From time to time we interview an amazing warrior, and as a bonus we will give him/her a title in the hall of warriors.
You won’t believe me, but I met a ninja. Ok, to be completely honest it was my dear friend Kathy who pointed me in the right direction. After a wonderful comment left in her blog, she pointed me to Izzy’s blog. I couldn’t believe it.
As soon as I read the title I knew he had to be in the hall of warriors. Izzy is the 30 Year Old Ninja, he made a drastic lifestyle change to go after his dream, to become a ninja. After talking a little bit with Izzy and exchanging emails, it was clear that he isn’t fooling around, he is putting his whole heart and soul to the task.
Let me introduce you to my ninja friend Izzy’s interview.
What are you most passionate about? And why?
I am passionate about travel, martial arts and pursuing my childhood dream: to become a ninja. I quit my job in America, moved to Japan, and train in martial arts.
Why is this my passion?
Well here is the formula:
Travel + Martial Arts + Unknown Variable = Ninja
In other words, I don’t really know why… Who knows? It just is.
What was your inspiration or motivation to begin your project?
Like most people, I completely forgot about my childhood dream. Then at the ripe old age of 27 I landed a job that made me want to punch myself in the face. My stress levels sky rocketed and my happiness plummeted. In short I was a stressed depressed mess.
About halfway through that year I began to battle with the question “Is there a better way to live?” Long story short, I discovered there was. I would follow my childhood dream: to become a ninja.
What is the biggest reward you have received while working on your project?
I guess I would call it a “loosening of the chains”. The deeper and deeper I get in trying to become a ninja the farther away I get from the traditional “get a job, move up the ladder” philosophy.
Even when I first came to Japan, I thought this would be a short little project then head back to the “real world”. Well, that has completely changed. I don’t ever want to go back to a traditional job. I want to find a way to make this my life. I want to travel, train in martial arts, and find a way to make money doing it.
If you had the ability to change the world in any way, would you? And if so, how?
Yes. I would make it international law that all convenience stores in the world have power bars. This would benefit everyone from the American economy to every human being in the universe. If you haven’t tasted a power bar lately you won’t understand. Do yourself a favor and go buy one. They are AWESOME! Can you tell I kind of miss power bars (Japanese energy bars do not make me happy!)?
Other than that, I’m just not smart enough to come up with something that won’t have some crazy unexpected domino effect.
What advice can you give to someone who is struggling to find happiness?
Start doing something different. It doesn’t matter what, just something. Join a book club, do community service, volunteer at a food kitchen, learn how to salsa dance, just change it up.
Be open to the doors these open: new friendships, new careers, and new insights. Then run with it! The worst thing you can do is sit around all day and think “What will make me happy?”
Who is the most remarkable person you have ever met? And why?
Hands down, my 67 year old father! Over the past year of his life he has last lost over 50 pounds and has the energy of a 25 year old. He is the most optimistic person I know.
As of late (like the last 12 months) he has become heavily involved with powerwalking. He has developed a habit of challenging local athletes to “walking races”. He likes to find the best athletes at the school then he throws down the challenge:
“You think you can beat me in a walking race for a mile?”
Thus far he is undefeated, no one has even come remotely close.
What are some of your future goals or aspirations? Do you have a plan to accomplish them?
I want to take my childhood dream to the next level. I want to travel the world, train in martial arts, and make money doing it.
I love Excel, outlines, and organization systems… So yes, I have a plan. In time I hope to develop products to inspire other people to follow their dreams.
That being said, I know that my plan will likely change as I move forward with my dream. I welcome this change.
I think it is important to have a plan but even more important to adjust as I learn new things.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced during your life?
Right out of college I joined Teach For America. Teach For America is an organization that places future leaders in the lowest performing schools in low-income communities.
My first year teaching was definitely the biggest challenge I have faced in my life! Most of my 7th grade students couldn’t multiply or divide. I would simultaneously teach 7th grade content while teaching them skills they should have learned in 3rd grade.
It was the most difficult, challenging, and rewarding experience of my life.
Tell us about your biggest success in life, perhaps something you struggled with that you were able to overcome above and beyond your own expectation?
Making it through my first year of teaching was the biggest success I have had in my life. It often felt like I was sprinting on a treadmill. I spent nearly every night working until 8 or 9 pm. Every night I had to figure out what worked and what didn’t, then head back to the drawing board.
Over the course of that year little successes started to show up. I developed relationships with students, and saw them grow academically and as people.
I spent 3 more years teaching. Those experiences completely changed how I approach my life to this very day.
What is something that you wish you knew before you started your path?
Just start! I spent a long time thinking I needed to have the perfect idea. The true power is in taking action. Action gives experience and experience gives learning. Quit wasting time thinking and just start!
If you were a cat, which type of owner would you choose?
My owner would feed me power bars, enchiladas, and listen to country music non-stop.
For his answers, huge willpower and a small dose of healthy craziness to complete the most amazing tasks, we give Izzy the title of:
The Childhood Dream Warrior
It’s easy to forget about our dreams claiming that the real world is the most important part of our life. Izzy is the living proof that you can mix both, there is no need to leave your dreams behind if you can start living them. Is it hard? maybe, but the rewards on the other hand are amazing.
Izzy has proved his status as ninja and warrior here in Enso Journey by following his dreams and staying true to himself. He shares the ups and downs of his journey in his blog The 30 Year Old Ninja, and I bet we will be reading his amazing feats in the near future.
Do you want to meet a ninja? Just leave a comment here and he’ll share his experiences with us.