Gangster? Alpha Genius? Honestly it’s all true, I’ll explain:
I grew up in a place called Hackney. A small but dangerous part of London where gangsters and poor people live. Education is bad, police don’t always turn up and the fear of getting robbed is a given. Oh, and I can’t forget gun shots, lots and lots of gun shots!
Growing up In Hackney
I remember a friend telling me he stabbed another guy in the stomach five times. He said it casually, extremely calm and I couldn’t help but feel he was proud. That was scary. Someone I knew was telling me he stabbed another human.
He described everything in detail, from how he psyched himself up, to how the knife slid in like knives cut through butter. He intended to push the knife through once. But he got a kick out of it, so he did it again, and again, and again.
I didn’t know what to say… or think. Just the the other day we talked and he said it’s not something he’d do.
But now things had changed, and now he carried a knife. A butterfly knife, It was the same knife he used for the stabbing.
Admittedly, I thought it was cool. Not the stabbing. No. But the knife? Yeah, that looked cool as hell!
I remember when another friend had his new trainers stolen. That sounds funny. Well, at least it did at the time… But what’s funnier is they were yanked from his feet – that day he literally walked home on the cold filthy concrete. I felt sorry for him. As you can see, Hackney was a cold place to live.
But to my surprise things could get colder…
It was cold friday night. I was out with the lads, and we were on the hunt for chicks.
We stood in the line outside of the club, acting as mature as we could. I think at the time I was sixteen.
I looked over and locked eyes with a young lady, my best friend, but we had for some reason fallen out so she turned her head away quickly.
We got to the front of the line, but then the bouncer asked for ID. We pleaded, but nothing. All he kept saying was, “No entry without ID”. There was nothing we could do, so unfortunately we had to leave.
A big group of teenagers were now marching down the street looking for somewhere to go. Someone knew of place twenty minutes away on the bus, so we stood at the bus stop and waited.
It was cold. Really cold. But things were about to get colder…
I turned my head and there stood a group of twenty guys. I knew who they were and this was of course bad news.
“I hope they’re not calling me… I hope they’re not calling me… I hope they’re not calling me” I whispered while trembling and turning. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, but then:
A cold husky voice bellowed, “You with the black hat, come here!”
I looked around to see who they were calling, but I knew I was the one with the hat.
I turned and I looked, then he signalled he wanted me to walk over.
I was scared, my heart was beating, my palms were sweaty, but for some reason my legs took me towards them.
Something was going to happen. These guys were always up to no good.
I looked around for my friends; they, alongside everyone else were stood watching.
As soon as I got close they tugged me forward. I was now standing in the middle, surrounded.
In one quick scuffle they took off my hat, jerked off my chain, tugged off my jacket and ripped off my shirt; they pushed me, slapped me, kicked me and punched me. I think it lasted 30 seconds, but honestly it felt like a life time.
The guys all dispersed; they had taken my stuff, and left me on the street humiliated.
I was now standing with my torn t-shirt. But surprisingly pleased to not be bare feet.
I wanted to cry. I couldn’t believe it. My best friend – her name was Zalika – ran to me, hugged me and started to cry. Whatever we had argued about the other day no longer mattered.
“Why did they pick you David”, she sniffled. I whispered that everything was ok.
I looked over her shoulder and saw everyone watching, including all of my so called friends.
I was cold night.
Hackney was a cold place to live.
In Hackney, people getting robbed and beaten up was just something that happened, and often for no apparent reason.
After the above incident I felt both embarrassed and angry. I didn’t want anything like that to happen again – I’m ashamed to admit it, but can you guess what I did? I started to carry a knife…
My ‘friends’ said I was crazy. I screamed they were stupid. Like, I never actually wanted to use it.
Carrying the knife made me feel somewhat powerful and I felt that no one would harm me.
After going through an unhappy cycle a few times, I think it’s normal to want to do something.
What Happened Next?
Well, you’ll be happy to know I never stabbed anyone, and I never got into a situation where I wanted to use it.
When you’re surrounded by negativity, eventually it has an effect on you. In my case, I went from an innocent kid to one who carried a knife.
More than a handful of my peers went to prison – for everything from drugs to violence.
I moved from hackney to a nicer part of london – which on it’s own didn’t bring a new mindset.
I really changed when I started picking up books. I read everything: self-help, business, travel, fiction ect, ect.
I can’t stress how much books and learning has changed my life…
They’ve made me into a brand new person.
Sharing this story was tough, but all I really want to illustrate is that no matter where you are in life you can change things around.
I grew up in a place full thugs, but today I’m a real big geek. I’m addicted to learning, developing new skills and traveling the world as often a possible.
I’m proof that your past doesn’t dictate the future.
Now, why do I call myself an ‘alpha genius’? Well, besides that I think it’s catchy, I think I have the potential.
In all my reading, and speaking to people commonly considered ‘genius’, I’m yet to see anything that made them different from everyone else.
I always see hard work, dedication and passion.
If that’s what it takes – and I believe that it is – then I’m on my way to becoming a genius 🙂