A Humble View on Life: Living the American Dream does not necessarily mean Being Successful in Latino Eyes

Gustavo Gutierrez

The word humble has a different meaning for everybody. This is an interview with a gentleman called Gustavo Gutierrez Magallanes. You can learn from him about the importance of honesty, dreaming about living a so happy life, the change the life of people outside your immediate circle and family and much more.

1. I know Latin people have different ways of being called in the US. Do you consider yourself Latino, Hispanic or do you identify yourself by your country of origin?
I always identify with my culture and my origin that is being Mexican. But, in the broader picture I do consider myself Latino. I am proud of my background, my roots and my culture so whenever I am asked where I am from I always say Mexico, but I do identify with being Latino as well.

2. Where is your country of origin? Is it the US?
I was born in the state of Zacatecas in Mexico. I emigrated to the U.S. with my family when I was four years old.

3. How did you become so successful?
I do not consider myself to be successful, but I am living the American dream. I come from a family of immigrant parents and I am a first generation college graduate. My parents always instilled, to this date, the importance of education and have shown me the path to a better lifestyle than what they were accustomed. If it would not have been for my parents and siblings I don’t believe I’d be where I am today. I am a dreamer and have countless goals that I want to accomplish. I have yet to learn so much more about life and where I want to be in the future. But, every day I remind myself that the American dream should be lived throughout our daily life.

4. What was an experience in your youth that determined your future success? Who taught you about how to be successful?
I have always admired my father’s sense of responsibility to provide for his five children and wife. When I was young he constantly reminded me that he wished for his children to be educated and never work difficult and low-pay jobs such as in agriculture or construction. I saw how tired he would come home from work every day, but never complained. It was these experiences that influenced me to become educated to practice the career, which I am passionate for.

5. Can you tell me some stories of how you changed the life of someone outside of your inner circle of family and friends in the past?
A recent anecdote that I have is about motivating an undocumented student in the U.S. to continue on with their higher education. Students in this situation sometimes do not see the door to their problems and the easy way is to give up on their dreams. I feel I changed this student’s perspective by giving ideas on how he could make higher education a reality. I was there as a moral support for this student and helped change his view of his experience by showing things in a positive manner.
Another way that I have helped change the lives of other people is when I tutored Latino immigrants in English. When I was an undergraduate college student I would volunteer my time at an adult school where I tutored Spanish-speaking immigrants.

6. Where do you take your drive from?
My sister has been the biggest motivation in my life because she was the first college graduate in my family. Seeing her meet her goals is inspirational because I have always seen the large amount of work she puts into her business. I get my drive from my sister who is hardworking, caring, independent and successful.

7. Who influenced your life the most in the past?
My parents have been the greatest influence in my life. I have learned so many life lessons from them that no one else would have been able to teach me. Even though, both of them were only schooled up until 6th grade they are educated in other ways that I treasure and in ways that there would have been nowhere else I could have received that same education.

8. What do you see in other Latin people that you wish would be different? Why is that?
I wish some Latinos would not take some of the things in their lives for granted. Many times I have seen that some Latinos do not value the easy access they have to opportunities that others wish they had. The sense of appreciation and opportunity to succeed has been completely wasted by some Latinos in the U.S.
9. Besides learning the English language and getting higher education, what do you believe is crucial for Latin people to improve the quality of their life?
The importance of family values and morals are essential to improve the quality of the way we live. Constantly I come across younger Latinos who have completely lost the sense of respect, compassion and appreciation towards others. It is a sad reality to see the violence and hate that exists in our society because some people were not taught the importance of respecting others.

10. Do you believe that Latin people dream big enough? If not, why is that? What is necessary to make it ok to dream big?
I believe that Latinos do no dream big enough because some have been raised to think that some things cannot be accomplished. Throughout generations we have been instilled a lot of self doubt to take risks in our lives. To make it okay to dream big there needs to be a lot of self enthusiasm and the fear of failing needs to abandon us. If this does not happen then the concept of dreaming big will never be accomplished with Latinos.

11. How do you use your values and faith to create a meaningful and powerful life?
I believe in God. I believe that all things happen for a reason and God is always looking out for everyone. I know that God is guiding me through my experiences in order to create a powerful life for myself, but also where I can positively influence others.

12. What do you wish for the Latin people to enjoy and feel?
I wish that all Latinos can one day feel accomplished in their lives and enjoy their dreams that they’ve worked so hard at since they were young.

13. What else do you want to share that is important for Latin people to know?
Sometimes as Latinos we must work twice as hard to disprove negative stereotypes that have been constructed by society. I would also like to share with Latinos that it’s okay to mess up in life just as long as we do learn from our mistakes. Latinos should always strive for their dreams and forget the concept of possibly failing.

What can you learn from Gustavo? What will you do differently from today on?

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