The tale of the American Dream has brought in millions upon millions of immigrants to the United States for years. Its promises of a better life have captured the hearts of countless hungry individuals who know the true meaning of hard work. Immigrants, like Sergey Brin, who founded Google and Jan Koum, who cofounded Whatsapp, have showcased real-life stories of “rags to riches” by deploying a certain set of tactics that others simply did not have.
Undoubtedly, there is something to be learned by studying the lives of these individuals and others like them who had the guts to embark on a new journey far from home. Detailed below are 5 tips that we all can learn from with or without leaving the comfort of your own home:
1. Stay Hungry
A common theme among some of the most successful immigrants is that they came from nothing. Andrew Ly, owner of Sugar Bowl Bakery, has quite the story. Coming to the U.S. with just a dollar to his name, Ly settled in San Francisco where he lived for years with eight other family members in a two-bedroom apartment. During this time, he gradually learned to speak English as he attended classes.
Years later in 1984, Ly and his four brothers pooled their money to open Sugar Bowl Bakery. Since then, the company has seen great success and expanded to become a $400 million dollar business (Feloni). Not so bad for coming to The States with just a buck.
In effect, it seems that too many of us have simply become too comfortable. While this is far from the truth for some individuals, it is important to reflect on how many things you feel automatically entitled to. If you are not willing to give up certain aspects of your life, you will never reach your full potential. Ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice. If it isn't that much, then don't expect that much success.
2. Trust Your Senses
Upon moving to a foreign place, you are forced to adapt in many ways to the way things are in that location. Things that seemed normal before may be totally out of place in your new destination. Thus, you have to rely a lot on your natural instincts to get you through.
Body language is a universal language that we all speak. Learning its parameters can help to distinguish how others around you are feeling; whether, they trust you or are feeling apprehensive. This not only helps in making new friends, but in making deals in the boardroom. Learning how to understand others, no matter where they are from, can help you to connect on a much deeper level. This could end up either costing you a huge opportunity or landing you an amazing gig.
3. Build Relationships that Feel like Family
As an immigrant, you likely do not have as many family members as others to rely upon. Thus, you are forced to become self-reliant. But in order to reach real success, you MUST build lasting relationships with others. Being so far from home, you often cherish these relationships that much more. You learn to not take people for granted, because without them you cannot survive.
Further, you learn to ask for help from others. Without having the relationships or knowledge of how business is done in a new place, you must consult with experts that know much more than you. This not only saves time in the long run, but it helps in developing deeper relationships that can help you in times of need. Leaning on others forms bonds that run much deeper than simply completing day-to-day business.
4. Let Your Success Be Part of a Bigger Picture
Many successful immigrants have shown that they have an overarching guiding light that leads them down a much more purpose-driven path. Whether it be to make a certain amount of money to give to their family or to simply have a better life than those that came before them, they establish one predominant goal that directs all others below it.
This one main dream is what keeps them waking up at the crack of dawn when others are still sleeping. It reminds them of why they came here. It is why they do not give up when countless others have thrown in the towel. This goal does not have to be complex. Contrarily, it is merely something real that speaks to them louder than anything else that seems to matter, but, in the end, is only secondary.
5. Always Remember Your Roots
Lastly, it is incredibly important to stay true to who you are as a person, no matter where you find yourself living. Do not sacrifice your morals or your true personality in order to reach success. It is far greater to take pride in your roots and what values brought you to where you are today than to try to impress others with your success. After all, success built on self-serving motives is quite unappealing. It is rather lonely at the top when you have stepped on others to get there. Always stay true to who you are and be proud of where you came from!
Therefore, next time you embark upon a goal, think of how much others in the past had to sacrifice in order to reach their dreams. Let this push you further than you ever imagined. After all, if they could make things happen in a completely foreign country, you can surely take advantage of all of the opportunities that you were handed.
"To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It's not about winning and losing; it's about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge. It's about embracing the pain that you'll experience at the end of the race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge." - Summer Sanders
"Adopt an Immigrant Mindset to Advance Your Career." Harvard Business Review. August 24, 2012. Accessed December 16, 2014. https://hbr.org/2012/08/adopt-an-immigrant-mindset-to/.
Feloni, Eric. "12 Immigrants Who Came To America With Nothing And Made A Fortune." Business Insider. February 25, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/american-dream-immigrants-made-a-fortune-in-the-us-2014-2?op=1
"Summer Sanders | Easy Choices for a Better Life." Summer Sanders Home Comments. Accessed December 17, 2014. http://www.summersanders.net/.