The Whole Story...

  • They say the people who exhibit the most kindness have experienced a lot of pain.

    I don’t remember where I first heard this phrase, but it has always resonated with me in a powerful way. These words stayed with me as pain and failure shaped the core of my being. This is the story of how I was able to overcome adversity, and in the process, was able to acquire the beliefs that fuel MindCleanup. I believe it is important to tell my story to others so they can fully understand where I am coming from, and how they can benefit from my experience.

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    Last time we saw our dad in Canada – Jan. 1997

    When I was only eight years old, my world was shattered when my father abandoned our family effectively tainting an otherwise incredible childhood. I was forced to mature at a much faster rate than most children my age. In the years that followed, our father repeatedly promised us the world and always failed to deliver. I noticed my mother’s pain throughout this time as she watched her son and daughter suffering emotional distress at the hands of our father. At this incredibly innocent age, I realized that I was not the only person who was suffering, and I was instilled with a great amount of empathy for those around me. As I grew older and gained more life experience, I realized that most people carry some form of baggage, and everyone has their own unique burdens to bear. I learned that I should always search for the silver lining, because even if what I was living at the moment was not easy, others around me were often in even worse situations.

    Working at a café - age 14

    Working at a café – age 14

    With this idea in mind, I found that it is possible to bring out the positive side of people even in the darkest of situations. I taught myself how to use my natural charisma to change someone else’s day for the better. I developed an uncanny ability to put a smile on any person’s face regardless of their current situation. The first time that I put this talent to the test was while working one of my first jobs at a café at the age of fourteen. I made it a point to serve all clients that the rest of the staff hated. These people soon became the most joyful, grateful, and generous café patrons. They often left with smiles on their faces and hefty tips that put a smile on mine. That is when I learned about compassion – sometimes all a person needs is a simple smile or a little encouragement to turn their day around.

    Working in Fort McMurray (Alberta Tar Sands)

    Working in Fort McMurray (Alberta Tar Sands)

    Sometimes my way of thinking was flawed, but I trusted that life would send me experiences that would allow me to absorb a specific lesson. One of the most notable lessons occurred when I volunteered in a soup kitchen. A homeless man approached me and mentioned to me that he was an artist. My initial reaction was dismissive, but he insisted on showing me his work. I expected to see simple, worn scribbles. He removed several rolled up pieces of paper from his jacket, and I was astounded by the intricate, beautiful drawings before me. That was the day that I learned to never take anyone at face value. That experience taught me that everyone is incredible in their own way and possesses their own unique talents. Unfortunately a lot of people deprive the world of these talents. I began making it a point to hone my skills and teach people to look inside in order to realize how amazing they truly are.

     

    At age nineteen, life was good. I brought home insanely large paychecks while working in the tar sands in Alberta, Canada. I was living on my own and had a steady girlfriend. I ate at restaurants every night and purchased everything my heart desired.

    Launch of one of my failed businesses

    Launch of one of my failed businesses

    After the busy constructions months I was laid off from the tar sands company because work was winding down for the winter. I had a good deal of money saved, so I decided to start my own business. When that business tanked, I started another. I believed in the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” So I tried, and I tried, and I tried. Failure after failure eventually dragged me into a deep depression. No matter what I tried, I could not make my business ventures succeed, and I began to feel hopeless and destitute. I finally ran out of money and accumulated debt that reached five figures. My girlfriend and I drifted apart, and I began excessively eating to feed my emotions. My body weight soared to over 311 pounds, and I was considered morbidly obese for my height. My doctor was worried by my weight and health and proceeded to perform many heart exams. My life was entirely void of meaning. My compounding failures had gotten the best of me, and I became wholly discouraged. I stopped dreaming of a better tomorrow and let depression take over my life.

    When I weighed around 311 pounds

    When I weighed around 311 pounds

    But in the midst of this dark period of my life, sparks of hope appeared every so often. Each time these past ideas would enter my mind, I would take note so as to not forget them. Once I filled a whole notebook of these ideas, I decided to share them with the world. Thus, MindCleanup was created in October 2010. Like a theoretical physicist I developed several more ideas and methods for improving the overall quality of life and tapping into true potential. But they were just that- theoretical. I knew these ideas had merit and wanted to share my newfound knowledge with the world, but I abandoned the project when I realized that no one would take me seriously. My life was in shambles, and it was only getting worse. I knew I had to prove myself in order for these ideas to gain credibility, but I lacked the proper motivation.

    A couple of months later, I was helping my landlords work on a new building. While I was busy cleaning floors, I received a phone call from a close friend. That phone call is the pivotal moment that completely transformed my life. When I answered the phone, my friend was sobbing and couldn’t find his words. He told me that one of our best friends had taken his own life. My heart sank. Despair flooded my body, and I was bombarded with endless regrets and guilt convincing myself that if I had perhaps made different choices in the course of our friendship that I could have maybe prevented his death. In the past years, that friend and I had become more distant. I suddenly found myself wishing that I had put forth more effort in the friendship and opened the lines of communication more often.

    At the funeral, I encountered several friends I hadn’t seen in years. Every one of them was emotionally demolished at the loss of our friend. Hugging my friend’s grieving mother was one of the most gut-wrenching, painful experiences of my entire life. Nothing compares to the sight of a mother who has just lost her child.

    Three things occurred to me during the funeral. First, I wondered if the pain experienced by those present could possibly compare to what my friend must have been feeling to commit such a terrible final act. Second, I strongly felt that when someone commits suicide, no matter their relationship to you, a part of you dies with them. It is so devastating to all involved.

    Finally, when I had my moment alone in front of the closed casket, I distinctly remember staring at the photo of my old friend beaming at me with his warm, radiant smile. They say the people who exhibit the most kindness have experienced the most pain. The words hit me like a ton of bricks, and I finally understood. My friend was always there when someone needed encouragement. He was the first to help someone in need. I remembered how he had consistently encouraged me to get into shape and stay fit and healthy. He was the friend that I could always turn to when I experienced distress in my own life. I suddenly realized that I was dishonoring my friend’s efforts by killing myself with food. I too was committing suicide, only the process was much slower and less deliberate. It occurred to me that if my lifestyle remained unchanged, in just a few short years I would end up plugged into machines in some hospital waiting for death to take me.

    Tears streamed down my face as I looked into his vibrant, youthful eyes. Then and there, I promised him that even though he could no longer be there to see the transformation, I would honor his memory by turning my life around and doing everything in my power to live a healthy lifestyle. I promised that that I would live my life to the fullest, and once I achieved success, I would share my knowledge and empowerment with the rest of the world. I kept that promise.

    When I lost 100 pounds!

    When I lost 100 pounds!

    Since that day, I have lost over one hundred pounds. Each time I tackled a new problem, I would absorb all the possible information on the subject. I established a successful business and have worked with some of the biggest and most recognized companies in Canada. Due to my success, I was able to clear the entirety of my large debt. My girlfriend and I made the difficult decision to part ways, but we remain friends to this day. I found balance in my love life, and as I write this, I cannot fathom being happier. I have the ability and freedom to travel several months out of the year, often spending my winters in Mexico. My adventures led me to write my travel guide, The Cancun Insider. It quickly became one of the bestselling travel guides in its category on Amazon.

    I consistently found ways to achieve my goals. I owe the majority of my success to simple determination. I was initially very introverted and shy, but I forced myself outside of my comfort zone and into situations I wouldn’t normally seek. Over time, I developed thick skin and a solid poker face in my business dealings. However, I made sure that I remained empathetic to others feelings. The biggest part of who I am is the ability to relate emotionally to others, and I refused to risk losing that part of myself.

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    At the Teotihuacán Pyramids – Photo byCharlene Winfred

    I worked with bankers and venture capitalists and encountered financial fraudsters. I worked closely with lawyers and several company CEOs. I worked with companies that were owned in part by A-list celebrities and many high net worth individuals. That is when I realized that all humans have the same basic needs. Even if you appear to be on top of the world, if you don’t put effort into developing your inner self you will ultimately be unhappy. I believe that is why many high profile people eventually take their own lives. Money and power can only create superficial happiness. I witnessed many people who were genuinely happier in the slums of Mexico than in executive boardroom meetings.

    In three short years, I went from a life of failure to a life of abundance where I was excited to wake up every single morning. Naturally, I have my ups and downs I am human, after all. But I can now show that the concepts that I have employed through MindCleanup absolutely produce results. I am living proof that the ideas I have collected over the years are rock solid, and I want to share these ideas with the world. I have three basic reasons for this:

    1. I feel it is important to remind as many people as possible that they are awesome – plain and simple. Regardless of the situation, happiness is a choice that must be made every single day. If given the chance, I can show you that everything necessary for success is already inside you. You simply have to find it – and I can surely help with that.

    2. I want to leave my mark on humanity and do my part to improve the human condition. My talent is motivational speaking. I am not a scientist or a doctor. I have no desire to be a nurse or an engineer. My natural talents do not lie in singing or painting. But I strongly believe that my ideas can push people to find the natural talents within themselves. I want to push people to live fulfilling lives, while bringing positive change into the world. I believe that there is so much wasted talent and that most people are mere shadows of the people they are capable of becoming. The world desperately needs each of us to live to our full potential.

    3. I made a promise to a friend. And I always keep my promises.

    I don’t possess mind-blowing super powers. I wasn’t born with a remarkable ability to succeed with little to no effort. I simply believe that every single human on this planet is absolutely amazing, many with untapped potential. I believe that simply being alive is nothing short of a miracle. Take my hand and let me guide you into the new chapter of your life – a chapter where you will pursue incredible adventures and where you will conquer adversity with a beaming smile on your face and a radiant light in your eyes. I am just like you. I had the same fears and the same apprehension that comes with embarking on a new journey and stepping out of the comfort zone into the unfamiliar maze of life. But now being on the other side, I promise that you can too. You are strong. You are capable. You are intelligent. You are awesome.

    Welcome to the world of MindCleanup!

    Get Started Today.