With each blog entry, I attempt to give each of you a piece of who I am. I attempt to share my thoughts and my experience related to my life in Real Estate. Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free Above all, I invite you to peruse the building blocks of my foundation, as a person and as a professional, and use them as your own. This week I offer you a story of my youth — a portion of my life that has been the basis for my business habits, my work ethics and just as many failures as successes. Related: 7 Real Estate Investing Lessons We Can Learn From Tony Robbins Many of you may already know that I quit school at the age of 14. I have no high school diploma, no college credit. I quit to chase a dream and gave up my youth to do so. It was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a professional Soccer Player. Prior to quitting school, living in a post-communist country with my mother, I trained daily. We had strict regimens to follow and if we did not adhere, the punishment was harsh: banishment from the team and league; there was no second chance. Our boots had to be shined daily. Our uniforms pressed and in perfect condition. Each day as the coach arrived to the locker room, we stood in salute and greeted him with a unanimous, “Good morning, Sir Coach”, waited for inspection and were released to be seated. We ran 10 miles each day during preseason. If you fell out of line you were kicked out. If your side hurt and you started heaving, you kept running because you knew that this was all you had, and failure was not an option. Although it may sound horrible to some, a bit like military school, this was my way out. This was my way to see the world and to provide a better life for my family. I grew up poor in a poor country. It was my only option. When I was 18, I left my home and traveled to Hong Kong, where I eventually played professionally until I realized that my future was not totally in my control. As a professional soccer player, I was just one injury, one bad day or one missed goal away from ruin. I was just not in control. It was too slim of a margin. So I decided to go down another path, which led me to laboring on a construction site while learning all I could about business and my main interest, Real Estate. During this time and even now, the lessons I learned in my youth propelled me forward. 3 Real Estate Lessons I Learned from Playing Soccer 1. Respect for myself and others. We always respected the coaching staff, our team members and other players. 2. The determination to not stop, even if the pain to continue told us otherwise. We were taught to push ourselves because you don’t become truly fit until your body fights your will to stop. 3. Delayed gratification. Because everyday we always knew we had an end goal that was greater than ourselves. If we committed the hard yards now, we would reap the rewards later. I read books: Real Estate Investing for Dummies, Rich Dad Poor Dad and so on. All to start building a foundation for my future self and the company I would one day own. I worked tirelessly and even at times for free, to gain experience. I recall working all day and driving around all night to look at properties and explore new areas because I didn’t want to waste time. Related: Learn on Your Own or Hire A Coach…The Best of the Best Always Have Coaching! I look back on this and talk fondly of those times because I know that sense of discipline allowed me to pursue my dreams. If not in soccer, then in business and Real Estate. In building relationships with potential investors and business partners. Respect, Determination and Delayed Gratification have allowed me to grow in a sustainable way. This is also what I look for in the people that surround me. So for now I ask of you: Are you respectful of yourself and of your time? Are you determined to keep pushing until after it hurts? Can you see the goal in your future that is clearly defined? If you answered “Yes!” then I say follow your dreams and be your success. It can be anything. Real Estate, Business, Kite Flying…whatever. Respect + Determination + Delayed Gratification x Dreams = Success We want to hear your story! Please comment below.