Juan David Campolargo could easily be described as a Renaissance man. He was born and raised in Venezuela and later relocated to Chicago when he was fourteen-years-old.
When Juan David first arrived in the United States, he knew no English. But in the space of less than six months, he mastered it. A year after learning the language, Juan David took on college-level and honors classes.
Today, Juan David is the founder of Optimum Smart, a digital marketing agency. Apart from this, he manages a small hedge fund under the name Campolargo Holdings, serves on Naperville’s Downtown Advisory Committee, and contributes to the nonprofit Panas en Chicago, which provides assistance to Venezuelan immigrants. He is also the author of Generation Optimism, a book that’s aimed at transforming the pessimistic Generation Z.
Juan David was compelled to write this book after reading an article about how his generation (Gen Z) and millennials are the most pessimistic in the history of mankind. He knew he had to take action and researched the best way to make an impact. Juan David began writing this book to inspire the next generation to embrace a worldview of optimism.
In this interview, Juan David explains more about his book and shares how he’s achieved his goal of making an impact on the Gen Z
What is your book about and how will it help the Gen Z generation transform the world we live in?
Gen Z is one of the most pessimistic in the history of humankind, yet every aspect of life — education, entertainment, healthcare, information, medicine, science, sports, technology — has never been better. Why then do we think the world is getting worse?
Generation Optimism is about how to create the next generation of doers and dreamers. Optimism is a skill and like any other skill, as with happiness, coding, or public speaking, it can be learned. In reading this book, you will:
* Gain a deep understanding of our human psychology and why we are wired to be negative
* Read inspiring stories of people like Mark Cuban and others as they took the journey of optimism
* Learn to alter your perspective if optimism is not your strong suit
* Learn the advantages of living an optimistic life and dare to be an optimist!
Generation Optimism isn’t just a book optimism or how to become optimistic. Who cares about #Optimism? Optimism will be the only way to solve the problems and challenges in the future. I see optimism as the only mindset that makes sense in the 21st century.
Intelligence isn’t just good grades or a high #IQ but rather the ability to adapt quickly. And that is what we all need to do.
Sure, things in the world suck and will always suck but I’ll tell you this: OPTIMISTS ARE THE ONES WHO ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO EVEN TRY.
2. What’s the source of inspiration for your book?
Find a pair of glasses and put them on. if they are sunglasses, you’ll likely see a darker image, but if they are reading glasses, you’ll see everything closer than it is. I like to use this analogy: we see with our lenses and we see through the lenses, but we don’t see the lenses themselves.
What most people don’t know is that we have agency over them. We can build, create, and change our lenses for the ones we desire. How we perceive things (our lenses of reality) determines the kind of experience we are going to have.
Solution: Get a new pair of glasses.
By reading this book, I will give you for FREE the new pair of lenses you need.
Over the past year, writing a book about optimism has been quite challenging, but as you continue to read this book, you will realize how much I love challenges and adversity. I knew I wanted to write about my story; a lot of people have expressed interest in who I am and what I do.
At first, I thought about writing an autobiography, but I think it’s just too early and would be a project I’d want to pursue later in my life.
Then I realized how optimistic I’ve been throughout my life, even as my generation is so pessimistic. and that’s when the book journey began. I researched many topics related to optimism, generational theory, positive thinking, and other interesting research.
In addition to the research, I had the opportunity to interview fascinating individuals such as Mark Cuban. if I was optimistic before this process, I can now say I’m a thousand percent more optimistic after writing this book.
The number of hours, rejections, effort, calls, and energy I’ve put into this book has made me more resilient and, of course, optimistic.
Only an elite few are selected to speak on the TEDx Stage, how did you attain this level of success?
For this question, I’ll share an excerpt from my book, Generation Optimism. It’d be a lot better if you have the opportunity to read the book as you’ll have a lot more context of who I am and where I come from.
“I had moved to a different country, learned English unbelievable quickly (6 months), started a profitable business with eleven clients. I was waking up at 4 a.m. to invest in stocks, playing sports, and had just been selected to attend one of the most prestigious summer programs for high school students: LaunchX at the University of Pennsylvania.
I was living the DREAM.
Not only was I living the dream, but I was happy and doing pretty well in everything. You might be thinking, Yeah sure, you’re probably a genius. I want to make one thing super clear: I’m definitely not a genius, nor was I lucky. The stoic Seneca explained it best when he said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Many people go through life as if everything is a coincidence or their lives were already written. imagine if that were true. Life would be Boring! Thankfully, the world doesn’t work that way, at least for most people. Being goal-driven and aware of your goals gives you the focus to find opportunities. I’ll give you an example.
I say that luck doesn’t really exist and you have to be prepared for the opportunity. Everything that has happened and continues to happen in my life is because I either created or wanted it. That may sound cliché, but these are some of my methods—and don’t forget, I was fourteen or fifteen at the time.
Goals: I wrote down my goals. Every single one of them, without exception. What goals? Academic goals, life goals, fulfillment goals, dreams, etc. You can be creative, and best of all, you can be crazy. You won’t believe the type of goals that I wrote down and continue to write down.
I set a reminder every month to check my progress on these goals. You can also learn more about the twenty-year plan. I haven’t personally done that one, but it’s great for perspective.
•Reading: I read one or two books every week. That’s about sixty a year. Reading is basically legal theft (no, just kidding, you don’t really steal anything). Reading is a way to get ahead and accelerate your learning curve for anything you’re trying to achieve. I can’t believe reading has this stigma of being boring or nerdy.
•Daily Affirmations: Twice a day, I tell myself things I aspire to be. An example could be “I’m a speed-reader. I’m smart. I’m happy. I’m focused.” It has gotten to a point where it feels natural every morning and every night to go through these daily affirmations. Once the messages sink into your subconscious, you really start acting differently.
•Morning Routine: I call mine BEE. It stands for Bed (yes, I make my bed every morning), Exercise (I do twenty push-ups or more), and Exercises (Daily Affirmations explained above). I sometimes add the M for Meditation. Starting off your day in the right way is the secret to having a great day.
I can go on and on my own techniques, which I think are super interesting. The goal of the S (Success) is how having goals and desires can be a powerful way to be optimistic, positive, and happy.”
Share words of advice to Millenials who see finding it hard to stand out in the saturated world we live in today.
Viktor Frankl said it best:
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.”
That’s a quote that is a little bit long but it so fundamental and key to understanding life. My advice would be this write down your goals and know where you want to go but don’t focus all of your energy on achieving those goals. Write down your goals as ambitious and crazy as possible. (If you’re not embarrassed or scared, by them your goals are not ambitious enough). After they’re written down, revisit them every month without exception.
This isn’t a magic trick or anything like that but what this will do is give you focus. I’ll give you an example: let’s say you want to get a Tesla, all of sudden you will start seeing Teslas everywhere. Knowing what you want is the first step and now opportunities will arise.
Opportunities will show up and now it’s all up to you. You’re the one who decides how far you want to go and how ambitious you want to be. All the things I’m achieving now were written down 3 or 4 years ago.
In the end, you have to want it but not really. Success is a consequence, not a cause. If you think I’m contradicting myself, remember life isn’t a math equation.
For more information, you can connect with Juan David on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @jdcampolargo.
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