“People said I wouldn’t be anything.”
“I’m an African American gentleman and I grew up in the hood.”
Those are the words of the author, Simon Obas.
Obas is the author of The Grind, a book on how to overcome obstacles and life challenges when faced with difficult life and economic situations.
Obas comes from humble beginnings and remembers when his parents had to use food stamps when he was a child.
He wrote The Grind to inspire people to escape their circumstances regardless of what society tells them.
Obas was one of ten siblings and remembers when he couldn’t attend college full time because of his financial situation.
“There was no money. I struggled,” says Obas.
Obas says he beat the odds because he stayed true to his principles.
One of those principles is work ethic: Obas says that while he may not be the smartest person in the room, he’s always ready to outwork everyone else.
“You have to have a strong work ethic,” says Obas.
He says that early in his life, he did his best to consume all the knowledge he could.
“I knew I had to be a student of the game always, that I would never be too smart to learn something from someone else.”
Obas says that great leaders are learners and you should never be unwilling to learn from others.
“Never think that you know everything,” says Obas.
Despite his difficult childhood, Obas managed to graduate from college and even went on to start a high school in The Bronx.
Obas is currently a high school principal and was employed in education for 11 years beforehand.
He was a Teacher, an Assistant Principal, a Dean of Students and an In-school Suspension Coordinator.
Obas’ career path in education first started when he was in college when the organization Teach For America visited his college.
According to their website, Teach For America is a non-profit organization that recruits outstanding and diverse leaders to teach in low-income communities.
Obas says his goal at the time was to become a role model for students.
When Obas moved from North Carolina to New York, he noticed there was a huge problem with public education in America.
Obas says he only had one black teacher when he was in high school, a science teacher in grade 11.
“I said to myself I want to be a model and an example for children of colour.”
Obas serves as a principal at the middle and high school levels.
He says that anybody who wants to elevate themselves out of a negative circumstance needs to strive for excellence.
“You need to live to your full potential and work hard. You need to cultivate self-worth and character,” says Obas.
“Even as a principal, I am still a student.”
“If you want to progress in life and your career, you need to be a student.”
“Always be a student of the game”
To learn more about Simon Obas, you can download or order his book here: