It’s very easy to lose ourselves with how the world is now. With television and the internet overflowing with Hollywood gossip and western influence, it’s hard not to feel like we are part of that space in the world. We envy so much the culture on TV that raised us as fans, that we sometimes forget to admire the culture that raised us as people.
Brought up by Palestinian Muslim immigrants, CEO Lawyer Ali Awad shares his culture, religion, and how his parents made sure that he stays true to his roots as a young man living in Dalton, Georgia.
Starting their life in the USA was nothing like the pretty suburban romcoms we see in movies. Ali’s family lived in an area in Dalton, where it showed a clear division of privilege.
Despite the life in the neighbourhood, Ali’s dad made sure that all six of their kids would live a more guided life, not defined by where they live.
“My dad was very, very conscious of ensuring that we held on to our Palestinian roots [and] in our Arabic language. And so even now, it’s very rare that I meet people that can speak Arabic who grew up their entire lives in the US. That discipline started manifesting itself in other areas of my life.”
On top of his dad’s strict discipline, Ali is gifted to see profit where it is unlikely to grow.
“I started my unconventional life around the age of five,” he narrated, “And I learned very early on that it’s fun, the business that I started at five years old was just selling pictures of Dragonball Z characters to my friends.”
With his father working for a carpet company, Ali had access to a computer and a printer. And with the power of Google, he turned his classroom into his first and very own Super Sayan monopoly.
In a dinner he had with best-selling author and entrepreneur, Jesse Itzler, Ali reflected on how this difficult upbringing– being both poor and an immigrant– saw that he was privileged to be unprivileged.
“You literally cannot teach hungry,” he said.
“Most people don’t have the privilege of being under pressure. Most people live through life lackadaisical and get to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labour. Most people don’t have the opportunity to grow up poor and to learn grit and to learn hard work and discipline. That’s why you and I speak different languages.”
Ali described how the years of the pressure he got from poverty shaped his views.
Ali noted that most people see success as the luxurious materials that people share on Instagram. Still, hardly anyone acknowledges the grit, the upbringing and the ugliness of “paving your own path.”
“If all you’re exposed to is the highlight reels of everyone else, then you’re never going to have time to create your own highlight reel. You’re just going to look around and see that everyone else is excellent and that you’re not. [But] that excellence comes from just working a little bit at a time, day by day, piece by piece month by month.”
Ali Awad is continuously providing support to professionals and people who are starting in business all over the world through consultations and coaching sessions.
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