Today I want to talk about immigrant mentality. We often hear it referred to, but what is it, what is it derived from? While it’s so critical and so beneficial to people who are immigrants, can you have it or can you develop it? They are a great example of success, both personal and business success. That’s the topic for today.
Think in terms of immigrant mentality as they come to this country, the incredible speed that they rise in education, income, wealth, prestige, etc., whether it be in their community or in the general area. These advancements that they have: Do you have it? Do you have those ingredients? Can you get it? I want to describe a little bit at the end about how I got mine, in essence, even though I wasn’t an immigrant. What changed me, and how did it do it? How it might, and how you might recognize it for yourself.
Yes, the success of immigrants as they move from some other country. In most cases, they speak another language. They have to learn English or get better at it; they build themselves through their own businesses; their children excel. You hear some of these stories of these children that come from environments and backgrounds that they basically have little to no education – they come here and excel in our education system without even starting out with the language.
What did they do and how did they do it? Yes, they worked hard, but let’s get a little bit deeper than that. Anyone born in this country with all the advantages that you already have—you already have the languages, you’re already in the school, you know where everything is—it’s almost a shame for anybody at all to complain. If you can see around yourself, people who come here with a foreign language and excel, and you don’t. If you see any of this, then inquire to yourself: What is the mindset of the immigrant, and can you get it?
First, where do they come from and why? Look at the comparison of opportunities. What they’re looking at is the mobility in this country that they see that we don’t necessarily see. They have the chance that they see to move just not from 9 to 5 jobs or to excel in it. In a sense, they’re hungry. They move from another country, they’re hungry for success, they also live generally debt-free so they don’t have those stresses, etc., and they make ends meet, but that’s part of the discipline that they build into their system.
They’re enterprising, and they’re determined to build it for themselves. They’re not relying on anything else or anybody else. The idea, in general, is to build it for yourself. I know there are exceptions. I don’t want to bother with those, because we’re not looking at a political debate. We’re looking at how to succeed, how you can succeed, and how you can build your business newer, better, stronger.
Interestingly, the immigrants find opportunities anywhere. They work at opportunities that are often built and they build them to last. It could be that they’re plumbers, or electricians, or they go into the computer fields. Almost anything, the sciences, etc. They find out what needs to be done in order for them to prepare themselves to accomplish something, and they get it done.
How do they push themselves to this extent? Their determination and drive for success is enviable. Not just to get enough, but to be far superior to where they had come from and where they had first thought. One of my propositions is they’re seeing things that we don’t tend to look at. That is, they come here and they’re completely in a new environment, so they’re not constrained by the neighborhood that they’re living in. When we’re born in this country, we tend to be in a neighborhood and our environment has a very strong influence on what we think we can do or what we have aspirations for.
They’re from a completely different environment, they’re thrust here or thrust themselves here, and when they are, they’re looking around and seeing what different opportunities there are, and it’s a pick-and-choose situation both for living, as well as for career or business. That is, they see the potential to move up the ladder. They have already experienced great crisis and discomfort in order to move up by moving to the country. Now they’re looking at the ability to move up into other things.
They moved from another country, a new language, and they see what other people can do, and they’ve already overcome. In a sense, they’ve put seeds in the ground by already being successful. They saw they were able to overcome something, and then they were able to overcome something else. They overcame the environment that they were in previously, then they overcame the language, and to them it’s just moving on. They see so much promise, they’re willing to put in the extra effort and work to get to the next level.
There are really two pieces to it. One piece is the fact that they see what’s available that they can do. Then success breeds success. That is, they see the success of getting into the new country, adjusting themselves, and really that in itself is a great success. Then the success of learning the new language, and now they have the two languages. They’re seeing the opportunity for their children, and they don’t see any barriers. They continue to move on because they can see something else that they want and that they know how to, and they’re willing to put in the effort. The effort is most of it.
We often hear about the generations: The first generation here does so well, the second generation… By the time we get to the third or fourth generation, you take a look at what’s going on. Today, where you have so many stories (I’ve referred to it before) where people are saying: “I want to make sure my kids don’t have the problems or disappointments. I’m going to make sure they get the things that I never had when I was young.” Unfortunately, that hasn’t done too well for those kids in growing up because those parents did not prepare them to be self-sufficient adults. Instead, they prepared them to have things.
I look at the stories from my Mother. Some of them just seemed like they were unbelievable. My stories, now, seem unbelievable to some of the people today, and I’m sure they are so I don’t bother to tell them. My Mother told me all of her stories. What it did do is create in me at least that first stage of realizing I would have to work hard and continue to work hard. I did that. I was able to do certain jobs, etc., but I didn’t have any great expectations or aspirations because outside of my environment, I really hadn’t sprung.
What had triggered it for me (which I’ve mentioned before and is also in the introduction of my forthcoming book, which I give a lot of detail on) was in the Military, where all of a sudden I found that I could do far more. I didn’t think I was good, I just thought I could do much more because what the Military made me do.
What you have to do is find your key to getting that bridge to a new environment into a new level, and breed that success upon success. After I found out that I could do certain things, such as the language, then going on to college and realizing: If I pushed myself far more than everybody else, I could do well and maybe get into a good graduate school. Then when I got into a good graduate school: If I pushed myself really hard, I could survive. Then on, and on, and on. That’s what happened, and you end up developing a passion for success. You’re enjoying it. You’re enjoying the ride and you’re enjoying the accomplishments. Thank you very much.
Find your trigger or develop your trigger. Where have you been pushed beyond the limit? Can you find your immigrant mentality?