At age 12, I jumped from my 2nd story bedroom window and ran away from home. My parents were on a path that I didn't agree with, so I left.
Until age 17, I did everything I could to remain plugged into traditional martial arts. I craved the study of the mind and body and traditional Eastern teachings focus more on overcoming limitations and eliminating obstacles within ourselves. I even went so far as to live with my Sensei in his temple for a while.
At 17 I needed a job. And, without anyone priming me for college, I went into the only organisation that I knew of who prided themselves on excellence... the Army.
For those of us who give 100% in what they do, the Army was great. I joined the Infantry because it seemed like the most challenging area. Although, because of my high scores on the ASVAB, I went into "Indirect Fire Infantry" (aka "Mortars"). Of course, I scored Expert on every weapon I touched... which is critical since a mortar round needs to hit a target up to 4.5 miles away and you need a strong brain to get it there.
As hard core as I was, the Army stopped being great the moment a US Marine walked into our company area. He was dressed in his "bravo" uniform and all of us rock hard infantrymen immediately stopped and stared. Granted, I wasn't entirely sure why we were staring. And then I heard someone say, "Damn, they're bad ass." It was at that moment I realised the mistake I had made. As great as we were, there was a team that was better... and I joined the wrong one.
Although it took some time, I eventually found a way to switch branches. Enter DD Form 368... Request for Conditional Release. One of the reasons almost immediately approved when submitting this form was to enter another branch of the military.
In April of 1992 my release from the Army was approved for the incredibly low price of losing all of my rank and starting again at E-0 as a recruit. For some, this may seem unreasonable. However, if you truly kick ass and know you will succeed, then it is nothing to help you achieve your goals. In July 1992 I graduated from Parris Island and officially earned the title "United States Marine."
Every facet of my life has been this way. If a scenario or person is holding me back then I happily leave them behind. If there is something others are afraid of tackling then I am happy to excel past them.
Like most people, I hate running. However, at the gym, I'm the guy on the treadmill in front of everyone else. Regardless of how I feel, I refuse to get off before anyone else. And, when the time comes to end my session, rest assured the last mile will be at a sprint limited only by the speed of the machine. Although I don't enjoy the actual sport of running, I do enjoy proving myself to be stronger and faster than those around me.
Business is the same way. As an employee, I was the guy happily working 90-hour work weeks to ensure I would always succeed ahead of schedule and under budget. I honestly cannot count the number of weekends where I worked from 9 AM Friday straight to 9 AM Monday to be able to offer an improvement to the organisation. And, as the gold statue, emblazoned with "Mission from God", will show, these were hours that had massive impacts on the businesses I worked with.
I could go on for days. I could talk about the many languages I've learned (and mostly forgot) over the decades... all because they were the most challenging. I could talk about the millions of dollars I've made over the years and the fact that I haven't had less than a six-figure salary since my early 20's. All of this points to a few simple facts...
I am great at virtually everything I do because I put in the time, effort, and energy;
I cannot stand being around people who complain about life, settle for the "status quo," for second best in anything, or who make excuses for any part of their life;
I thrive on overcoming obstacles that other people feel are impossible, too difficult, or are afraid to attempt;
Within me is a constant drive to help others. Whether I am donating my time, holding the door for someone, or just being there for a person in need, there aren't many better feelings in my opinion;
I believe a person should never stop learning and that no scenario is impossible to overcome; and,
I am convinced that there is more to our existence than this body we occupy. There is life after our bodies have reached a point where current medicine cannot fix it.
So, how is this not in tune with Scientology?
For years I have seen documentaries on people bad-mouthing Scientology. People like Leah Remini and Marty Rathbun can't stop spewing hatred. But what are they actually complaining about? Usually, it all comes down to their feeling ostracised when they left. What's so bad about that? You leave and you are surprised when others do not want to follow you? You're surprised by people who have not given up on themselves choosing to disassociate with those who have? How pathetic.
Another complaint I've heard from others is about a science fiction writer starting Scientology. This fact alone is ridiculous and it proves how little research the person has actually done. Yes, L Ron Hubbard made his living as an author. But do any of them know of the years he spent travelling the planet and looking into other cultures, philosophies, and religions? There is a valid reason he published the book, Dianetics. It is the study of "a mix of Western technology and Oriental philosophy"... essentially, what he learned from his travels. So, yes, while science fiction writing did pay his bills while he was alive, the book everyone usually mentions (which they only ever know the title of), Dianetics was actually described as "branch of self-help psychology".
All we ever hear from are over-emotional people spewing their anger for others to listen to. Every movie released is aimed at profiting by bullying a group of people who simply do not want to be bothered. One could say they simply do not want to lower themselves to the subpar standards of the leeches trying to profit by badmouthing them.
From the outside looking in, I see Scientologists as a group of people on one common quest to continuously understand and improve themselves. I see an organisation who has taken the high road rather than wallow in the sludge created by the people spewing ugliness towards them. And I see a group of people who believe so strongly in their journey that they simply do not want to have someone near them who is not in-tune with their efforts.
If the adage, "you become who you surround yourself with" is true, then how is any of this a bad thing? I personally agree with them.