I get thousands of messages every week from people who are confused about what to do with their lives and I always tell them to focus on mastering finance and the stock market like my top students and I have done to become financially free and then they’ll have the time and opportunity to try out a million different things in life and see what fulfills them the most!
It’s good advice and it works as my top students and I can personally attest, but even once you find what makes you happiest, which is for me teaching others and being the mentor to them that I never had, you’re still surprised when something new hit you to the core and redefines your life goals.
And that happened to me yesterday. Yesterday was a day I know that I will remember forever, as something inside of me changed in a big way.
It started out like any other day — I’m staying by the beach, hanging out with friends, exploring a new country, working out and answering DMs and emails from upcoming students, but by day’s end I was very far from the happy-to-be-living-my-dream-life kind of guy that I usually am…
The change started after I posted my daily http://vetpaw.org/photo to honor #worldelephantday and to support my favorite charity involved with protecting endangered animals
Today is #worldelephantday as we MUST do a better job protecting these majestic creatures or else they’ll be extinct in the next few decades and it all starts with #education and supporting great charities like @vetpaw that keep so many #endangeredspecies safe in #southafrica and soon other countries too! It was such a treat to see these elephants in their #naturalhabitat but also #penguins and #cheetahs too so I’m proud to have donated $200,000 to @vetpaw so far, and as @karmagawa grows my goals are to donate seven-figures as ALL of these animals need all the help they can get to protect them from illegal poachers! So please check out @vetpaw and either donate or share their mission with your followers as EVERY SINGLE PERSON reading this can directly help protect these animals before it’s too late! #elephantlove #sobeautiful #helpthem #vetpaw #capetown #karmagawa #animallovers #jewfriends
But as I did more and more research, reading heart-breaking articles like “$60K a pound: Illegal rhino horn now declared more valuable than gold, diamonds and cocaine” and the even more haunting article entitled “The tragic price of ivory” something inside me just absolutely snapped and I cracked.
Animal activists have long since known and tried warning us about humanity’s cruelty to these beautiful creatures, and I’ve met more than a few dedicated souls, and I’ve always felt for them, but pretty much looked the other way by reasoning that while it sucked there isn’t much I could do…but then I read those articles combined with seeing what Vetpaw posted here:
Graphic Warning. Like to not like Unlike rhino horn, elephant ivory cannot be safely harvested. In order to get to the ivory the elephant has to die as the ivory is embedded in the skull. It is a brutal death and often the animals are immobilized but awake. They feel everything. We have to protect them from the evil hearts of men, not just on World Elephant Day, but every single day. This atrocity is currently happening EVERY 15 MINUTES on the African continent. On World Elephant Day click on our bio if you want to help. Pic credit: @brentstirton #VETPAW #veterans #wildlife #WorldElephantDay #conservation #poaching #poachers #ivory #elephant #elephants #counterpoaching #antipoaching #wildlifecrime #trafficking
…and…well…like I said…something inside me just snapped and I can’t go back, hence why I’ve been writing this blog post ever since, no matter that I have a million other things I have to do right now.
When this all happened, my friends and I were sitting down to eat some sushi, my absolute favorite food (I even had my “Got Sushi” T-shirt on to celebrate), but as I thought about this truly horrific situation, a wave of emotion came crashing over me so much so that I lost my appetite and I stormed away from the table to go collect my thoughts on the beach…where I proceeded to ball my eyes out for the next few minutes…in a fit of rage mixed with sadness mixed with confusion and helplessness…
I kept telling myself, the world can be cruel, there’s nothing you can do about it…remember?
Some things you just can’t change…remember?
Well, I’m tired of just letting this go on and not doing anything about it as it’s fucken time to take a stand for once!
What was most surprising to me about all of this was that I couldn’t explain why now I was losing my shit as I’ve known about the illegal animal poaching for a long time; hell I spent nearly 2 weeks with Vetpaw a few months ago, I was around these beautiful creatures and learned everything about that charity’s mission inside and out, and I became so passionate about it that I donated another $100,000 at the conclusion of the trip (wait for the upcoming video of that trip, it’ll be intense!), but until yesterday, aside from feeling bad about the issue and donating some money to help the cause, I never really thought I could personally do much about it…at least not in any significant way.
Sure, sure, I have my charity foundation, recently renamed to Karmagawa, check out the website at http://karmagawa.com and stay tuned as we have a LOT more coming soon, but actually turning the tide in a centuries-long war, not to mention one that seems unwinnable given the economics of the conflict — i.e. a lot of these poachers probably don’t want to kill anything, but they’re forced into lives of crime due to their extreme poverty and riches that await them when they do kill an elephant or rhino and sell the valuable tusks or rhino horns. — well, it just seems far fetched and rather narcissistic to think that I could help in any meaningful way, let alone try to actually solve this worldwide tragedy.
But as I balled my eyes out alone on the beach, something else came over me…a realization that with my skillset, network and work ethic like no other, I actually DO have the power to do something meaningful about this problem, and on a grand scale…and I remembered the article I wrote called “ Be The Change You Want To See” and while this grand plan might take 10, 15 or even 20 years to play out, I thought to myself, “…screw it, I’ve already accomplished nearly all of my goals, why not aim even bigger?!?”
Now this isn’t some little task like teaching the world penny stock trading, which I’ve done well the past 10 years as turning the tide on a massive war like illegal animal poaching will certainly be a Herculean effort, but the cool thing is that even though I cried alone on the beach last night, I know I’m not alone in this fight (as my friends later reminded me)…and with your help I do believe we can win this war in time.
I wiped the tears off my face and got back to the sushi restaurant to find my friends all staring at me and asking if I was okay…I told them yes, but was given away by my terrible poker face that the answer was most definitely no as I had already began mentally preparing and mapping out this multi-decade battle…
I lost my appetite and barely picked at a few pieces of the sushi before me, which is a tragedy in itself, but when a potentially-world-changing vision hits you, you must do EVERYTHING you can to make it a reality.
I teach my students to dream big and oh boy is this is a big dream or what?
One of the main reasons I changed the name of my charity from The Timothy Sykes Foundation to Karmagawa is that it is a community of good-hearted people looking to make the world a better place as we focus on SO many causes and it’s not just me, it’s a team effort.
(We’ve been in Guatemala for the past week visiting several of the newest schools that haven opened and we also broke ground on my 41st school which was an amazing experience too!)
And it’s going to take a team to tackle this illegal animal poaching problem as no matter how much exposure or money we raise for http://vetpaw.org/ it’s still going to just be a drop in the bucket so it’s important to think bigger.
I’ll let you know more about my big plans shortly, definitely go follow Karmagawa here https://www.instagram.com/karmagawa/ for a start, but I’m still an emotional mess right now, so it’s all jumbled in my head.
But I know what I have to do and I’m not thinking small anymore and I KNOW I can help this situation in a meaningful way over time…for now I just wanted to write this post to just get my feelings out there while they’re still fresh in my mind as moments like this can act as great catalysts if you pay attention and utilize them correctly like I intend to do.