I saw somewhere sometime ago a line that read: “Recent US studies suggest that immigrants are four times more likely to become self-made millionaires.”
I am not sure how accurate this statement is, but I have seen and met so many successful immigrants in the last 17 years that I have a feeling that the number could be even greater.
The “self-made” part is what I want you to focus on! It means that they were not millionaires before, but that they decided to become millionaires by making a firm choice, by themselves and in their own minds. I repeat; they made this decision alone!
You can’t experience real success until you help other people succeed, so obviously it is always a team effort, a union of lives and stories that intersect each other in this tapestry called life, but the decision to find success is an inside job, personal, intimate. Someone literally has to say: “I´ve had enough of the pain of just surviving, enough of playing it safe, of being just another actor in someone else´s movie; I want to be the main actor in my own movie.” Sadly, the adventure of pursuing the dream job, the business, the singing career, etc., often stops right at the starting line: the decision.
The decision doesn’t happen because no changes have been made from within: if deep inside we don’t think we are capable of starting that business, how are we going to find the strength to make that decision? It is impossible! We need to make a major clean up in our internal “hard drive”, our subconscious mind, the one who´s in charge of our behavior when we are operating on “autopilot”, which is almost all the time.
We need to insert new beliefs about life, ourselves, and others into our subconscious mind.
How? Stay with me until the end of the article and I will demonstrate how powerful the Act of Immigrating is in regard to this question.
Every guru in the self-development industry claims the same thing in different words; that radical transformation happens in one of the following two ways, or sometimes in both:
• Consistent exposure to new ideas and beliefs, the opposite of our existing beliefs.
These can only be obtained by studying, exposing ourselves to self-help material and spending time with positive, inspiring people who have already made the change in themselves or are in the process of doing this.
Jim Rohn, a self-development guru, says: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, including yourself.”
This way requires some effort, discipline and a strong will; basically, you have to put the work in, and the change will occur in time.
• Going through a traumatizing and usually painful experience.
Losing a lover, a death in the family, being suddenly deprived of every material thing you own, being betrayed by someone close to you… The shock from this kind of trauma can literally erase your programming, format your “hard drive”, and suddenly you are ready to write a new life story; this kind of change is fast and irrevocable, it happens suddenly and without planning! Obviously, you don’t make a decision to lose someone so you can start a process of transformation… And it is important to know that it does not work every time, and it does not work for everybody; many times, people become even more withdrawn and stuck in their conditioned ways when a tragedy hits.
You are probably anxious to know how these two points relate to the Immigration concept.
When we arrive as immigrants in a new country, some of us have family or an old friend already there; but generally speaking, we don’t know anybody, and even better, nobody knows us. They don´t know our past, our reputation, our family, etc.… So we have this precious freedom to select friends that are in line with the new person we want to become, and they will see our true self, without our past, with no judgment or prejudice based on what we were before.
Because everything and everyone is new for us, we will be comfortable with starting to read new books and pursue new ideas that we would never have thought about in our native country, and so we can raise our level of awareness.
• Isn’t this the first way to the radical transformation outlined by self-development gurus? Consistent exposure to new ideas and beliefs, the opposite of our existing beliefs.
If you, reader, haven’t left your native country yet, I can promise you that, one way or the other, you will be traumatized by the experience! It does not matter how intensely you desire to leave: not being in the house you grew up in, with the comfort of your routine, the physical presence of your mother, the comfort of speaking your language, this is a big separation. Everything is gone! Nothing will be the same again!
I can’t forget the face of my little brother, 13 years old at the time, after I had completed the check-in procedure for boarding my flight at the airport. Being 14 years older than him, I knew how important I was for him, but in the rush of preparing to leave I didn’t have time to have a real “goodbye” chat with him. His eyes were so wide: I waved at him, but he never waved back, he seemed hypnotized. I did not turn my head and look back, I kept walking towards the gate; tears were flooding my eyes, and my chest burned with the heartache of knowing that I was going to miss the most important phase of his life, when he was going to need me the most. This was a real emotional shock, it literally shook me to the core. I felt I was abandoning him, and his eyes confirmed that he was feeling abandoned. This was the traumatic side of my personal experience.
• Isn’t this the second way to radical transformation?
Going through a traumatizing and usually painful experience.
These two proven ways to radical transformation are hence available to all of us when we emigrate from our native country and immigrate to a new one; so why is it that only a few of us immigrants end up with a successful immigration experience, and hence a successful life?
It is simple: we are not aware that these two ways of transformation come along with the immigration experience as part of a package. We simply don’t know that! We don´t see the opportunity!
We believe that we have to avoid the challenge of confronting new ideas so we will avoid failure, and so when we land in our new country, we avoid connecting with people who seem “different”. We actually criticize them because we fear their “differences”, and so we prefer to shelter ourselves by surrounding ourselves with people who make us feel comfortable, the ones with whom we share the same culture.
We play the role of the victim when thinking of how painful it is to leave our loved ones and our roots back home, believing that it is part of the price we pay to immigrate, almost like a punishment, instead of seeing it as the doorway to transformation.
A few lucky immigrants seem to be subconsciously aware of this, and so they activate the transformation process automatically: the rest of us need some signposts, some directions.
Read this article again, it could be your signpost.