In this episode of the career interview series, we are joined by Dr. Kalvin Chinyere an internal medicine doctor who was born in Miami, Florida and grew up in Carol City, Florida as well as Queens, New York. Kalvin’s mother was a nurse from Jamaica and his father was an Igbo man from Nigeria. Being the first person in his family to attend college in America meant that his parents couldn’t provide much help when it came to selecting a school and career.
Unfortunately, this narrowed Kalvin’s consideration of colleges and majors to what was local and familiar. In addition, his parents pushed him towards medicine when he showed an early aptitude for math and science. By the time Kalvin realized that medicine might not be for him, he was well into the medical training path and thought it was too late to change course. Kalvin shares how his experiences developed a deep belief in achieving satisfaction by not trading time for money.
- Some academic achievements are best accomplished by learning how to learn and becoming adept at taking exams. Moving through different levels and environments of education can require making adjustments to how you absorb and retain information. Research and experiment with different study habits and tactics to find what works best for you.
- Don’t trade time for money. Instead separate your time from money. Try to get out of anything that trades time for money as soon as possible. Develop skills to earn money and use the money to buy time. Time and experiences are more likely to bring you happiness than material things and comparing yourself to others. It’s your friendships, relationships with your family, and the time spent helping others that will bring you fulfillment.
- Stay away from TV and social media they lead to competitiveness and comparisons. And advertisements focus on convincing you that you’re less than so you feel compelled to buy the things they want you to buy.
If you can, give me a brief overview of your personal bio. Your background. Where are you from? What were your interests as a kid?
Okay, well I’m 40 as we speak. I can’t believe that. I was born in Miami. My mother is from Jamaica, so she was born and raised in Jamaica. My father is Nigerian, particularly the Igbo tribe of Nigeria. He was born and raised in Nigeria. And I was born in Miami and I spent most of my life in Miami. Actually only 18 years of the 40 in Miami and 11 years in New York. And growing up I was really into science and math and I was pretty good at that. And my mom is a nurse and she really pushed me towards medicine. And since I was good in science and math, everyone else pushed me towards medicine. I went to college and medical school. And now I’m a doctor.
Let’s actually take a step back. You mentioned that you spent the first 18 years of your life in Miami and then 11 or 12 years in New York.
It didn’t work exactly like that.
What part of Miami exactly and what part of New York did you live in?
Okay, so I was born in Carol City, Miami. Well, actually in Jackson Memorial Hospital, which is in Miami, Miami. But I’m from Carol City and I was born in 1979 and I was there until 1986. In 1986, we moved to New York and then I was in New York from 1986 to 1993.
What part of New York?
Queens. Initially Queens Village, then eventually Laurelton. Yeah, so Queens. And then I moved back to Miami to live with my dad in the Northern Miami area.
So you spoke about being interested in math and science as a kid. Did you have any interests outside of school? Did you play any sports or anything like that? Hobbies?
I played football. Wasn’t very good. But I liked being on the team and I think they liked having my GPA on the team. And so I played football but it probably wasn’t a huge interest. It was more just to try to fit in. I’m an introvert and so growing up, I always wanted to find a way to be more normal or what I perceived as normal. And I was interested in chess. I never played like on a team or anything but I loved playing chess. And I really loved playing video games growing up, especially John Madden.
And so in addition to being good at math and science in school, were those like your best subjects or were there other subjects that also appealed to you?
I’m good at school. I’m good at school. I’m good at tests. So I was good at everything in school, pretty much. But I liked math and science the most. I’m a very objective person. I like things that are concrete. And math and science…well at least rudimentary, they’re both very concrete.
You mentioned being a good student. I take it you got your homework done on time. Did good on tests and exams. That kind of student?
Yeah, I mean, I’m a procrastinator so everything I turned in was turned in a minute before it was due. So yeah, everything was on time but I’m a procrastinator. And yeah, I pretty much got A’s on everything. You know, in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college pretty much.
Let’s say once you got past elementary and junior high school and got into high school, did you work during high school or did you mostly just focus on your academics?
I worked at McDonald’s in high school. Yeah, that was fun. Especially, yo this commercial…You probably won’t know about it because you’re too young. But it was a commercial about this boy named Kalvin who worked at McDonald’s. And my name is Kalvin and I worked at McDonald’s. But yeah, I worked at McDonald’s. I’m trying to think where else did I work? I also sold things that I bought from Costco’s. But that was my own side hustle. But as far as an official job, it was McDonald’s.
Actually, tell me more about that side hustle. Was that also in high school or was that like when you were younger?
It was high school. So I would buy like Snickers bars. Me and my cousins would buy like Snickers bars or other candies from Costco’s and then we would sell them to our classmates in school. So if we bought…I think at the time…I don’t know how much they cost now. But Snickers bars came out to like 25 cents each. So if you bought like 50, it would be like $12.50. And we’d sell them for 50 cents.
At this point, were you back in Miami or still living in New York?
Back in Miami. Yeah, I did one year of high school in New York but finished off in Miami.
Your first job was working at McDonald’s. And during high school, you would have then been gearing up for going to college. What was your college selection process like? What was your thought process or the rationale that went into the colleges that you looked into and then the one that you ultimately attended?
Both my parents are immigrants and they had no idea about anything to do with college. So I never thought about going to a college outside of Miami. And in Miami, University of Miami is a big name. I didn’t know about, you know, things like Harvard or MIT at the time. So even though I had great GPA and great SAT scores, I just applied to the schools in Miami. And I applied to any schools that gave me a fee waiver so I didn’t have to pay the application fee. So if the school didn’t offer me a fee waiver, I didn’t apply there. And so I applied to all the schools and I got into every school I applied to, including University of Miami. And I got a full-tuition scholarship to University of Miami. And they have a good medical program, so I figured I’d go.
You mentioned that your mom was a nurse and because of your aptitude for math and science that you were kind of pushed towards healthcare. But did you personally have like a passion for medicine or is it something that you kind of just got pushed towards and went along with the flow?
Yeah, no passion for medicine. I’m just being honest. I didn’t have a passion in college for it. Didn’t have one in med school. Don’t have one now necessarily. I mean, I like helping people, but it’s not a passion of mine. It’s not like…I can’t say it’s like an interest.
Quite often…Well, first of all, I mean, I certainly didn’t attend medical school because of the number of years you have to go to school. But when speaking to doctors or just about the medical profession in general, something that’s always pointed out is the amount of time you have to go to school. That it’s very difficult and things like that.
So given that you went into this field that you didn’t necessarily have a passion for but you certainly had an aptitude for because you were able to succeed and get through medical school. What was the driving force behind that? Was it just a continuation of being a good student? Or what was it that allowed you to make it through medical school when it seems to be difficult for so many other people?
I didn’t know what else to do. By the time I realized that maybe I wasn’t put on this earth to necessarily be a doctor I was already in medical school. And at that point, I had spent my entire life getting to that point. And I had no idea what else to do. I liked finance but trying to find my way out of medical school and into finance, it just seemed very daunting. And my parents were more like, you just don’t like it because it’s too hard. Just do it. You’ll love it when you’re finished.
Tell me a little bit about your college experience. Let’s start with your undergrad. How was that going to school in Miami? You had lots of sun and fun? Lots of classes?
Well, I’m from Miami so to me, it was home. And actually University of Miami it’s in Coconut Grove it wasn’t really in Miami. University of Miami, it’s not in Coconut Grove. It’s in Coral Gables. I got my CG’s mixed up but it’s in Coral Gables. But, it was fine. Met a lot of good people. Met a lot of friends. Undergrad was easy. It was a breeze for me. I worked security at night on campus. As I made money I used that money to pay for my own room so I didn’t have to share a room with anybody else. Because, like I said, I’m an introvert. I’m also maybe a little bit of a neat freak. But, no it was fine. I had fun in college.
While attending college, did you play any sports there? Or were you involved with any like extracurricular activities or groups or anything like that? Aside from just going to class?
Yeah, well you have to be in groups to get into med school. I don’t know if I would’ve been in any groups if it wasn’t for that. But yeah, I was in the African Student Union. I started this organization called “The Black Knights”, it was a chess club. I played intramural sports, so like flag football. I also worked security. I also worked as a tutor and also worked as an intramural referee. So anything to hustle and make money. I hated asking my parents for money, so I never did. And I just worked to make sure that I didn’t have to ask them for any money.
Was there a drastic difference between attending medical school versus undergrad? Like once you got into med school?
Oh, night and day. Medical school is hard as…I guess for me undergrad was, it was more conceptual. It’s like everything else I did up until that point, like high school and middle school, everything was just like I could look at…I could open a textbook, look at the problem, understand the basics of it, and then I can extrapolate that over every other problem. So for me, a lot of people are bothered by organic chemistry and physics and biochemistry and biology. But for me, those were completely easy. I could just look at a page and get the whole thing. And medical school is all about memorization. Comprehension too, but all about memorization. And the competition is fierce. And so it really takes a lot of discipline to do really well in medical school. And I never had that kind of discipline because I never needed it. And so med school for me was a real shock in terms of the amount of work necessary to do well there.
What were the adjustments that you made along the way that helped you get through medical school? Or like, I guess tips or tricks or what have you that you might’ve learned that helped you adjust and navigate your way through medical school?
Are there any tips? I wish I had. Now since then, I’ve learned how to learn. I didn’t know how to learn at that point. And it’s sad because they don’t teach it at any time. Nobody ever teaches you how to learn. I know how to learn now. But at the time it was just sitting in front of the book and trying to stay focused on these words. And, so I had no real tips other than sitting in the chair, turn off the TV, turn off the radio and just looking at the book. Yeah, no tips. I don’t know. Now I have tips. Cause I can say now, what I would do different. And if I could go back, I would kill it. But, yeah, if I could go back I wouldn’t do it at all. But, yeah, at the time I had no tips.
Beyond let’s say undergrad and then medical school, what additional training, if any, did you have to go through before you became an official doctor? What was the rest of that path like?
Well, at the end of med school you are officially a doctor, but in terms of practicing? So I graduated from med school in 2004 and then I did an internship in internal medicine, from 2004 [to] 2005. And 2005 [to] 2006 I did, my first year of residency in a field called physical medicine and rehabilitation. It’s a smaller field, not as well known. , The easiest way I can explain it would be non-surgical orthopedics, kind of. But, I didn’t really love it. I didn’t. So I left residency and I went to Emory and I spent two years there getting my MBA. So, I left medicine for those years. And then I spent a third year outside of medicine trying to start a business. And I didn’t know what I was doing and so it didn’t do well.
And Sallie Mae started asking me for their money back for med school. And so I decided that I was going to go back to internal medicine and I went back and did two more years of residency in internal medicine. And I did all my training in New York between Maimonides Hospital, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital, and St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. All of them are either in Brooklyn, Long Island, and Manhattan respectively. And I did my training all there. And then when I was done I came back to Atlanta and I’ve been at the same hospital I’ve been at now for eight years.
You mentioned where you did your residencies. But I forgot to ask, for med school, did you attend the same college for med school as you did for undergrad? Or did you go to a different school for med school?
No, I had a really, really high SAT score. And so after my sophomore year of undergrad, I was early accepted into the University of Miami’s medical school. So I never applied to any medical school except the University of Miami.
You finished your residency and as you mentioned going from undergrad then on to medical school, that is incredibly difficult. It’s a lot of…it’s sort of like a change in the way that you have to learn and the content that you’re taking in. Was there also another shift when you then moved into your residencies? Or having completed med school did you feel better prepared for your residencies?
With residency, it’s like most things in life. Most fields in life, you learn on the job. And so the residency, you learn by doing. You meet a patient, they have a problem, either you remember the answer from medical school or you don’t. And if you don’t, look it up. And then you do that enough and you learn everything you need to learn.
You’ve now completed your residency. What was your first, like let’s say, post-residency position? Well, what hospital was that at?
Oh yeah, North Shore. No, I mean Northside Atlanta Hospital where I still work. So after residency, I went right to Northside and like I said, I’ve been there for eight years.
You did your residency in New York at various hospitals, you said, Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan and then moved to Atlanta where you joined Northside. Aside from let’s say the cities themselves and the experiences of living in different cities. Did you notice a difference in the work environment of let’s say, the hospitals in New York versus the ones in Georgia or not much of a difference?
No, it’s a huge difference. Atlanta is definitely part of the South. I don’t know. It’s definitely more, what’s the word…customer friendly. In New York it’s all about is the person getting better. In Atlanta, it’s all about the person getting better, but also how they feel in terms of their, you know, are they happy with the experience, with the customer service. In New York City, especially in Manhattan and in Harlem it wasn’t a big concern.
Any other differences?
I guess, in New York, especially in Manhattan, the patients didn’t have their own rooms. Patients were usually two to a room. Here it’s different. New York, a little bit more focused on getting patients out of the hospital as fast as possible. Other than that, no. I haven’t, I don’t know. I didn’t notice much difference.
And then let’s say outside of work, not diving deeply into your personal life. But just the experience of living in New York versus the experience that you’ve now had living in Atlanta. What were the pros and cons to the two? Is there a reason that you or something in particular that motivated you to remain in Atlanta versus moving to other cities or moving back to New York?
Well I came to Atlanta…I came to Atlanta initially so I went to Emory…I went to meet a wife. I was like, they always say that there’s a lot of women in Atlanta. So that’s why I came here. And I met a wife, so that’s why I came here and that’s why I came back. But, I really came to Atlanta because they said it was a really great place for African-Americans in business. And I’m really interested in business. So that was my reason for…I was in New York, you know, and Atlanta was always called the Black Mecca. And so I was like, okay, well that’s where I want to be. So that was my main reason for it was business and a wife.
Taking into consideration the different training programs that you went through, the different training experiences you had, and your early experiences in your career. Looking back on that, how was your transition from school and training into the working world? Did you feel prepared following, let’s say, medical school, and your residencies? Or like, let’s say your first day out on your own, were you like still completely overwhelmed?
Hmm. Well, I’ve only worked in hospitals and I trained in hospitals. So I was in hospitals for medical school, four years of medical school. I was in hospitals for four years of residency. So when I came out of residency and went right back to another hospital, it was very familiar. So, now I would say, I had no problems at all with my transition.
I mean, I guess there’s, you know, that’s not true. I remember when I…in residency you don’t have the responsibility of your name being the ultimate, so the liability is not on you. So I guess when I first I definitely was taken aback eight years ago when I started like, “Wow, you know, this is all on me. There’s nobody for me to ask am I doing the right thing because nobody cares.” I mean, so yeah, it was, but I was prepared. But it was still daunting to start just because of the responsibility of the whole thing. You have lives and there’s nobody looking over your shoulder.
Part of that, I guess, personal curiosity that I have is unlike a lot of other professions where you know, you’re just coming out of college or whatever training program you might’ve undergone and you’re now out in the working world on your own. Sometimes there’s supervision, maybe not. But it’s completely different being a doctor, right?
Like, my background is in marketing. If I make a mistake, it’s like we might lose money or customers, but nobody’s really gonna die. Right? Like the likelihood of that happening is pretty low. And it’s like, I’ve never, I mean, I might have to tell someone, well, you know, your projections for this quarter probably aren’t going to happen or something like that. Or, you know, the stats that we’ve been tracking are trending down or something like that, bad enough news. People might get upset. But, you know, not life-changing or anything like that.
Whereas as a doctor, sometimes you have to relay very difficult information to people. You might have to deal with someone that’s dying and things like that. I guess, is there ever a way to prepare yourself for that? Or do you undergo training for dealing with those kinds of situations? And then what’s it like to actually be in that situation for the first time where you’d have to relay that kind of information to someone. That, “well, I don’t think you’re going to make it” or something like that. Or, “your family members passed away” or something like that.
They give you some training in medical school, I can’t remember it was so long ago. I’m old. But unfortunately, I can’t remember the first time I had to tell a patient that they were about to die or a family member that the patient was about to die or family that the patient just died. I’m assuming it was rough, but it happened so many times since, I mean, probably the first time it happened was while I was in medical school. So probably like 2002 [or] 2003. So it’s 18 years of this happening that means hundreds of people have died.
So at this point I can’t, I don’t want to say I’m numb to it, but while I’m going through it, I feel very solemn. But unfortunately in our field, it doesn’t allow for me to say, “Okay, this person just died and, you know, I feel bad.” But I have to go back to another patient and I can’t go to them sad. So I need to be able to recover from that really quickly. And now I can for good or for worse or however you want to look at it. But at the time I would assume that it was hard for me but now not so much.
Do you think it’s a matter of…because I mean like you said, you know, it can be in the moment at least like a difficult thing to deal with. But you kind of get used to it after years and years of it. Is there like a self-care aspect to it where I guess…did you eventually learn like some self-care things that allow you to kind of, let’s say leave the stresses and difficulties that you might have at work, at work and then still be able to enjoy your personal life?
Or I guess, how do you divide the two? If you’ve had to deliver bad news to someone during your workday or you’ve had a patient die or something like that during your workday, what practices, if any, do you follow that allow you to leave that at work and not have that affect you in your personal life?
I guess I personally believe that life gets better after you die. So, I guess you can’t say life gets better because you don’t have any life. But, things get better after you die. So for me, I don’t typically feel bad for the patient. I typically feel bad for the family because I know they’re hurting. But, I guess the way I look at life, life is pain. And so, objectively…I look at things very objectively. I’m not a very emotional person. So once I leave the hospital, I pretty much shut it off. And so maybe I block it out and maybe I go through emotions or go through pain in some way that’s unhealthy. But I don’t think about the day once I leave the hospital.
You mentioned earlier, the transition to grad school and that you didn’t have…that you didn’t enter grad school with the study habits that you needed. Right? You kind of learned them along the way. And as you move through your career, you learn things about how to absorb information and how to become better at learning. Taking that into consideration as well as your experiences when you first graduated. And looking back to that time, based on where you are now, is there anything that you know now that you really wish you knew when you first graduated?
In terms of learning? Oh man.
Well in terms of learning and just in terms of your career as well. And like managing your career and things like that.
I guess I wish I knew that…Hmm, if I can go back…I wish I knew that…you shouldn’t choose your career based on how much money you make. So you should choose your career more on how best to utilize your talents and how best to utilize time. And in terms of learning, I wish I had opened myself up to more fields…in high school and in undergrad.
And in terms of learning, I wish I had understood how to learn better in terms of the things that are most effective in learning. Which I’ve learned since are like quizzes, flashcards, spaced repetition, spaced out practice. Not rereading. Not highlighting. Taking notes, using analogies, metaphors, writing things in your own words. Things like that, I wish I had known back then.
And specifically now, having been a doctor for, well, at least at Northside for like eight years, but, you trained beyond that. Are there things that you know now as a doctor that you wish you knew, let’s say eight years ago or you know, the 11 or 12 years ago when you first completed your training?
I mean overall things I’ve learned are all medical information. I can’t say professional information, that I’ve learned. I guess the one thing I would say is…that I did learn in terms of non-medical information about career management is know what you’re being judged on and know what you’re being graded on. And beyond obviously making sure that the patient is cared for to the best of your ability. But beyond that, you know, focus on the things that you’re being judged on or graded on in terms of your job performance and things like that and focus on those things.
Looking back over your time in school, but then also your career post-college and post-training. From your perspective, would you say you’ve experienced any hardships or failures and setbacks while training or during your career that have allowed you to grow? Or that you’ve taken something away from or learned something from?
In medicine? I can’t say that I’ve had any necessarily failures or setbacks. Outside of medicine? Yes. You know, many things have happened in my life. In terms of career? It would be, you know, it’s appreciating entrepreneurship and how difficult it is. And how I have much more respect now than at the time that I had for business owners and entrepreneurs. You assume, you know, everybody assumes that being a doctor is so hard. It is hard. But, it’s definitely not as, what’s the word, ego destroying as it is to start your own business and to deal with the ups and downs of those failures.
And studying medicine definitely doesn’t help you with that because life doesn’t work the way it does in pre-med, med, and post-med. In terms of you take a test, you do well, and whatever. I mean, there’s a formula to becoming a doctor. If you put in the time you can do it. But there’s no formula in business. You could do everything to the best of your ability and still fail miserably. And so yeah, I would say more my, most of my failures have come outside of medicine and not inside.
Branching off from that, you mentioned that you actually took a break from medicine and pursued an MBA and then started a business. What was the motivation behind that? Did you just want to try something different? And then if you don’t mind mentioning what was that business?
Well, I went to business school because I wanted to start a business. Unfortunately, I didn’t know at the time that they don’t teach you how to start a business in business school. That’s not what it’s for. They teach you in business school how to work in somebody’s business. But I always wanted to…Economic empowerment in the African-American community is something that’s really close to my heart and dear to my heart.
Unfortunately I didn’t find that out until I was already kind of knee-deep in medicine. And so, being that I feel that economic empowerment is essential for African-Americans, entrepreneurship is at the forefront of that or center of that. And so I wanted to go to business school so I could learn more about entrepreneurship and start my own business.
So after business school, I started a business in health coaching. So I figured I’d do something that involved…and I started a health coaching business in 2008 before health coaching was a thing. It’s much more of a big thing now. But at the time in 2008, health coaching wasn’t a big thing. And I didn’t know what I was doing. And I didn’t have a good plan.
I kind of just thought I’d put myself out there and people would flood to my door. Like I didn’t understand marketing. I understood marketing, in terms of corporate marketing. I didn’t understand marketing in terms of entrepreneur marketing which is completely different. And as you know, extremely hard if you don’t know what you’re doing. And build it and they will come, does not work. Nobody will come. And nobody came. And I made no money. And so I had to take up little jobs here and there just to keep food on my table at the time.
We’re actually going to shift gears here and speak a little bit more about your work philosophies. How do you personally define success?
Now? Or how have I done it? How have I defined it in the past before?
Let’s say both.
Okay. So in the past, I used to judge everything based on money. So based on…I don’t like things so that I’m not a very materialistic person. But I am competitive in a sense of, I like scoreboards. And so in the past when it was a scoreboard, I worried more about how much money I had in my bank account. How much money I had in my investments. And so that’s how I judged success at the time. Now, I judge success not based on how much money I have, but, how much time I have and how much control of my time I have. And so that’s how I judge it now.
Would you say that where you are currently in your career and in your professional life has fallen short, matched or surpassed your aspirations and expectations?
I would say where I am now is short of where I, what I thought success was when I was younger and is short of where I think success is now. In the sense of I think I am where I need to be, but I’m definitely not where I want to be. And, I plan to be much further along in five years than I am now and even further along in 10 years and in 20 years. So if I’m alive, I plan to be much, much further.
And let’s say over either the short term and/or the long term…let’s say over the course of the next year, as 2020 is steadily approaching and into the more distant future. What goals or plans are you currently pursuing?
Well, ultimately I want to figure out how to leverage my time. And there’s certain ways you can leverage time. You can either leverage it through labor, money, networks, programming, or information. So right now I’m trying to figure out how to best leverage my time so that I can create a company that I can build a strong foundation and then scale it so I can buy even more time.
Based on where you are now in life, not just professionally, but just life overall and within your career as well. If you had the opportunity to speak to your younger self or any young person that’s still in school or just getting ready to enter the workforce, what career or life advice would you offer?
Don’t trade time for money. At least try to get out of anything that trades time for money as soon as possible. So get enough and focus on skills. Forget the degrees. I have three degrees, a bachelor’s, doctorate and a master’s degree. And degrees are cool if that’s what you want to do. But overall skills are more important so I’d tell them focus on skills and focus on earning money while you sleep. Turn those skills into money and then use that money to buy time and use that time to make more money. And ultimately separate your time from your money.
And ultimately find something that you’re good at and get better at it and turn it into a passion. And don’t do things to impress other people or just to make money. Do things because you’re fulfilled by them because life is very, very short. Very short. I mean, I’m more than halfway done with mine probably and much of it was wasted chasing after things that aren’t as important anymore.
Looking to the future, imagine it’s years from now and you’re nearing or already retired. When you look back at your career or your professional life, what accomplishments or achievements would make you consider it a roaring success versus just mediocre or even disappointing?
Well, first I’ll say retirement to me is when you wake up in the morning and if you decide you don’t want to get up and go do something, you’re fine. And so I plan to be retired very soon. But ultimately, well on my deathbed, I’m assuming you’re saying, so I’m on my death bed and somebody asked me am I happy with where I am? I would say I’m a father of a six-year-old daughter and so if my daughter says I’m/I was a good father then that would make me happy. And then also if I helped African-American entrepreneurs start their businesses and thrive, I’ll be happy. Those would be the things. So between my daughter and the entrepreneurs that I planned to help and that I have helped in my time, if they’re…If they give me a thumbs up, I’d be good.
If you think about people or events, it can be famous or only known to you that have motivated, inspired, or influenced you in your career. Does anything or anyone, in particular, come to mind?
My mom was a very hard working woman and she’s instilled a lot in me. I wouldn’t be who I am without her. Other role models? I would say Malcolm X is a really big role model to me. So many people, but for some reason, I’m drawing a blank. Let me see? Who else?
Well, let’s say for Malcolm X…specifically, how does he inspire you? How has he inspired you?
He came from nothing and he made himself into the man he was. He accomplished a lot. He died when he was 39 and I’m 40, and he accomplished way more than I have. And like I said, he died when he was 39, his focus, his selflessness, and his ability to see his wrongs and correct his behavior. A lot of people never develop that ability to say, “my bad” and switch it up. And he did that many times in his short life.
Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z, Michael Jordan. Recently, billionaire Robert Smith gave like $36 million to those Morehouse graduates. Those kinds of things…Are things I…It’s impact. People who have impact, and change the lives of people for the better. Those would be, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman. People who had impact and just gave, gave and gave.
And, on the flip side of that, are there any specific books that have influenced or inspired you?
Man, if I talk about books we’ll be talking forever. I read at least a book a week, if not more, read or listen. So many books. Obviously, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Yeah, so many books. Think and Grow Rich. A lot of mindset books. Early on, I read a lot of finance books and I still read a lot of finance books. But most everything is mindset. Mindset is the hardest thing to change.
Switch by the Heath Brothers. Make It Stick. Can’t remember his name. [Mark A. McDaniel and Peter C. Brown] A lot of behavioral change books and mindset books. I’m trying to think, there’s so many. Yeah, I can’t think of any. It’s hard for me to put a finger or a name on there. Just so many books that I have. There’s a book called Essentialism. I can’t remember his name. [Greg McKeown.] The ONE Thing. So many books that have…Recently, Atomic Habits by James Clear. The most recent book would be a book I read called Indistractable by Nir Eyal. That I just read is a great book.
Yeah, a lot of books. I love books. I love reading and learning. So much to learn.
So that’s actually the last official interview question. But, do you have any other like tips or tidbits or even just like personal insights that you’d like to share that you think might be useful to anyone listening?
Oh man, I always, I guess nowadays I always tell people that it is very hard to do…But do things that make you happy and stop trying to impress other people. Material things are never gonna bring you happiness. Comparing yourself to other people is never going bring you happiness. So when you focus on your time, experiences…Yeah, things are, like I said, things are never gonna bring you happiness. It’s going to be your friendships, your relationship with your family and the time you spend with your friends and family. And the time you spend helping people that ultimately are gonna bring you fulfillment.
And stay away as much as you can from television and social media. That stuff just leads to nothing but a lot of negativity, materialistic stuff, and “comparison-itis” I would call it. And a lot of advertisements that are really focused on convincing you that you’re less than so that you can buy the things that they want you to buy. So I just say stay woke. Stay off that television. Television. Probably the worst thing you can do is watch television. So stay away from it. I don’t really watch any television except for Shark Tank. But stay away from the television.
Learn More About Kalvin
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- Purchase Burning Uncle Tom’s Cabin on Amazon.
- Get a free copy of his book Tech Empire.
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