Thursday, November 24, 2016

An Immigrant's Thanksgiving Message to All Americans

This is my Thanksgiving story of success.  Successfully reaching America from Europe is one of the things the pilgrims had to be thankful for.  Well, successfully reaching America from Mexico is one thing I have to be thankful for this and every Thanksgiving.  My first Thanksgiving dinner happened sometime in the mid '80s.  I was perhaps 7 or 8 years old.  It didn't take place in the 1-bedroom apartment my family lived in San Jose, CA.  Like most immigrants who come to this country, we were invited to a Thanksgiving dinner by more Americanized friends.  My father's new Mexican-American friends to be exact.

My wife, Jessica, making apple pie.

What I remember the most about my first Thanksgiving is the food I got to eat for the very first time.  You have to realize, the significance of Thanksgiving was beyond me at this point in my life.  Plus I was a kid, and eating was my second favorite thing to do with playing coming in first.  Back to the food.  I fell in love with two things that first Thanksgiving: oven toasted rolls and pumpkin pie.  The rolls with melted butter were so delicious and the pumpkin pie with whipped cream was out of this world.  Mexicans don't make rolls or pies.  That's pure Americana.

Rolls! Thank-you state of Hawaii.

An abundance of opportunities is also something uniquely American.  Sure, there are other countries on this planet where anyone can make it big.  None like, "The Land of Opportunity," however.  I was given a huge opportunity by INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) when they approved my "green card" way back in the mid '90s.  I didn't squander it.  (I became a naturalized citizen in 2004).  How often people squander opportunities in this country amazes me.  How do they do this?  They don't take advantage of the available freedoms.

For example, so long as it isn't illegal, you can practically start and open up any small business.  Seed money, a customer, and an idea is all you need.  Try doing this in Cuba.

They don't take advantage of the freedom of expression.  So long as you don't threaten anything or anyone, or infringe on copyrights or trademarks, you can impart information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.  Most Americans see this as the right to constantly complain about the laws, their politicians and leaders.  They obsess about this right and blame the President, the Republicans, the liberals, the Democrats, basically everyone except themselves for the misfortunes of their own making.  I see this freedom as the opportunity to grow my following, potential customers, and brand using everything at my disposal, including this blog and social media.  If you want an example of an American squeezing everything out of his freedom of expression, check out the work of Grant Cardone.

I've enjoyed great success in my life.  Willing to put myself out there, not playing by the rules, being unreasonable with my determination, not caring what relatives or friends think about my inner drive, working harder than others, and not settling for nada, are my key attributes.  These are the things anyone can do!  You just have to start.  The type of success you've always wanted can be yours, but it may take you giving up what you've come to know as American--the average American mind-set.

Rum cake in progress.

I know our country has really struggled as of late to live up to the spirit of brotherhood, "From sea to shining sea!"  How divided we've become.  But if this immigrant from Mexico can tell you something to uplift you today it is this: America is still a place where anyone can succeed.  That hasn't changed.  There is enough success available for everyone, despite how limiting your beliefs can be.

Today is a day to be thankful for what we have.  But it's also a day to be thankful for the things you can have.  Tomorrow is Black Friday.  Heck, some of you won't even wait for Black Friday; you'll be out of the house tonight, ready to go spend your hard earned money on products you don't really need.  That's being an American in your mind.  Trying doing something unconventional to you instead.  You can buy gifts for the needy.  You can tithe the money to your church.  You can buy yourself two to three books on the principles of success or financial education.  You can buy yourself an audio book on the previous topics.  You can buy something for your personal business (and write off the expense next year).

Appreciate what you have, a great country, like I do.  Don't take it for granted.  Be the best you can be because it's your duty to give all you have for your family and for your country.  In other words, hustle like an immigrant!  Happy Thanksgiving! Until next time.  
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