When I was 16 I had my first of two truly life altering experiences. I was sitting in my cell in Juvenile Hall, awaiting sentencing on whether they would charge me for attempted murder as a minor or as an adult when I heard it for the first time.
From the cell next to me I heard Bishop TD Jakes talking about it. At first I brushed it off — I wanted to stay in the hate and I wanted to wallow in the rage I had within me. Everyday the cell next to me would have the Bishop’s show on and every day I tuned it out but there was something inside of me that I felt begin to question and shift.
I remember the day like it was yesterday, I was standing in the courtroom, awaiting final judgment on whether or not I was going to be tried as an adult with attempted homicide. The judge looked at me and asked if I had any final words. I immediately told the judge that I was sorry for my actions and that I truly wanted to change. The judge, shocked, at the first time seeing remorse from me, granted me release but only if I was rehabilitated and found a mentor. The mentor I found taught me valuable knowledge that would help me become massively successful.
My first life altering moment happened just before I was hailed to court for the final decision of what would happen to my life. I had the realization that this life — where I was heading — was not what I wanted for my life. I became determined to turn my life around.
The second life altering experience I had happened in 2015 when I was 28. Sitting in my home office, arguing with my lawyer about an employee who had cost me litigation, I suddenly felt my entire right side go numb. I immediately called my associate upstairs to help me.
After the ambulance came and I was rushed off to the hospital I found out that I had suffered a TIA, a pre-stroke. Having built several 7-figure businesses, I was driven to make more and more money ever day. I wasn’t money hungry, but money had become my identity.
I realized as I was lying in that stretcher, being taken down to the ambulance, that I if I had died that very day I would have only left behind money. A new idea began to form within me; I wanted to leave a legacy. I wanted to change lives forever.
My second life altering experience made me realize that life is too short to live it just for yourself only. I tithed and I donated to charity, but I didn’t pour into anymore to teach them how to become successful. We are created for so much more than just keeping the wealth of knowledge we have acquired to ourselves.
I don’t want you to get to the point of nearly life in prison or on your death bed before you understand the one key take away that I got from both of my experiences. That one key is: we are all ultimately driven by pain.
It is true that when you break it down, we are driven by pain or pleasure, however the absence of pleasure is pain. When you set goals that are attached to a consequence or a reward we are more likely to achieve it than if we hadn’t.
Laying in my cell was painful, thinking that I might spend my entire life locked away scared me. Even though at the time I didn’t have huge dreams for myself, my goal was not to spend my life on a cold and uncomfortable jail cell cot. Laying in that hospital room, being told that I could have died if the ambulance hadn’t been called when it was, I was disappointed. I wanted to make an impact; money is gone when it’s spent, what you teach someone never dies.
If you want to be someone great and accomplish great things, you have to identify what you are truly afraid of. You have to identify what would cause you the deepest amount of pain. Then and only then will your path to greatness begin to be uncovered. Like a trail covered in leaves, you need to first step out of your house to find the path and then allow the wind to blow the leaves and show you the way. You need to get out of your comfort zone and face the truth, then allow the truth to show you your path to greatness.
Originally published at medium.com