Autism & Defying the Odds (2019)


I use to consider myself a very introverted person, very shy, and very set in my own closed routines. I was more of a thinker than a doer and more a dreamer than a leader. Can you relate to that? If not, can you think of someone in your life who was like that? 🤔

Being diagnosed with Autism in 7th grade was probably the starting point for me, the point where I confirmed these ideas to myself about who I was: something was ‘wrong’ in my brain. 🧠 “I have Autism. It explains why I feel the way I feel. It’s just something that’s a part of me; I can’t change it.” 🤷‍♂️

But even at the time I remember feeling like I didn’t want to be labeled like this. I saw the label before me with all its negativity, a label I needed to object and rebel from. 👊 I saw the stigmas of this label becoming my reality, and once I started seeing it reflected in other people’s behaviors towards me it frightened me to the core! 😨

I have vivid memories from school where I refused to accept new accommodations because of the new label. I was now being offered additional time on tests, opportunities to leave class to ‘cool down’, and every single time I refused. I was being treated differently. I hadn’t changed, but with my new label I had changed in the eyes of everyone else. 😟 Has someone ever said something about you that you knew wasn’t true? Did you ever feel like you just wanted to jump on the defense and say: “That is absolutely NOT TRUE!” 🤬

With my new label I was constantly reminded about my new-given identity: what I couldn’t do, what my limitations were, and what struggles I’d have the rest of my life. 🔮 Very little was I ever reminded about all my current strengths or what I could do. It was mostly the echoes from a set of diagnostic criteria. 📖

In psychology, the term is referred to as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. In sociology, it’s referred to as the Labeling Theory. To put it simply: If a person holds a belief in their mind about someone else’s future expectations, the person will unconsciously help in influencing the other person into fulfilling those expectations. 🤔

So for example, if a parent holds a child to very low expectations the odds are very likely the child won’t ever go past the ones the parent already set for them. They will only achieve the most minimal, the expectations set by the parent. 😲


But then at one point I finally decided I was going on my own path. These past few years I’ve learned that everything starts with Me: I must take control of my life, how I choose to see it, and how I’m going to live it. 👍

📌 Dale Carnegie explained it through his principles to Win Friends and Influence People.

📌 Stephen Covey said it with his Habit of Being Proactive.

📌 The Stoics taught it through their principles of self-control.

📌 The Existentialists shared it through the creation of meanings.

📌 Individuals like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. excelled it through their example.

It’s the power of helping OURSELVES FIRST before we start trying to help the rest of the world. It’s about taking CONTROL over our emotions rather than letting them and our environment control us. It’s about living our lives for a PURPOSE greater than just ourselves. It’s about a “dream”, a vision of a greater future for all of humanity. Most importantly, it’s about about YOU DEFINING YOUR LIFE. 🌎

What I’ve come to realize again and again is that my past does not have to equal the future. I’ve realized I am more capable than what any label or diagnosis will dictate. 🙌

Have you ever taken a personality test and it gave you a result you wholeheartedly believed in? “Congrats, you’re an INFJ!” The problem with these tests is they can tell you who you are NOW. But they don’t tell you who you’ll necessarily be in the FUTURE. We can change as well as mentally evolve. It’s a part of who I may be now, but it’s not the final destination! 🛣️

I’ve realized that I ultimately will define Me, not someone else, not a test, and not a set of diagnostic criteria. Otherwise I keep a fixed identity for the rest of my life…nah! 😉

So this year I’ve been on a mission to Transcend Labels. I am showing the world what’s possible, to show others how to look beneath the surface, past the labels, past the stereotypes, and to see each other for who we all are. 👥

I truly believe when we do this we’ll start seeing the humanity within each other, see each other as human beings, and see that we are all more alike than we like to believe. With that not only comes greater understanding for our neighbors but most importantly an unconditional love, because the realization comes: “That person is also Me.” ❤️

I see lasting change in the world happening through the individual from the inside-out, not the outside-in. I believe that the better we can be for ourselves, the better we can be for others. 🌎

Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Everyone has an opinion, but there are fewer people out there who ever set the example. Will we be the next examples?! 👌


I hope this resonates with many of you. I would appreciate it if you could share this post with others, whoever you believe will also benefit from these words. If there are any additional areas I can add value to your life as well as in the blogging community, please let me know! 🙂

My areas of expertise include:

👍 Detail-oriented, Thoroughness

👍 Quality-over-quantity Focused

👍 Analytical, Systemic Thinking

👍 Emotional intelligence (plus 10 years in Customer Service)

👍 Social media, Building Engagement


With lots of gratitude,

Donald “Ace” Arteaga ❤️


Want to know how to also Transcend Labels?! My “5 Keys to Transcend Labels” eBook is AVAILABLE NOW! Click HERE to get your FREE copy!

Why People Dislike Network Marketing

This post was made in response to someone’s question: “Why is it so many people have a negative opinion about network marketing?” Considering my mission in “seeking to understand”, I am sharing this here:

The MLM business structure can give way to individuals focusing more on the bottom line than on the individuals they recruit and how it may affect them long-term. In other words, it’s the individualism philosophy taken to the extreme. I think of “The Wolf on Wall Street” as an illustration. Jordan Belfort made a lot of money, but it was also at the expense of gypping others. It’s not the MLM company itself to blame entirely, as they also provide tools which depending on the individuals can be used and abused.

Last year I privileged to be a part of an MLM company with a team who were closely connected with the 1% in the company. They were genuinely focused on servant leadership and long-term relationships over short-term transactions. They also had great training resources and leaders always open for communication and additional assistance. That is what a reputable MLM company will be doing. I would recommend the company to others who are looking for a Sales position, who understands it will be a long-term commitment before seeing much profit, be aware 99% don’t succeed, and can look past the hype marketing of the “entrepreneur lifestyle”. (To add, I left my MLM company out of personal choice and not out of any spite).

That being said, I do not know if my experience is reflective of many or most MLMs. I’ve read the “nightmare” stories online about individual’s experiences with MLMs, both emotionally and intellectually charged. Some were simply complaining and whining. But other criticisms had some very valid points, which I want to address here. The main problems I read (and can also empathize with) include:

– Overhype of Business Opportunity & Products: As with a lot of Marketing, the “opportunities” people present are appeals-to-emotion which convince people to sign up and invest into the company. The problem with this is when a product (or business opportunity) doesn’t live up to the expectations one was told about them, one tends to feel disappointed and want to back out. While the recruiter may communicate to the recruit it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, the company’s marketing paints a different message no matter how subtle. Hype is a powerful motivator until one starts seeing the bigger picture objectively if something is in fact working or not.

– Majority of Individuals Quit Short-Term: It’s an understanding that the majority of individuals won’t succeed in the company long-term. Therefore, it’s also understandable for a company to know that whatever money was initially invested by a recruit they and the recruiter will keep. The recruit loses their money, like a lost gamble. That total amount can pile on into a company’s profits. If a recruiter is criticized, they can easily take responsibility off themselves and place it on the recruit: “They should’ve known better than to invest if they knew they were going to quit. It is their fault they invested.” The problem with this individualist argument is it comes with the presupposition that most people are well-educated on how they make decisions based on their emotions and how Marketing uses psychological tricks to influence themselves and others. But most people aren’t. To blame someone for something they don’t know (let alone may have never had the opportunity to learn) is absurd, but I’ve still seen this argument used.

– Products are Overpriced: A lot of items I can buy through an MLM can be found much cheaper in other places (and even sometimes in bigger portion sizes). I get my protein powder through Costco 3 times cheaper than I use to in an MLM. Understandably, the products are overpriced so recruiters can make money and not just the company. And of course, not every customer is going to take the time to be budget-oriented in our society. That is why when you’re in a MLM, you want to target individuals who do not have that focus, who have money to spare. I’ll say it multiple times: if you know how to persuade and influence people, you can sell someone on a $5000 water filtration machine and give them the impression the amount they paid was more than reasonable (even if it wasn’t, and there’s far cheaper water filters). Or to quote The Wolf on Wall Street: “Sell me this pen”.

– Lack of Transparency: At it’s core, the MLM positions are Sales position, and the majority of individuals are not trained experts in this area. If one doesn’t have the skills, and the company is not supportive of that such as training, they’re bound to fail even more likely. Softeners words are typically instead of “Sales” because of its negative connotation. Again, I was in a great company with leaders who were very transparent, but I don’t know how many others in other companies had the same experience. From what I’ve read paints a darker picture.

– Focus on Recruitment Over People: As noted in my 1st paragraph, the mindset can occur where people become secondary in favor of a short-term transaction. It doesn’t matter if the person actually needs the product; again if one can persuade someone to believe they need it and close the sale, they get the commission. Take an example of an upline who is desperate to make money and decides to resort to this mindset, taking advantage of the commission they will get each time they recruit someone, regardless of who the recruit is. It’s not to say a company promotes this practice, but in moral gray areas where rules aren’t clearly defined people may take advantage and put their needs even further to the front before others, including their recruits.

“What About Him/Her?!”​


Would you believe I’ve compared myself to others before? 😱 Yes, me: the guy who also talks about embracing one’s individuality! And yet here I am now telling you this, confessing to you all I’ve also been guilty of doing this. 🤫

It’s funny because I’ve heard the same advice many times before: Don’t compare yourself to others! Don’t compare yourself to others! Don’t compare yourself to others! At this point I should’ve had it nailed in my head, right? It certainly has been filed away in my memory safe and sound. 👍 Yet there were still moments in 2018 I found myself looking at other people’s content on social media, not to learn their techniques, but to see how I was in comparison to them. 👥

I created a self-defeating game in my head. I was offering the inner Competitor in me temporary feelings of superiority. 😈 Yet each time was never “enough” for him. And as much as a part of me told him I was only going to other people’s content for suggestions, there were definitely moments he took ownership of the situation when I should not have let him. 👎

So yes: Don’t compare yourself to other people. I already “knew” this lesson to be true, yet I still found myself doing it. Of course I take responsibility for my actions, but I want to share with you all why it happened. 🤔

📌 We can “know” something, but not be applying it in our lives. 📌

How much of what we “know” do we actually apply in our lives?We “know” eating vegetables would be healthier for our bodies, right? We “know” exercise would help with losing weight, right? We “know” the Golden Rule is: “Treat others the way we want to be treated”. But how many of us make an active focus to apply these principles into our everyday lives? 😲

So why did I write this post? Self-condemnation? Self-pity? Not at all! I write this to remind you all that I, like you, am also human. I am not perfect, and I will never claim to me. It’s not an excuse; it’s a recognition of my own human frailty. ❤️ And with that awareness comes the lesson we can learn from. As the saying goes: “It happens to the best of us.” 🗣

I want you to know that even I, Donald Arteaga, have made this mistake before. ✔️ There are many online influencers who play the “flawless” card. But I choose to play a different hand. ♠️ #TranscendLabels


“I understand.” 😐
“No, you don’t understand!” 😡
“I do understand. You’re upset because…therefore, there’s no valid reason to be upset.”
“No, you just don’t get it!”

I made an earlier post about how it’s important to distinguish in an argument where each side is coming from. Many arguments come from the simple miscommunication of reasoning: one side using Logical and Rational Reasoning and the other using Emotional Reasoning.

– When a person explains logically why the other person is feeling the way they do, that’s not what the other side wants. The other side wants the person to enter their Emotional Home. Empathy. ❤️

– When a person explains emotionally why the other person doesn’t understand them, that’s not what the other side wants. The other side wants the person to enter their Intellectual Home. Apathy. 🧠

– It’s important for the Intellectual to know there’s a difference between Intelligence and Wisdom. One can know intellectually how someone is discriminated and oppressed in a society. But to be up close and personal with it themselves, to actually experience the same emotions one feels first-hand, is a separate form of understanding. 🙌

– It’s important for the Emotional to know there’s a difference between Emotions and Emotional Intelligence. One can feel emotionally that something is wrong in a situation. But it’s another to be aware how our emotions can distort our thinking and impede on effective understanding towards another person’s point of view. 👍

These are of course big generalizations I’m listing, and they should not be taken as black-and-white as I do with them here. They mix and overlap. A person can be emotionally frustrated that the other person doesn’t understand their rational reasoning, and vice versa! 😂 #TranscendLabels