By Leonard Kim
Failure. What is failure to you? Is it something that you just pick yourself up from? Is it your way to search for a lesson? Or is it
your way to define who you are? My name is Leonard Kim. I’ve failed at everything I have ever tried to accomplish.
My friend Matt Morrow used to always say, “In life, no one is completely useless. You can always serve as a bad example.”I am the epitome of that bad example of which he spoke. I lost the woman I wanted to marry in 2006. In 2007, I had my car repossessed and maxed out all my credit cards, putting myself into $50,000 of debt. In 2008, I got involved with real estate and working at an investment fund at the worst time possible. 2009, the first start up I worked with, a lead generation firm, failed. In 2010, I was fired and dismissed by my investor, sending me into a downward spiral, where I ended up losing my 2,600 square foot loft and my Lexus GS 350, my
two most prized possessions. I lost everything and had to start over from scratch. I had to move back in with my grandmother and live under her rules with a bedtime enforced, at the age of 26. Then I worked at another start up, which failed in 2011. The same year, I tried to make another start up and was scammed by my programmer. I tried to move into a home with a few of my friends, however that didn’t go through. Then I tried to put together an investment for a restaurant that was dying, but my
investor went to jail when he was on the way to deliver our cash. My ex came back in my life and then I lost her again. Shortly afterwards, I had a girl I was seeing kick me out of my hotel room at the Petit Ermitage, then ordered a love kit, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, and breakfast on my tab.
I experienced failure after failure, back, to back, to back. I was at my wit’s end. I couldn’t take it any more. I felt that failure was whom I was. It was all that defined me. I no longer had the strength to get up and move forward. I reflected back to all the times when I just hid under my bed, scared of the world, while dealing with panic attacks, drinking away my sorrows, just hoping that tragedy would pass me by. I reminisced of all the times where I prayed that everything would be better, when I had cried out for a miracle. I didn’t know what to do anymore. I just wanted to end it all. I calculated out how to end my life. I sent out letters saying goodbye to everyone I loved. I was ready to just give up on life. I knew that, in this world, I would never make it. I was a nobody. Deep inside, I knew it to be true. Something miraculous happened. My ex read my letter, and then ended up picking me up from work on the day of which I thought would be my last. She told me of how selfish and stupid I was. She comforted me and stayed by my side. She kind of, technically… saved my life.
Since I had gone through so many failures, I was scared to attempt to do anything again. Instead, I spent the next year reflecting on my life. I reflected back on all the mistakes I made and what led me to where I was today. There was a lesson to be found in each story. I sought those lessons out. After taking about a year and a half to reflect, I found myself. I figured out who I was. I decided to take off the mask.
I shed myself of expectation. I shed myself of fear, apathy, depression and hopelessness. I stopped allowing money to define who I was. I stopped living in the past, nor the future. I began to live in the moment. I started getting eight hours of sleep and began to eat well. I started exercising. I became quite grateful to all my friends who had helped me, and explicitly expressed it to them. I forgave everyone who had wronged me, especially myself. I became humble and accepted all the help I could get. I cared and learned true empathy. I found the true joys that life has to offer.
Through my failures, I reflected back upon what I learned. I learned to trust my intuition. I learned how to live well below my means. I learned whom I could trust. I learned how to communicate better with people. I learned how to make something from nothing. I learned how to sell products online. I learned how to optimize free resources. I learned how to write. I learned how to sense bad decisions before they occur. I learned when to keep moving forward and when to drop something. I learned how to lower my expectations, to the point where they are almost nonexistent. Then I just put my head down and worked. I learned that there are some things that will never be in my control. Most importantly, I learned how to dust myself off and pick myself back up again.
As of May 15, 2013, I started writing and documenting out my journey, my struggles, and my failures, without any expectation at all. I went out on a defamation streak, not of another party, but myself instead. I decided it was time that I share my experiences with others. I went from being this loser that no one wanted anything to do with. Now, here I am, with over 10,000 views on my content every single day and a whole inbox full of messages from people telling me how much I influenced their lives.
As of today, financially, my life has not changed. However, I now have everything I could ever want, emotionally, physically and spiritually. There seems to now be a purpose to my life. A raison d’être, what the French consider to be a reason to live. Mine being to help others with the struggles they face in their every day lives.
suppose that what Sofia says in the movie Vanilla Sky can be quite true. “Every passing moment truly is another moment to turn it all around.”
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