I hope my story can help you find what you’re most confident in about yourself which is positive and helpful to the most people in your life…
In my life I’ve been fortunate from a pretty early age, after living in a bit of a dilapidating house as a small child in Montreal we moved to a better place not long before moving to a much better place even, a small mansion as some called it as my father had finally secured a good job with the government in Ottawa, what he had dreamt of. From then on I lived, as the youngest among my siblings, a very fortunate life, not realizing how good I had it in comparison to my brother and sister.
Though quite diligent at school early on in elementary, due to outside influences such as constantly switching schools, bad teacher situations, the occasional rowdy student and a lack of a challenging curriculum for me personally, I was only able to be motivated enough against a rich home life to be an average student outside of English and Mathematics up until Junior High. In the meantime however I got incredible at drawing and developed a great passion for anime and video games. I hosted amazing parties at my house, with the help of parents, for birthdays, and all around had a great childhood.
By Junior High I got into martial arts quietly and became humbler in personality and learned so much at that point. However as puberty came in, formalities started to be imposed by the kung fu school after two years in I lost interest and moved onto girls. At that point I let go a little bit too extremely, I went back to unhealthy attitudes of eating junk food which had made me overweight before starting the modern wing-chun form of kung-fu I practiced. That must have affected my appendix as I had a great pain which ended up in a rupture that had to be surgically removed. I remember being visited by all my junior high friends that summer at the hospital while I was getting high on morphine being fed to me via a UV to soothe the pain.
After that I got more physically active and into breakdancing, also into hip-hop, rapping, beatboxing, producing beats and cannabis culture. I was in high school and I was definitely very high. I performed on numerous occasions at the school Christmas special shows in front of all the students with my signature human beatbox as well as other school events. I later on got deeper into the b-boy scene with some graffiti sketching, breakdance battles, playing parts in setting up or taking responsibility in hip-hop events, rap battles, and dance performances. I eventually moved out on my own with the help of my uncle to another part of town after I had reached a point were my party lifestyle was getting ahead of me.
I graduated out of high school, happy to be out and wanted to stay away from formalized education as much as possible. After a short-lived gig as a door-to-door fundraiser and child sponsorship professional, I took up a job with my uncle’s office, working as a data entry clerk along with a part-time job making sandwiches in the same building at lunch. My uncle also aided me in learning Flash development by paying for a basic course in the subject. This work went deeper into the years while on my own I kept in touch with the dance community, less competitively but still creatively. I also got deeply into house dancing, yoga with the help of my uncle’s Indian Yoga master friend, aikido & qigong from my own initiatives, wrote many stories and read a lot of books about spirituality and researched heavily the natural alternative health and nutrition on the internet (when Wikipedia was still new) as a hobby. My spiritual research eventually led me to a modern qigong practice based on ancient ones called Falun Gong.
Getting into that at around the time my depth of work with my uncle’s help, at ITTF and then TMS, was bringing me to Japan. I started to have a conflict of interest between Falun Gong and working for the ITTF, though I shouldn’t have felt that way, but was moved by the offensive cruelty that was shown by the Chinese Communist Party to those that practiced it, making me feel less confident to work as a professional for an industry where China is the ruler in the court. I shifted to New York city where I worked for a TV station, NTD TV started by a group of wealthy Falun Gong practitioners on a mission to provide Chinese people with an alternative to China’s state run media being the only media officially allowed to be broadcast legally in China. NTD TV have reached Chinese people through satellite and through their ever-growing expansion, I got work via my connection through my volunteer work for a sister media establishment, Epoch Times as a proofreader. I got in for my creative computer skills, on a mission to transfer my already established graphic design expertise to the moving media, accelerating my learning of motion graphics.
After some failed attempts in-house on my motion graphics training, I got the hang of it with many new responsibilities delivered as well consequently including videos produced and edited, narration, equipment setup, lighting, commercials, reporting, live switching, while working on the finishing touches of the ITTF virtual museum on a freelance contract then getting a role doing graphic design, video production, text editing, transcription services, marketing analysis and review for a third party in Manhattan along with the occasional graphic design freelance work from New York locals as well.
Not long after this time I parted ways with NTD TV and headed back to Japan as my new editing and media skills were assets to my uncle’s connection to a Japanese magazine which I worked part-time for my first 3-month stint in Japan before working in New York. They were ready to take me back as I went to Japanese school part-time in the morning through the help of an application process for a grant to students studying abroad. This coupled with the Working-Holiday Visa arrangement between Japan and Canada allowed me to stay there for a good amount of time between standard visitor’s permits rules, including a short trip to South Korea’s Seoul to renew my permit. Somehow inspired during my time in Tokyo my songwriting output began to increase heavily as I would visit the many instrument shops in Tokyo’s strong guitar and musical instrument market. I then made it a point to register 140 of my songs with the Songwriting Association of Canada.
I learned Japanese in a country I grew up to adore, love and involve myself in one way or another. I was very interested in ancient wisdom and China was well-known to provide it. When I learned more about the history and the political situation, I noticed that those values had changed in China but were better preserved in countries like South Korea and Japan. It is a dream place for me to live, and enjoyed all my adventures in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Yamagata, Sendai, Kamakura, Nara, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Kumamoto, Hakone and more. I learned a lot in Japanese school but a lot from meeting and forming relationships with Japanese people mainly across Tokyo and Yokohama. The deal that brought me there was to go to Japanese school for a year while working part-time at the Japanese Table Tennis Magazine, World-TT.
That is exactly what happened but with false expectations in my head I thought that one school was over I could convert my position to full-time at the magazine. When my one year study in language school ended I simply started coming in early in the morning, leaving late at night and working hard the whole time at the Table Tennis Magazine. At this point the boss started to no longer treat me nicely as he once did but became harsh attempting to humiliate me, but my strong attitude did not let it happen, even becoming aggressive without causing too much disaster. I didn’t know at the time that those trying to work full time for a company in Japan are customarily met with the standard of harsh treatment from the boss for the first 10 years before going easy and awarding promotions. This happened as I was trying to write a manga about a Japanese table tennis historical legend, Ogimura, being passed around the community written by a Japanese author and translated into English. The story was inspiring as it was a man my uncle once worked with in the Federation so there was a lot of interest.
After I started seriously attacking the work on the graphic novel on top of all the other responsibilities at the office, my boss warned me that the owner of the historical novel may not agree to the manga. I asked if we could get word and he said he didn’t know. After those personal issues erupted the secretary told me the truth was they didn’t have a manga in their budget and didn’t want to tell me directly at first. I unfortunately let all this get to me killing the steam on the graphic novel I already started. Some time after we did meet the original author of the book at a club get-together for those ping pong players, and he didn’t seem to care at all the whole time, he was like “Of course, go for it” very easily. By this point it was far removed and I had developed other concerns.
TV Tokyo made a deal for broadcasting rights of Olympic content from the ITTF and like some of the business for World-TT, doing specialized issues in collaboration before allowing me to work there, there was an opportunity for my being able to work there at TV Tokyo. At the time, though I should have went for the opportunity, I thought I should remain loyal to the head of World-TT at the time, and not switch companies, but as I was wrong and my work dwindled to a sometimes freelance position there while I didn’t go for TV-Tokyo right away, I traveled, enjoyed life in Japan and stumbled upon modelling work for various stylists and studios.
I eventually also took a job part-time at a nearby Okonomiyaki restaurant which got me interested in the style of food from Osaka and Hiroshima. My stay in Tokyo also built my infatuation for authentic ramen (not instant noodles) as well as Korean food, the various Japanese foods both nationally and regional, along with the different dialects and cultural practices of Japan. Enjoying hot springs, natural sites, game arcades, modern architecture, authentic cuisine both local and foreign, and the many intricacies of a culture that prioritizes content over space in its cities and the exact opposite in its temples. After some years of effort one of my songs did eventually make an artist, Paulini’s, album through a major label.
I did though with some delay make a connection to TV Tokyo, but since I had experienced some dishonesty from the division of their station dealing with contests for video producers, shunning the most professional entries for the most likely ones to be not professional (supposedly to be fair without informing anyone advance) and then copying those best videos with their own stars and producers as a parody of us professionals who entered the contest. This I found out was an isolated event but then became clearer for me to not head in the direction of working for them, though it was possibly a mistake. In any case I got deeper into modelling work through my built up contacts along with my part-time restaurant job and a freelance update to the ITTF virtual museum tour online through TMS.
I eventually moved in with whom became my girlfriend at the time in Tokyo, forming a close relationship which led us back to Canada, this time in the west coast, with our first child where I freelanced for an independent film maker, and volunteered at a music label doing WordPress while I networked in Vancouver with the VFX and Animation industries. After studying and teaching in preparation, I achieved my Photoshop CC certification on the first try. This eventually led us back to my hometown of Ottawa, where my wife thought better we go. That is where I’ve been studying computer science to have a better edge in the door of the gaming industry while sharpening up my already established IT and computer skills.
I helped found the Shirounega table tennis club at Algonquin with Adham Sharara’s generous donation of their new tables. I’ve also taught Japanese Language classes through another club I founded at the school. I’ve learned Java programming as well as SQL, bash script and more including engineering fundamentals. I’ve started my own blog after a failed attempt at building a brand online, Riff Share Media, during my time in Vancouver, when I was still learning too much at once while taking care of my firstborn daughter to bring it all together in time.
Nowadays I’m getting the hang of taking care of my now two daughters while I’ve taken what I’ve learned from my experiences there and my work as a marketer in New York, a multimedia specialist and software developer in past companies and am heading the Production Hackers movement where individuals can produce all forms of media themselves using all the most efficient techniques, mentalities and strategies to keep a consistent, growing and effective management. At the same time I’m designing products for customers, partners and sponsors.
With so much experience in such a variety of things vaguely connected through creativity, technology and business, I wanted to sum it up in one specific word that tied it all together. On my journey as an entrepreneur I’ve learned to be laser sharp precise in my niche so I needed one word. Including my spiritual journey, not only in this world during my spiritual research in Ottawa, New York and Japan but along with my career and family life I’ve had otherworldly journeys around the world and in other dimensions where I experienced many other realities outside of this ordinarily humanly perceived existence; I wondered how could I come up with just one word? How could I describe what brought me to this greater level of organization and stability that would peak and valley in the past? It all came together; I realized the one thing that got me through to bring me to my continually positive and in-control process, to share something that can hopefully help everyone. That one word is: Confidence.
Throughout this journey, through better or worse, I was able to improve and increase my integrity on all the core factors that make one confident; self-image, lifestyle, work, spirituality and relationships.
I hope my story can help you to become determined to find what you’re most confident in about yourself which is positive and helpful to the most people in your life and learn that we’re always put in the best positions to learn and grow when we become truly confident.