When I went to America in 2015, I was supposed to work a summer job in South Carolina. But after just one week, I fell into a completely depressive state. I was working a shitty job for an even shittier pay, my boss hated me, and my small town had absolutely nothing worth seeing or doing.
I became depressed. Is this how my USA journey will look like for the next four months?
A few days later, I got a call from a friend. Well, not a friend really. We used to work together in Croatia, but we were never close. We never even spent time together outside of our work environment. But he was living in New York at the time and, seeing my updates on Facebook, wanted to ask me how my trip was going.
“Miserable.” — I replied.
He listened to my story, then laughed and said he can relate. When he went to the US for the first time, he experienced something similar. He urged me to drop the shitty job and come meet him in NYC. He said he could hook me up with a job and let me crash at his place for a while.
About two weeks later, I was on a plane to the Big Apple, with a vague promise of a job and a hope that my ex-coworker will come through for me and I won’t end up sleeping on a bench in a park.
When I arrived, he let me sleep on his couch, even though he shared an apartment with two other people. He hooked me up with my first job, showed me around the city, and gave me a lot of useful advice. When my phone broke, he gave me a replacement phone for free. He let me use his laptop to apply for jobs, since I didn’t have my own. When there was an unexpected issue with my bank account, he borrowed me some cash until it got sorted.
This guy, to whom I was nothing more than someone he used to work with a few years ago, opened up his heart (and apartment, and wallet) to help me turn my trip into an unforgettable experience. If he hadn’t had done that, I would have spent my entire summer in South Carolina, miserable and depressed.
I never forgot what he had done for me. Which is why it completely broke my heart when I heard that he had passed away a few weeks ago.
You see, just a few months after I left NYC, he had to fly back home to deal with a rare disease. He had a cancerous lump on his hand and the doctors had to amputate his hand to prevent the disease from spreading.
This shocked him into a new kind of life. He had to find another job (used to work as a waiter), couldn’t do anything that required two hands, and couldn’t play video games (his personal passion).
But being the optimistic and positive guy he always was, he did everything but give up. Soon after, he co-founded a startup company that creates equipment for disabled gamers. He went on interviews, won awards, and turned his grave misfortune into an opportunity to help other people. He even joined politics to promote greater rights for disabled people.
Sadly, the amputation of his hand did not stop the spread of the disease and cancer beat him out in the end. He was just over 30 years old when he died.
This guy is the epitome of a Mind of Steel. He helped others. He dealt with his problems. He never gave up and kept fighting until the very last second. And through all of his struggles and misfortunes, he stayed positive and ambitious. All of us can learn a lot from him. It saddens me that he cannot continue to be a positive force in this world, but he has inspired me to double down on building my own mental strength because, who knows… maybe something worse will happen to me in the future. So I better start preparing right now.
Usually, I would add a link to my flagship book and explain how it will help you build and maintain mental strength. But somehow, pitching my own product doesn’t seem suitable this time. Instead, I suggest you follow the company he co-founded here. You can also watch an interview with the man behind the story here.