Zero to Hero: From a Depressed Broke Student to Living His Dreams

Zero to Hero: From a Broke Student to Living His Wildest Dream

Today, I want to share my story with you about how I turned my life around 360 degrees in a year, hoping to inspire YOU to overcome your fears and start following your passion (yes, that's what I want you to do!)

Now, let me introduce for those who don't know me...

My name is Reona. My friends usually call me Reo :)

I created this fab blog (I tried really hard to make it awesome, ya know).

I'm an entrepreneur, mentor, and most importantly personal development fanatic (and also a little bit of nerd) who's now traveling the world with nothing more than a backpack and a laptop, while running a 6-figure business online.

I'm from the Land of the Rising Sun... yes that's right, it's Japan. The country of sushi, samurai, ninja and a lot of weird things :-)

Now let me tell you a little story of how I went from a broke student to traveling the world.


I made this post in 2016 and my life has changed A LOT since then. Go here to get recent updates about my journey so far! (added Oct, 2019)


The Darkest Moment of My Life

In 2014, I was a broke ass computer college student who no goals or motivation.

All I had in my mind was maybe just get a job with some computer skill, and a high paid salary hopefully.

I didn't have any ambitions goals, such as starting my business at that time. I knew I wasn't that smart kid in class.

However, I was very optimisitic about my future. I was very much lost but I just felt and knew my life would be okay.

But shit happens. Right?

I lost a girl of 4 years all of the sudden, who literally meant everything to me.

And something in me started to collapse slowly, but surely.

So did my reality....

I felt like I was losing myself... and I was trying so hard to keep myself together.

But I lost myself and sense of a reality.

I was so lost that I didn't know what was true or wrong anymore, or what to believe.

Soon I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

Thoughts were loud and I couldn't seem to control them at all.

I was severely worrying and being anxious about small things that were not even real... and I couldn't stop them.

It was extremely tiring and sometimes it was so overwheling that caused me to have panic attacks.

For things, that's not even real. Can you believe it?

I was falling apart.
And the worst of all, I had no one to tell what was going on...

I just didn't want to tell anybody because I didn't want to bother anyone and understood, it was MY problem.

Since I was little, I rarely asked for help even including my parents.

So when I had a problem, I mostly sorted it myself alone except when I really needed help.

I'm the eldest of my siblings, my  family depend on me, so I had to take care of myself and my little brother and sister.

So nobody knew what was going on with me, as I tried my best to look okay.

But deep inside, I was falling apart and I got so exhausted to the point that I was thinking some stupid shit like "Would it be better if I killed myself?"...  

But I was too scared to do such a thing of course. 

It was just one of the stupid random thoughts went around my head​ very often at that time.

All I wanted was just to escape from my own mind...

Trust me, I never had imagined in my whole life that I would ever suffer from a mental condition like this.

It was just not me. I'm stupid and super optimitstic.

I never knew that I had such a huge dark side (negativity) in me until it surfaced and took me over.

I had that "idgaf" mentality, and I was living it.

Life was tough, but I was okay.

Since I always had to help myself, I became (am still) really good at controlling emotions.

Yes, shit happens and I become sad just like any human beings but I barely caught myself dwelling over bad things for long.

I could change my emotion and get over a negative emotion very quickly most of the time.

When I was 14, I got beat up by 6 seniors thug students in the school yard for bumping into one of them. 

It was terrible and I didn't fight back with my judo skill, it's still 1 against 6, who were older and bigger.

There were many students around us and no one stopped until a teacher came in.

I was taken to a hospital right after and got my eyebrow snitched.

My face looked very much swollen and terrible, but I still went to school the very next day.

I can never forget the faces of my friends and classmates, when I entered home class​.

Everyone was so surprised and shocked! 

My friends told me that they were thinking I wouldn't even come to school for like a week or ever.

No matter what happens, I could always find ways to be optimistic. 

That's been my one of the biggest strengths. 

So... never have I ever imagined that I would end up falling for depression or Schizophrenia... especially over a girl.

Mental disorder could happen to anyone regardless of who you are.

Fast forward today, I overcame my negativty and I'm back to that positive bastard again :-)

But you may be wondering.... like what in the world, someone like me (a very positive person) would fall for a mental disorder suddenly?

Falling for the Dark Side...

Now you know it's a girl.

The love of my life... never knew you could love someone so much.

After breaking up with her, my heart was literally broken, and that was a trigger to losing my balance.

Seems like my heart wasn't as tough as I thought it to be when it comes to love... ugh.

The biggest mistake I've probably ever made was letting someone become my WHOLE whole happiness.

I believed that I couldn't be happy without her. Silly, right?

My advice for you is, don't ever put your happiness on others or things (external things), because they can be taken away easily at any moment.

Always be responsible for your OWN happiness.

I had to learn the lesson in the hardest way. But you don't need to, if you learn from my mistakes.

The End Of A Love Story...

Someone said love makes people blind. It was true.

She was my first love, as well as my whole happiness (at that moment). She's the person who first showed me that I could love someone THIS deeply and passionately. It was the same for her too. As a matter of fact, we were deeply in love and loving each other.

Our relationship was passionate and romantic like a burning fire... However, I can now see that it was also kinda unhealthy.

Don't get me wrong, nothing's wrong with romantic and passionate relationships (I swear I love them and want it!). But for us, our attachment to each other was too strong to the point that it was making our relationship unhealthy. It was a codependent relationship.

Some people lose themselves in the processing of loving another...

obsessive compulsive disoder

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. hate leads to suffering.

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Master Yoda is never wrong. Eh?

The more I loved her, the stronger my attachment to her became bigger, so was my fear of losing her. 

It used to scare the hell out of me whenever I thought of my life without her. But you know it happened in the end... hell.

My worst nightmare manifested into a reality.

At the end of our relationship, she was not the person I knew. 

She was completely a different person. All she did was push me away despite trying to help her.

She never told me why regardless of how many times I asked, and we were usually fighting because of that. 

I felt unloved and it was breaking me into pieces...

And the worst of all, she started doing self-harm and taking drugs and always making dramas.

The situation was getting worse every day. Yes she was depressed.

Of course, I tried to help her, but she never listened.

After 5 months of trying to fix our relationship, I realized I was the only one fighting for this relationship.

I was just mentally and physically drained after everything. I knew it was not good for me at this rate, the relationship was being toxic to me.

We talked, decided to put a period to our relationship of 4 years and go on our own separate ways. 

I admit it, at the end it was terrible, but spending the time with her was one of the best times of my life. So no regrets at all.

The Day I Lost Myself...

Since that day... you know everything changed. 

I lost someone who used to be my everything and happiness. My life suddenly became empty, so was I...

I forgot how to be happy on my own.

I was devasted and hopeless about my future not knowing what to do with my life anymore... been empty like that for a few months. 

And when I realized, it was too late. I was lost.

The negativity was overflowing in my mind and I couldn't control my emotion anymore...

That's when I totally lost my balance. I fell to the dark side, and then I suffered a lot as I shared the story with you earlier

I quitted my part time job, I just couldn't focus on my school or anything else in my life. 

Soon after I couldn't pay for my education and I almost had to leave my college... until my grandpa decided to help me financially. 

Can't be thankful enough for him. Really.

I suffered and suffered for the whole year... to the point it was enough for me.

Remember, no storm, even the one in your life can last forever.

when you come out the storm

How I Turned My Life Around...

One day, I decided it was enough.

I finally decided to stand up for myself and CHANGE my life. I was sick of living this way, feeling depressed and miserable for myself like a loser.

All I knew was that I didn't want to stay there for the rest of my life.

I had to change.

So I did... I decided to face off my negativity, instead of escaping from them. It took some time, but I've managed to overcome it by my own without ever depending on drugs or whatsoever. All I needed was a strong discipline and drive to change.

Starting Out My New Life with Full of Hopes

I healed my negativity and I started focusing on what I had to do with my life. In 2015, I graduated from my college and I got busy with my life.

Then I got a job just like everyone else. A decent job with a good salary. My parent was happy about that which made me happy.

But as you know, I've quit it anyway.

And hence I'm writing this and you're reading this right now on my blog :-)

So why the hell did I quit a job that was good?

In short, I was unhappy with my life and I knew I couldn't be happy as long as I'd stay there. 

Even though my colleagues were really nice, but I hated the job.

When I joined the company, it was an extremely busy season and everyone was usually overworking on their desks till 11 pm at least in my department, some people were even staying at till 2 am and had to sleep in the company. Crazy, right?

I felt I'm dead even though I'm alive...

Japan is one of the top countries with long work hours, which sometimes become a problem here. My company isn't usually like this, however, it was just a really busy period due to the crazy number of demands and this was expected to continue for at least half a year. 

Do this for the next half a year? It's insane. 

My colleagues looked unhappy and tired just like me... But they did NOT complain against their bosses, even though it's obvious that they couldn't afford to spend enough time with their family most of their days or do something they like.

Japanese people are probably too polite (too hard working) in this way, which could usually be a bad thing in some occasions. But I couldn't be like everyone here, I couldn't withstand. I was physically and mentally exhausted.

When I thought of doing this for years to come, I remember I just felt freaking sick and hopeless about the future.

I'm working really hard, but for WHAT?

No matter how much I work, this job never helps me get closer to my personal goals. All I get is the spent time that I will never get back and some moneydespite being unhappy and mentally drained... That's when I knew I had to quit this job, even though it had a quite good salary.

Life is too short to be anything else but happy. Right?

Life is too short to waste time waiting for people's approval on how you live it.

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A New Crazy Journey Begins...

I really wanted to do something I can be passionate for, and I looked for the answer to living the life of my dream where I can spend my life doing what I love every day... and I found that Internet Business can help me with it.

So I went against the advice of everyone and quit.

Long story short, since then I've been working full time and making my living online.

Today, I basically have more than enough time (which I was lacking the most when I was working like a slave) and money to enjoy my life without worrying about anything at all.

Sounds too good to be true?

I know, but of course, this lifestyle never happened without any hustles or failuresRather, full of them. Trust me.

I have sacrificed my time analyzing how this whole online business thing works and learning from people who are already making a huge success in this.
When people around my age are partying and getting wasted on weekends, I was staying at home executing what I knew little by little and trying to figure out how to make this work. It seemed so far apart but I just do what I can do to see how far can it lead to.

To be honest, it was really boring but I wanted to see results... I had to.

Also working from home having no one to control sounds an awesome idea, doesn't it?

But the truth is, you can be a tough decision because everywhere inside the house are filled with distractions and we can't seem to work effectively (the biggest issue many internet marketers face). It's very hard to maintain your motivation and keep sticking to your own tasks since there's no one else but you.

Focus Is a Crucial Key to Success

The moment you pick your phone, you get a notification from Facebook and see what your friends are doing and 1 hour gone. Once you open Netflix app, 3 hours gone... and when you realize? It's already 10 pm, time to take a shower and sleep.

Hell yeah! Another day of doing nothing!


I faced this many times and wasted a lot of the time in the beginning which was the reason I didn't proceed fast when I started out... 

But luckily I could realize how I was just wasting my precious time. So I did the necessary steps to complete the undone tasks first before using the time for entertainment.

When I was learning how this business works and going through training videos, my mom thought that I was playing computer games and told me to get a part-time job. She told me "Why are you staying at home when people out there working? You need to get some job, even your little sister (high school student) is working. Your attitude can't bring you far in life."

I tried to explain many times but she didn't understand me.

For her, I was just a son without a job staying at home playing computer games...

And the worst of all? I had no results to prove that I was doing something right.

I didn't earn almost anything for the first 6 months regardless I was spending 12 hours a day writing 3 articles every day, hoping it'd work out but it never did in the end.

At that point of time, I was really angry and sad because nobody understood what I was going through, I felt so lonely but I have to continue to do that. Remember, I started for myself, not others.

I kept sacrificing my time and sleep to learn as much as I could and execute whatever I knew while most of the people around me were telling me to stop doing shit on the computer already, and do something that's "proven" and "safe", though internet business is also proven, just not much people in Japan are doing. It's a business that people all over around the world is doing it.

Your Mindset Is Everything 

However, I was still struggling to make money online around that time, that's when I met this person who changed my life.

She's a Law of Attraction coach, also doing IM like me and killing it, unlike me at that time.

We talked a lot, from business to the law of attraction... It seems that what I was doing wasn't that bad, but somehow I wasn't getting good results. She told me that there's a problem with my mindset, especially towards money, rather than what I was implementing to my business.

Looking back, I can clearly see that because like she said, I had so many negative limiting beliefs towards money. 

Deep inside, I was thinking I couldn't be successful and earn a lot of money (that I don't deserve it), because I was never that smart kid in the class, I was never someone who was good in his academic education. 

Vishen, one of my most respected entrepreneurs talks about this abundance blocking issue in his story too. It's seriously inspiring, and I want you to watch this video. However, it's an hour long, so come back to here after you've done with reading my story :)

With the help from her, I worked on rewiring my negative limiting beliefs to positive ones. It took some time, but I started seeing some big paradigm shifts in my life after a few months. I didn't change my business model, but I suddenly started getting results which really made me surprised. This was when I re-confirmed the power of the subconscious mind, even though I was already believing it.

Vishen Lakhiani

Founder, Mindvalley

"The big leap that happened to me and my business came to me when one of my rules disappeared... So much of what we believed about money was complete bullshit. An old rule that we'd been carrying around for years suddenly vanished."

Long story short, it comes to this day.

Though, I struggled for 7 months in the beginning and almost went for looking a job... But everything turned around very quick after I had a paradigm shift in my mindset with the help of awesome people, now I'm making $4K a month. Not shabby, right?

(Note: I originally wrote this post in June, 2016).

What I'm now trying to do is scale up my business by investing more, and I'm currently studying Advertising, CRM, Conversion Optimization, and Email Marketing, as well as reading a lot of personal development books. There're so many things to do though since I'm doing everything alone, but it's worth it knowing everything I do for is helping me get closer to my goals :)

Everything looked so far apart in the beginning, but things have started making sense, I can see how everything was connected. So no matter how miserable your life may be... if you have the courage to follow your passion and dream, I know you can achieve it! 

It's all about your mindset.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

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Now's Your Turn, Ready to Change Your Life?

In life, we can't really predict what will happen but what keep us going is the DREAM and GOALS we have set for ourselves. If you want to live your life without regret and make your dreams come true. To do that, you have to stop doing what other people want you to, and listening to their negative voices, even they may be from your parents or best friends. Listen to your own heart, and do what it feels RIGHT for you.

Though, you will ALWAYS lose two things. Money and Time. You can always get back the money you lost, but you can never get back the time you wasted. If you know you're now not living the life you want... you know what you have to.

Go CHANGE it, and follow what your heart wants, instead of following what people wants. This is your damn life!

Have the courage to get out of your comfort zone, and start working for your dreams, for WHAT truly matters to you.

But remember it won’t be easy.

At some point, I guarantee you’ll want to quit. I guarantee people will treat you like you’re insane. I guarantee you’ll cry yourself to sleep, wondering why nothing works out for 

But never stop believing in yourself. I know the world is full of naysayers, all of them eager to shout you down at the slightest indication you might transcend mediocrity, but the greatest sin you can commit is to yourself become one of them. 

Our job isn’t to join that group, but to silence it, to accomplish things so great and unimaginable that you're truly seeking in life.

BE extraordinary.

Don't waste your precious time by staying with people who keep stealing your energy and happiness. Stop doing things that don't push you forward to your goals. 

Once again I'm telling you... DO what matters for you.

You can do it.

I believe in you.

So get started.

Right freaking now.


About the Author

Reona Saito is a 23 years old entrepreneur & investor from Japan, also the founder of this blog. He's obsessed with the universe and personal growth and wanting to change the world for the better someday. When he's not busy wondering about the universe and playing video games, you'll most likely find him traveling the world with a laptop in his backpack.

  • Kiersten says:

    I have been surfing on-line greater than 3 hours nowadays, yet I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours.

    It’s lovely value enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the internet might be much more helpful than ever before.

    • Reona says:

      Hi Kirsten, thanks for pointing this out! You know that’s what I was aiming for ;)

      There are good articles out there, but most of them lack visual impact. Just boring long ass articles, without subtitles or images. If I were a reader, I wouldn’t want to read such things.

      So I always put time and effort when creating a content, even a short content it usually takes up to 1 week including proofreading and formatting my article to make it look awesome. Seeing you satisfided with my articles make me happy, it seems it’s paid off :)

  • Chrinstine says:

    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.

    I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!

  • Reona says:

    Yes, I agree with you Christine. Now is always the most important time, for you to change and pursue your happiness.

    Thanks for the idea! :)

    Well, can you tell me a little bit more detail, I mean what kind of things about this article, do you want to hear?

  • Evan says:

    Have you seriously considered creating an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?

    I have a blog based on a single information you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I am aware my audience would value your job. If you happen to be even remotely interested, go ahead and send me an e-mail :)

    • Reona says:

      Thanks for your suggestion, Evan!

      I’ve considered about these things before but not too soon since I’m currently working on other things. However, when I have enough time, I think I’ll do guest post.

      Thanks for your offer, what is your website? :)

  • Helena Leuty says:

    I look at this paragraph completely about the resemblance of newest and earlier technologies, it’s amazing article.

  • Bruno Bulnes says:

    Quality content will be the secret to invite the visitors to check out see the web site, that’s what this website is providing ;)

    Amazing article Reona!

  • Jody says:

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people with this topic, however, you sound like do you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  • Dorothea says:

    Howdy just wanted to offer you a simple heads up.

    The text inside your content appears to be running off of the screen in Firefox. I’m unclear if it is a format issue or something connected with web browser compatibility nevertheless I figured I’d post to inform you.

    The design and design looks great though! Hope you obtain the issue fixed soon. Kudos

    • Reona says:

      Hi Dorothea, thanks for letting me know about the issue!

      I’ve just checked this article on Firefox on my Mac, but seems like there’s no such issue for me. Perfectly visible on my side. But I know the issue occurs sometimes, and it can be mostly resolved by clearing your cache from your browser.

  • Barbara says:

    I like looking through a post that may make people think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

  • Reona says:

    You are welcome Barbara!

  • Mertie Lofte says:

    Hi Reona, I read your website from time to time and that I own a similar one and I also was only curious should you get lots of spam remarks?

    If how can you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?

    I get a whole lot lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is quite much appreciated.

    • Reona says:

      Hi Mertie,

      I also get many spammers on my blog, though I don’t use any plugin since it didn’t work for me that much in the previous website I had. So I’m currently moderating comments from first commenters on this blog to make sure spam comments won’t be posted here :)

  • Keneth says:

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    Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is required online, someone with some originality!

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  • Shaun Braker says:

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