If You Are An Immigrant You Need To Know This

poor ethnic children playing in yard of village

Your Setback Is An Opportunity For Your Comeback

If you ever grew up as an immigrant child or spend most of your life living abroad as an immigrant, you can probably relate to the challenges of being an immigrant. People might treat you differently, and at times that can feel very isolating. Some deflect and try to assimilate as best as they can with the country that they are in. Others just keep to themselves and do not make any new friends.

Having spent most of my life in Europe, I know all too well the challenges of feeling like an outsider, always trying to fit in. The realities of working twice as hard, in order to get the same opportunities as your counterparts that often take their privilege for granted can be disheartening.

Real-life example — Simu Liu (superhero in Marvel movie Shang- Chi)

Photo was taken from Mob.org

Simu Liu is your real-life immigrant story that grew up in Canada and made a name for himself. He wanted to see more Asian actors lead movie roles and always wanted to be an actor himself.

Having once finished business school and joined a prestigious accounting firm as his first job, he realized it just wasn’t for him. He took a chance and applied for a role on Craiglist. This was his first experience in the acting world. For the next 4 years, he spent it running around like a headless chicken trying to make it into the entertainment industry while surviving day to day. He spent another few years trying to make it in Hollywood.

Here is a timeline:

2011: Graduated from University degree in business administration

2012: Worked in Deloitte for 8 months and was let go.

2013: Start in the entertainment industry. Worked as an extra in “Pacific Rim.”

2015- 2021: Starred in the popular sitcom “Kim’s Convenience.”

2021: Marvel’s first Asian superhero in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Here is what I’ve learned:

1. You are more resilient

Having gone through the challenges and setbacks you become more aware and in the tune with the realities of the real world. You understand that life isn’t always fair but you have a better grasp over time to handle rejection, and setbacks and to move past obstacles.

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”.

2. You hustle more in life and it just might pay off

When you do not have the privilege of for eg white privilege, wealth privilege, and influence privilege, you learn to become self-sufficient.

You begin to hustle in your own life so that you can succeed for yourself. There is hunger and drive because you know life will not be handed over to you. You become self-made and self-reliant.

2017 survey from Fidelity Investments found that 88 percent of millionaires are self-made.

3. You become emotionally stronger

You do not break down at the first sight of a setback. Hence, you learn to think outside the box and find a solution when you have a problem.

You become a victor of your circumstance as opposed to being a victim.

4. Your experiences shape you to become a better person when you are a leader yourself or in a position of power

Having gone through unconscious bias, discrimination, and setbacks, you are able to emphasize with other people that face similar challenges. You do not just see life just as black and white as there are many grey areas that will come into a life that requires judgment and wisdom.


Lastly, you wouldn’t trade the experience for an easier life having come out of it the other end because it wouldn’t make you as strong and an as an overcomer that you are today. You are more resilient than you ever realize.

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