One should be forewarned that to be successful one needs: fear, compound agony, desire, risk, ambition, tenacity, and stamina. One also must revolt against implied conventional rules – to have the guts to not be embarrassed for doing something out of the ordinary. Once you know the basic requirements you can start planning your future life.

When you do not have a life preserver to grab during the most desperate of situations you have no other options other than to fail or to do amazing things with your life by following these “Ten Commandments of True Independence.”

The “Ten Commandments of True Independence” to be fully emancipated from poverty are:

I. YOU must grab the reins of your destiny!

II. You must have a definite NEED!

III. You must have FEAR of failure!

IV. You must have COMPOUND AGONY!

V. You must have DESIRE!

VI. You must take medium to large RISKS!

VII. You must have AMBITION!

VIII. You must have TENACITY!

IX. You must have STAMINA!

X. You must REVOLT against implied conventional rules.

True independence means that you release yourself from implied conventions that restrict you from meeting your goals and living your dreams. Through my experience I went from a seventeen-year-old full-time food service employee earning minimum wage for eight hours during the day, who bagged groceries during nights, to a professional accountant earning a salary equivalent to that of a team of full-time food service employees with just one job and I used my “spare time” for increasing my money making skills rather than continuing to work two jobs.

It was against all odds that I was able to attend college while working full-time in low-paying jobs to help my mother and brother after being displaced when my father lost his inheritance, filed for bankruptcy, and lost our family home. My teenage years through my twenties were by far the roughest years of my life. My mother who had been a housewife then needed to finish her education while working as a clerk as well. We spent many years in a small apartment while our combined incomes were less than a comfortable middle-class income while earning our college degrees.

It was during these challenges in the world of “hard knocks” that I developed the “Ten Commandments of True Independence.” I will refer back to each of these in future blog posts.


(1) What is meant by, “YOU must grab the reins of your destiny?”

Only you care enough about your future to take the reins of the chariot to drive your destiny. Others will put your success second to their own. If you want to be successful you must jump in and take action now.

(2) What is meant by,  “You must have a definite NEED?”

If all of your needs are met success will be challenging. This is because comfort and contentment can slow down your ambition. However, your needs can increase as you become successful. Therefore, some people may never “outgrow” the second commandment.

(3) What is meant by, “You must have FEAR of failure?”

When you embark on a lofty goal the level of your persistence and drive will be fuelled by fear. I was the very first person in my father’s family to graduate from college. It was against all odds that I would have ever sat in a college classroom. I had very little formal education prior to college and was on the road to a long-term career as a minimum wage pink-collar worker. However, upon my grandfather’s recommendation, I took the examination for the general education diploma and began my night school college education at age nineteen. It was in community college that I decided that I wanted to earn an MBA and become an accountant.

(4) What is meant by, “You must have COMPOUND AGONY?”

In order to have the drive to succeed you need compound agony. I had a grandmother that told me that a person could not learn anything from books. She told me that I would never be rich or successful. This built up frustration during my teenage years. Once my father lost his inheritance and our house it looked like my hope for a future was completely lost for good. I wanted better and this agony pushed me to work hard in college.

(5) What is meant by, “You must have DESIRE?”

Successful people have a strong desire. The desire could be to live the American dream by someday owning your own home and having a family. Perhaps the desire builds upon the American dream. Maybe you desire to hold public office and to help others to live the American dream. Desires like these will drive the motivation behind our drive to succeed both academically and in our jobs.

(6) What is meant by, “You must take medium to large RISKS?”

During my academic career, there has been no benefactor. My choice has always been student loans or no education. If I had not placed a wager on my abilities I would still be behind a cash register. However, I was aware of what I was capable of as well as aware of what could be achieved with a college education. This made these risks essential. In order to succeed you need to understand your potential and take risks based on this potential in order to achieve your dreams.

(7) What is meant by, “You must have AMBITION?”

If you start at the very bottom of the food chain you will need to have ambition or the guts to achieve what others say you cannot achieve. When you are spending forty hours a week behind a cash register with zero guidance counselors, no family home, the responsibility of helping your family, and with zero dollars in your college fund it takes guts to decide that you are going to be a white-collar professional someday. This is especially true when your family said that it was impossible and other people laughed at you thinking that you were only a dreamer.  Without ambition, you will find comfort in the status quo.

(8) What is meant by, “You must have TENACITY?”

When your priority is keeping the lights on and paying the rent it can be a fairly long road to success. Delayed gratification is essential which means that you must be prepared to have tenacity.

(9) What is meant by,  “You must have STAMINA?”

When you are working forty hours a week and attending night school you need to be a “high energy” person. Stamina is required to meet a lofty goal while burning the candle at both ends.

(10) What is meant by, “You must REVOLT against implied conventional rules?”

The Tenth Commandment is by no means the least important. In order to burn the candle at both ends and achieve your dreams, you must be ready to reject conventional rules such as celebrating every holiday or resting on the weekends. Meeting lofty goals can be akin to being an entrepreneur in that it requires your undivided attention AND your goals must be your first priorities. Do not be afraid to say, “No” to the party in lieu of preparing for a midterm or final examination. You’ll have time for the parties once you have the tools in place to achieve your goals such as a university education or/and specific certifications and licenses for your chosen profession.

What is the color of your work collar?

Charles Edward has many years of experience in practically all of the collar color classifications and began his full-time working career with no skills, no education, a strong work ethic and a desire to rise above the circumstances that led him through a world of “hard knocks” lessons.


Pink-Collar jobs are found in the service industry such as jobs as Waiters, Retail Workers, and Salesmen. Charles Edward spent seven years working full-time in Pink-Collar jobs including Food Service Shift Supervisor, Retail Sales, and as a Bank Teller.


Blue-Collar jobs are the jobs of the working class where only minimal skills are required. Charles Edward has moved furniture as a Blue-Collar worker for near the minimum wage during the early part of his career.


Gray-Collar workers are skilled technicians or paraprofessionals such as Administrative Workers and Clerks. Charles Edward spent the beginning of his accounting career as a Gray-Collar worker in Bookkeeping and Accounting Clerk roles.


White-Collar workers are typically salaried professionals in jobs that typically require an undergraduate degree such as Marketing Analysts, Accountants, Financial Analysts, and General Managers. Charles Edward’s most recent experience is as an accountant as a White-Collar worker.


Gold-Collar workers are the most highly skilled professionals such as Certified Public Accountants, Attorney’s, Engineers, University Professors, and Corporate Executives. Charles Edward has not worked as a Gold-Collar worker.

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