Money, Happiness, Nature and Pets

A day does not go by when an animal or element of nature does not put a smile on my face.  As a young boy living in New York, making pilgrimages to central park was my idea of nature.  I always felt so at home, a sense of peace, calm and fulfillment when surrounded by animals and nature.  But could living in NYC warp my sense of reality, importance and notion of who I was?  How do cities and culture affect a person as an individual?  These are important realizations before one finds happiness.  It requires a lot of self-awareness and courage to be fully conscious and to strike out on your own in a profession that doesn’t focus solely on money.  Focusing solely on how much money one could make in a career was drilled into the minds of my school mates and I from a young age and subsequently taught to me from grade school and on by my teachers.  In a type “A” personality city like New York, where you either moved or were moved, and where people looked down on relaxation or just breathing deeply to enjoy the flowers, it was difficult to bloom and have self-introspection and reflection.

Connection to Miami Dog Training

Animals always had, and continue to have a way of pulling me into reality even if only for a brief, sacred moment.  My mind melts away and I am completely in the moment and present.  At a young age, my two rescued cats taught me all I ever needed to know about meditation and happiness.  Later in life as I became wiser, and eights dogs and many pets later, I found out what really meant the most to me in life: animals, nature and loved ones.

I then attended college as was the typical path expected of a young adult, graduated from the University of Binghamton, and immediately got involved in finance, which was my specialty at that time. I knew that I had to “make use” of my degree for fear of not disappointing my parents and because a college student just isn’t given that much guidance after they finish university. It seemed logical to get involved in stock trading as the excitement, energy and comradery reminded me a great deal of sports that I had participated in on the collegiate level and for my entire life.  The zeitgeist of a hustle and bustle city was “run or you would be run over.”  Forget about having the time (who had that!) to really find out what made you happy or ponder why you were alive or what life actually meant to you!  It was easy to forget that this is your life and you are an individual (many people still forget these sage words).

Dog Training Wake-Up Call 

The typical morning routine would unfortunately begin with the mindless, mad rush, like cattle being corralled into subways, narrow streets, elevators and pathways where I would say my good mornings to people I didn’t know and had nothing in common with, all before 6 a.m..  As I plopped down in my chair and began catching up on the overnight markets, monitoring ten different flat panel monitors, reading the news, tickertape and stock analyst reports, I had begun another day of numbness.  The news hadn’t hit most news channels yet as I ran on the street, dodging cabs, people and traffic lights, out of breath, beads of sweat dripping down my brow to my newly pressed dress shirt, my fancy Wall Street dress shoes slip-sliding away on the pavement as they were clearly out of the scope of their intended use, my briefcase seemed light and part of my body, my fingers fuddled with my phone trying to type to family and loved ones, I could hardly breathe, my heart was pounding but I couldn’t stop as I ran through my building doors, down the lobby, into the elevator and up to the 40th floor where I watched in horror and disbelief.  Thoughts like “Is this how life ends?” pulsed through my head.  What the !@#$ was going on and what was I doing running dangerously through the streets and with my life!

I landed my first job out of college working in the World Trade Center on a trading desk and then subsequently continued the path upward and onward to different trading positions and then to portfolio management (the fictitious, wholly grail, as I was taught).  Then came September 11th  and that changed everything.  Watching many of my friends and colleagues die on that fateful day and the tragic days that followed, gave me a sense of reality that was smacked across my face as a rude wakeup call.  Hopefully people don’t need these radical catalytic moments in their lives to “help them along the path of life” but many, such as I, did.

After achieving many of the goals that I set out to, at such a young age, that I thought were important to me in my life, somehow suddenly, they all seemed hollow and meaningless.  Who was I helping, what was I doing this for, does this make me happy and fulfilled, am I proud of my life and occupation?  These questions went coursing through my brain in a cornucopia of thoughts and feelings that rushed through my body like a tsunami.  I had accomplishing what I had set out to do, being the manager of a proprietary trading desk, head trader, portfolio manager, starting a hedge fund, having many financial and trading licenses and degrees under my belt while burning out on Wall Street and the inherent culture therein.  I had a lot of time to really feel and think what made me happy as I was surrounded by many unconscious, unbalanced, drones, running through life without ever stopping to figure out why or for what.

I first was exposed to dog training at a very young age when my parents and siblings couldn’t control one or more of our many dogs.  Upon reflection, my exposure to training my family pets never failed to bring a smile to my face.  Some of my first part-time jobs while I was in college were training dogs to make some extra income.  This too, brought a smile to my face and fulfillment and sense of purpose that I had not felt since then.  It was only then, that I had the epiphany that maybe, just maybe, money isn’t what buys happiness.  In fact, money doesn’t buy much of anything that is deep or meaningful.  The genuine, sincere, loving, honest, loyal, thoughtful, caring, animals, friends and nature that I have experiences with throughout my life were the ones and the things that made me smile every day when I woke up, not dollars.  The loving energy that sentient animals share brought a deep sense of satisfaction and put a smile on my face that made me feel like I finally understood life, if only for that brief moment, and why I am on this planet.

It was at this moment when I made a career change, and switched careers from trading, finance and Wall Street to putting all of my focus, time and attention on my passion for dog training in Miami, Broward and Palm Beach and pet care.  How big ones wallet is, stuffy parties, rampant egos, superficiality and unconscious people are not what put a smile on my face and warmed my soul.  Helping families through education, dog training, pet care and saving animals lives did!  Animals, nature and educating people are so fulfilling that I didn’t have to ask any questions about whether this was the right or wrong decision, it was apparent.

Passion breeds happiness and precedes profits.  Of course one has to make a living to pay for the essentials, but perspective is everything and life is subjective.  It’s difficult to see the big picture when you are inside the frame.  That’s exactly where I was for many years of my life and I’m glad to be able to view the big picture now, wealthier than before.

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