In The Millionaire Mind I wrote that:
. . . millionaires . . . often . . .labeled by some authority figure or some standardized test result as being “average” or “inferior.” But as the results of this research point out, such evaluations make some people all the more tenacious. Some millionaires thrive upon such judgments, as they have made very clear to me. Where did they get their resolve? It was a direct result of their earlier experiences in deflecting negative judgments.
Ralph de la Vega is the CEO of AT&T Mobility. This company has annual sales of $63 billion and employs nearly 50,000 workers. According to a recent article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Never let yourself become a victim of the situation,” March 18, 2012, Mr. de la Vega immigrated from Cuba to the United States when he was ten. The Castro regime would not allow his family to accompany him. He lived here for five years until his family was finally allowed to join him.
While in high school and struggling with English, he told a counselor that he wanted to be an engineer some day. The counselor discouraged him from this goal because of his grades and his family’s lack of finances. Mr. de la Vega states that: He killed my dreams right there. He dropped out of an academic high school and started mechanic’s school.
But Mr. de la Vega had his dream rekindled when his grandmother arrived in the U.S. and told him: Ralph, don’t let anybody put limitations on what you can achieve. If you want to be an engineer, you can be an engineer.
And so he did. And he continues to offer his grandmother’s advice to young people who wish to achieve.