Nobody achieves anything by listening to why they can’t achieve it. No matter how long it takes you, or what anybody else claims, persevere, and you will not be disappointed.
As a part of our series about “dreamers who ignored the naysayers and did what others said was impossible”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Braylon Creighton, age 14. Braylon lives in Silicon Valley in Northern California with his two brothers, mother, father, and one-eyed rescue puppy. He is an 8th-grade student. His current YouTube name is The Creature Preacher. Braylon films hands-on videos with different organisms in a variety of environments! Braylon has had a passion for all living creatures since he can remember. His mom recently came across a video of a 4-year old Braylon teaching the viewers and his little brother all about how earthworms are great for the compost. He continues to be inspired by his two favorite wildlife explorers, Jonathan Bird and Coyote Peterson. Braylon strives to teach and show people how cool and interesting all organisms are. As a vegetarian, he believes people will have a better appreciation for living things if they understand them better. He loves to be out in the field being led by his curiosity and hopes to do lots of traveling in the near future.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. Can you tell us your ‘backstory’?
My name is Braylon, I’m 14 years old, I live in California and I have always loved biology, animals, and projects. But I never really did any of that very professionally until the summer of 2019 when my family and I took a trip to Hawaii. This would be the farthest I have ever been from home, so I was very excited. When I was finally in Hawaii, I had the best time of my life! I went swimming in the crystal clear tropical waters, went snorkeling in pristine reefs, ate wonderful food, saw amazing wildlife, and got to hang out with my family. It was all too amazing, until day five when we had to fly back to California. On the five-hour plane ride, I felt depressed. I kept thinking about how incredible Hawaii was, and how I would do anything to go back there again.
Over the next few days I started thinking about if I could ever go back to that magical place; if I could possibly work my way there. So I brainstormed for days, and eventually, an idea occurred to me, I would start a business to fund a trip back to Hawaii! I had previously started a small, sell-your-friend-some-bread kind of thing on the side before, but I barely made any money from that. So I did some recipe research, figured out the supplies I would need, and how much money I could make. The numbers weren’t very appealing but I was determined. The very first item I would sell would be a baguette, one for $4, and my goal was to get $100 every single weekend. That meant I had to get 25 sales in just two days! In the first week, I got to $60. The next week $80, and before I knew it, I was making $100 every weekend just by selling bread! However, I was a one-man team! No co-workers, no machines, no boss. The only help I did have was my mom who thankfully volunteered to drive me to make my deliveries. It was incredibly stressful, especially because I was working on a tight schedule. After a few more weeks, and hitting $120, I was stressed all the time! (I even woke up in the middle of the night, and started to knead my covers!) Even though I made $800 in total, I quit the business and began thinking about other options, maybe something that wasn’t too rigorous.
That’s when I discovered Shopify, an online business model. I had just invested about $250 into a reef fish tank, so I was a little short on money. I decided that I would dedicate $150 of my own, as well as take a loan out from my grandmother for $100. I worked and worked until I got a website up and running that would resell phone cases. (In case you are not familiar with reselling, it’s a process where you take an inexpensive product from another manufacturer, put it on your website, and make the difference in cost). After lots of frustration, I only ended up getting one sale and losing lots of money. What I did gain, was experience.
After this, it was fall and school was starting so I began to look for more options. I had to make money in order to get back to Hawaii. That’s when I discovered the Law of Attraction. It meant that I could have whatever I wanted! That meant making more money and getting back to Hawaii sooner. I began to meditate, and practice being in control of my thoughts. I read books, listened to podcasts, and that’s when things really started to flow. First, I started seeing money all over the place. I literally found a coin every single day, formed new relationships with new people, and felt really compelled to focus more on biology. I studied (and still continue to study) for hours and hours, gaining knowledge about many organisms.
From then on, I decided I needed some way to display my knowledge, to share with people how cool all these organisms really are, and that’s when I started my YouTube channel, Life In The Tropics, now re-branded as The Creature Preacher. And here I am! Now I realize that it’s way more than just getting back to Hawaii (which I am still yet to do), but being able to share my knowledge about organisms, and fascinate my followers with their amazing abilities!
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am currently doing lots of reading on endangered species of Hawaii, as well as fragile coral ecosystems; how they thrive and how they die. Also, I continue to make videos about different organisms on my YouTube channel, and I’m working on one about Black Widows! My research and videos can provide reliable information about lots of plants and animals, as well as teaching people how they don’t have to fear or be grossed out by them, but that they can be fascinated by them and enjoy how amazing they really are.
In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?
I stand out, firstly, because I am still just a kid. I don’t have a camera crew, or a college degree yet, like most everybody else in my field. Secondly, I have lots of passion. I love what I do, and I get super excited when I see new organisms, new places, and new fields to explore. I love sharing my knowledge with others, and showing people how amazing the world of nature can be!
Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?
When I first started to get serious about selling my bread, some of my family members and friends thought that it was a terrible idea and that I would never make any money from my business at all! They said that my chances were slim to none at making even $100 dollars. I told the naysayers to watch and see what I could do and that I would make much over just a measly $100, but the naysayers still had their doubts. I overcame that by just ignoring their opinions and kept on doing what I set my mind to.
In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong? 🙂
In the end, I ended up making over $800 dollars, with many faithful and satisfied customers. If I hadn’t just trusted myself, and stayed on the path, I would have never have smashed my goal! In the end, the naysayers ended up being quite supportive, and some even became my best customers. There’s even a buzz in our community still asking me when I’ll sell more bread!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am so grateful for my Mom. She has volunteered countless times to drive me to make my bread deliveries, has been helping me out with concepts about the Law of Attraction and the power of our minds, and has been the most supportive person in my life by far. I couldn’t have achieved what I have thus far if it wasn’t for her.
It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers. Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share the story with us?
I am still a kid, and still growing up, but yes I have had experiences where I have had to ignore the naysayers. One time at lunch, I joined a group of kids and started playing basketball. I was never too good at the sport, but I still like to play anyway. Everything was going great until I was handed the ball. I tried to shoot at the basket but missed it. After that, the kids kept making fun of me and didn’t pass to me again. I just had to ignore their comments and let them roll off of my back because it doesn’t matter what other people think of you, just what you think of yourself. From that experience, I have been much more resilient, and conscious of how I react to other people’s opinions.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 strategies that people can use to harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible? (Please share a story or an example for each)
Strategy Number 1: Trust in yourself. You know yourself better than anybody else does, so when a person tries to tell you something that you can’t do, don’t let them influence you, just trust yourself that you can do whatever it is that you want to do. Trust that you will reach your goals and have your desires.
Strategy Number 2: Ignore the naysayers. Somebody is always going to try to bring you down, it’s just how society is. However, you can choose to either listen to their opinions or not. You have the power to believe in your abilities, or believe in the lies that people tell you, and they really are just lies. So ignore the naysayers and what they have to say because you know that you are limiltess!
Strategy Number 3: Persevere. Thomas Edison’s teachers said that Edison was,” too stupid to learn anything”. And If Edison had listened to those naysayers, he would have never invented the light-bulb. Nobody achieves anything by listening to why they can’t achieve it. No matter how long it takes you, or what anybody else claims, persevere, and you will not be disappointed.
Strategy Number 4: Surround yourself with support. Just about a year ago, I was not surrounded by the friendliest of people. Not everybody loved my ideas and not many people whom I knew supported me. Because of this, I took action and found new peers to stay close to. Eventually, many of these people developed into fabulous friends, and still support me and my opinions to this day. When you surround yourself with these types of relationships, naysayers do not want to be around you. Negative ideas and opinions stay away, and you can have much more success in your life. When you are around people who support you, anything is possible!
Strategy Number 5: Know that you are worthy to achieve. Countless people have struggled with self-worth, myself included. For years, I worried that I wouldn’t be good enough, or that I would not have the strength or the skill to achieve my goals. Too many people believe that this is true, but only because of the concepts and ideas that society has hammered into them. Well, I’m here to tell you that the naysayers are wrong! You have all of the components that you need to succeed, so do not let anybody else tell you differently, because you are worthy!
What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?
Before the Wright Brothers created the first aircraft, during their time, it was a common belief that man would never, and could never, fly. However, the Wright Brothers quickly proved society wrong when they built the first airplane, flying it 120 feet in 12 seconds! This feat was thought to be impossible to achieve, but the Wright Brothers never gave up. They didn’t listen to the naysayers, but instead, achieved the inconceivable. Why? Because they ignored the opinions of others, staying faithful to their desires. The Wright Brothers were extremely resilient. They knew in their hearts that they could achieve anything, so they did!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
If I were to inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, it would be to save the coral reefs. Today, more than half of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is gone, along with countless others around the world. Reefs are home to more than 25% of all marine species, even though they cover less than 1% of the ocean floor. Due to climate change, as well as pollution, the number of dying reefs consistently increases extremely rapidly, every single day. Many people are reliant on fish for their main source of food, but when the reefs are gone, the fish die with them. Without coral reefs, more than 500 million people would starve! And due to the importance of these incredibly diverse and necessary marine ecosystems, millions of people literally cannot live without them. They are tremendously important to the food chain, and without reefs, other major ecosystems couldn’t survive. If action is not taken, we could even say goodbye to forests, lakes, meadows, and more. Along with this, they are (at least in my opinion), some of the most beautiful environments in the world. The spectacular colors of coral and vibrant, dazzling fish are too beautiful to let die, so if I were to inspire a movement, it would be to save the coral reefs!
Can our readers follow you on social media?
YouTube: The Creature Preacher
Thank you for these great stories. We wish you only continued success!
Dreamers: “They Said it Was Impossible and I Did it Anyway”, with Braylon Creighton was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.