Nathaniel Branden, the father of self-esteem wrote this is in his groundbreaking book, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: “There are realities we cannot avoid. One of them is the importance of self-esteem.”

Because we both hold the Mr. Universe title, I am often compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger. And, we share a lot more than just a title. I’ll tell you more about that in a minute, but first I’d like to talk about the important stuff. If you think that Arnold Schwarzenegger and I had it easy, think twice. It wasn’t easy at all! The journey came with trials and tribulations as you may imagine. At least it did for me.

The stuff that landed me against the wall was also inspiring me to go beyond the pain and suffering; those were horrific events that could have destroyed the bravest amongst us. Growing up as an immigrant in France, I will never forget the bullies, the beatings, the humiliation, the racism, the poverty, the illness and the many devastating things that would have been the reasons to quit more than once. Most of those events kicked my ass big time. And like I said, they also helped me search for and connect to my passion.

I began to believe that life was best lived when I gave it meaning when I fueled it with my true core desires and that living it by default, devoid of any dreams and just letting it dictate what it had in store for me, wasn’t an option.

I knew deep inside I was destined for greatness.

Even when I didn’t consciously know it, I felt deep in my heart that my destiny wasn’t to become an accountant working at a bank from 9 to 5 as my father wished for me. It wasn’t to become a thug or a drug addict like most of my childhood friends. And, it was certainly not to continue being the janitor who cleaned the gym for a living. “No sir, I am better than that, I am better than that!” the little voice inside my head kept screaming louder than my fear. I begin to believe in myself so I decided to BE who I am today a very long time ago.

“Behind every scared little child lies a sleeping giant waiting to awake.”—Avtar

What do Arnold and I share in common?

So now as promised, I’ll share what Arnold Schwarzenegger and I have in common:

We both suffered from low self-esteem.

We both hold the Mr. Europe, Mr. World and Mr. Universe titles several times.

We both won the Mr. Universe at 20 and 24.

We both came to America hardly knowing English and financially broke.

We both are from Europe.

We both struggled to get where we are.

We both speak several languages.

We both hold Masters degrees.

We both have been allowed in the US under the prestigious status of The O-1 nonimmigrant visa. A status reserved for an alien who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.We

We both are American Citizens now.

We believe in passionate work.

We put ourselves in the right environment.

We don’t hesitate in getting rid of people who don’t believe in us.

We say NO when we have to.

We are passionate about what we believe in.

Passion is Everything

Between knowing what you want and actually achieving your goals there are many steps to take, but the most important is to know you have it in you.

Do you really know what you want? Do you have the burning desire to succeed? Do you get excited when you think of having or being what you desire? Do you have a strategy to get what you want? Can you see it on the screen of your mind? Are you ready to dismiss those who won’t believe in your dreams? Are you in the right environment that will ensure you a positive mindset?

These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself every day until you find the answers. Know that no matter what you have to overcome, you are the captain of your soul.

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeoning of chance

My head is bloody but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

So What’s Your Passion?

“To know that you are worthy of happiness is at the core of high self-esteem. And, high self-esteem is the catalyst for happiness.”—Avtar

Knowing that you are worthy of happiness inspires you to search within and helps you connect to awareness.

Passion affects the way you think, the way you feel and the way you act. It activates the part of your brain that’s linked to happiness. When you feel happy you are inspired to create positive behaviors. Negative thoughts are replaced with positive ones.

“Every thought is conspiring to create a masterpiece; you become the architect of your own life.” – Avtar

The key is for you to pay attention to what makes your heart dance. When that happens, you are dancing with this journey called life. Passion takes over from fear and love penetrates your whole being. And, success follows.

To connect with your passion, you need to first seek within where fear cannot reside. Ask for it to reveal itself then just listen closely as it always comes as a whisper.