Life Goes On...

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on.

-Robert Frost

From the outside, my life right now looks great. I graduated with high honors from one of the world's best universities, completed my banking stint in a top tier group and am now happily working at a "very prestigious" (I hate that term) buyside shop. I'm in a relationship with a girl I'm crazy about, I have good friends, I'm attractive, fit and have the world ahead of me. That's what the outside sees. In reality, I'm a messed up kid feeling my way around in the dark through a world that I feel wholly unprepared for.

I grew up poor. At times, I was very, very hungry. The first few months my family was able to crawl out of poverty, I continued to overeat because I still vividly remembered the hunger pains that often kept me awake at night. I lost one of my siblings and I always blamed myself for what happened. I was sexually abused by a relative. I witnessed things in my native country that still send chills down my spine.

And then there were my parents. Sure, my mom loved me and wanted me to be happy, but unfortunately she had no idea what it meant to be a good parent. My dad was an abusive piece of shit that saw me as his competition, not as his son. We still don't speak very often. On an especially bad day, he had once again taken his rage out on my mom, but to rub in the humiliation he had her wipe her own blood off the walls while he stood and watched. I tried to intervene, but I wasn't much of a match.

I, too, was a bit of a piece of shit. I was aggressive and found myself in fights very often. Though I was smart, I was lazy and didn't do all too well in high school, where homework and not exams governed your academic performance. Needless to say, at 16 I looked like I was destined for a mediocre life at best, but probably likely to end up as another case of wasted potential.

I don't know what changed, but one day I started turning things around and ever since I have kept the momentum going. I had the highest grades in my class from the second half of junior year until I graduated. I did extremely well on standardized exams, crafted a golden essay and lucked my way into a school I in no way deserved to go to. And from there I busted my ass to get to where I am today.

I was independent. I earned my own money and paved my own way. I didn't use my past as an excuse to fail. If I didn't make it, I knew it was nobody's fault but my own. I also knew that nobody would care. If one day I broke down because of all the stress, the world would keep on turning as it always had. It was--and is--my life and my life alone. Nobody cares about the struggles I went through. They care about who I am today and who I'm going to be.

And, I guess, that's my message: take responsibility for who you are, where you are now and where you will be. I don't care that it's a tough economy. I don't care that you go to a shitty school. I don't care that an unlucky string of events rendered you less competitive than your peers. And nobody else does either. We will continue living our lives the same way we always had, but you will suffer the curse of your own laziness and incompetence. It's a tough world out there and if you want to compete in an environment as ruthless as Wall Street, you need to forget about the excuses and find a way to succeed. And if you can't? Well, you weren't cut out for this world anyway. Nobody is going to pamper your bruised ego and give you a job just because you want it. You need to earn it.

Mod Note: Best of WSO, this was originally posted September 2011.

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Comments (114)

Sep 19, 2011

That's some heavy shit.

Sep 19, 2011

Dude, wow. +1

Where are you now?

    • 1
May 13, 2016

Given the personal nature of my post, I think it's best that I keep my current whereabouts to myself. All I can say is that I'm very happy at my job and I'm doubly blessed that my firm's reputation is as strong as it is.

Sep 19, 2011
KeepingitPrivate:

Given the personal nature of my post, I think it's best that I keep my current whereabouts to myself. All I can say is that I'm very happy at my job and I'm doubly blessed that my firm's reputation is as strong as it is.

Oh yeah I assume that this was the case, but I meant like are you in IB, ER, S&T, PE, HF, corp dev, something else entirely?

EDIT: It looks like you answered this in the first paragraph, which I don't think was there before, but maybe I missed it. Anyways, great job!

Jul 17, 2012

.

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Sep 19, 2011

you should write professionally.

Sep 19, 2011

pwnage, good work

Sep 19, 2011

I'd say this: it's not true that people would not care about your past. They will give you a lot of credit and respect if you made it from the bottom. That's one of the few things that someone will never have if they had banking MD dad hooking them up with internships and positions, and paying with their pocket change for Ivy League education.

My story is not THAT extreme - I started at the bottom, but not that deep, and ended up not that high. However, it also was quite a few bold jumps to the top, and that sort of background impresses people. Which from utilitarian point of view is very good. You don't have to prove yourself that much - your life story already did it.

Apr 19, 2016

wrg

Sep 19, 2011

Yikes. I can never relate when reading things like this, they seem almost surreal, but I'm still always impressed... glad to see you 'up here'

Apr 14, 2016

I concur, seem like an abstract world.

Want to Lose the body fat, keep the muscles, I can help.

Sep 19, 2011

Incredible Post & Congrats on Your Success. I can relate to a lot of things and feelings you experienced and can understand some of the conclusions you have reached in your life through my own struggles.

Sep 19, 2011

Man I love this post. Like you said it's a tough world out there, it's up to you to do you best to get what you desire.Nobody is going to give shit so you have to take what you feel you deserve.Personally I grew up believing that nothing will be handed to me so I always expect adversity in anything.I have always had to fight for anything that came to me and I believe that is what life is about. You might not succeed all the time but you have to fight for it.

The dragon dozes off in the spirit which is its dwelling.

Jul 11, 2012

.

Sep 19, 2011

clap. clap. clap. clap. CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP. good on your sir! im tweeting about 3 things you wrote in that piece!

Get it!

Sep 19, 2011

THIS is the American success story.

Sep 19, 2011
UFOinsider:

THIS is the American success story.

Seconded. There are probably a lot of younger kids who could benefit from hearing your turn around story.

Sep 19, 2011
Ben Shalom Bernanke:
UFOinsider:

THIS is the American success story.

Seconded. There are probably a lot of younger kids who could benefit from hearing your turn around story.

Seriously. Some people are born into the world of prep schools and daddy pays for Princeton and hooks up a job. Others fight for it.

Either way........good job

Best Response
May 13, 2016
etherlord:

I'd say this: it's not true that people would not care about your past. They will give you a lot of credit and respect if you made it from the bottom. That's one of the few things that someone will never have if they had banking MD dad hooking them up with internships and positions, and paying with their pocket change for Ivy League education.

My story is not THAT extreme - I started at the bottom, but not that deep, and ended up not that high. However, it also was quite a few bold jumps to the top, and that sort of background impresses people. Which from utilitarian point of view is very good. You don't have to prove yourself that much - your life story already did it.

It certainly helps in interviews and garners a certain level of respect in social circles as well, but I mostly keep my past to myself. Furthermore, when it comes down to the day-to-day, people forget about where you came from; they care a lot more about your performance on the job. I love that about finance--that I can put my past behind me as long as I can perform well.

Also, as International Pymp said, he finds it impossible to relate to my story. Most people would react the same way were I bold enough to share it outside of this anonymous bubble. Sure, they might be impressed and I may get some pitiful look from them, but it's not going to help me gain their trust and friendship. You end up getting close to the people similar to yourself; my real story doesn't help advance that perception.

I'm fine with that though. Sure, my past helped me become who I am today, but it also left a dark mark on my life that I would just as rather forget.

UFOinsider:
Ben Shalom Bernanke:
UFOinsider:

THIS is the American success story.

Seconded. There are probably a lot of younger kids who could benefit from hearing your turn around story.

Seriously. Some people are born into the world of prep schools and daddy pays for Princeton and hooks up a job. Others fight for it.

Either way........good job

I have no resentment toward the "heeled for success" kids as long as they bust their ass on the job and don't act snobby / entitled (equally annoying are the super aggressive kids with chips on their shoulders). If they can maintain the motivation to grind it out at the low levels and then make something of themselves on their own merits, I'm as impressed as I am with someone who made it in the harder way. For one, the higher levels of finance are extremely competitive and two, I'm sure having the world handed to you makes it more difficult to motivate yourself and really give a fuck. Finally, breaking into finance involves a relatively short part of your life: some high school and most of college; it's not hard to do well there given a reasonable level of intelligence and work ethic. I think it's significantly harder to force yourself to keep up a high level of performance day in and day out for years when you feel eternally burned out with no light at the end of the tunnel.

Culcet:

Amazing story. I applaud your success and wish you the best. SB for that.

With that said, I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to take away from this post. I'm not looking for a literary essay or anything, but this post starts off with the "on the outside i'm x, but actually, i'm y", goes into a narrative, and then proceeds to advice.

I had trouble sleeping last night, so I poured myself a drink (which turned into several) and after reading compbanker's post (I've been on the site for some time on my alias), I was inspired to write something of my own. I'm flattered by the positive feedback; I expected some on my experience, but certainly not in regard to the writing. Either way, I appreciate it.

You're right, my post doesn't really elaborate on the message I wanted to progress and while I intended to tie together the beginning paragraph into a meaningful conclusion, it clearly never turned out that way. Before I go on, I'm aware that my opinions are by no means "right;" I'm still very young and have plenty to learn.

Culcet:

How are you a "messed up kid" that's unprepared for the world?

This is some crap from a Disney movie and it sounds silly, but growing up with parents who never told me that they were proud of me or made me feel better when I failed at something made me especially aware of my weaknesses. Additionally, it made it difficult for me to feel comfortable trying anything new because I faced both the internal misery of failure and the ridicule of my parents. I grew up very self-conscious, but not entirely in the traditional sense of the word; I moreso "benefited" by developing a keen understanding of my strengths, weaknesses, drivers, pitfalls, etc.

I understand that I have seemingly countless flaws. I understand that I have my fair share of baggage. I understand that I am no model citizen. At the same time, I made it this far without ever claiming to have everything figured out. Instead, I [somewhat] opened myself up to mentors along the way and wasn't afraid to express my naivety, granted that I always qualified it with an expression of my ability and hunger to excel. What I'm trying to say is: I may look like I know what I'm doing, but it's only because someone else told me what to do. And I listened. I listened even when the advice ran contrary to my own preconceived notions because I was willing to subdue my ego and accept the wisdom of someone more qualified and experienced. They shared candid truths with me because I put them at ease and connected; I acknowledged my inadequate knowledge, reminded them of the ambitious kids they once were, and made them feel good for having been able to help someone they liked. You don't always have to position yourself as the self-sufficient know-it-all: vulnerability is key to growing, establishing meaningful connections and advancing your career.

While I love my job, I now find myself surrounded by people much older and more experienced than me--and yet I'm supposed to catch up in what seems like an impossibly brief period of time. I don't feel ready for it in the least. And, if I fail, I have nothing to fall back on. I also often wonder if I'm ready for all the stress the job will undoubtedly bring, as I still have a Gordian Knot of intrapersonal entanglements I need to sift through.

Culcet:

Why did you decide to go into finance? What made you get your shit together in high school?

I don't recall any sort of epiphany or monumental life event that finally lit a fire under my ass. Instead, it was a slow and gradual shift that eventually gained enough momentum to effect real change. It was about slowly building discipline, figuring out what I wanted for myself and how to get there, and executing on that plan. I had countless missteps and failures along the way, but I made sure that every week, month and year was an improvement on the previous one. It started off with forcing myself to run 5x a week in scorching heat during the summer, to slowly harden the doughy mass I called my willpower. From there, it was about being more organized, chipping away at procrastination, etc. There was never a big push that garnered dramatic results. Instead, it was the accumulation of dozens of small improvements that, over time, made a meaningful impact.

Why finance? Part of it was finding a field that would allow me to pursue my megalomaniacal fantasies of wealth and success and part of it was getting as far away from the life I had as quickly as I could. Now, it's mostly about pursuing the things that make me happy: competition, challenge, learning, etc.

Culcet:

What advice do you have for us other than "take responsibility"? It's a charismatic piece of writing that draws ones attention, but in what way can those currently drowning in the recession take away from your experiences and better their lives?

My point is that you need to forget about the recession. You need to forget about the things you can't change. There's absolutely no use in worrying about a sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the resulting shockwave that has companies enacting hiring restrictions or freezes en masse. It's hard to keep it off your mind because of how desperately you want a job. The whole situation has you feeling like life is unfair: if ONLY you had graduated earlier / later, right? Well, that's how things are and you need to deal with it. Beyond the basics: networking, preparing well for interviews and trying to distinguish yourself as a candidate, you need to learn to open yourself up to constructive criticism and learn how to fix the flaws that may hold you back in interviews. There's a distinct dichotomy in recruiting and it seems that the mediocre and poor interviewers frequently blame external factors for their failure, while those who are now good modified their approach based on queues they picked up from past interviews, networking sessions, etc. Be like the latter.

Furthermore, I know it gets taxing applying and applying and applying and getting absolutely nowhere. You can sulk and let desperation take over, or you can maintain positivity and keep going at it. One of my best friends (I love the guy to death) struggles with girls. Still, he manages to get laid more often than most people I know, simply because he keeps smiling and keeps trying; eventually someone says yes.

    • 6
Sep 19, 2011
KeepingitPrivate:
etherlord:

I'd say this: it's not true that people would not care about your past. They will give you a lot of credit and respect if you made it from the bottom. That's one of the few things that someone will never have if they had banking MD dad hooking them up with internships and positions, and paying with their pocket change for Ivy League education.

My story is not THAT extreme - I started at the bottom, but not that deep, and ended up not that high. However, it also was quite a few bold jumps to the top, and that sort of background impresses people. Which from utilitarian point of view is very good. You don't have to prove yourself that much - your life story already did it.

It certainly helps in interviews and garners a certain level of respect in social circles as well, but I mostly keep my past to myself. Furthermore, when it comes down to the day-to-day, people forget about where you came from; they care a lot more about your performance on the job. I love that about finance--that I can put my past behind me as long as I can perform well.

Also, as International Pymp said, he finds it impossible to relate to my story. Most people would react the same way were I bold enough to share it outside of this anonymous bubble. Sure, they might be impressed and I may get some pitiful look from them, but it's not going to help me gain their trust and friendship. You end up getting close to the people similar to yourself; my real story doesn't help advance that perception.

I'm fine with that though. Sure, my past helped me become who I am today, but it also left a dark mark on my life that I would just as rather forget.

Well, you have to pick and choose what to tell. People like success stories, as evidenced by replies in this thread. You can tone some parts down so you don't make people uncomfortable on taboo subjects. And of course, you have to find commonalities when trying to establish relationships with other people. That does not mean your life story won't help. It's like someone who won marathons several times - most can't relate to it, but this is definitely a plus when people try to evaluate you.

Another thing to remember - difficult life story does not in any way give someone some kind of rights. I met more than a few people who think that if they came out of ghetto, that means world owes them. Hell no. You have no more rights than that silver spoon kid with prep school on his resume. Brownie points - that's all you get for raising from the bottom, and brownie points can be important to tip the scale when you need it, but you still have to perform constantly.

Also, you have to realize that many people live in a safety bubble, and have very little knowledge/experience about someone living in different conditions. Some people in replies can't relate or think your story is surreal? Get this: it is not even close to the absolute bottom. There are people with 1000x harder lives.

KeepingitPrivate's experience is that borderline situation where he still had a slim chance of getting into banking/PE. He gets tremendous respect from me for getting through. However, there are people in this world who have slimmer chance to ever reach a lifestyle of someone flipping burgers at McDonalds in the US than KeepingitPrivate had to end up in top PE.

Now for comparison, I grew up in a different country. When I was a kid, often I had to visit my grandma who lived in a provincial town. I had to take an overnight train. There was no sitting space - you had to stand all the way. Also, there was -20 Celsius outside, and all the windows in the train were broken. Mind you, my country wasn't even at war. Of course, someone who got driven to school in a limo can't relate to this.

And I know, I did not have it hard. I had opportunities which a lot of people lacked. I lived in a city, so I had access to a decent library and to semi-decent teachers, someone living in a village - did not. I had average family, so at least I did not get beat up or abused like KeepingitPrivate. I did not have to work dawn till dusk doing menial work, and could spend most of my time studying. Many people did not have that chance. Sometimes I was hungry, but my life was not at threat of dying from hunger. Many people aren't that lucky. My family was even able to gather money for me to buy a ticket to the US when I went to study for a graduate degree here. For many people in the world that is an insurmountable, huge pile of money that you can't earn in years.

All KeepingitPrivate or me for that matter had to do is to suck it up, study as hard as possible, and be 10x more productive than everyone around us year over year. For many people that was not even an option, no matter how hard would they try, they had zero chances of making it. They did not even know anyone who would know what steps you have to take in order to earn equivalent of minimum wage US salary sometime in a distant future.

Now, this is not some communist propaganda. In fact, I hate leftism in all forms. This is real life, folks.
So, for WSO members in general - don't whine you did not get into Goldman/KKR/HBS, and have to work in a boutique/F500 company/study in a state school. That still makes you super privileged - creme de la creme of the US/EU, which are creme de la creme of the world.

Apr 19, 2016

wrg

Mar 8, 2013
UFOinsider:
Ben Shalom Bernanke:
UFOinsider:

THIS is the American success story.

Seconded. There are probably a lot of younger kids who could benefit from hearing your turn around story.

Seriously. Some people are born into the world of prep schools and daddy pays for Princeton and hooks up a job. Others fight for it.

Either way........good job

I agree with your sentiment, UFO, but would it be terrible if Keeping it Private turned around and gave HIS child the advantages and head starts when the time comes. If they're entitled, obnoxious half-wits (which i doubt they'll be) yes it would be wrong. If they're industrious and intelligent (a proposition which seems more likely) then why not?

Mar 8, 2013
UFOinsider][quote=Ben Shalom Bernanke:
UFOinsider:

THIS is the American success story.

(...)
Some people are born into the world of prep schools and daddy pays for Princeton and hooks up a job. Others fight for it.

Either way........good job

Agreed. But that doesn't mean that if you're lucky enough to go to prep schools and have daddy hook you up for a great job, you should feel ashamed. Not at all, just make the most of it

Sep 19, 2011

good work. dad's can fuck up your life, huh? been there.
i feel like us foreigners have to truly go through some shit to make it sometimes as compared to the american folks.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

    • 1
    • 1
Sep 19, 2011

Wow, amazing and very inspiring post.

Sep 19, 2011

Your story and mine have a LOT in common.

I don't know about you but I sometimes want to go back to my roots - I do miss my friends from where I grew up and I have a very hard time relating to the life I am living...

For some reason, I miss the "freedom" and I am getting tired of this "so called" competition. It is like I have achieved so many things to PROVE to the world I can do it but I am now facing the fact that in first place I wasn't doing because I wanted it - I was doing it to SHOW the world that nothing will stop me.

As for lazyness, I am facing the same problem, I am here for the game, managing to win fights after fights but on the long run I can feel that I my "drive" is decreasing and so is my shine.

Great, Great, Great post - Inspiring and refereshing!

"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one...just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

'The Great Gatsby' - F. Scott Fitzgerald

    • 2
Sep 19, 2011

I don't see how people can complain about their lives after reading your post. Thank you for an inspiring story. I will try my best too :)

My formula for success is rise early, work late and strike oil - JP Getty

Sep 19, 2011

Great Post!

It's always good to hear an inspiring story on a Monday morning.

    • 1
Sep 19, 2011

Re-read this today and gotta say it still hits hard. Great motivator

Sep 19, 2011

Who says American Dream is dead? This was very motivational and encouraging. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Sep 19, 2011

this isn't great, it's stupid. the first paragraph is completely conceptually disconnected from the rest of the essay. the first paragraph tells me the rest of the essay is just an "i'm happy" front.

    • 1
    • 7
Sep 19, 2011
Cjl49:

this isn't great, it's stupid. the first paragraph is completely conceptually disconnected from the rest of the essay. the first paragraph tells me the rest of the essay is just an "i'm happy" front.

in before the bombardment of monkey shit

Sep 19, 2011

Bro, I hope you didn't jinx yourself in the first para.

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Sep 19, 2011

You are so impressive! The system does work! People only fail because they're lazy and didn't try hard enough!

--

"In order to write about life, first you must live it"
--EH

Jul 17, 2012

Idk why but this seems super fake to me. the guy is a brand new poster...

Sep 19, 2011
seedy underbelly:

Idk why but this seems super fake to me. the guy is a brand new poster...

Believe it or not but even brand new posters can have great stories!

Jul 17, 2012
FlySoHigh:
seedy underbelly:

Idk why but this seems super fake to me. the guy is a brand new poster...

Believe it or not but even brand new posters can have great stories!

Believe it or not, people are often gullible, especially when it comes to 'feel-good' stories like this one.

Sep 19, 2011
seedy underbelly:
FlySoHigh:
seedy underbelly:

Idk why but this seems super fake to me. the guy is a brand new poster...

Believe it or not but even brand new posters can have great stories!

Believe it or not, people are often gullible, especially when it comes to 'feel-good' stories like this one.

Believe it or not, sometimes it doesn't matter if a story is true or not. Do I give a shit whether the OP is being truthful or not? No. Did I enjoy and learn a lesson from the story? Yes. Therefore, for me, it was a worthy read.

    • 1
Sep 20, 2011
blackrainn:
seedy underbelly:
FlySoHigh:
seedy underbelly:

Idk why but this seems super fake to me. the guy is a brand new poster...

Believe it or not but even brand new posters can have great stories!

Believe it or not, people are often gullible, especially when it comes to 'feel-good' stories like this one.

Believe it or not, sometimes it doesn't matter if a story is true or not. Do I give a shit whether the OP is being truthful or not? No. Did I enjoy and learn a lesson from the story? Yes. Therefore, for me, it was a worthy read.

Completely agree. For every douchebag troll, there is a terrific post like this.

Jul 17, 2012
FinancialNoviceII:
blackrainn:
seedy underbelly:
FlySoHigh:
seedy underbelly:

Idk why but this seems super fake to me. the guy is a brand new poster...

Believe it or not but even brand new posters can have great stories!

Believe it or not, people are often gullible, especially when it comes to 'feel-good' stories like this one.

Believe it or not, sometimes it doesn't matter if a story is true or not. Do I give a shit whether the OP is being truthful or not? No. Did I enjoy and learn a lesson from the story? Yes. Therefore, for me, it was a worthy read.

Completely agree. For every douchebag troll, there is a terrific post like this.

Honestly, what is so terrific about this?! If it sounded even remotely real, yeah it would be pretty great. But it's so obviously made up and has so many holes in it as pointed out by Marcus, that it's just revolting.

    • 1
Sep 20, 2011
seedy underbelly:
FinancialNoviceII:
blackrainn:
seedy underbelly:
FlySoHigh:
seedy underbelly:

Idk why but this seems super fake to me. the guy is a brand new poster...

Believe it or not but even brand new posters can have great stories!

Believe it or not, people are often gullible, especially when it comes to 'feel-good' stories like this one.

Believe it or not, sometimes it doesn't matter if a story is true or not. Do I give a shit whether the OP is being truthful or not? No. Did I enjoy and learn a lesson from the story? Yes. Therefore, for me, it was a worthy read.

Completely agree. For every douchebag troll, there is a terrific post like this.

Honestly, what is so terrific about this?! If it sounded even remotely real, yeah it would be pretty great. But it's so obviously made up and has so many holes in it as pointed out by Marcus, that it's just revolting.

I meant its a terrific post in the sense that it provides a motivation that many can relate to. Sure, everyone has their problems and I'm also sure not a lot will ever experience problems like these. If you read my other post, I acknowledged the fact that its highly likely that his story is exaggerated, but even if two of those things happened to one person, its a terrific post to those who have suffered but found the will to go on.

May 18, 2016

Believe it or not, that's why humanity needs literature.

Sep 19, 2011

Printed and put on my wall. Great post

    • 1
Sep 19, 2011

"Lucked my way into a school I in no way deserved to go to"...If only all of us were so fortunate...

Good story, though. Definitely an inspiring read.

Sep 19, 2011

Great story! This reminds me the last part of Jeff Bezo's commencement speech:

"I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story"

At the end of the day, the hardest thing is to face yourself. I am moved and I will try harder on myself until I get what I want!

Sep 19, 2011

Impressive.

As someone probably ~3 years behind you, was it all worth it to get where you are now or do you ever wish you would have slowed down to watch the scenery?

Sep 19, 2011

They should make kids in school read the last paragraph of this post instead of the pledge of allegiance every day.

Sep 20, 2011

WTF are you guys talking about? This makes absolutely no sense. I second the guy who said the first paragraph is completely disconnected from the rest of the essay. It starts out sounding like the main message is "life goes on no matter what, even those that seem like they have it all are miserable and hollow inside, so don't get to down on yourself" and ends up turning into part schinder's list and part pursuit of happiness.

The story also doesn't make sense and lack the logic that would lead one to believe its true. The biggest holes are:

  1. How did you junior year of high school kick it into high gear and for the first time in your life end up doing well and end up getting into "one of world's best universities"? Sure maybe you have a tragic background, but there are plenty of people with the same tragic childhood that have been overachieving since they could wipe their own ass.
  2. The "I don't know what changed but one day I started turning things around" also makes no sense. The people I described in #1 have their entire life had something very specific driving them to make it. Or in the case where there is a turning point, those same people can literally point to an exact moment in time when they came to some realization and got on another metoric trajectory.

Not sure why someone would make this up, but I just don't buy it. Great story, but doubt its true. Maybe its grossly exagerated.

It also reeks of WSO wanna be banker douche and I fail to see the point of ANY of this post other than talking about how the OP "graduated with honors from the best school ever, went to work at the best bank ever and now works at the best PE/HF ever while being fit and good looking, dating some grl he loves."

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Sep 20, 2011
Marcus_Halberstram:

WTF are you guys talking about? This makes absolutely no sense. I second the guy who said the first paragraph is completely disconnected from the rest of the essay. It starts out sounding like the main message is "life goes on no matter what, even those that seem like they have it all are miserable and hollow inside, so don't get to down on yourself" and ends up turning into part schinder's list and part pursuit of happiness.

The story also doesn't make sense and lack the logic that would lead one to believe its true. The biggest holes are:

  1. How did you junior year of high school kick it into high gear and for the first time in your life end up doing well and end up getting into "one of world's best universities"? Sure maybe you have a tragic background, but there are plenty of people with the same tragic childhood that have been overachieving since they could wipe their own ass.
  2. The "I don't know what changed but one day I started turning things around" also makes no sense. The people I described in #1 have their entire life had something very specific driving them to make it. Or in the case where there is a turning point, those same people can literally point to an exact moment in time when they came to some realization and got on another metoric trajectory.

Not sure why someone would make this up, but I just don't buy it. Great story, but doubt its true. Maybe its grossly exagerated.

It also reeks of WSO wanna be banker douche and I fail to see the point of ANY of this post other than talking about how the OP "graduated with honors from the best school ever, went to work at the best bank ever and now works at the best PE/HF ever while being fit and good looking, dating some grl he loves."

Definitely agree on the part about OP being good-looking. What the fuck does that have to do with anything? If he was, surely despite all of life's anguishes, it wouldn't effect his looks now would it?

In terms of your first point, you can absolutely kick it to another gear if you have a goal, and the motivation and determination to achieve that goal. Not saying that OP did this, but to question that is a bit silly because of the point you make yourself. Those same people that you mention could in fact have also hit that button to take it another level. I myself realised, at 16, I gotta kick on. And by the time I was 18, I was at Oxford. Admittedly different educational systems, but you get the point I am making.

Agree on your second point. After all the info you shared, gotta have something more then "I dont know what changed".

Let's agree, perhaps some parts true but largely an exaggeration.

Sep 3, 2013

[quote=Marcus_Halberstram

2. The "I don't know what changed but one day I started turning things around" also makes no sense. The people I described in #1 have their entire life had something very specific driving them to make it. Or in the case where there is a turning point, those same people can literally point to an exact moment in time when they came to some realization and got on another metoric trajectory.

[/quote]

not true at all. I have no idea what happened but over a few weeks (summer) I just turned shit around too. Can't explain how or why except by saying maturity.

Jul 17, 2012

^ It's obviously a fake story and OP is a strange kind of troll.

Sep 20, 2011

The content seems a little extreme and no doubt there are people who have suffered some incredible things and have lost family members. I myself, lost my sister a while back and no doubt the effect is enormous, especially considering I was so close to her and I hadnt really experienced loss to that extent before. It doesn't tie into my story in any way. I worked hard in school the moment I realised that some of my friends, who predictably I have completely lost touch with now, were regarding the notion of hard work and high school as a joke and my path could have been a dangerous one, not to the extreme of criminality but to the extent that I may be living with my parents at 25, without any ambition as it has been sapped out of me by the treacherous fucking thing that is life.

However, I'm not here to disparage the OP. His story can be construed as a bit too convenient, especially considering he has tended to suffer from every imaginable torment that can be inflicted on any poor soul in this world. I mean, to be sexually abused by a relative is hard mountain to overcome and to top it off, he has a shitty father. I mean, to overcome such a stacked deck is the work of fiction and even then, it stretches the realm.

BUT, the story made me take notice of what can be achieved. I have no doubt OP worked hard to become whatever he is today and I can applaud that.

Sep 20, 2011

I just hope OP chose not exaggerate his post, as it has clearly touched so many on WSO, which frankly I didnt expect considering so of the shit that gets thrown around here (no pun intended).

Sep 19, 2011

Why it seems so unreal?

How about this guy?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_Sarkozy

Sep 21, 2011

Good Shit Bro.
We must work hard bottom line to get anything.

Sep 20, 2011

I wasn't doubting that someone can make a complete 180... my point was... to get into the best university in the world (i.e., Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Oxford), to not give a shit through half of high school and then Junior year you start performing well, thats just completely insufficient. When I "didn't give a shit" in HS I had a 2.7 GPA. If Junior year I started taking shit seriously and got a 4.0 got the next 2 years, I'd graduate with a 3.35... which would not even be close to getting someone into any of the above named schools, or even many lesser schools. Even if instead of a 2.7 GPA, this fucker was pulling a 3.0... he'd still have a 3.5... which is insufficient for any of those schools unless maybe you're a top 10 nationally ranked athlete. Add to that... when applying to college... your senior year GPA isn't even factored in... so anyone in the above scenario would be applying to colleges with NO leadership roles, NO EC, and a 3.3. GPA.

Complete bullshit.

Sep 19, 2011
Marcus_Halberstram:

I wasn't doubting that someone can make a complete 180... my point was... to get into the best university in the world (i.e., Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Oxford), to not give a shit through half of high school and then Junior year you start performing well, thats just completely insufficient. When I "didn't give a shit" in HS I had a 2.7 GPA. If Junior year I started taking shit seriously and got a 4.0 got the next 2 years, I'd graduate with a 3.35... which would not even be close to getting someone into any of the above named schools, or even many lesser schools. Even if instead of a 2.7 GPA, this fucker was pulling a 3.0... he'd still have a 3.5... which is insufficient for any of those schools unless maybe you're a top 10 nationally ranked athlete. Add to that... when applying to college... your senior year GPA isn't even factored in... so anyone in the above scenario would be applying to colleges with NO leadership roles, NO EC, and a 3.3. GPA.

Complete bullshit.

Dude, I'm at a top 10ish and I had a 3.3 GPA my first semester of Freshman year. I played WoW and shit for half the time when I was home my first year of school. If this guy wrote amazing essays and had a 4.0 GPA by all of junior / first semester of senior year it would be definitely possible to get into one Ivy. One of my friends this year got into Harvard with a 4.0 GPA (4.5 scale) and a good, but not perfect ACT, while others with a 4.4 GPA and perfect ACT's didn't get in, because obviously they saw something in him. It's possible this guy just got very lucky. Also, keep in mind this was probably 6-10 years ago before things got insane with the competition.

Sep 19, 2011
Marcus_Halberstram:

When I "didn't give a shit" in HS I had a 2.7 GPA.

When I didn't give a shit in HS, I had a 3.9, just saying. I'm inclined to believe most of this story because I've lived with people that literally came from a mud hut in a village in some third world country and made it to PE. Add some abusive domestic shit (which, btw, is pretty fucking common) and it's not such a stretch of the imagination. Funny part is that you would NEVER GUESS the background of these people unless you spent a lot of time around their family. Hell, look at Eddie's story, he's the longest shot I've ever heard of and he's the fucking man as far as me and a lot of other newbies are concerned. You're entitled to your scepticism, but I really don't mind if OP embellished a few points or left out some unflattering details. I don't get the part about 'being good looking' though, I fail to see what that has to do with anything: maybe that worked to OPs advantage?

etherlord:

Why it seems so unreal?

How about this guy?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_Sarkozy

"What made me who I am now is the sum of all the humiliations suffered during childhood". Wow, that's pretty cool. I also like the story of the billionaire cab driver....and he still drives a taxi!!!!

These are outliers, to be sure, but what the hell, it proves that it can be done if someone really goes for it, and that's the American story. The story of legacy wealth and success is all fine and well, but that's pretty much what the original colonies rebelled against. The day when it's not possible to advance in America not having come from money is the day it all falls apart....or gets torn apart.

Sep 22, 2011

It's life, you can't fight against nature. Life goes up and down, and you sometimes find yourself in the middle of the chaos.People often ask how i manage to go through the chaos with such calm. My answer: I go with the flow.

No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions; he had money as well.

Sep 23, 2011

.

Sep 23, 2011

Yea this is interesting and inspiring, but the first paragraph doesn't tie into the rest of your story. How are you messed up and feeling your way through a dark world? You had a rough background, but that doesn't explain your difficulties today - we can't just assume that a rough background = messed up person today.

Sep 23, 2011

I completely agree with all the ideas being presented here and I think that its excellent advice for the individual struggling it gives them the right kick in the behind to get up and take charge of their life.

However I do want to make a point that there is a reason for 9% unemployment, and that if there are not enough jobs or enough qualified people for the jobs available, regardless of how hard each person tries there are going to be those the 9% in America that fall behind and suffer.

Not everyone is going to craft a golden essay and get to the positions that you have achieved as they say there are a million failed stories for every successful one. However that does not mean I advocate that you sit back and feel sorry for yourself and you don't try to be the successful people.

Take for example a pipe fitter making 70k now laid of and is 40 years old, there is just no way he is going to be re-trained in technology or green energy and will end up living off the government tit and perhaps he didn't try hard enough to find another job, maybe he took a job at McDonalds but it probably won't cover basic expenses so he takes food stamps.

I really admire the tenacity you brought into your life now imagine if everyone around you had just as much tenacity as you did there would still be theoretically people unemployed even with your level of tenacity because based on the argument that people are lazy and thats why they don't have jobs falls apart in my construct. In a world where everyone was just as tenacious as you are now, the guy more tenacious then you gets the job even though you were persistent as hell there was one man better. In the end where we strive to lower unemployment more tenacity will separate the wheat from the chaff but the chaff in this case are real people and this problem this bad economy is not going away with hard work alone. It may make the one individual to rise and become CEO but is not going to help put food on every plate

I just wanted to address this and put that out there that sometimes successful people have this false idea that its tenacity and hard work alone that will secure success for every single person alive, that everyone can become millionaires. Its just not possible statistically.

I think that if you want to be a CEO you better work your ass off hard, however for most americans even if everyone worked hard as everyone else there would still be those left behind and thence as a society are faced with a choice of what we want to do with them.

Maybe you're a tea party candidate that says "let them die" but I think we can put them to work by re-training them and supporting them while they retrain. I think one of the most foolish policies of this administration and many before it was to not require skills training while receiving unemployment benefits.

There are as of now 3.2 million open jobs but there just aren't any qualified people, the unemployment benefits should have came with these stipulations a long time ago and only recently I believe has been changed.

Anyway I hope I will be as persistent and motivated as you have been in my own pursuit of getting to the top.

Sep 26, 2011

I can relate. Coming from a poor background myself, learning how to assert myself amongst others who were more affluent and "successful" then I was hard. I remember the moment I decided I wanted to go into Investment banking and all the painstaking hours I spent reading through sites such as Investopedia.com and WealthLift.com literally building my investing knowledge from the ground up. After nerve wrecking interviews where I was grilled to the fry, I was dumbstruck to find that I had actually gotten in internship with UBS, in their Sales Trading department. Although I had gotten my foot in the door, this was only the beginning and I still had so much more to overcome.

Thank you for writing this post. It means a lot to know that there are others out there that know what I had gone through and can stand as true examples of what anyone can achieve if they set their mind to it.

Sep 30, 2011

Wow, you are an inspiration, a source of motivation and an example of being a true hero to yourself, your family and your community where you grew up. I am sure that you are a person who gives back to his society and I am sure that there are going to be many more like you who would come out like a vibrant butterfly. I just loved your quote: 'I didn't use my past as an excuse to fail'. That's your biggest driving factor, my best wishes to you.

Jun 26, 2012

Thanks for the post. I love how in comments people post about the changing times and competition and other bullshit. They don't seem to realize that it always has been and always will be one way: everything depends on the person. Don't let the situation you're in discourage you simply because you're disadvantaged. If anyone believes you can't do it, shove your shoe in their mouth and prove them wrong. Nice tags btw.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." - IlliniProgrammer

Jan 20, 2013
KeepingitPrivate:

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on.

-Robert Frost

From the outside, my life right now looks great. I graduated with high honors from one of the world's best universities, completed my banking stint in a top tier group and am now happily working at a "very prestigious" (I hate that term) buyside shop. I'm in a relationship with a girl I'm crazy about, I have good friends, I'm attractive, fit and have the world ahead of me. That's what the outside sees. In reality, I'm a messed up kid feeling my way around in the dark through a world that I feel wholly unprepared for.

I grew up poor. At times, I was very, very hungry. The first few months my family was able to crawl out of poverty, I continued to overeat because I still vividly remembered the hunger pains that often kept me awake at night. I lost one of my siblings and I always blamed myself for what happened. I was sexually abused by a relative. I witnessed things in my native country that still send chills down my spine.

And then there were my parents. Sure, my mom loved me and wanted me to be happy, but unfortunately she had no idea what it meant to be a good parent. My dad was an abusive piece of shit that saw me as his competition, not as his son. We still don't speak very often. On an especially bad day, he had once again taken his rage out on my mom, but to rub in the humiliation he had her wipe her own blood off the walls while he stood and watched. I tried to intervene, but I wasn't much of a match.

I, too, was a bit of a piece of shit. I was aggressive and found myself in fights very often. Though I was smart, I was lazy and didn't do all too well in high school, where homework and not exams governed your academic performance. Needless to say, at 16 I looked like I was destined for a mediocre life at best, but probably likely to end up as another case of wasted potential.

I don't know what changed, but one day I started turning things around and ever since I have kept the momentum going. I had the highest grades in my class from the second half of junior year until I graduated. I did extremely well on standardized exams, crafted a golden essay and lucked my way into a school I in no way deserved to go to. And from there I busted my ass to get to where I am today.

I was independent. I earned my own money and paved my own way. I didn't use my past as an excuse to fail. If I didn't make it, I knew it was nobody's fault but my own. I also knew that nobody would care. If one day I broke down because of all the stress, the world would keep on turning as it always had. It was--and is--my life and my life alone. Nobody cares about the struggles I went through. They care about who I am today and who I'm going to be.

And, I guess, that's my message: take responsibility for who you are, where you are now and where you will be. I don't care that it's a tough economy. I don't care that you go to a shitty school. I don't care that an unlucky string of events rendered you less competitive than your peers. And nobody else does either. We will continue living our lives the same way we always had, but you will suffer the curse of your own laziness and incompetence. It's a tough world out there and if you want to compete in an environment as ruthless as Wall Street, you need to forget about the excuses and find a way to succeed. And if you can't? Well, you weren't cut out for this world anyway. Nobody is going to pamper your bruised ego and give you a job just because you want it. You need to earn it.

A very embittered view of the world. Full of off-showing (attractive, prestigious buy-side shop, one of the world's best universities etc.). "You weren't cut for this world anyway". sounds like social Darwinism.

Jan 20, 2013

*salute*

Mar 8, 2013

I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

Mar 8, 2013
SamuelClemens:

I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

Thank Herbert Hoover

Mar 8, 2013
SamuelClemens:

I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

Is Tyler Durden's monologue the greatest monologue in the history of all monologues?

I vote yes.

Mar 8, 2013

"We will continue living our lives the same way we always had, but you will suffer the curse of your own laziness and incompetence"
THIS.

Mar 8, 2013

No one is responsible for us but ourselves. At the reckoning (which I believe occurs continuously as do our spiritual life and death, over and over again) parents cannot save children and children cannot save parents, God decides based on what your record shows. And you are right, there is always change, nothing is permanent. Your life may get better or worse as it appears, but isn't it a matter of perspective as well. But if you keep the attitude you display in this essay, you should always find yourself happy.

Mar 8, 2013

Heavy stuff for a Friday... inspirational nonetheless.

Mar 8, 2013

Indeed.

Mar 8, 2013

Great work man.

Mar 8, 2013

Great post man. Keep going to therapy.

Mar 8, 2013
digikc94:

Great post man. Keep going to therapy.

Are you autistic? I'm serious - no offense intended.

Mar 8, 2013

Best rant I've ever heard...

Mar 9, 2013

Truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing and best of luck to ya.

Mar 9, 2013

this is so fucking awesome bro! You r the one who chooses to fight with life and beat it. I know how damn hard it has been.

Mar 9, 2013

Let me guess, sounds like the guy is from India

I'm just a humble clown. I juggle around just for a good laugh of yours.

Mar 8, 2013
LifeHedger:

Let me guess, sounds like the guy is from India

Sounds like you're an asswipe.

Sep 20, 2011
Sandhurst:
LifeHedger:

Let me guess, sounds like the guy is from India

Sounds like you're an asswipe.

Dude, why are you crushing so hard on OP? Let him fight his own battles. It was a great post, I acknowledged it as well as so many others. It isnt going to be for everyone so take what you got out of it and move on.

Mar 12, 2013

Raw, real, and beautiful. Thanks man.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

Mar 12, 2013

Great fluff piece bro. Get off WSO, leave it for us lonely / miserable losers and go bang on your GF instead of writing tome's on the internet.

    • 1
Mar 13, 2013

too long; didnt read

    • 1
Apr 6, 2013

Very inspirational post. I just printed it out and I will stick it on my wall. All too often, I believe that I can waste time now and make up for it later. Not anymore though.

Apr 26, 2013

2 points for you homes

Sep 2, 2013

Felt like a pussy today, dicking round at school so I re-read this. Gave me a much needed smack in the head.

Feb 6, 2014

been getting dinged constantly and was feeling like shit till i stumbled on this. just gotta keep grinding.

Feb 6, 2014

Whoever bumped this thread, go suck a dick. This makes me feel even shittier about my situation and I just got over my crying spree/mid-life crisis. I'm gonna go eat my feelings and pretend to study for middies fml.

    • 1
May 20, 2014

Ugh, I'm so sick of these. You're right, no one gives a crap about your struggles. You got in, great! You made the dream a reality so go crush it. Why do you feel the need to spill your sob story on these pages. Seriously bro, go out there and just kill it and when you feel the need to reminisce on your struggles as a youth, do it over a finely aged scotch overlooking the beach from your palace in the Hampton s.

    • 1
May 21, 2014
Target Community College:

Ugh, I'm so sick of these. You're right, no one gives a crap about your struggles. You got in, great! You made the dream a reality so go crush it. Why do you feel the need to spill your sob story on these pages. Seriously bro, go out there and just kill it and when you feel the need to reminisce on your struggles as a youth, do it over a finely aged scotch overlooking the beach from your palace in the Hampton s.

writing about your past is a good way to get closure, or at least attempt at it. also, it may inspire others who are in similar situations to better themselves, so stop your trolling and go fondle yourself to Wolf of Wall Street

May 20, 2014

Hey man, sorry to hear about the past but it looks like you're doing really well for yourself. You should be proud and I'm sure your mom is too. I'm in the process of TRYING to do what you did, so yeah.

PS: I love this website for posts like this. No where else can you find such a gold mine of information and (in my situation anyway) stories that relate. I think a lot people have it tough at some point in their life and say enough is enough. And don't tell me to go look online for those inspirational pictures they post on instagram "you can do it, if you try", "success is being a strong person" - 45000 likes w/ comments like "wow, now I feel like I can do anything!" lol. I just can't relate to that stuff!! :P

    • 1
May 20, 2014

well said sir, well said.

May 21, 2014

Great post!

May 21, 2014

Great post. Always appreciate these kind of stories. I hope everything is still working out for you.

May 22, 2014

Great post, I feel you. This is my first post, so it shows how much it touched me. Gotta keep hustling

May 18, 2015

Wow

May 21, 2015

To prove your point.
No one cares about your story. Stop wasting my time and do something productive.

May 21, 2015

Just read this and all I can say is good for you for fighting through the temptations of being mediocre

May 21, 2015

Short, yet delivering a strong message.

I can relate to a certain extent (not that extreme), and you have done a good job, sir!

May 23, 2015

Hope to write something like this a couple years from now.
Chucked my last SB at you.

May 23, 2015

Truly inspiring

May 23, 2015

.

May 25, 2015

And to conclude your tough journey to success....you wrote a post on WSO. How insecure do you have to be to resort to showing off in front of a bunch of 18 year old wannabes?

The way Ah see it, is that it took a revolution f a bihllion people for your darn short to work out!

    • 2
May 14, 2016

Good post. I can relate on a certain level (came to the country poor, turned things around). And thanks for posting. People sometimes need inspiration, and these kinds of stories can be tremendously helpful.

May 15, 2016

Thank you very much for this honest and though message. Inspiration is funny thing. Hard to keep it alive and burning all the time but easy to find one when you are truly looking for it. You are spot on having no excuses and I have to EARN it. Thank you again!!!!

    • 1
May 15, 2016
May 19, 2016
May 20, 2016
Apr 14, 2016

Want to Lose the body fat, keep the muscles, I can help.

May 22, 2016
Jul 27, 2018