J.D. Roth gave the closing keynote at this year’s World Domination Summit (WDS). I’ve followed J.D. Roth’s Get Rich Slowly blog for some time, but I wasn’t familiar with J.D.’s story. At WDS, Mr. Roth gave a remarkable speech titled “The Power of Personal Transformation“:
One day in algebra class, the girl behind me — Janine was her name — the girl behind me wrote something on the back of my shirt. I kept turning around to ask her to stop, but she kept writing. The other kids kept snickering. After class, I went to the bathroom to see what she’d written. There, in big block letters, was the word DICK. She’d written DICK on the back of my shirt.
That’s who I was. I was the bottom of the junior-high pecking order. I was a nerd. A geek. A loser. The other kids thought I was a dick. And slowly but surely, I began to believe them. In fact, as eighth grade progressed, I sank into a deep depression. I missed school. I withdrew. I became suicidal.
I remember coming home from school after one particularly horrific day — maybe even the same day Janine wrote the word DICK on the back of my shirt — I remember coming home to our trailer house, searching the cupboards for something to eat. I opened one of the kitchen drawers, and there I found a sharp knife. I took it out and sat at the table. For maybe five or ten minutes, I sat staring at the blade. I ran it over my wrist once or twice. “I could kill myself,” I thought. “I could kill myself and this would all be over.”
Fortunately, I didn’t have the guts.
Instead, I put the knife away and went to my bedroom to read X-Men comic books.
That was a turning point for me, a key experience in my young life. As I sat at the table with knife in hand, I made a decision. I knew I wasn’t a dick. I knew I was a good guy. Why didn’t other people? I decided to change. I decided that the next year, when I started high school, I’d do new things. I’d make new friends.
And so I did.
I am happy for J.D.:
After I paid off my debt, I began to wonder how I could apply the lessons I’d learned to other parts of my life. If I could transform my personal finances, could I transform my fitness? My personality? My relationships? Turns out, the answer is “yes”. In fact, it’s a resounding yes.
But the biggest change of all, and the most important one, is that today I’m happy. That’s probably the defining facet of my existence. A decade ago, I was unhappy. Even a year ago, I was unhappy. Not today. Sure, there are things I want to change, but have no doubt: I have an awesome life.
J.D. talked about the three components for making a striking personal transformation:
- The power of yes. Yes is an open mind. Yes is a willingness to try new things. Yes is allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
- The power of focus. The ability to focus only on those things that are most important.
- The power of action. The strength to work hard, to get things done.
It was an incredible speech. I think the video might be available eventually, but for now, the best thing you can do is read J.D.’s speech on the Get Rich Slowly blog. It’s a must-read.