Michael Jackson. Behind the scenes, Joseph Jackson pushed his sons to succeed. He was also reportedly known to become violent with them. Michael and his brothers spent endless hours rehearsing and polishing up their act.
Ludwig van Beethoven. Sometime between the births of his two younger brothers, Beethoven’s father began teaching him music with an extraordinary rigor and brutality that affected him for the rest of his life.
Larry Ellison, Oracle Corporation (3rd wealthiest American). After he contracted pneumonia at the age of nine months, his mother gave him to her aunt and uncle for adoption. Larry did not meet his biological mother again until he was 48. Ellison graduated from Eugene Field Elementary School in Chicago in January 1958 and attended Sullivan High School at least through the fall of 1959 before moving to South Shore. He grew up in a two-bedroom apartment in Chicago’s South Shore middle-class Jewish neighborhood. Ellison remembers his adoptive mother as warm and loving, in contrast to his austere, unsupportive, and often distant adoptive father. (Biography.com)
Barack Obama. Obama did not have a relationship with his father as a child. When his son was still an infant, Obama Sr. relocated to Massachusetts to attend Harvard University, pursuing a Ph.D. Barack’s parents officially separated several months later and ultimately divorced in March 1964, when their son was 2. In 1965, Obama Sr. returned to Kenya. (Biography.com)
Jimmy Hendrix. His mother, Lucille, was only 17 years old when Hendrix was born. She had a stormy relationship with his father, Al, and eventually left the family after the couple had two more children together, sons Leon and Joseph. Hendrix would only see his mother sporadically before her death in 1958. (Biography.com)
Steve Jobs. His father, Abdulfattah Jandali, was a Syrian political science professor and his mother, Joanne Schieble, worked as a speech therapist. Shortly after Steve was placed for adoption, his biological parents married and had another child,Mona Simpson. It was not until Jobs was 27 that he was able to uncover information on his biological parents. (Biography.com)
Michael Phelps. The youngest of three children, Phelps and his sisters grew up in the neighborhood of Rodgers Forge. His father, Fred, an all-around athlete, was a state trooper; his mother, Debbie, was a middle-school principal. When Phelps’s parents divorced in 1994, he and his siblings went to live with their mother, with whom Michael grew very close. (Biography.com)
Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh was born exactly one year after his parents’ first son, also named Vincent, was stillborn. At a young age—his name and birth date already etched on his dead brother’s headstone—van Gogh was melancholy. At age 15, van Gogh’s family was struggling financially, and he was forced to leave school and go to work. He got a job at his Uncle Cornelis’ art dealership, Goupil & Cie, a firm of art dealers in The Hague. (Biography.com)
Marylin Monroe. After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946 with Twentieth Century-Fox. (Biography.com)
Thomas Edison. Born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio, Thomas Alva Edison was the last of the seven children of Samuel and Nancy Edison. Thomas’s father was an exiled political activist from Canada. His mother, an accomplished school teacher, was a major influence in Thomas’ early life. An early bout with scarlet fever left him with hearing difficulties in both ears, a malady that would eventually leave him nearly deaf as an adult. (Biography.com)
Oprah Winfrey. American television host, actress, producer and philanthropist Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. After a troubled adolescence in a small farming community, where she was sexually abused by a number of male relatives and friends of her mother, Vernita, she moved to Nashville to live with her father, Vernon, a barber and businessman. (Biography.com)
Bill Clinton. His father, William Jefferson Blythe, died in a car crash several months before Clinton was born, leaving him in the care of his mother, Virginia Cassidy Blythe. To provide for her son, Virginia moved to New Orleans, Louisiana to complete two years of nursing school, while Clinton stayed with his grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Cassidy. Clinton’s grandparents were strict disciplinarians, who instilled in him the importance of a good education. (Biography.com)
Tom Ford. His parents, Tom Ford, Sr. and Shirley Bunton, both worked as real estate agents, and Ford spent much of his childhood at his grandparents’ ranch in the dusty town of Brownwood, Texas. (Biography.com)
• • • • • •
Do you know what all these people have in common? Besides that, all of them are great achievers, in my opinion they all have the same common denominator, DYSFUNCTION, or better said, they all have a dysfunctional childhood or came from dysfunctional families.
My name is Leo Frincu, and I’m a Transformational Coach. In this guide, I’m going to explain why being dysfunctional, or coming from a dysfunctional background is a must requirement if you want to achieve a higher level of success.
I’m going to begin with this question:
What is the ultimate purpose of a human being?
You’re probably thinking of “achieving,” and you are probably right. However, I’ll go even further and ask, “achieving what?”
From the moment we came out of our mother’s womb, we started our pursuit of one single, overriding goal: comfort.
When we cry, we do it because we are uncomfortable. As newborns, that is the only way we can express our discomfort and communicate with the outside world. Being born is uncomfortable because, all of a sudden, we are exposed to a new environment, and as infants, we really don’t like it.
As we grew older, instead of crying, we use words and even our body language to communicate our needs. We might do it poorly, but we still do it.
When you are cold, you find comfort by putting on a jacket. When you are thirsty, you satisfy your need by drinking. When you are hungry, you eat. When you are uncomfortable, you immediately start working towards making yourself comfortable. This is our primal human instinct, and we’re going to pursue it from the moment we are born till the day we die.
That is our life mission, or if you like, the subconscious meaning of our life. To make ourselves feel comfortable at any cost. Everyone has the same needs, but each of us has a different way of meeting them. We all strive to achieve the same thing through different avenues.
With that being said, since we’re all pursuing the same thing, why do some people, according to our societal standards, achieve more than others?
The answer is because there are different levels of comfort and different ways of coping with discomfort.
What motivates these outstanding people to accomplish so much and reach much higher levels of success?
What motivates them to keep going?
There are many books and articles out there teaching individuals what they need to achieve success. However, the material keeps increasing but so is the failure rate. You hear many people talking about success, and you begin to wonder how come many people are still failing?
Why still a high failure rate?
Coaching people for the last two decades in my Los Angeles studio, I’ve come to a realization. All of the successful people have one thing in common. They all have a DYSFUNCTION.
Due to their dysfunction, these people are the most uncomfortable people in the world. Success equal discomfort. Therefore, these people have a very important subconscious life mission, and purpose.
Being uncomfortable is what they know as a normal living standard, and yet that is also something they will always pursue to change. That pursuit, or what I like to call “the chase” it is actually the “comfort zone” itself. A comfort zone that’s way different from the comfort zone the “normal” people are used to.
Successful people have been taught to operate and live like that from their early childhood.
Of course, there are many other successful people that don’t come from dysfunctional families or background. However, we’re not talking about the other factors involved in achieving that level of success. I’m just stating that most of the high-achievers and many accomplished people that are not so popular have one common denominator, a big dysfunction, and are experiencing a higher level of discomfort than the normal people.
Their dysfunction is their nucleus. They feel better, more at ease while pushing themselves out of their “usual living discomfort.” Their dysfunction is their engine, their drive, their motivation, their underlying beliefs and their identity.
However, regardless of what it might look like, for many people being dysfunctional isn’t always an asset or a lottery ticket.
Dysfunction can push one forward, but if not channeled properly, it could also drag one into the ground. Dysfunction is at the root of one’s low self-esteem, and a confidence killer.
Dysfunction is where fear, doubt, and all the negative self-beliefs are multiplying fueling the individual with drive and motivation, or the opposite, with procrastination and defeat.
Dysfunction can give one the extra push, the extra lift of self-validation and the superpower to achieve what one believes is lacking the most, which is the comfort. Or does the opposite, weakens one’s willpower and pushing them to self-destruct. A dysfunction can give you the answer to a problem or sink you deeper into that problem.
Not all of the dysfunctional people will have the same level of achievements, nor are their lives going to take the same course. However, they’re all going to pursue the same comfort through discomfort.
For example, one dysfunctional person might overeat and become morbidly obese, while the same dysfunction type might push another to starve himself or over-train. The same dysfunctional background could lead one into adopting a self-destructive behavior such as drugs and alcohol, and another one into over-working and over-achieving. One is approved and applauded by the society, the other is not.
Both examples above have the same purpose, but different ways of achieving it. Regardless of the type of issue, they both seek the same thing. Subconsciously, dysfunctional people are running away from how the dysfunction makes them feel, which is uncomfortable, towards the comfort we’re all familiar with.
What’s interesting is that many high achievers don’t realize that, for them, comfort can’t be found through traditional notions of stability or “serenity.” It is quite the opposite. Dysfunctional high achievers find comfort through the chase itself. Remember, that’s how they were raised. That’s home to them. They’re basically running away from the cause and towards the effect. That’s the true definition of “dysfunction,” a self-sustained living organism within yourself.
One can end up a billionaire or become a world-famous artist, and another person with the same purpose can end up being a broke alcoholic or drug addict. Same purpose, different destinations.
As there are different types of dysfunctions, so are there different levels of comfort zones. The bigger the dysfunction, the bigger the drive and the higher the comfort level will be chased. The bigger the trauma, or the longer the suffering during childhood, the bigger the motivation to self-destruct or overachieve as adults.
Undoubtedly, driven by our natural born instinct, it’s only normal for us to seek comfort. Perhaps it’s to silence the voices in our head, or whether we want to prove ourselves right or wrong, dysfunction is going to take different shapes and forms, and manipulate us from down under. We’re going to name these dysfunctional people innovators, entrepreneurs, movie stars, celebrities, famous artists, and famous musicians, just to name a few popular titles and social statuses.
They are our heroes and idols.
We know them very well and they’re approved and promoted by our society.
The problem is this: it’s stigmatizing to acknowledge our dysfunctions, so we often deny their existence to ourselves and others. We stubbornly refuse to accept our dysfunction’s influence in our behavior– even when it’s the reason for our successes, as opposed to our failures.
Therefore, if we ask enlightened over-achievers:
• What drives them to pursue their dreams?
• What motivates them?
• What makes them special?
The answer won’t be the type of their dysfunction or the level of their pain.
Over-achievers cope with their dysfunction by inventing amazing things like Thomas Edison; building an empire like Oprah Winfrey, selling millions of albums like Michael Jackson, inventing profound consumer products like Steve Jobs or winning dozens of Olympic gold medals like Michael Phelps.
It’s what they do to feel comfortable. They achieve and then achieve again. It is uncomfortable for most. However, it is “home” to them. They are comfortable being uncomfortable.
On the other hand, you have probably witnessed and wondered at the same time why several successful people have ruined their lives and their careers with drug abuse and alcohol.
Then you may ask, why when someone is doing so well, and have everything they’ll choose to give it all away?
The answer is because they have no insight into their trauma, or don’t believe there’s an chance or hope of finding comfort.
Most successful people don’t understand that the same unconscious dynamics leading to their success are the same dynamics that can lead to their destruction. They don’t understand that the only way for them to cope is not to achieve greatness but to constantly pursue greatness. The only way for them to live healthier lives is to understand that they’ll always feel uncomfortable to some degree. The only way for them to live constructively is to embrace their discomfort because success itself will never bring relief.
In short, the key to their contentment is (1) avoid destructive behaviors, (2) reject the notion that achievement itself will bring contentment, and (3) embrace the chase, not traditional notions of “serenity.”
Also, you’ve seen several people achieving greatness and still wanting to achieve more, to conquer different heights.
Then you wonder again, when is enough for these people?
Don’t they have enough?
The answer is no, they will never have enough because it’s not the money or status that brings comfort.
They might not be fully aware of why they still feel this way. However, the feeling is there. Some people turn to drinking and drugs; others start chasing more goals and achieving more. Again, it Is not because they need more, is because they desperately want to feel what they’ve been chasing all their life, COMFORT.
It is because that’s who they are and because that’s who we are.
Being dysfunctional is part of their identity, part of who they are. It’s like an engine they can’t shut down. It’s because they haven’t reached their target. It is a vicious cycle, a self-sustaining organism.
You hear a lot of stories of successful people committing suicide, dying of an overdose or making a really poor decision that eventually ruins their careers. It’s because they keep moving forward, or in some cases downward, in their pursuit of their comfort zone, which ironically, they are living it.
In my case, I believe I lived all my life with a dysfunction as my mother emotionally abused me in my early years through my teens. I’ve won a World Champion wrestling title when I was eighteen years old, moved to the United States when I was twenty-three, I wrote several books, and I own a successful business. Apparently, I don’t have a problem waking up at 4 am to put in a 14 hours work day, over and over again.
I’m constantly motivated and working on several other goals. However, I’ve always asked myself, what motivates me, what drives me forward to achieve and better myself?
When is enough?
I move forward because that’s all I know. That’s my identity. I always wanted to get comfortable and to heal from my childhood trauma. I always wanted to prove to myself, to my family and to the world that I am better than I was raised to believe I am. My self-diagnosed dysfunction is at the core of my motivation and the fuel to my drive. That is what pushed me to leave everything behind and start all over again, and still pushing me to keep going. I finally realized that I am comfortable being uncomfortable. I’m just enjoying the chase. I’m already here, and here is where I want to be.
You’re now probably asking, isn’t that unhealthy? Wouldn’t you want to be cured and healed? Wouldn’t you want to feel comfortable?
When you cure a dysfunction, and I don’t even know if that is even possible, you’ll erase an identity. That’s who I am, and that’s my identity.
I have learned how my childhood experiences are affecting me, and I have chosen to use my dysfunction positively, to learn and achieve rather than lose and blame.
One can spend years in therapy trying to change and fit within society and its standards. Or you can accept who you truly are, and learn how your past can affect your present.
We acquire our identity in our first six to eight years of our life. That is imprinted forever in our gene’s structure. That is our blueprint.
By trying to change and heal a dysfunction, I believe you’re cutting down the roots, the footprints of one’s identity.
Most medical professionals have to reduce many people to zero with drugs, medication or false identities in their efforts to rebuild one self-image. They might keep one alive by rebuilding a new identity. However, it would be an individual that’s less-motivated, less-driven but probably happier and more content one.
It’s all good until the society comes in again and tells them that who, and what they are isn’t good enough. Everything is “great” with that new cured, healthy individual until he faces the world again.
A world with the same standards as before. Standards set by oneself before being “cured.” The chase begins again with lesser tools than before. It is the same as starting a new race, only this time you have to run it barefoot.
So how can professional helpers support dysfunctional people to find comfort, and yet keep their exceptional drive and motivation?
By teaching individuals to recognize and embrace their dysfunction. Teaching them how to own their dysfunction rather being owned by it. Making them aware how dysfunction makes them feel, and how it can affect their abilities to make decisions.
Another important thing. It is ok to ask for help. When I embarked on my self-discovery journey, I needed all the help that I could get. I slowly start learning about who I am, and how I felt. Only then I start accepting myself. I now accept all of me. The good the bad and the ugly.
Teaching individuals to understand that a dysfunction isn’t a bad thing as long is accepted and directed towards a positive behavior. Observe what negative thoughts it generates and how these thoughts can possibly affect your life in a negative way if acted upon. Once you do that, you quarantine these thoughts. Observe them and let them fuel your drive, to motivate you rather than the opposite. Let them help you achieve rather than self-destruct. Control your dysfunction with self-awareness, self-control, and self-discipline.
Our society is telling individuals what is good and what is bad. The high achievers, the icons, and business moguls set the definition of success. The self-help industry and the motivational gurus are selling to the so-called healthy crowd, or the healed individuals the secret of success. Success based on the standards and achievements of the dysfunctional people. However, they don’t mention what one needs to have in order to achieve these levels, only what one needs to do.
Then you might ask, are the non-dysfunctional people having a disadvantage in the race to success?
It could be a disadvantage only if you think that being dysfunctional is a bad thing. It’s only a disadvantage if you’re not aware of your real pursuit.
The good news is that we all have some type of dysfunction, at some level.
There’s no such thing as a non-dysfunctional person.
From small traumas to big traumas, from somehow healthy people to unhealthy ones, we’re all pursuing the same thing, COMFORT. Everyone is pretty much going through the same thing and heading towards the same destination.
What separates winners from losers, and success from failure is how we react to how we feel.
Stop focusing on your end result, or better said, on your destination, and start focusing on the journey. Try to become comfortable with how you feel right now, and with what you do, regardless if you think is just a temporary stage in your life. Stop reacting and start acting. Stop blaming and start taking responsibility. Don’t judge your feelings, and yourself. You are perfect just the way you are.
Let pain or past traumas motivate you to achieve, not by labeling it right or wrong, but by acknowledging how it affects you right now.
Get in touch with the pain rather than masking it and pretend it doesn’t exist. Being dysfunctional isn’t a bad thing. It is actually the opposite.
In fact, it’s how the most successful people in the world make it — they benefit from their dysfunction to achieve greatness. They tap into it. They feed on it. They don’t label it or judge it. They live it.
Success equal discomfort. And discomfort promotes growth.
Since a dysfunction is a part of your identity, of who you are, it could be difficult to acknowledge it and bring it to the surface, to your conscious.
You might not be aware of how it affects you right now. You might not completely understand who you are right now. But you are aware of who you want to be and how you want to feel. Act based on what you want, not on how you feel. Because sometimes we just don’t feel good about ourselves.
Some of these over-achievers are conscious and brave enough to talk about and bring some awareness to this subject. However, some of them aren’t. Since everyone’s asking where is the drive and motivation come from, it’s only normal to wonder, what makes these people special?
Use what your momma gave you, whether you think is good, or bad, to achieve greatness and don’t use it as an excuse for failure.
Keep moving forward even when you don’t know where you are heading.
Let your goals lead you to who you want to be and to how you want to feel.
I encourage you to be proud of who you are, even if you think you’re not strong enough, smart enough, or good enough.
Be proud of yourself. That is the only thing you’ll need to take your life and goals to the next level!
Leo Frincu is a world wrestling champion, author, speaker and performance coach for business leaders and athletes worldwide. To learn more about his training philosophy, check out his latest book, “WELCOME HOME, 3 Simple Steps On How To Reach Your Highest Potential,” available on Amazon and iBooks.