Many people spend decades of their lives at jobs they don’t enjoy. The daily grind is often unfulfilling, and people aspire to be more but are often trapped in a monotonous routine.
And the pressure to be successful is even more pronounced among younger generations today.
Millennials and Gen Z do not share the same affinity for the 9-to-5 lifestyle that their parents adopted, and it increasingly shows. Recent studies continually reveal that young professionals today are subject to high levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. Many times, it stems directly from the discomfort with one’s social status, professional monotony, or pressure to be like the high school classmate that made it big starting a tech company.
A few years ago, that was Steven Dux. Dux was facing some adverse times on the cusp of returning home to China — with a distinct fear of disappointing his father agitating his mind.
Dux’s story is one that resonates with the young professional or the fresh college graduate today. It exposes that when your back is to the wall, sometimes the most satisfying achievements flow from that moment.
Skin In The Game
During his graveyard shift in college that entailed letting classmates into dorms, Steven Dux was pondering how his girlfriend had just left him, fomenting a sense of loneliness away from his home in China.
He had moved to the US at a teenager under the auspices of his successful father that had high expectations for Steven.
With a yearning to escape the strict “fall in line” experience that was cultivated in his upbringing, Steven accepted his dad’s offer and landed in an American high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Steven stayed with a friend of his mother while he overcame the language gap and the surreal experience of a high school education in a foreign country.
His life, on the whole, appeared to change for the better as new friends and a welcoming host family eased his anxiety of being so far from home.
Following his graduation from Roger Bacon High School, Steven’s goal shifted to the full pursuit of the American dream — an engineering degree at the University of Cincinnati. But Steven quickly realized that his American dream was much more elusive than he had anticipated.
And so he sat there at his graveyard shift, the complacency and frustration that had propelled him to America in the first place returned. Between class, relentless studying, the graveyard shift, and his long-time girlfriend leaving him, Steven was disillusioned.
With his self-perception of “not being good enough” for school, his girlfriend, or his father’s standards, Steven’s frustration and anger returned in force. Steven was even becoming disillusioned with his studies, locked in the high-pressure chamber of collegiate expectations.
He sought an outlet for his frustration and craved greater success than an engineer.
Steven pushed himself to the limits. He went to the gym religiously, read voraciously, and began studying financial markets. If he didn’t make it big soon, he knew he would have to return home to his father empty-handed, which was a notion he refused to accept.
He had $27k stashed for the year’s college tuition, and channeling some of his mother’s resilience, with time fading away, he decided to make a striking decision — trade it all in the stock market. Ask Steven, and he’ll tell you that his decision would have made his father furious.
Back against the wall, Steven’s skin was in the game, and his success hinged on his own volition — this was his opportunity or his demise.
From The Brink to The Dream
Making the kind of decisions that Steven made by diving (with everything he had) into the volatile world of equities is not for the faint-hearted. It typically requires a pivotal moment in life where everything seems bleak, and clarity of mind ensues.
The results don’t always end up as successful as Steven’s case, who turned that $27k into $1.3 million over the next year, but it is the scars of both those who fail and succeed that inspire others.
Steven, humbled by going from grave shift door clerk to a millionaire, took solace in his actions that he credits to his mother’s fortitude — who also doubled as his most ardent supporter.
In China, Steven’s foray into the stock market would’ve been frowned upon, as he says it had a negative perception at the time among parents. Things were different in America, where ambition and fortitude are entrepreneurial dogma. Steven’s $27k mostly poured into small and mid cap stocks, which he turned into $900k in nine months, $1.3 million in a year, and $4.3 million in a couple of years.
But there was still something missing in his life.
Believing that money would’ve shed his self-doubt, that early frustration still simmered. The stress of his lifestyle striving for the American dream made him ill, where he spent time recuperating from a stomach ulcer before deciding to travel, relax, and change his perspective.
Steven decided to share his journey, not for bravado, but to help people avoid the same mistakes along the way that had saddled his success with uncertainty. And so he launched his trading program, becoming a teacher to the people who have the same drive as he did behind that grave shift desk.
With hundreds of students in tow, Steven has grown his program significantly over the last several years, empowering people to achieve the freedom that he now enjoys, and never takes for granted.
A teacher to throngs of loyal students (who strongly vouch for him), Steven has shed that nascent frustration exhibited in his early life in China. He has nothing left to prove, his father is proud, and the void is gone.
Pushed to the brink, Steven changed his life and is living the American dream.