Private high school.
David Cearley

Hi David. First off I wanted to thank you for spending your time and attention on me and my article. Our time is our most valuable asset, so it really means a lot.

Now, in terms of your response, there’s a lot there, so let me try and tackle them one by one! First off, never once did I say that I didn’t live a privileged or fortunate life. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given and try to make sure that I do my best to take advantage of them, rather than squander those opportunities and connections in front of me. I think many would agree that not taking advantage of my position, one that many people would die to be in, would be a complete waste and disrespect to those not so fortunate.

With that said, let me shed some light on the many presumptions you’ve made.

I went to public school from Kindergarten up until 8th grade. We decided for various reasons that for the last four years, leading up to college, a catholic school, the cheapest one anywhere close to us, would be a better option. Firstly, we saw it as an investment that would help me get into a better college, as our public school isn’t the best. Secondly, I wanted to play golf and try to get a scholarship, and the public school’s program was basically non-existant, getting cut just one year after I entered high school. In terms of college, William & Mary, again an investment, while a great school, is a PUBLIC institution, and we were able to pay for it with the help of a generous financial aid package. Next, never did I say that I had a Bloomberg terminal in my house, not sure where that came from. The Bloomberg terminals were in a computer room in our business school, not unlike a majority of the nation’s business programs. As students we were granted free access to them. Naturally, I took advantage of that oppurtunity presented to me to try and learn how to use such a valuable tool.

Onto the personal stock portfolio. Not sure how this does anything to build up your case. Yes, I did have a personal stock portfolio, it’s something I think a lot more kids should look into, as a means of learning how to preserve and grow income/savings, control spending, and learn financial literacy, which is an incredibly useful skill, and under-taught. I worked two separate jobs at the same time throughout high school, both as a bus boy and eventually a waiter at two small town pizzerias. I probably didn’t have to, I could have asked my parents for money, but working was enjoyable. There’s a real distinction between being handed money and earning it, and the second is much more fulfilling, I learned that early thanks to lessons taught to me by my parents (who by the way both came from nothing and created opportunities for themselves. Funny what you can achieve when you put your situation behind you and just work hard). I then used what I had left over to invest in the stock market. I spent hours upon hours reading books and researching on the internet, to come up with my own investment ideas and self-teach myself investing principles, you know good solid effort and pride in what I was doing on my own. By the way, you failed to mention the instantly profitable e-commerce business I started with a high school friend, with nothing but a computer, a good idea, and hours of work.

Onto the trip. I was extremely fortunate to be able to go on a vacation that Richard Branson also happened to be on. Yet, this oppurtunity presented itself through my mom’s boyfriend. That is not my life, that is his, I was just lucky enough to be along for the ride(by the way didn’t mention that my parents divorced when I was 5 and that a majority of my childhood was spent home alone or with a babysitter as my single mom worked from 6AM-7PM to pay her bills. By no means do these circumstances hold me back, and for that reason I didn’t find them necessary to include them in my story, but I think they help to provide you with some context. I don’t make excuses, just create opportunities/take advantage of the opportunities in front of me.) I could have squandered the oppurtunity of Richard Branson’s accessibility, instead I did whatever I could to make sure I was near him, asking him questions, learning form him. My privileged situation put me in that position, my desire to be the best I can allowed me to take advantage of it.

Now, to the part about the challenge of convincing people that I earned my success. The great part about taking control of your life is that you don’t have to convince anyone of anything because you are in control of your destiny and what other people think of you becomes irrelevant. Spending valuable time trying to convince others that my success is the result of hard work takes away from the time I could be out there pursuing my passions and finding my own fulfillment. Along the same lines, I couldn’t care less what’s on my resume or what anyone else thinks about it. Resumes and degrees are for people who have to really on others to bring them up. You never want to be in a situation where your success is dependent on other people. I am so happy that I have learned early on in life what is most important, it is something I am extremely grateful for.

There are too many people like yourself that end up making those in less fortunate situations feel like they can’t achieve greatness. I shared my story to empower people, whoever they may be, to make the life choices that make them most happy and fulfilled. Ultimately that is the goal in life and it is available to all with the right mindset and work ethic. In the end, there are many people with great oppurtunities in front of them. Some will take adavantage of them and some will not. But either way it takes a combination of hard work and execution, some just start form a different spot, and that’s a valid concern.

If you need me I’ll be over here executing 👊

Best Wishes.

*this is an edited version of a previously published one full of nasty remarks that had no place in a civilized discussion like this one