Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: International Guest Speaker: Andres of Puerto Rico

This was the most HONEST conversation I had in a decade, and it marked the first time that my friend Andre, who I’ve known for 20 years, and I went into some very dark places in terms of what we had done as children.

From the first days we met, to having multiple deaths in family and school, getting stuck on a mountain before being rescued, his big move to NY to get away from a family that was suffocating the life out of him, and confronting a father who abandoned him since he was a child.

Amazing.

International Guest Speaker Andre

Things we discussed:

  • Brief introduction given by Andre to the listeners and talked about the intrinsic meaning of ‘face the music’.
  • How he began learning English.
  • Some of the challenges that he needed to overcome.
  • The development of our friendship.
  • How we originally met.
  • Reconciliation and salvation.
  • His big move to the east coast and leaving everything behind in Las Vegas.
  • His relationship with his father.
  • Did he get the closure he wanted before his father’s passing?
  • Does the guest has any regrets?
  • Sharing their childhood experiences that shaped their outlook of life.
  • What is the guest’s advice for the listeners?
  • New York Slang.

Podcast

Thank you for listening!

Links:

  1. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thearseniobuckshow/
  2. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thearseniobuckshow/?hl=en
  3. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIzp4EdbJVMhhSnq_0u4ntA
  4. Podcasts: https://www.spreaker.com/user/thearseniobuckshow, https://open.spotify.com/show/7hdzplWx6xB8mhwDJYiP6f, https://www.buzzsprout.com/165390
  5. Website: https://thearseniobuckshow.com/
  6. Twitter: https://twitter.com/arseniobuckshow?lang=en

When You Realize You Have An Indomitable Will….

I went to my mother’s Facebook page to check on her health and well-being recently.  After the 2013 fallout, my mother and I haven’t spoken on video or by voice in half-a-decade.  Regrets? Absolutely not.  It takes two to tango.  However, the health of my mother is always important.

Her first post was of my brother — an individual who has hated me since I was a child.  Hot-headed, angry, know-it-all/alpha mask possessing individual who’s following similar footsteps of his father.  He was featured on Fox5News in Las Vegas.  Being an avid drummer and always have been for years, music has always been in his heart.  Having taught at high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, apparently he had auditioned for the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey team — and got the job.  During one of the openings of last year’s playoff game against I-HAVE-NO-IDEA, I saw someone wearing glowing, neon glasses while drumming who had a beard similar to what my brother normally flaunts.  Indeed, it was my brother.  I was super proud of him.

Two years ago, he had sent me a message, berating me with derogatory slurs and yelling, “don’t come back to Vegas! Mom doesn’t wanna see you! Your sisters hate you!”

I laughed and felt sorry for him.  Since those 1995, Mega Man X days where he would beat me up on the SNES and tell my parents that I did wrong, he still has an impenetrable amount of hostility that’s tormenting him inside.

During the recent interview in the link above, I can still see it in his eyes.  Hearing him speak with the freakish looking smile and saying, “it’s about being positive,” or somewhere on the lines, is what I would always see before he unleashed an unfathomable amount of hell upon me and spew rhetoric at my siblings.  He was a power junkie and always has been — very different from what my father used to be, to be honest.

Nonetheless, I told my siblings, and the last time I spoke with them back in the summer of 2016, that I would never speak to Steven Buck again for as long as I live.  It was time to finally move on.  Wish him the best in his future endeavors, but enough was enough.  Gary Vee says drop your loser friends and family members, and my brother, who was the antagonist of every story, has never been supportive.

But please don’t let this confuse any of you.  Holding a grudge against anyone is ridiculous, and this is why I forgave him from within and sent the rest to the universe.  He doesn’t need to know that I forgave him, nor would he care, but it’s for my own peace of mind.

You know, going through the battles I’ve gone through, especially living in Thailand, it’s perspective.

Do you know how lonely I felt being in a household where everyone hated me? I was the “selfish” one for not saving money.  I was the bad son for not giving my mom 25% of my salary while living overseas by myself.  Going through that dimension of it, and then battling the racial discrimination in these borders? 150 jobs denied me because I was BLACK.

Could you imagine not having anyone to go to in terms of that?

You can’t.  The brute force and nature of it all id unprecedented. But how did I go through it? Was it the motive? The purpose, as Napoleon Hill has said before? How did I flip it from a push to a pull? How did I go from a negative mindset to a positive mindset? How did I go from getting by at the beginning of this year, to becoming financially independent by next year? I’m still trying to piece it together.

One thing is apparent, however, and it’s the fact that I have an indomitable will.

Podcast

My Story

So, because my blog, podcasts, Instagram and other means of social media is gaining a lot of momentum, I think it’s time to finally introduce myself on a scale no one ever has.

  • Mother/Father broke up in 97.
  • Two step mothers and three elementary schools in a one year period.
  • Father dropped my siblings and I off at a doorstep in 1999.
  • Moved in with my mother in June of 1999 — and the rest is history.

This was the shambolic childhood.  However, it sounds all bad, and I completely understand from your point of view, but this turned out to best the greatest blessing ever in my life.  Those Christmas morning of 93, 94, and 95 were some of the best of my life.  My grade school was amazing, wonderful friends, and I was introduced to one of the greatest eras of music in humankind (1990’s), along with Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.  Let’s not forget that.

From 2000-2006, my mother did an amazing job.  We had our transgressions when power got cut off in late 2003, but my mom did everything in her power to restore it (just a day later). I’m super grateful for that.  After choosing to go to college, then demoting my “choice of major” even more (going from Orthodontics, to Dental Hygiene, to Dental Assisting), it was another great blessing.

The Change from a Promise

Satomi Nakagawa, who visited me in 2008, fell to her knees one evening and cried: “I’m never going to see you again.”

She was distressed because the potential of not seeing me again.  In that moment came a promise, “don’t worry, I’ll come to see you.”  I’m not exactly sure if I said next year, but it ended up happening next year when I had the idea of traveling abroad.  BOOM!

Two months after booking a trip, I saw Satomi again and Kingsford International Airport.  The importance of this trip, seeing Darling Harbour, Blue Mountains, and going to Bondi Beach…..was when a seed had blossomed within my mind.  When this happened, I was never the same again.  Living in America was no longer exciting to me (Las Vegas, but let’s be honest, it’s all boring — sorry).  I visited again in 2010 (Melbourne) and met some Mauritians and Indonesians.  One morning I walked along St. Kilda beach and then I decided “I’m moving here next year.”  I told my mother after coming back, and she got teary-eyed.  It was the sign of change, but at the same time, she knew i had to go after what was mine in the universe.  Sure enough, 2011 came rolling around and the last time I felt like I saw my mother was when she gave me a hug, cried, and drove off in a car.

Battles in Australia

Psychological battles galore. I questioned myself about having a personality that wasn’t suitable for Aussies.  I was too personable; too charismatic; too funny.  Just too out there in general.  I remember running down to a harbour area in Lane Cove (north of Sydney) and saying to myself, “they don’t like me here.  Why don’t I have a girlfriend?”

Fast-forwarding that particular situation to my present situation, I’m single — 7 years later.

Rewinding back to that moment….I told a Colombian friend and she said, “Arsenio, you have one of the most beautiful personalities.  Don’t worry about these people.”

Yes.

That was that moment.

I would need that 5 years later when I got into the biggest psychological battle of my life.

Thailand in the YouTube video (coming soon) & Podcast

 

The Business That Could’ve Been: Wings To YouTube

While I was sitting on my couch, stuffing my face with pepperoni pizza (yes, I cheat sometimes, but blame my trainer that put me through a 1-hour gauntlet), I realized at that given moment what could’ve been.

Back in Las Vegas, my colleagues and I from the College of Southern Nevada’s Dental Faculty Practice would leave at 12pm, once a week, and head to a rundown food court.  When you walk into this food court, you have a series of different eateries.  You have Korean BBQ to the right, Hoagies from Philly on the left, and a few other (like the Mexican shop that opened for a month before closing).  It’s difficult to stay afloat in a place like that for a long time, just because it’s in such a head-scratching and isolated location.

Nonetheless, there was a wing shop.  Honestly, best wings ever….and it’s not even close.  He had flavors from Garlic Pepper, to more than two dozen other kinds.  He would constantly peer-pressure us into doing his crazy ass, super-duper-hot ass wing challenge — a challenge that often times had college students go into oblivion, puking all over the damn place (hate to be graphic).

Before I left, he was obtaining his liquor license.  Today, I’m not exactly sure what’s happening, but now that I think of it, there’s a show called Hot Wings on YouTube that features some of the biggest stars in America.

Do you guys now know where I’m going with this?

In 2013, the man who had this shop never had the idea to put those wing challenges on YouTube.

Three years later, someone else did….and now he has 1-15 million views per video with stars all over America coming to chow down.

There’s opportunity everywhere….but remember, they come as crumbs most times.  This is your warning.  Whatever it is you can develop and monetize, take that leap of faith.

Please.

FYI – I just looked it up on google and luckily it’s still in business.  However, that idea was never put to good use.

Lewis Howes: Invincible Mask – What Can You Do Right Now?

A lot of people do big things or risky things to get the attention of others.  Remember at the beginning I talked about one of my students’ brother who slammed into a pillar at high speeds, intoxicated and ultimately killing himself.  He was unrecognizable after it happened.  Before he got on his bike, he told everyone that he was safe to drive, although he was completely inebriated.  He was going welllll over the speed limit and resulted in him no longer being able to live.

A many of these “van” boys drive at top speeds with spoilers off, trying to get the attention of women on the streets.  This gives them that since of invincibility and that’s why Thailand, by percentage, has the highest traffic fatality in the WORLD.  These adrenaline junkies are always looking for the next thrill.

So what can you do? What if you stole, or do things that could question the law just to get the attention of women? More importantly, what’s available if you take off the mask?

A fulfilled and healthy life span
Deeper relationships
Self-esteem
True courage
The permission to just be and not constantly do
A sense of belonging

Ask yourself these questions

What is valuable to me?

Friendships.  That invincible mask that Billy had on — I had on, too.  I would treat my best friend Andre like crap over the years, and after my run yesterday, he spilled the beans on how I treated them from a “funny” aspect.  However, I didn’t look at it as funny.  I was embodying anger from when Billy use to treat me like crap, so I wanted to dish out those feelings, too.

Andre is everything to me.  The most valuable friendship I have today.  When he speaks, I absolutely listen and take thought to it.

What do I value about my life?

I honestly need to stop playing the “black” card, as the Irish teacher told me.  I love that he’s in my face about it, because he shows me how much of a magnificent being I can truly become.  This is why I love the fact that I am “different.”  Just last night I was thinking to myself, “oh man! Look at all of these anglo men in the picture of this company that sent me those jobs three days ago.  No wonder I can’t get the job!”  Self-doubt.  I still have that lingering deep within my bloodlines, and it’s something I need to address immediately.

What am I looking for in these activities?

Can I see the true value in friendships and myself?

Can I get those things elsewhere in my life?

Absolutely NOT.  Once I’m gone, I’m gone forever.

Additional Questions In The Podcast

 

How To Spur People On To Success

There was a man by the name of JoJo, who was my next door neighbour years ago back in Las Vegas.  He was an interesting guy to say the least, but before he set off to church one Sunday morning, he stood in my living room giving me and my mother a lecture.  It went something like this.

“Look what’s happening around America.  The African American community, which is our community, is the worst community of all America because instead of being happy about one’s success, they find ways to tear their own people down to join misery again.  However, if you look at Mexicans, they encourage the hell out of each other because they want to see their own people succeed.” – JoJo

Now that I think about it – my brother, who’s always been the antagonist, is one of those people who would LOVE to see me fail.

This doesn’t revolve around just the African American community, but African communities are completely ravaged with extreme hate that leads, and have lead, to genocides.  This really makes me sit down and scratch my head, because countries like Maldives are unbelievably fascinating to me – given the fact that the government is so “pro” people and everyone gets along.  There’s no violence on the streets or even muggings…..but why?

While I was in Vietnam, two people would collide while riding mopeds, get up, put each others’ arms on one another and ask if they’re ok before going on about their day.

But this is probably just the way they’re programmed.

Let’s get back to success, where LeBron James, who’s a prolific basketball player, is hated immensely in the African American community.

How can we begin to program ourselves and wish someone success, regardless or religion, creed, or color?

“Pete Barlow was an old friend of mine. He had a dog-and-pony act and spent his life traveling with circuses and vaudeville shows. I loved to watch Pete train new dogs for his act. I noticed that the moment a dog showed the slightest improvement, Pete patted and praised him and gave him meat and made a great to-do about it.
That’s nothing new. Animal trainers have been using that same technique for centuries.
Why, I wonder, don’t we use the same common sense when trying to change people that we use when trying to change dogs? Why don’t we use meat instead of a whip? Why don’t we use praise instead of condemnation? Let us praise even the slightest improvement. That inspires the other person to keep on improving.” – Dale Carnegie

Praise!

Yes, that simple little compliment can change one’s life! I’ve seen teachers steer students away from suicide by telling them that they “are” enough.

One afternoon class had finished at the Dental Faculty Practice at the College of Southern Nevada.  My teacher, by the name of Mrs. Mulcahy, pulled me aside and said, “Arsenio, can I talk to you?”  I stood over the table where she was standing, just in front of the projector and she told me, “Arsenio, you can’t teach personality.  What you have right now is a gift and it’s going to take you a long way.”  Because of the praise by professor Mulcahy, I went on to be one of the finest dental assisting temps in all of Sydney, Australia.  That personality has flourished into something so magnificent and so wonderful that people in almost 100 different countries tune into my show.  That praise I never got from any of my direct or indirect family, or friends.

“Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit; we cannot flower and grow without it. And yet, while most of us are only too ready to apply to others the cold wind of criticism, we are somehow reluctant to give our fellow the warm sunshine of praise.” – Psychologist Jess Lair

Podcast

What Makes 2 Kids From The Same Neighborhood Different

After a very interesting conversation with some of my students, we talked about the best and worst secondary (high schools in America) schools in Thailand.  I wanted to deep dive into the idea of what made them so different.  Was it the environment? The parents? What are the influences?

How come I’m different? Being born and raised in Las Vegas in a neighborhood I heard gunshots ringing every night and gang activity being at its highest around 2001.  My home being robbed twice; myself being robbed broad daylight in 2003 included.  However, I was able to still not be part of all that nonsense.

African Americans who live in the impoverished neighbourhoods around America just cannot escape the idea that they CAN LEAVE.  But what stops them?

Back in sixth grade, my school had a fair amount of whites, blacks, and Mexicans.  When 2007 came around, the numbers of the white community started dwindling and the Mexican gangsters started coming in herds.  By the time 8th grade arrived, some of my friends got held back (didn’t pass to 9th grade), and the school was rampant with gang activity.

Going into high school had to be the difference maker in my life, just because when I was in marching band, I got exposed to different cultures on the outer skirts of Las Vegas.  Caucasian and Asian kids living in gorgeous houses and had something called “ambition” compared to the zoned students who were fighting to stay alive another day.

Can I give all the credit to my mom? My mom did a wonderful job at providing, but when it came to guidance, I had to trust my intuition because that was the job of my father, who ran off years prior.  I literally had to learn what was right from wrong, and being introduced to a vast array of new cultures and identities, students wearing medical scrubs or aviation khakis steered me in the ‘I can be much bigger than I am’ direction.

What’s different from an African American/Mexican/Caucasian living in a wealthy neighborhood versus another family who lives in a lower-class neighborhood? What makes a high-society wannabe in Bangkok different from the slum dogs just 10km westward from their location in Khlong Toei?  What has to happen in the mind for someone to accept their life as it is and there’s no way they can change it?

This comes back to my family.  Meeting a female name Satomi Nakagawa of Kyoto, Japan who visited me in 2008 before I visited in 2009 was the difference maker.  She planted an idea within my mind saying “there’s much more to life than to being in one place.”  To this day, I haven’t heard the voices of any of my family members for over four years because I chose to get rid of the poverty consciousness (as Henry Ford did) and do something bigger.

The psych behind decision making is so hard to understand.

Podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/11735293

2006 – From Being Stuck Atop 1,000m Plus Mountain, To A Rescue Helicopter Flying In To Save Us. (Long read)

Oh, yes, it was a cold and sunny December 22nd, 2006 morning – this was the day that a rescue helicopter had to fly steeply to the main summit of Sunrise Mountain in Las Vegas, Nevada to collect my two friends and I in which was one of the funniest and most terrifying moments of my life.

This hike – this hike turned rescued mission featured the most daunting task of my life.

 

  1. The belief that we could actually scale the top of the mountain.
  2. The mountainous gorges that were hidden within the mountain.
  3. The lonesome Mexican lady that was our disguised blessing before we went up any further.

At the end of the day, there was a crowd of 20 people at the base of the mountain saying, “what the hell happened up there?” I, in disbelief, smiled creepily and retorted, “well, we were fighting time and had to get down the mountain as soon as possible, but we didn’t have any equipment or anything.”  Nonetheless, when I got back home, I was bombarded by some of the angriest family members one could ever imagine, hurling expletives at me in sheer frustration about getting stuck.  Oh, why did I call my mom from the top of the mountain.  Damnit!

Lights were turning on, footsteps were echoing around the house, and chatter was breaking out.  I look at the neon light clock and it was 6:30 am, the time that we all said we were going to wake up.  There wasn’t nervousness whatsoever setting in, but the thought of going to one of the highest peaks in west coast United States did rescind within me.  However, we were excited.  Perfectly prepared breakfast, lunch, and even what we were wearing.  We did have a harness, climbing shoes, ropes, or any survival pack equipment because we thought were would be back down before nightfall at 5pm….

And, so, the journey began.  We walked down the street and made a turn onto a street that lead up to the dirty base of the mountain where there weren’t any people around for about a 2-mile radius.  There weren’t any proper trails, either, so we needed to just navigate our way through an ugly cluster of bushes and cacti to get to the base.

For about forty-five minutes, we still couldn’t believe that we were yet to break the ascent to the top of the mountain; until one of us finally turned around and realized we were pretty high up already.  “WOW! LOOK AT THAT!” The excitement reverberated within our group until we saw a figure hidden away in the mountain. “What the fuck is that?” My friend said…

“It’s a person!”  After watching movies such as Hills Have Eyes and Jason, us African Americans aren’t accustomed to seeing another individual on a mountain with no city, nor person, in sight for miles.  As we approached, my best friend, Andre, was in front of the pack because he felt like he had to be the big man.  We approached this individual pretty fast and realize it was a woman.  My friend said, “hola!” The lady smiled (her being Mexican) before the conversations commenced between him and her.

 

She was in her lonesome just going up to the mid-section of the mountain, as she does daily, apparently.  She was aghast when she found out about us going to the top.  My friend said, “hey, she said don’t go to the top.” She began heading down, terrified at us.  The further away she walked, the more I second guessed going up further.  When we got to about the 60% mark, that’s when the climb began.  Unstable rocks, gorgeous, no ropes, things falling down, us having to push each other up and maneuver around the not-so-safe areas we were climbing.  Then, when we were almost at the peak, which didn’t take too fast to get to, that’s when I realized our will was on the line.  I immediately knew then that we couldn’t go down in the same direction.  If we did, we could die.  Period.  So, we were climbing one under another in the last push…..and when we finally got to the top, it was magnificent.

As a backstory, me and my housemates back at Central Arizona College in Coolidge, Arizona would climb a mountain just in the back of our dormitories routinely throughout the month.  This is what established my journey-filled fever within me.

The view was beyond spectacular.  The air was thin….the 360 view and even the ferocious back drop on the back side of the mountain facing Utah was jaw-dropping and nerve-racking at the same time.  I then knew, something wasn’t right.  “Andre, how are we gonna get down? We can die going down that way.”  Andre started looking while his girlfriend calmly opened saran wrap with a sandwich enclosed.  “Ummmm, your sense of urgency just isn’t here.  What the fuck? What the fuck is going on out here?”  Andre, with his hand on his chin, retorted, “I’m thinking.”  I threw my hands in the air incredulously and said, “Andre, that’s ridiculous. This is ridiculous.”

The angry conversations ensued, but just prior to reaching the summit, we saw a helicopter come and drop off a gentleman at the top where’s there’s a huge power-box.  “Well, worst case scenario is we can call a helicopter to save us!” Laughter filled the air….

….and then thoughts of that particular moment came back. “Andre, I gotta call 911 man. There’s no way of getting down.” He looked at me, stomped his feet and said, “whatever.  Fuck it. Call them. That’s on you.”  My breathing was shallow and I said, “mother fucker we gonna die up here if we don’t!”  Meanwhile, his girlfriend was still eating her doritos with no sense of urgency.

Phone rings……woman answers….”911 – state your emergency”

“Yes, hello. There are three of us and we are stuck on the south tower of sunrise mountain.”

“I’m sorry?” the woman replied.

“We are stuck on the south side of the peak on sunrise mountain which has the big electrical box.  My friends and I don’t have any climbing gear and anyway of getting down because there are massive, vertical drops everywhere.”

The conversation continued until she said, “Ok, we’re sending a rescue helicopter up to get you but please, don’t stand on the indicated “H” on the top of the mountain.”

5 minutes later, the helicopter made its way up.

Rusty, old, red-faced metropolitan officer with a sarcastic grin on his face, shades and a wobbly walk made his way on over to us in a very angry way.

“What the hell is going on?” He said.

I explained the situation before he showed us the trail to the next mountain.  OOPS!

“But we don’t have time. It’s 4:15 and we don’t have flashlights.”

I can’t remember much of the conversation, but he wasn’t thrilled at all about us.  He said, “normally this flight would cost a thousand dollars, but you’re lucky because taxpayers will pay for it.”

Sorry mom!

He took the sandwich eating freak of a girlfriend down first.

I was second.  WOW! This is a helicopter!?

“If you don’t hang onto this railing, you’re going to fallout and die.”

I gripped the rail with my life before landing safely and seeing the crowd of people.

Yeah, it was a terrifying experience, but one of the most memorable experience one could ever imagine because if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be half the man I am today. Why?

The leap of faith.

My Greatest Defeat – 2005 Sunrise Regional Track & Field Championships

Two years into my track and field career marked the biggest could-be-achievement of my life.  As a junior in high school, I qualified for the Sunrise Regional Championships.  Four heats of runners from all over the valley (Las Vegas) facing off with the top 2 of each heat clinching a spot in the finals.  Top 2 athletes of the finals would head to Reno for the Class 4A State Championship Race.

Having clinched my spot in the regional semi finals, and with a very distinguished time (upper echelon of all runners), I would at least make it to finals.

I failed miserably at the 100m high hurdles (my weakness); conversely, the 300m intermediate hurdles was the event that I ran great times in over the course of a few months.

Heading into a pivotal race in the west side of Las Vegas (Palo Verde High School), my nerves were calm and I was ready to go.  However, I didn’t run the race in my mind whatsoever, nor did I ever, which I think was crucial for advancing.

Nonetheless, after the 200m heats, my event was up next.  I’m not exactly sure what was happening on the track, but the officials made us sit down on a cold field, waiting for hour event.

For those of you who don’t know, sitting down and not stretching before a race could end up being detrimental, especially if the temperatures outside were dropping as time went on.

Finally, they called on my heat and I proceeded to lane 3 – one of the best lanes to run in for a 300m intermediate hurdle race.  I recall making eye-contact with a couple of Asians before the race – they nodded, I carried on.

“Runners on your block!”

I told myself I would come out screaming out of the blogs and establish my pace.  Worst decision ever.

I crouched down and did my typical ritual which involved me smacking the track while taking deep inhales and exhales.  I backed into position on the blocks…..here we go.

Once the gun went off, I came out of the block FLYING – passing everyone within the first 75 meters.  However, when we reached the first curve, that’s when my hamstrings and quadriceps locked up on me.  I had no idea what was happening, but it felt like I was carrying cinder blocks, narrowly getting over the hurdles while the rest of the racers past me in the blink of an eye.

The last 100meters was beyond devastating, hitting every hurdle as I went over – huffing and puffing.  I reached the finish line at 50 seconds, dropped to my knees and sobbed.  I remember staggering across the field covered in tears and there were twins on the team who were looking at….then dropped their heads as I approached.

A few of my friends approached me for comforting before I went to my coach to apologize. He looked at me, eyes glistening – then put his hands on my shoulders before giving me a partial hug.

“Sorry, coach!”

Because my coach is such a magician and knowing who I am, he cracked a joke about the race saying, “in the beginning, I was excited! Then around that back stretch I started looking at you and the time with my jaw dropped.”

LOL!

Another shot-put thrower failed to reach the state championships when he was the most favored out of all the competitors in the entire state of Nevada .  800m runner, who had run extraordinary times throughout the year, also failed, too.

The entire team went up in flames that fateful evening at Palo Verde High School in May.

12 years later, two tough mudders later, thousands of miles later, tens of thousands of squats later, I’m still here.  This failure set myself up to continue working out for the rest of my life.  Not just because I’m a speed-adrenaline junky and I love running extremely fast, but if it wasn’t for that May night, there’s no telling where my body would be in terms of physique.

When I go running and I’m 200meters away from my mark, the sprint is ON! I barrel down the street while people watch me in awe….”PUSH MOTHER ****ER! DON’T STOP! DON’T STOP!” I feel at times I’m off my head, but those last two hundred meters have rescinded within me in the greatest possible way.

Thank you, failure.  If it wasn’t for you, who knows where my health would be today.