Inspirational Stories

INSPIRATIONAL STORY – Oprah Winfrey: from poverty to America’s 1st black billionaire
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Winfrey was born in 1954 in Mississippi, to a teenage mother but raised by her grandma. When she was 9, Winfrey was raped by a cousin and over the next few years she was sexually abused by other men. She went to live with her father in Nashville at 14, hiding the fact she was pregnant and gave birth to a son two months early. He died soon afterwards.
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Living with her father and stepmother provided stability and high expectations. When she was 17, Winfrey won a beauty pageant sponsored by a local radio station. Someone at the station noticed her smooth, warm voice and asked her to read a news report on tape. She did it so well she was offered a part-time job.
She moved to Baltimore to work for WJZ-TV as a news reporter and co-anchor of the six o’clock news. It wasn’t a success. Soon enough Winfrey was moved to a morning slot but she and Sher were eventually paired for a talkshow, People Are Talking.
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One of the reasons she gave up news and went into talk was whenever she did a story of children killed in a fire or children murdered she would cry and cry. She wore her heart on her sleeve and people really loved that about her.
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Later on she sent an audition tape to WLS-TV in Chicago. They gave her the AM Chicago morning talkshow which became so successful it became The Oprah Winfrey show and was syndicated nationally. By the time she ended her talkshow in 2011, leaving to set up her own cable channel, she had become a billionaire and one of the most powerful women in the world.
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She has been credited with everything from liberalising US culture to reinvigorating America’s publishing industry with her book club to influencing Barack Obama’s victory.
She is the first black billionaire so in the black community she holds a special place. As a woman she’s shown that it is possible to become a billionaire, without having a husband.
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Oprah is a big example of success. She worked on her dreams, broke many bareers and kept being her true self. It is said that she will run for a president in 2020 election!
INSPIRATIONAL STORY
The homeless man who became a multi-millionaire inwestor – the story of Chris Gardner.
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It was back in the early 1980s that Mr Gardner, then aged 27, and his toddler son were homeless for a year in San Francisco. Enrolled on a low-paid trainee scheme at a stock brokerage, he didn’t have enough money to raise the deposit to rent an apartment. So Mr Gardner and Chris Jr would sleep wherever they could. In addition to the toilet at a railway station, they’d bed down in parks, at a church shelter, or under his desk at work after everyone else had gone home. They ate in soup kitchens, and what little money he had was spent on putting his son in day nursery so he could go to work.
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Despite this adversity, Mr Gardner thrived in his job. Has was very eager to learn. A natural at selling stocks and shares, at the end of his training period his firm, Dean Witter Reynolds (DWR), made him a full employee. Finally able to rent a home for himself and his son, his career then rapidly ascended into the stratosphere, and in 1987 he opened his own investment firm, Gardner Rich.
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Sounds similar? This is a story you see in „The Persuit of Happiness”. Yes, this is a story based on Chris Gardner’s life.
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Today Mr Gardner, 64, is worth an estimated $60m, travels the world as a motivational speaker, and sponsors a number of homeless charities and organisations that combat violence against women.
Six years after the release of the movie, Mr Gardner’s life changed again in 2012 when his wife died from cancer aged just 55. It made him re-evaluate what he wanted to do for a living, and after three highly successful decades in finance he decided on a complete career change. So realising that he didn’t want to work in investment banking any longer, he reinvented himself as a motivational speaker and author. 🔸️🔸️🔸️
Very inspirational!
We must never give up!
From an abusive childhood to a billion-dollar empire – INSPIRATIONAL STORY of Tony Robbins.
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Robbins was born 1960. He is the eldest of 3 children and his parents divorced when he was 7. While growing up, Robbins worked as a handyman to help provide for his siblings.
During high school, Robbins grew ten inches, a growth spurt later attributed to a pituitary tumor. He has said his home life was “chaotic” and “abusive”. When he was 17, he left home (or actually has been chased out of the house with a knife by his mother) and never returned. Robbins later worked as a janitor and did not attend college.
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This is when he decided that he wants to be rich so that he could help people in need. He made his first million at age 24. Two years later (’86) the huge success of his 1st book ‘Unlimited Power’ launched him into the mainstream.
In 1988 Robbins released his first infomercial, Personal Power, which helped him gain wide exposure. He was selling it as self-help audiotapes. By 1991 an estimated 100mln Americans had seen his infomercials.
In 1997, Robbins began the Leadership Academy seminar.
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Robbins has worked on an individual basis with Bill Clinton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana, Mother Teresa and many more. He was named one of the “Top 50 Business Intellectuals” by Accenture, one of the “Top 200 Business Gurus” by the Harvard Business Press & in 2007 was ranked on the Forbes Celebrity 100.
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He’s also built an empire. The Anthony Robbins Company is a diversified group of businesses in industries such as hospitality, education, media production, and business services. The companies reportedly have a combined revenue that is approaching $6 billion a year.
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Robbins hasn’t forgotten his humble roots. The Anthony Robbins Foundation feeds more than 4mln people around the holidays each year through “Basket Brigade” and provides fresh water to over 100000 people a day in India. His foundation runs programs to help the homeless, encourage youth leadership, and provide his books and tapes to prisoners.
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Tony Robbins is a great example that you can’t give up despite hard times and just keep on going to reach your dreams!
Born without arms, Jessica Cox used her legs and her unbelievable spirit of awesomeness to become the first licensed armless pilot. She’s also the first armless black belt in the America Taekwondo Association. Refusing to use prosthetic arms Jessica: drives a car, types on a keyboard, pumps her own gas and puts on contact lenses. She also SCUBA dives and has a Psychology degree from the University of Arizona. She inspires people across 20 countries by sharing her message of inspiration on stages.
Such a strong and inspiring woman! 💪
Here’s INSPIRATIONAL STORY of Liz Murray.
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When Liz became homeless at the age of 15, it was just after her mother died of HIV and her father moved into a homeless shelter. In such a painful situation, most people would only be able to see their immediate circumstances. But Liz would seek a better reality for herself, despite her intense limitations. So she attended a local high school and graduated in just two years. She was then awarded a New York Times scholarship for needy students and was accepted into Harvard University, eventually earning her doctorate in clinical psychology.
She has since written a New York Times best-selling memoir “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard” which was also a made-for-TV movie.
Liz is inspiring because she didn’t let her circumstances dictate her future. Instead, she chose her own destiny and manifested it, despite overwhelming obstacles. 👏👏👏
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PINK LEMONADE
Today I want to tell you a story of a friend of mine who took a risk, quit her job and became a travel bloger! She now lives on Bali and has a dream life!
Here’s my short interview with Pink Lemonade:
1. How long have you been working for yourself? How is it?
I’ve quit my last “normal” job in September 2017, so it’s been already 1,5 year that I am my own boss! Yay! It actually feels like forever!
2. What was/is the most challenging part for you being self-employed?
Well being honest the financial part. No one pays you the salary and you don’t have any guarantee if there will be some projects coming next month or not so you need to be very good in money managing and don’t end up broke. Usually the harderst are obviously the beginnings where you mostly rely on your savings and still have to invest a lot in your company to make it work. Nowadays Pink Lemonade is the only source of an income for me and my boyfriend. Still the money we make are way less than what we used to earn before, but the comfort of the life is uncomparable and satisfaction that we work for ourselves gives us huge motivation.
3. What was your milestone momment when you felt you can do it or that you succeeded?
I always knew I will succeed! Just kidding, it wasn’t that easy!
Actually the culmination moment was when I hit my first 10K followers. These days Instagram was growing really fast and my boyfriend said that he sees huge potential in it so why don’t we just quit our jobs and go travel the world? And so we did! Few months after that, we managed to save up some money and went on our first big trip. That time I had only 16K followers. 
4. You live from travelling and posting beautiful pictures. You’ve seen many beautiful places, you currently live on Bali. It seems like a fairytale but i’m guessing it’s also hard work. Please tell us about it.
Of course it is! We’re doing everything just by ourselves and our job is veeery time consuming. Also, when you’re your own boss, everything is on your shoulders and you’re carrying the responsibility for everything what’s happening so you’re always working on a full speed and giving 100%. But let’s be honest, living in such a paradise definitely helps!
5. Do you have your own work routine? Do you get up and work on posts/emails 9-5 and then have time for yourself?
We tried to have it as I believe routines keep you well organised, but it was impossible! Every day is completely different for us, we face different challenges, sometimes have to change our schedule last minute and also we travel a lot so a routine simply didn’t work for us. From the other point of view it also has its benefits as I am flexible and whenever I want to meet a friend, put my phone away and shut down my lap top I can just do it.
6. You just released your presets. Do you have any other projects coming soon?
Oh yes! Many! I am so happy that the presets are finally on sale! We’ve also just opened a sister company for Pink Lemonade – Pink Lemonade Digital Marketing Solutions, where we’ll be providing social media services for our clients. My dream was always to have my own brand and it’s still a bit of a secret but we’re thinking of releasing a small series of accessories designed by me in the near future, that would be really amazing!

 

Today I want to tell you a story of my mentor – Ewa Chodakowska.
Ewa is a fitness instructor who built an enormous brand and is now one of the richest and most successful women in Poland.
She is a mentor to me and a true inspiration because she got it all through hard work, starting from zero.
Ewa was born in a small city in south Poland, had a normal and very modest life. After graduating from high school she went to Greece where she fell in love with fitness. She got a degree at Pilates Academy Athens & IAFA College Athens and came back to Poland where she started building her brand. She was 27 when she started working on it. Spent lots of time just recording videos of excercises and sending it to random people on Facebook. She says she’s been sending hundreds of messages a day. Later on she started publishing official DVDs with her workouts, in 2012 she started going around Polish cities with BeActive tour and did fitness workshops. In 2015 she launched fitness magazine called Be Active. She was growing and growing. Within next 3 years she launched several more companies: BeDiet where you can buy an individual diet, BeRaw – healthy snacks and suprfood, Missionswim – swimwear,  BeDiet Catering and couple more. She has now 28 DVDs, 7 books, you can buy a personal diet (and have it as catering to your home), a magazine, a healthy snack, a swimsuit, fitness holidays with Ewa,  and many more. She just launched her jewelry line today and she’ll be sharing income from it with a foundation for women who are victims of violence. Apart from that she has her own program in TV where she talks about health and women issues, she is now a jury in a dance show…that woman works 24/7! It is said that over 1 mln Polish women lost weight with her already! She is a fitness queen in Poland and is now estimated to be worth over 150mln PLN now!
It’s not even about the money but the fact that she built her brand on her passion and she does what she loves while changing others’ lives!
This story trully shows that through hard work you can achieve a lot!
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Time for another Inspirational Story. This story will show you how determination and persistance can work miracles. I know it’s long but please read it.
There was a girl. Let’s call her Ana.
In 2011 Ana started writing a book. She never wanted to be a writer but she had a lot to say and share about her outlook on the world and society nowadays so she built it in a story and made a book out of it. As soon as she finished writing it 1.5 year later she was really proud of it, it was a good book hence she wanted to have it published. She started looking for a publishing house, she took part in every writing contest she could find. But it was for nothing.
She took a break and got back to it 2 years later. She changed a bit in the plot as she didn’t like some parts anymore and tried again – contacted a bunch of publishing houses yet it was still for nothing. She decided to print the book herself. She had a graphic made for a cover, a professional helping correcting the text and a proper bindery to make it into a book. She spent all her savings to get 180 copies. What did she do next? Having the book printed she started sending it to…publishing houses. Again. At that time it was 2015 so already 4 years in the making.
She gained some interest from 3 publishing houses but it didn’t work out as they wanted her to put more money into it. She wanted to find a publishing house that will fall in love with her book and will invest in it. After that she took a break again, this time for half a year.
In 2016 she decided to try it different way. She did a research and found a lot of blogs that write books reviews. The book got plenty good reviews, some blogs gave it 5/6, some 8/10 and wrote articles about it trying to bring attention to publishing houses to take that book in and publish it. One chapter got even published in a national newspaper. But still nothing. Still no publishing house interested  in making it big.
Having lots of great reviews she decided to take it one step further and she reached out to well-known people in the industry. She managed to get in touch with a man who wrote dozens of books and was later a chairman of jury in the biggest literature awards in the country. He loved the book and wrote a great review. She got even an email from a famous director Krzysztof Zanussi („The Constant Factor”, „Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease”, „The Supplement”) that he sees potential in her book to make it into a movie.
With those 2 reviews from 2 big names she tried again. She packed her book with those reviews as a Xmas present and sent it to over 30 pubslishing houses for Christmas 2016. A month later she started calling each company to see if they got it. She has been calling to all companies EVERY WEEK for a whole year asking if they read it, if they like it etc. In the meantime she kept looking for more publishing houses and got to 44 companies on her list. She kept calling them until she had a proper answer YES or NO. She did not accept answers like „We will read it and will get in touch with you if we like it”, no. She asked how much time they needed to read it and said that she’ll call again to ask for the opinion. She made over 200 calls asking about the book. It lasted whole 2017. She kept hearing „NO” over and over again but she did not give up. 37th answer was „YES”. In the beginning of 2018 she found a publishing house that fell in love with her book and wanted to make it big.
Let’s call her by her real name now. It was Pola Rewako. It was me. My book is being published on February 13th after 7 years of trying to make it happen. This is my secret project i’ve been telling you about. J
Also, I will not stop here. I want to make it into a movie and translate it into English by 2021.

MAJA BLOOM

MAJA BLOOM

Today’s Inspirational Story will be in a form of an interview! Please see below and learn about Maja Bloom who played Carrow in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald!

Hi Maja! Welcome to Smiley Society! I’ve just seen Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and i was so excited to see you there! Well done!

Thank you. I hope people enjoy the movie! I know it’s part 2 and maybe if someone is not familiar with the whole world of Harry Potter, they may not know all the characters, or get lost in all the stories, but I hope people will still enjoy it. At the end of the day cinema, I think, it’s a form of escape, time for some relaxation and rest.
How did you react when you heard you got the part?                 
 It was quite a long process. I had my first audition and then I thought that perhaps I did not do very well. You see, actors often question the quality of their work. It was over a month and a half later that I found out I was invited to meet the director. I then read for two parts. I asked myself later whether, after all, I got the first part that I auditioned for or maybe I lost out on that one, and instead I got the second one? So it was either my biggest failure or my biggest success – who knows? Maybe like all in life, all depends on our perception of it all? How did I react? It was kind of amazing and I felt like I ‘broke my spell’ after many castings where I was very close, but did not make it in the end. Many times you try your best and unfortunately the more you try, the keener you may be and sometimes you are too keen. What I mean is, that to give a good performance, to do your best, you have to kind of let go. I think not only in castings, but in life in general. So when I got the part, I felt like I broke my spell. I started to believe myself more earlier on that year, and I saw a result of that. It was amazing. I was actually quite new t the Harry Potter world. I didn’t realise people love it so much and it was and still is very humbling. There are people who are very attached to the characters and you become part of the story that is dear to so many readers and fans. Last year I decided to believe that, as they say, ‘the universe has my back’ and I kind of trusted it would go well, and then it happened so it was a very good feeling.
Carrow, your character, is one of Grindelwald’s „gang” so you got to spend a lot of time on the set with Johnny Depp right? How was it working with him?     
Yes, I am one of Grindelwald’s gang and I spent five weeks on set working with Johnny Depp. He was a very nice guy and it was a pleasure to work with him. There are hundreds and hundreds of people on set, so sometimes we would see each other in the morning and not again until afternoon next day, because we had different things to do, make up, costume, etc. And sometimes we spent hours and hours working together and joking around in the breaks. He is very nice, humble, and simply… very normal. One day we talked about Polish mountains, for example, and a lot of other things. He is obviously a big star, but I never felt like I was working with someone inaccessible. Quite the contrary. If it wasn’t Johnny Depp I would just say he was just another great actor that I happened to work with. He’s a musician as well so we talked about music as well. It was overall a great experience.    
How did you become an actress in the first place?                
Gosh I wish I knew! I always loved performing. I’m not a spring chicken anymore (in my thirties) so in the past few years apart from just acting, I’ve also become a comedian and lets’s not forget first, I am a singer and songwriter, perhaps mainly as I simply cannot live without music in my life. I think I liked the idea of sharing: you can share by writing a book, a blog, a theatre play or movie script. We can share what we go through in stories we tell each other. I think that is the main thing that attracts us to art in general, movies and books and theatre and everything else. It’s about telling a story. I was told in the past that I am most probably on Asperger spectrum. I think because of it I tend to explain a lot and often I think out loud. When I am faced with fellow humans I feel like I have to explain my brain out loud (boring and crazy, I know! 🙂 and people sometimes think that I either like talking or that I am egocentric. I do indeed live in my own often crazy world but would hate to be ever anything close to egocentric, even though many actors are known to be very egocentric. And so, I guess to me it is all about sharing your story and communicating with others with the help of stories. As an actor, sometimes you have to portray someone that you don’t agree with. You can ask what it was like playing an acolyte, an evil character who at one point neutralises a lovely child (spoiler alert). You have to try to understand people from different sides. It can be difficult and painful at times, but if we understand something first then and only then we can try to change it. You have to make sense of your character and why they do what they do. It is all about watching people and watching how the human species works. I have always felt like an observer and like an alien (again, partly due to being on the Asperger spectrum), kind of watching human species from the side. I don’t actually know the exact answer to that question.    
Do you have new projects/movies coming up?        
I do. Some are not confirmed just yet and some are work in progress. The production of the EP of my original songs has been delayed, but I hope to work on it soon. You can check some demo recordings on my website http://www.planetmaja.com. One thing confirmed and to be released in February 2019 was a really lovely cute story we worked on in September, commissioned by The Plymouth University. It’s based on a a true story. The director, Anya Lewin is an American artist. Her grandma Ada (played by me) was a Polish Jew that spent two years in Cairo, and set up a perfume shop there with her husband. The movie talks about their time in Egypt and then return to Berlin. I play Ada, a lovely lady who had a chance to be independent in 1930s Cairo and then, when her husband finally got his job back in Berlin, had to close it all and get back to being a housewife, which was kind of sad because I guess she really wanted to achieve something of her own. It will be out in February 2019. The movie was shot in 4 different languages which was just incredible. I am trilingual myself (a Brit and a Pole in one, with family in France) and had to act in English, Polish and French. And then of course, since the movie takes place in Egypt, we also had characters and actors speaking Arabic.           
Can you explain that to us – You’re both British and Polish but French as well?     
I am technically, nationality-wise both British and Polish. My sister is French and so I feel connected to France too. My sister left for France when I was 15. She is my oldest sister and works as a lawyer for French government, while her wife works for French tax office. That’s why I always joke I am probably safe in France since I have contacts in high places. My nephews and niece on that side of the family were born in France, and have French nationality, and so I get to cheer on France too in all sport events. I even learned the lovely French national anthem. It is very convenient to have 3 countries to cheer on in e.g. World Cup so when one of your team loses, you just move on to the other one. I’ve lived in the UK on and off for the past 22 years and I definitely feel very British. My accent unfortunately fluctuates so it can be a bit Eastern European, when I speak to my Polish family, it can be a bit French-y especially when I visit family in Paris, and I get to play French characters sometimes, and then when I travel it can just be a mixture of all, a kind of a neutral travelling accent. I do feel British and I admit I hate when people ask me where I am from on days when my accent is less than British. Or when they ask the worst question of all: ‘…but where are you REALLY from?’ which I consider rude and racist, to be blunt. Well… I wish I knew where I was from! From my mom, and from planet Maja for sure. I was brought up in Wrocław, a lovely city in Poland, which I still consider my home city, besides London, but I have lived so long in the UK and I always felt at least partly British because of British values. And I travelled since I was 17, having worked in Asia, and last year having a partner in Switzerland and being there often as well. So I am not really sure where my home is and where I am from… Nowadays in Poland there is sadly a lot of racism and homophobia which I cannot identify with. I don’t know why, I never felt fully Polish, even though my grandad was in a way a minor war hero. He led a small battalion of young soldiers during The Warsaw Uprising of 1944. He was very Polish and he lost friends for freedom of Poland and Polish people. I think though he would be proud and happy that our family has become more than just Polish. There is nothing wrong in being just Polish, not at all, but I think it’s quite incredible that after all that Poland went through in its history, in 2018 I, his granddaughter, am also British and travel the world and worked in India or Malaysia, my sister is French living in Paris, my other sister lived in Germany and is fluent in German (she’s our family German expert), and my little brother has an Italian fiancee so he will probably have an Italian passport too one day. In that way, I always say, when we all have kids, we will have 4 difference chances for an Olympic medal… which will stay in the same family. 🙂             
So nowadays you’re working as an actress, model and also a travel blogger. How do you
Ha, I wish I knew i.e I personally feel I do NOT manage it all at all! I have to prioritise and chose what is most important at the time. Sometimes I only act, e.g. when I am on set for 4 weeks non stop. Sometimes I only travel, and sometimes I take a rest from all and just plan ahead or enjoy the here and now. I have always loved travelling but despite visiting 5 continents and 36 countries, I only started on instagram 5 months ago and am very keen to start documenting my travels better and perhaps building a career around that. Acting and music will always be important for me, but travelling gives you a different perspective and some kind of rest from the world, so I would be over the moon to combine work with travelling. Thank you again for this interview request!
SIMON COWELL
Time for some inspirational stories. Inspirational Stories will be another segment of my blog that will come in series, just like Saturday’s Positive Movie Recommendation. I may not post it every week but I will definitely talk to you about some great people who I find very inspiring. Today I’ll talk to you about Simon Cowell. You know him right? Most of people know him from British X Factor and Britain Got Talent only but in fact he’s a big boss in music industry. What’s his story? Oh it’s incredible. Simon hated school and dropped it at 16. He went on to multiple small jobs, including working as a runner. His first job in the music industry was in the mail room of EMI Music Publishing. In the early 1980s, Simon went on with his dreams, he left EMI and formed E&S Music with his former boss. Sadly it wasn’t a success and by 1983 Simon moved on to another business – Fanfare Records selling exercise videos and music from acts such as Rondo Vaneziano. Simon had his first hit song with Sinitta with “So Mucho.” It seemed as if it was going to be a huge success yet the company went under and became bankrupt at the end of 1989. At the age of 32, Simon had £5.26 in his wallet. He had lost everything and was completely broke. Using his last £5.26, he paid for a taxi fare to his parents’ house, where he then had to live after losing his home. Did he give up? Hell no! Simon got up and pushed harder and harder for what he wanted and what he truly knew he was good at – finding talents. He found a job with BMG and set up S Records. He created novelty records with acts like Zig and Zag and Power Rangers. He made his first million when he persuaded Robson Green and Jerome Flynn to record the song ‘Unchained Melody.’ In 2001, Simon was chosen to be a judge on Pop Idol where he made his first television appearance and signed two great acts, Will Young and Gareth Gates. He then went on to creating and starring in shows like American Idol, The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. His net worth is now over $550 mln. I hope you find that motivating and that you won’t give up until you get what you want just like Simon did!