My Journey – Redefining Myself as I Evolve Through Love, Happiness, and Success
My purpose here is to make it easy for any individual to navigate their own journey through the overwhelming information about mindfulness and personal growth by sharing my experiences in a simplified and objective way. We’ll that’s the intention at least:)
Who Am I
Curious, introverted, self-disciplined, ambitious, seeker, resilient, highly resourceful, high level of awareness, and mindful. That’s how my dearest and closest friends, my inner circle, describe me.
Though I enjoy meditation and I practice it several times a day, constantly and consistently working on being mindful, I am not a monk, don’t plan on being a monk, never spent time with a monk. Since, I will also say that as I evolve so does my meditation and the types of meditations that call me.
Disclaimer: Monks and gurus are fine and all, but I have no intention of ever being either.
I am just a guy that is a seeker and curious, that wants to live a fulfilling life, and lead a life of free will. And if by sharing resources and experiences along the way I can benefit others, even better. It would be incredible, make everything worthwhile, and that’s all I can wish for. Well, that and for each and every day to bring me growth, to see myself evolving, because the journey never ends, it merely unfolds.
The point I am trying to make here is that there is so much information coming at us from all directions, like social media, YouTube, etc., everything becomes overwhelming. We have become high-octane consumers of information while diminishing the quality of our lives and we get sucked into social debilitating or mental prisons. It’s like we aren’t human anymore, just mindless wild beasts.
Putting it on paper
I started writing after a Lucia light session with a good friend of mine in Boston in Mid 2022. It was intended as personal therapy to dump out all the experiences, emotions, and things I have been through in my life. Also, to help make sense of myself and my life, since I am not where I desired or intended to be. It just ebbs and flows and I haven’t found the consistency or that flow I am seeking.
It works as a means to remind myself of the resources and tools that have supported me throughout my life. Essentially, certain parts of my life didn’t unfold the way I thought they would, and I wanted to have a better understanding and feeling about myself.
Ultimately, I see it as a reset and a way to organize my mind as I move forward.
I wasn’t always the person I am today.
Growing up, I always believed I was going to be a professional soccer player. I was going to make lots of money that I would invest in businesses, marry a European supermodel, and retire at 35. I actually wholeheartedly believed that.
I didn’t care much about school and, set as I was on being a professional soccer player, I wouldn’t need the education anyway, so I never studied or worked hard for my grades. It didn’t help that formal education was not something my family valued, as both my parents are elementary school drops outs.
However, when the time came to get recruited by colleges, I found a few things were hurting my chances and really limiting my options of going to a high-quality soccer program and getting a high-quality education:
- my GPA;
- my SAT scores ; and
- the Iceberg that nobody ever talks about, which I will get to.
As it unfolds, I did get recruited and was promised to play at the school that I was okay with going to. Thing is, there were better schools. Schools I really wanted to go to and missed out on because of my grades.
Unfortunately, the school that initially said would recruit me withdrew the scholarship, so I was back to square one. This was quite the predicament since all my friends and teammates knew where they were going, and my only real options were the smaller schools that I wasn’t really interested in because of my baller ego. Community college, where I never thought I would end up, was now my only chance, and my dreams of playing soccer felt like they were falling apart. Going to a community college was quite devastating not only educationally, but soccer-wise and socially as well.
Living the dream
Not happy with any of my current options, I made a DECISION. I would not pursue my studies. Instead, I would go to Turkey to play professionally. DECISION made, it was time to act. Training like a madman, I was determined and certain I was going pro at eighteen. That summer, I was awarded a tryout with a Division I professional team in Europe. I was one of three players selected. I was ecstatic.
If was training hard before, things took on a new level. Rain, snow, thunder, sleet, nothing would keep me from practicing and training. My mindset was on success and nothing less would do.
Again, life threw me a curve ball when things didn’t exactly work out as I planned because, at that time, 1991, Turkey was not what it is today. They kept questioning why I would leave the US and go to Turkey for soccer. And as if I needed an extra challenge, I am a lefty, which is sort of rare in soccer, and I played as a forward. BTW, some of the greatest athletes are lefty, Wayne Gretzky, Maradona, Messi, Phil Mickelson, Babe Ruth, Bill Russell, Rafael Nadal, just to name a few.
On the field, my teammates would purposefully ignore me most of the time and not pass me the ball at practice, which was really frustrating and made it hard to perform. They would also alienate me in the locker room and sit away from me.
And the environment I was in was a far cry from the wealthy suburbs I lived in outside of Washington, DC.
The breaking point happened when a succession of events proved to me it was time to cut my losses. First, during practice one day, my teammates actively tried to break my left leg by snapping my leg or swiping my legs from under me during plays. Then a journalist wrote a false article about me insulting my teammates, the country, and the practice facilities. It is important to state at this point that, though I have Turkish parents, I was born, raised, educated, and had lived all my life in the US with only brief contact with the Turkish language, which meant my Turkish was horrible.
Once again, it was time to make a DECISION, and that was to let go of my dream and come back to the US. I was devastated.
The iceberg in my way
When I came back to the US, I had to enroll back in community college because that was my only option. I realized, at that point, I had to commit to education and regroup asap. But as reality hit me, I found it dark. While all my high school friends were at great colleges, having the full experience, I was at a community college and a failure, since all my dreams had just been crushed. For all intents and purposes, as I looked at it, I wasn’t as smart or as rich as my friends, and that was another blow to my already broken spirit.
I withdrew within myself, isolating from those around me, closing myself off from the world. I didn’t touch or go near a soccer ball and felt like a total failure/loser.
This is when I hit the iceberg head-on. Coming back home and settling into my new routine, I spiraled and went into depression.
Yes, I am one of those people who was watching the Tony Robbins infomercial, back in 1992, promoting his Personal Power II program, and ordered it. And that’s when I started coming back to life. I loved the program because I hadn’t done anything like that in my life, and I was young at nineteen. It inspired me and gave me courage.
Ironically, things slowly but surely started to take shape. I started playing soccer again for the best men’s team in my area, which gave me exposure and got me recruited back to the university that had withdrawn the scholarship offer. Interestingly, this time, they had hired a new coach. I got accepted and went on to play at that school. That soccer program was, and still is, one of the best soccer programs in the NCAA. One thing to note here, I was what they call a walk on, I didn’t get a scholarship because all the scholarships had already been granted to the “All Americans” that the coach recruited and since I was transferring from a community college, I really didn’t have much value.
The coach never really invested in me because I was a walk-on. He preferred to focus on players with scholarships. They were investments. I was not. Thing is, I performed better than some of the kids who were on scholarships. I worked hard and delivered. Yet, he would never give me credit and everyone saw that. To justify my playing time, he would say I was a secret weapon. I fought to prove my worth and with limited playing time and inconsistent playing in the starting eleven, I still rose to be the second leading scorer on the team
The change within
I will never forget, while we were in training camp in my first season, the coach had us go through a program called Winning Ways. This program spoke to me because I was always looking for ways to improve, grow, and maximize my abilities doing something I am passionate about and love. Obviously, since then, that has all changed, but it left a mark in me.
These experiences enabled me to mature very quickly and set a path for my future. My DECISION was to get an education, mentally develop and grow, be knowledgeable, and become an entrepreneur. I slowly started letting go of my dream of becoming a professional soccer player. I still played sometimes, but now I did it for fun. Ironically, nowadays you hear coaches preaching have fun. Funny how we forget that.
I ended up going to prestigious universities and earning an undergraduate degree in International Business and Finance, an MBA in Finance, and a Master’s in Sports Industry Management. Who would have thought I would achieve that?
Growing up, nobody ever considered me studious or smart. I was even mocked or made fun of for my intelligence, and in Junior high school, I was even put in “special programs” for what the teaching class labeled ‘slow learners’ because of my ethic background – that’s another topic I have certainly let go of a long time ago. These programs would often include talk about labeling kids. No one ever thought to ask why my results were less than stellar. No one ever knew I just didn’t really value formal education or cared enough about school to give it a real chance. Which is ironic, though, because I love to learn.
What people don’t know is all the work I have done outside of formal education, and the risks I have taken in life that have taught me valuable lessons.
I consider myself a humble man considering all the amazing experiences I have had. I don’t think I am anywhere near being as successful as I aim to be. In fact, as I write these words’.
I’m not literally broke, of course, but I’m also not where I envision myself being, so I’m working to get to the heights I wish to achieve. “I’m broke” compared to where I want to be.
One of my great mentors told me once there is a difference between being broke and poor. Being broke is a moment in time, but you have all the resources and intelligence to make money. Being poor is about having a poor mind.
At the moment, my resources allow me to utilize my finance background to structure $700+ Million-dollar loans for large companies. I am about to launch my second app while leveraging my network and resources to work with companies that offer life-changing products around health and higher consciousness where I will connect a vetted network of healers/holistic practitioners who are seeking making major changes in their lives.
I have done it all! As in sports, I take the same approach in life, I want to leave everything on the field before I transition. Trading stocks, futures, options, crypto, and other financial securities. Trading physical gold. Starting, buying, selling, or operating many and varied businesses. Buying and selling real estate very profitably. Even Mobile Home Parks—how random. Building an e-Commerce site back in 2000 and selling it in 6 months. Owning a café/catering business. Owning a wine store and a market. Starting two mobile apps. I have done it all.
I even set up a trading fund for one of my closest friends that I had known for more than 20+ years, utilizing all my resources. After everything was set up with my resources and network of profitable traders, he turned to me and told me he didn’t need me anymore. Live and learn, I guess.
It’s been a crazy ride so far, to say the least.
Foundations for the Mindful Man
I have been fortunate enough to meet, connect, and know all kinds of people all over the world that have and continue to teach me so much.
Why did I decide to name this site – “The Mindful Man” – and why am I doing this?
We are living interesting times. The world has changed so much already and will continue to do so. There is a major level of awareness and unraveling happening. I feel there is so much noise and the information out there is so overwhelming one can give up easily before starting on their personal journey. Therefore, I want to help eliminate or shorten one’s learning curve by sharing experiences and tools that have worked for me.
I take a lot of pride in assembling the best tools and resources for myself, friends, family, associates, and my audience. That’s why I would not recommend or talk about anything that I haven’t experienced, used, or benefited from. And just to be clear, what has worked for me may not work for someone else and vice versa because I believe what differentiates people’s lives is the program they run in their heads—their mindset—and timing. It is all about where you are in your life. Additionally, everyone is unique and so is their journey.
The importance of a mind
I have seen it in sports, business, health, spirituality, journey, relationships. Essentially, in any area of your life.
Keeping an open mind and an open heart will open you to opportunities you might miss otherwise. Being open means putting yourself in a position where anything is possible and taking each opportunity for the blessing it presents without closing yourself because it might not be what you first envisioned yourself doing.
I wish, as a teenager, someone had taught me the mental skills to overcome the subconscious challenges. Fears, shame, lack of self-worth, being worthy, and lack of confidence that would creep in when I wanted to play professional soccer or even attend college. Or at least, given me the tools to manage.
Ironically, I was super confident in soccer and had zero confidence in school, but I succeeded in reverse, achieving what everyone thought impossible, my younger self included. My higher education and personal growth continues to teach me every single day!
However, real education is what I attained outside of school, from outstanding teachers and my own experiences. I didn’t put myself in a box and went against the norm where most of my MBA classmates went on to get jobs. I wanted to create businesses and take on the world, and I came out swinging, wanting to live a life of absolute freedom on all levels. I just needed to focus and figure out how I was going to finance my lifestyle.
The answer? Adapting. And I STILL continue to adapt as the journey continues—for it will never end, merely evolve.
Out in the real world
The day you finally achieve your goal and get that hard-fought-for degree, you step outside, ready to conquer the world. And that’s when you realize that all the theory you learned in business school is worthless.
I like to use a sports analogy based on American football. Teams prepare for Sunday’s game by spending the week watching countless hours of video on their opponents. They study their moves, their plays, their strategies. But between the first and the last whistle blowing, everything is real, and anything can happen at any given moment on any given day.
Therefore, what separates winning (happiness) from losing (unhappiness), in my opinion, is your mindset. How you respond and react to things in the present moment.
Society, social media, and technology have programmed us to be, first and foremost, consumers. We define and emulate people by what they have. It is all about having the latest, the most expensive, the best. But not always the best for you. Who we are inside takes a backseat to what we have.
Heart and wallet don’t always go side-by-side, and life has shown me it is more important to be a person living from the heart than a person living from a wallet.
As I am writing this, I am 49 years old and consider myself in the halftime period of my life. I am soaking everything in from the first half to make the necessary adjustments for the second half. Regardless of how old you are, you can break it down into quarters, halves, etc. Whatever works for you wherever you are.
Throughout the first half, I have had the privilege to invest in, meet, attend all kinds of retreats, seminars, personalized coaching, and personal development programs, from all the usual suspects from the personal development field, like Tony Robbins (completed Mastery University), John Demartini (Breakthrough Experience), Joe Dispenza (Advanced Student), Keith Cunningham, Abraham Hicks, Wayne Dyer, and Harv Eker to name a few.
As the journey continues, programs are recycled and adjusted to the reality as it evolves around us, and new different tools emerge, it is my intention to use this platform to share with you the best I experience so that we may propel closer to the best versions of ourselves. And if and when new experiences emerge, I’ll be there front and center to let you know about it.
Let us travel together, and may our experiences be fulfilling throughout our journey wherever it may take us.