going.”
James came with no identity, yet he filled his blank slate with the wisdom of the masters whom he sat at the feet of via their life stories. “But I remember going back to reading all those things about the different successful people…and I think I just kind of identified (with) sports to have the underdog teams that make the upset. I started identifying with that,” stating the question he asks himself, “how do you handle those tough times?” as James notes that tough times just happen and rehearses, “I keep on fighting, I’m going to come out to the other side and every time it’s like, I remember hearing Suze Orman saying that her grandfather said you like you have peaks and valleys.”
These lifetime experiences no doubt opened his mind to embracing his power. James credits one more hero to his success, Tony Robbins, whose insight into the subconscious and where our unlimited personal power resides. James, then made the choice to integrate these lessons to his own Be-ing. This counsel is extended to those he mentors, as James shares, “Eventually if you do the hard work, something good is going to happen to you. I think I remember
reading about what Willie May saying something about ‘good things come to those who wait,’” noting how Willie May started out his baseball career as a bat
boy, patiently persisted as he never lost his power nor sight of coach’s vision of him. And Willie Mays became one of the greatest baseball players. James’ life story is an epidemy of living an authentic life as he advocates for all to courageously and proactively create your identity and BE your Ideal Self. As a step in living what he preaches, James offers his own quote, “but maybe I heard as a
child on TV show I said, ‘talent is a target no one else can hit, genius is a target no one else can see.’
James shows us how to continue to grow and manifest the things that we’ve called miracles that he has turned into his ordinary life. This extraordinary trek is yet another life story of triumph over trauma. Thank you, James for giving us an inspirational example to following in own vision to rise!