The following is a guest post written by Daniel Quintanilla, author and creator of the blog, The Life and Rhymes. For inquiries, you can contact him through this link. 


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I WAS RAISED IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE NOTHING EVER GREW. THE ONLY HOPE WE HAD WAS MAKING IT TO THE NEXT DAY.

How does an individual, coming from that kind of environment, manage to propel himself forward to achieve things they could never have imagined? How do you change your perspective in order to avoid being consumed by a negative environment?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but what I can do is share my experiences and perspectives on how I went from being a kid from nothing, to now living my dream.

From the moment I was born, my father was never around. My mother had me when she was 20-years-old, and for most of my childhood we lived in border-line poverty. Just those presets of my life show you how much I was set back as a child. I wasn’t meant to come as far as I have. Many kids who came from the same environment never got the opportunity to see the light of day. You may be asking yourself, “How did he do it?” Believe me, I’m still trying to figure it out.

But one thing I do know is that it wasn’t an easy path.

Throughout my life I was always told I wasn’t going to be shit. And for a long time I believed them. But something in the pit of my stomach always told me otherwise. I needed to believe it for myself in order to fully understand what my path was, but I realized I wasn’t going to reach my full potential if I stayed in the same environment. I needed to get away as far as possible, and college was the perfect answer. So from my freshman year in high school I made it a personal goal to leave Alief (a suburb in Houston), and move somewhere where I had a better chance of surviving. That simple change made the biggest impact on my life. (Although I would later go to college only to dropout my senior year, and pursue a full-time career in writing).

That environmental shift re-wired my brain, and allowed me to see a different world than the one I was accustomed to. Since then I’ve traveled around the world, and gotten the opportunity to see many cultures from different regions, and with each place I visit, I learn more about myself. For me, college was the doorway to the rest of the world, because if I hadn’t left I’d still be in the same environment – not ever achieving anything.

Now that I’ve gathered this different perspective, I want to share it with kids that are growing up in similar environments. I’m here for a reason – my path could’ve easily led me elsewhere, but the forces that surrounded me always kept me on this path.

And the minute I left that place, where nothing ever grows, my life changed forever.

There’s no secret formula to the way I did it. I just wanted more for myself, and for my family. Everyday I witnessed what happened to people who stayed in the same environment, and nothing seemed too promising. I was tired of people telling me I wasn’t going to be shit, so I left, and went out to find people who believed in me.

If you’re reading this now, just understand how impactful it is to change your environment. It saved my life and it can save yours too. In order for your life to change for the better, you have to be willing to accept those changes, irregardless if you like them or not. This is the first step to seeing the rest of the world.

There is so much more out there than what we know, why not take the first step towards seeing it?
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Image Source: Daniel Quintanilla
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