Succeeding in a tough world…

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I recently attended a conference centering on excellence in economics; learning from, teaching to and awarding smart people; winning big one small step at a time, that sort of stuff. All that, condensed into four short days – albeit they sure felt like four long, long days. What surfaced is something you don’t hear too often these days, youth gaining from the hardship, pain and other problems that many of them face today, and turning into winning and excelling in business. These are some of their stories.

One storyteller talked of past days when going to prison was the thing to do. Stealing, drugs, jail time, you name it, this young man learnt his lesson and called it quits. His friend, Dakota House of North of 60 fame, drives up in his new car. “Wow, where’d you steal that from?” queried the then-known thug-turn-star to his beaming buddy. “Didn’t. Paid for it in cash from work on TV.”

That incident turned the young man into an actor and before you know it, he’s battling against Superman in a Smallville episode. He looked pretty awesome as the bad guy and looked just as strong as the teenaged Superman, if not stronger in real life, and now he even has his own agent and manager.

Whoah, someone’s catching up to our reigning leading man, Adam Beach, maybe we’ll see a battle in some sci-fi action flick? Who knows? But he admitted that it is hard work and you have to keep in tiptop shape, as all roles call for you to be in shape, and dress cool, just to drum up business. Well, anyways, he came from a troubled background to battle for our hearts and minds on prime time TV. Who could ask for anything better as a success story?

The thing was, actor Nathaniel Arcand introduced the distinguished youth panel on economic development and the real fireworks started. The first young’un to come up touted the success story of snowboarding as a lifestyle, and how much cooler can you get as a career? Not much, and his rags-to-better-rags story enabled other snowboarders with attitude to come together on common ground, somewhere on a snow-topped mountaintop near Whistler, where they can fly back down to earth on clouds of snow and communicate with the elements at par with long-lost Nordic gods (of the Alps) or other ethereal entities.

All this, of course, bettered many lives and is now a thriving business, looking eastward to the Laurentians for other Aboriginal boarders with bad attitudes and out-of-sync with the world. Again, another incredible story of doing what you want to do in the right environment and making something out of nothing.

The next two gave us two different perspectives. One was a victim of drug abuse on the streets of Vancouver who rose above that to become a notable fashion stylist. His story, much more pained than the others, told us about the bad times in his past. But he didn’t dwell on that much encouraging others to do the same, to come out of a negative predicament and move on one of business success. It was truly inspirational.

The other shared his tale of how he came to be a successful person in helping those in need of chronic care. He told us he learnt those attributes while clinically caring for his mother, who eventually passed on. His story continued in his caring for those who couldn’t care for themselves. Again, he was another one who had overcome personal tragedy and hardship to rise above and succeed.

Our own local contender spoke of his limitations, his education and his dealings with personal hardships. He explained his intentions to expand and adjust to the current trends in the price increases for fuel and transportation and how his love of the land keeps his outfitting business going for record-breaking trout and other creatures of the deep.

All in all, true stories of people who just don’t give up and lose, but keep going and win.

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