The American Dream is often revered by many as the pinnacle of success. Though it’s definition may vary upon the individual, the majority sum it up to a very similar story line, typically describing life possessions and accomplishments such as attaining a good job, having a nice car, and buying that big house with a white picket fence.
For Jhon-Jhon Ventura, CEO, Owner and Head Instructor of the world renowned Jhon-Jhon Institute, the American Dream is much more than a commercialized interpretation of success, but rather the reality of achieving true happiness.
“I had a very challenging childhood. I was the first generation being brought up in the United States with my two brothers” Jhon-Jhon explains. “My parents were workaholics. My mother and my father always thought that success was money and power, but as I grew up, I realized that wasn’t true success”
Having fought many bouts with depression and personal challenges, Jhon-Jhon was determined to mold his life differently for himself, and for his family.
“I always thought to myself how can my father think he’s successful if his family not even together and none of his children love him how children should love their father? That’s why I wanted to raise my children the best I can and do the best I can to be the best role model for them. And teach them how to love and be there for them whenever they need me.”
After relocating to New Jersey for his senior of high school, Jhon-Jhon experienced what he describes as a spiritual awakening. Having found himself in some trouble back in California, New Jersey provided a new environment for a fresh start.
“I was hanging out with the wrong crowds (in California) getting into a lot of trouble. When my mother and I relocated to New Jersey, we went from living in a really nice house in the suburbs to sharing a house with my aunt. It was tough.” Jhon-Jhon explains.
“When I went to high school my senior year, that was when I started changing how I was. Everyone was very open and nonjudgmental, that’s where the popular really struck. I became a social butterfly, when people opened up to me, I transformed from a wannabe thug to a person that cares about people.”
Despite finding mass popularity among all cliques and groups, Jhon-Jhon quickly learned popularity was not the key to happiness.
“I thought that one of the best things was being popular, but there is a tradeoff. That tradeoff was not being myself, but rather trying to be who other people wanted me to be. I was very unhappy always trying to prove myself to people.”
When one looks at Jhon-Jhon Ventura and the successes that he has obtained, most fail to see the struggles and obstacles that Jhon-Jhon endured along the way. Most notably, a deep-rooted struggle with self-love and depression, leading to suicidal thoughts.
“I had that type of life always trying to be better and prove to myself that I can accomplish anything. I don’t regret anything because it is what made me who I am today. I believe that struggles are meant to be struggles to make you stronger, so you should never give up. I was very suicidal when I was young because I didn’t think anyone loved me. Then I found out the person should really love is yourself, that’s what my grandmother taught me.”
Reflecting on his battles with depression, Jhon-Jhon encourages others to never stop fighting, emotionally understanding that if he had lost that battle his children would not be around.
“My children helped me focus and fight. Just seeing my son at the age of 4 or 5 at this recital it made me cry, thinking that if I had killed myself my kids wouldn’t be around. I am very proud of myself for fighting and to see how my children growing and not many people see that.”
Despite the success of The Jhon-Jhon Institute, Jhon-Jhon was met with criticism and judgement from the competition. As a male in the cosmetics industry, some competitors attempted to put Jhon-Jhon down and even resorted to discriminating names.
“You would think at this day in age sexual orientation would be accepted but the LGBT community is constantly facing discrimination. People are always talking behind our back, when they see Carlos and I” Jhon-Jhon explains, as his now husband has become a key partner within his business.
“The best person to accept you is yourself. Stop chasing other people’s approval. As long as you’re not hurting anybody it’s all good. It’s all about embracing yourself but not being overly dramatic about it. It’s just about being who you are.”
Through it all, Jhon-Jhon has found his own definition of success and the American Dream beyond that of the possessions and achievements. Jhon-Jhon has found self-acceptance and true happiness, and strongly encourages others to do the same.
“It’s not about money, it’s about loving and embracing yourself. That’s the power within and that is what has helped me become successful. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You might not see it now, but it is there, and it’s all about being yourself and loving yourself. Never give up”
For more information on Jhon-Jhon and The Jhon-Jhon Institute,