That was the title of a video I saw on the front page of YouTube today. Here is the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vskxj22-1c -
Now, let me first say my feelings about Mayweather range from admiration to confusion. He has taken some cheap shots in fights (after cheap shots were taken at him) even threatened to beat up Larry Merchant after that fight, the list could go on and on for the negative. I think it is hard, even for him, to separate the image he created to sell fights from the man he really is. But at the end of the day, none of that is any of my business.
That being said, the truth is he is a self made millionaire and one of the most successful athletes alive today. And people want giving him shit because he struggled to read radio copy.
When I was 30 years old, I had a one-year-old son and was working at Starbucks. I was lost. I thought things would be different by the time I was 30 but the weight of my poor reality got heavier and heavier every day. The store I worked at was just off Mulholland Drive in the Bel Air Hills. You wouldn’t even know it existed unless you were super rich and lived up there. It just happened to be the store I got assigned to when I applied at a job fair.
I got pretty close to a couple customers up there as they seemed to know what the fuck was going on with this thing called life. It wasn’t just the fact that they were wealthy, but they were content, they knew how to make their money make money, they had confidence. All the shit I lacked during that time in my life.
One day I was sitting across from this 80 year old guy who always wore paint covered khakis and a ragged t-shirt. I thought he was a construction foreman. There were always construction guys coming in, taking a break from working on the multi-million dollar estates that pepper those hills. But he was not a construction foreman. He was a billionaire. He made his money in real-estate and still worked on the houses and buildings he bought himself.
One day I was sharing a coffee with him while I was on break. I hate to say it but I was bitching and moaning about my current situation, broke, baby, no hope, no options.
“What do you wish was different?” he said.
I’m a writer and a comedian and I don’t think those skills will get me very far. I wish I knew how to do something else but I feel like it’s too late to learn anything, I whined.
He laughed and asked me if I ever heard about the story about the Temple Shamus?
I hadn’t. And that’s when he told me a story that changed my life.
A man walked into the temple and asked the Rabbi if he had any jobs. The man was poor and willing to take any work he could get. The Rabbi said that he was looking for a Temple Shamus, a man who would fix things up around the Temple, take the trash out and do odd jobs.
I’ll take it, said the man.
The next day he came in early excited to work. The Rabbi had the man clean all the windows, take out the trash, then straighten up the office. When he was through, he asked the Rabbi if there was anything else he could do?
Yes, said the Rabbi, I need you to read some notes I took and write them into a document.
The Man’s head fell. Ashamed, he admitted that he didn’t know how to read or write.
The Rabbi said he needed somebody who could read and write so he fired him.
The Man thanked him for the opportunity nonetheless and went home brokenhearted. He was still broke and without options. While going through his sofa looking for change, he found some buttons. He had an idea. He remembered his grandmother had given a small box of buttons that he stored in in the closet. He took all the buttons and went down to the corner.
Anybody that walked by, he told them about the buttons. He hustled so hard, by the end of the day, he sold all the buttons. The next day, he found a wholesaler and took the money he made and bought all the buttons he could.
He set up a small table on the corner and within months, was knows as the “Button Man.” Within a year, he had a small storefront shop and within 2 years he had four more.
Finally, he decided to open a bank account and possibly buy the places he was renting from.
He went into the bank with a suitcase full of money. The Banker was so impressed with all the good business the man was doing he offered The Man loans for any amount he needed. He slide the loan agreements across the table for The Man to sign.
The Man smiled and said, I’m sorry but I don’t know how to read or write.
Oh, my god, said the banker, imagine what you would be doing if you could read and write.
I’d be a Temple Shamus, The Man replied.
When I heard that story, I realized two things. Use what you have and hustle until dreams come true. And that’s exactly what Mayweather did/done/keeps on doing.