Dear America, I'm Breaking Up With You

It's not you.. it's me.

—or perhaps it's a bit of both.

Back in 2011, I arrived full of hopes, drawn by the glowing promise of the American Dream.

As I sit here at a Colombian coffee shop, I reflect on a decade of dreams, challenges, and revelations that have brought me to this moment of goodbye.

Our story began way before 2011, though. Do you remember?

It was back in 1993 when I first laid my eyes on you. The day my father brought our family to Poughkeepsie, NY, as an expatriate for a few years.

I didn’t speak your language, yet I found myself in your classroom within the second week.

Each morning, I watched my classmates start the day by singing your praises, their hands on their hearts. Although I couldn’t yet understand the words, I felt a connection.

As my vocabulary grew, I got to know your childhood. I learned how your own history was written by people who sought the comfort of your shores for a new beginning.

Those three years immersed in your culture left something in me—a desire that would drive me for the next 15 years.

The idea of hope, patriotism, and capitalism by merit. That anything was possible by working hard.

These things were not found in France, and I came back to see you in 2011 to pursue my dream with you.

I worked hard. I chased the dream. I followed the footsteps of immigrants that came before me, wanting to be successful.

We even got married in 2021—I was now an American Citizen.

I wanted to be successful, and I was.. but deep down, i was not happy.

I had been consumed by the very reason that brought me here.

I lost myself in the process. I forgot why you were initially such a good fit for me.

So I’ve decided to take some time off now, and I don’t know if I’ll return. Don’t worry, as long as we are still married, you are still collecting my taxes, no matter where I am in the world.

I want you to understand the realization I had, so maybe it could help your future relationships.

I was following a childhood narrative I had created years ago, and I was with you for the wrong reasons.

So as I leave, I hope to rewrite my story. A story that aligns more closely with who I am and what makes me happy.

Your’s truly,


1. Unpacking Childhood Influences:

There are two key moments I remember vividly, both of which have profoundly shaped my drive and aspirations.

The Dodge Viper Commercial

It’s the early 2000s, and I’m lounging on the couch with my dad and brother, just chilling and watching TV.

Suddenly, this Dodge Viper commercial comes on.

I was hooked. I was mesmerized. I wanted that car. 

Caught up in the moment, I shouted, “I’ll buy that car one day!”

..You should have seen their faces. They burst out laughing like I’d told the best joke of the year.

For them, the idea of me owning such a beast of a car was hilarious. They mocked me for even thinking that I would ever have a chance to own it one day.

First, it hurt. Then, it made me mad and lit a fire inside me.

First time getting fired.

Flash forward to 2010. I’m working at this fancy hotel in downtown Lyon, France. I know it’s not my dream job, but hey, I’m doing my best—minding my details, knowing I’ll patiently climb that ladder.

Then, out of nowhere, my manager Vladimir calls me into his office. He sits me down and hits me with this math pop quiz.

what’s 2+2/2”, he asked?

I shoot back “2,” quick as a flash. Wrong answer 😑.

You see, that’s why we can’t have you working here, Ben. The answer is 3. You’re fired.

And just like that, I was let go on the spot. I was too stunned to say anything.

Turns out, the guy admitted to another employee days later that he was just offloading his bad breakup mood on me—I was the newest hire, an easy target.

The feeling of injustice I felt at that moment was something I never experienced before.

That day, I said to myself: “I will get my revenge. It will take as long as it takes, but I will buy this hotel just so I can fire him back.

These two incidents dictated my future professional path without even knowing it. As I discovered many years later, they were not set backs; they were setups.

I would end up owning real estate. Although it was not this particular hotel, it was apartment buildings. And those fancy cars? Got them too, though not the Viper—sadly, they stopped making them in 2017.

We are driven by escape.

One of my favorite hobbies is to study history’s greatest entrepreneurs. By doing this consistently, you discover patterns:

They were usually running away from something. This is what drives us deep down.

Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, and even J.K. Rowling started their paths driven by the need to change their circumstances or to overcome hardships.

Initially, it's all about escape, about proving something, about getting out from under.

And, in many ways, my own journey mirrored this pattern.

2. My American Dream: A Decade in Fast Forward

In 2011, I arrived in LA, filled with ambition. I hustled through various gigs—from selling bus tour tickets to bartending—before venturing into real estate in Florida.

There, I discovered and pursued my passion for investing, eventually leading my own successful firm.

However, rapid growth brought its challenges—unhappy clients, overwhelming demands, and eventually, a personal and professional burnout.

Looking back on those crazy ten years, I see now that I was so focused on proving everyone wrong and winning at everything that I lost sight of what I really loved doing.

It was more about showing them I could do it, rather than following my own dreams.

This led to a moment of reassessment—was I truly pursuing what mattered to me?

3. The 14-Year-Old Boy at the Steering Wheel.

I needed a shift. I needed to travel, change my environment, and break my patterns of thinking. I needed perspective.

And so I did. Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nuku Hiva, Colombia.

Fun fact, it was in Panama (the first trip) where the seed for my first newsletter, The Illusion of Being Stuck, was planted.

Anyway, back to the story. My realization:

All this time, I was chasing money. Money was my only motivation.

Why? Because I wanted to run away from not having any. I still wanted to prove to my brother and father on that I could make it enough to buy that damn car.

It was not me at the steering wheel of my company—it was my 14-year-old self.

It was not me acquiring these apartment buildings, it was the boy that for unfairly fired in 2010.

And you know what happens when you chase things for the wrong reasons?

You end up with results that you don't value.

The money I got? I spent it—on cars, houses, experiences, lifestyle.

Can you guess what happened as soon as I got them? I was unsatisfied. I immediately needed a bigger house, a better car, more extravagant and exciting experiences.

I finally sat down for a heart-to-heart with my 14-year-old self, realizing how those early fears and motivations had seeped into my adult life.

I needed to understand what I was running away from, and figure out what I wanted to truly run towards.

4. One gets you started, the other pushes you in the right direction.

Running from something is like sprinting from a tiger — you're filled with a rush of energy. Those childhood memories push you hard and fast.

But that kind of running doesn’t hold up forever. Eventually, you realize something's off. The initial spark fades, and you start asking, ‘What am I really chasing?’

That’s when you need to pivot and start running towards something — something that matters, something that sticks.

Finding your true passion, the thing you’re meant to do, that’s the journey worth pursuing.

For me, it all boils down to thinking, writing, sharing, and inspiring—helping others find their way off the rocky roads I once traveled.

If you’re curious about the questions that guided me through my own maze, I’ve compiled them into a cheat sheet for you.

“Easy for you to say, you are young”

Well. No. First, I am 37. And just to show you it’s never too late to change your path, and find your life’s work, just look at these examples:

Ray Kroc joined McDonald's when he was 52 and built it into the most successful fast-food corporation in the world. What did he do before that? He was a milkshake mixer salesman.

Colonel Harland Sanders started franchising his KFC concept at the age of 62, using his first Social Security check to fund the business.

The point is, it’s not too late.

 6. This Feels Like a Stepback.. But Is It?

After a decade or two, if you find that you've been driven by the wrong motivations.. Realigning with your true passions often means taking a step back.

This could affect your finances, your social circle, or even your career path.

But as the late Steve Jobs said,“"It's impossible to connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards."

The past 10 years have taught me invaluable skills that are essential for this new journey:

  • SEO

  • Sales

  • Marketing

  • Copywriting

  • Video Editing

  • Website Building

  • How to hire and fire

  • Managing employees

  • Crafting interesting newsletters

When you think about it, it’s not really a step backwards. I see it more as a step sideways.

A realignment to a different path that might just take you where you want to be much quicker.

Final Thoughts

Am I really breaking up with America? Not really.

I am breaking up with the ideas that brought me there.

I am distancing myself from an identity that was shaped more by my past and less by my true aspirations.

If you've ever felt like you're on a path set by someone else—whether by society, your past self, or the expectations of others—I encourage you to pause and reflect.

Know that it's never too late to change direction. Your past experiences haven't trapped you; they've prepared you. 

Every skill you've developed and every lesson you've learned can help pave a new, more authentic path forward.

That is all for today.

Get the Simulation Strategists True Direction Playbook

So that it is even easier to figure out if you are heading in the right direction, I've created the Simulation Strategists True Direction Playbook to help you:

  • Answer the 9 Questions to Define Your True Direction—pinpoint what really matters.

  • Use the True Direction Prompt—it does the heavy lifting for you.

  • Share the True Direction Prompt with friends—don’t keep the good stuff to yourself!

Want it?

I hope today’s edition proves valuable.

This playbook is designed to help you effortlessly identify and align with your core passions and goals. Here's to finding and following your true path.

Strategizingly yours,


P.S. If this message resonates with you, I’d love to hear from you. Reach out on LinkedIn, share your story, or just say hello. Whether you’re reevaluating your life’s direction or just questioning your motivations, I’m here to chat and share insights from my own journey.