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Chris Rither – Korea!

Expect it to happen

When I was about 24, I made a list of about 40 things I wanted to do before I died. A few years later I got a computer with windows 3.1, and made a rough poster. Over the years I checked my goals off one at a time. One of the largest dreams was to travel around the world, and become a professor by 50.

The years went by, as did my maturity, and I began to save and work towards these larger dreams.  In 2008 (I was 46), I took a four month trip alone around the world.  I then sold off my companies and moved to Korea in 2011.  I turned 50 in 2012, and at the end of the year, I was accepted by Myongji University, in South Korea as an assistant professor teaching conversational English, debate and business.

What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?

I ended up with nerve damage and spent a week in a French hospital. I damaged my sciatica nerve and cannot lift up my foot.

By the time I returned home to Hawaii, I realized that I could no longer physically do the job I was doing, but I can stand up and teach.

Instead of complaining and claiming disability, I decided I would teach. I don’t have a Masters or PhD, but I got a job as a professor through developing contacts. It’s who you know. If you know the right people, you can pretty much do anything.

What were the specific obstacles you faced?

Well, I didn’t have a Masters or a PhD. The US is still the most widely accepted country for higher education. Everybody wants an American diploma.

The language barrier was very tough. I have a difficult time with languages. I am a relational learner. Spanish is similar to English. With the Korean language, there are no similarities.

What helped you get through them?

Goal-setting, having a support network is great and a supportive wife.

Were there people who tried to discourage you?

I ran businesses in Hawaii before moving to Korea and most of the people there thought I was crazy for doing it. ‘You have all these successful companies. You are going to sell your properties and move to another country?’

They didn’t understand. I had successful growing businesses. Most people who can’t do something end up teaching, so they couldn’t understand why a successful person wanted to teach.

How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?

It motivated me for my next goal. I was relieved and encouraged that I could do my next goal and reach it by the time I’m 60. Over the next six or seven years, I’m working toward my next occupation. I want to be an author and public speaker.

What advice would you give to others who are contemplating finally living their dream?

After the decision is made, there are expectations. Being expectant helps to keep the drive going.

Expect it to happen. Have faith, but be realistic about it. It may take longer than you think. You have to be driven, but realize it may take time. It can be discouraging if you expect too much too soon.

You have to go with the flow.

To read more about Chris, visit his site

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