Respect others: As you’re bouncing back, you need a team and people to help you. If you don’t respect others, you will have failed to build a truly loyal team. I had an experience where I found myself in a position having to negotiate out of a tough situation and the people on the other end of the table, they were of questionable moral character. However, I had to find something to respect about them. This helped me to understand their viewpoint better and to create a win out of a tricky situation.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ron Levy.
Ron Levy is the co-founder and CEO of The Crypto Company (TCC), one of the first publicly traded companies in the blockchain sector (OTC: CRCW), offering emerging technology solutions, consulting, education, and training services. He is a blockchain mentor and guest lecturer for student organizations and institutions such as Pepperdine University, a founding member of an AI-blockchain mastermind group for social entrepreneurship and change, and an advisor and director of several boards, including the International Blockchain Real Estate Association (IBREA). Ron has owned and operated businesses for over 30 years, and has raised more than $100M in capital for various projects and innovative solutions.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I’m a native of the Los Angeles area and always loved California. I started working in construction when I was a teenager and through high school. I ultimately built one of the largest custom home development companies in LA, building homes from 15–20,000 square feet. Our clientele was very successful across many different industries. In my 20s, I decided to chase adventure. I left the U.S. without a plan and spent the next five years working and traveling through many countries. I gravitated toward spending time in jungles, mountains and areas that were extremely remote. I traveled to Papua New Guinea and up the Fly River where they had never seen anyone from outside their villages, I’ve been to areas in China that had just been opened to westerners, and I was the 6th person to cross into the Himalayas in many years as it had just reopened from the decades-long Communist closures.
I became fluent in Mandarin and comfortable in natural survival environments.
I came home to Malibu and have been building my businesses here for more than 30 years. I love Malibu because we are surrounded by nature and it’s a really great small-town feel.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
The problem is trying to narrow it down. I would combine a few things into one, which are tied to the battles I had to fight: I don’t suffer bullies very well and I don’t care what form they take. If I feel myself or others are being wronged, especially intentionally, I fight back, despite the “odds.” I fought one of the largest banks in the world and won. To my knowledge, I have the only fraud verdict against that bank in the United States of America. To be clear, this was me as an individual, making it very much a modern-day David and Goliath story.
My take-away from it: There’s no question that our legal process has some issues, problems and flaws, our jury system is pretty amazing. However, sitting in the courtroom after the jury selection was a very emotional moment. Once the jury was seated and sworn in, during that moment, I realized that after years of battling Goliath, we were now equal. It was no longer me against this giant machine. It was two parties being heard by 12 people. After 4 years of being in the spin cycle of the system, at that particular moment, it wasn’t an impersonal system anymore. Gone was the uneven balance of power due to each side’s resources. From that moment forward, with the protections of our jury system, we were evenly matched. Once both sides rested their cases, this quote gave me the perspective that had me remain incredibly relaxed and proud:
“To live for results would be to sentence myself to continuous frustration. My only sure reward is in my actions and not from them.”
— Hugh Prather (1938-); author, counselor, minister
So to your question about lessons learned, make sure principles and integrity are your guides. If you do that, you don’t need to fear anything.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
TCC stands out because of the fact that we made a conscious decision to bring transparency to an industry that seemingly had none. We did this by becoming a public company. We went through some shark-infested waters, but we came out the other side. This gives us a well-earned badge of honor.
We’ve been in the blockchain space since 2017 when the industry market cap was about $500 million and now it’s $2 trillion.
Our superpower is to have earned respect by remaining a good actor and blazing the trail for others with integrity and respect for all players in the space including the regulators.
We don’t view our space as a revolution, but as an evolution. We are not displacing; we are building something parallel.
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?
Tim Daugherty — we worked together for 20 years. His character and integrity remained unblemished 100% of the time. He didn’t take his actions based on what was easiest or best for him, he was guided by what was right.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is patience. If you are reactionary, you typically haven’t considered the longer-term repercussions. The best way to learn something is to teach it, so the more you explain and teach others, the clearer the answer will come. Resilient people tend to be mentors, teachers and team builders.
Be patient. When you are feeling your angst, negativity or sense of suffering, zoom out and see it from a different perspective. Now when you zoom back in, you can see things with a renewed perspective and confidence. You only get there by being patient.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Ernest Shackleton is such a wonderful figure in history. He is probably the very definition of resilience and certainly incredible leadership. He is famous for his horrific experiences while exploring Antarctica a century ago. He became a hero, not by his success, but by the way in which he dealt with adversity. He overcame life-or-death problems daily, both for himself as well as his 28-man crew. Most importantly, he inspired optimism in those around him while doing so in the harshest of conditions.
To be brave cheerily, to be patient with a glad heart, to stand the agonies of thirst with laughter and song, to walk beside death for months and never be sad — that’s the spirit that makes courage worth having. — Ernest Shackleton
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?
My fraud lawsuit against the massive global bank that I mentioned earlier — everyone said it was impossible.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
When a trial like that is over, even though you’ve been victorious, you don’t walk out with a check. They appeal, and that appeal process can take years. However, you do walk out with a 20-year-old business that’s now wiped out and all resources gone. So how do you come back from there? You call on everyone and ask for help. I don’t mean financial help. I mean every other kind of help. You don’t get that kind of help unless you’ve lived your life with integrity and respect for others. The net result was that I went from that moment of having nothing, less than nothing in terms of material possessions, but immensely rich in the realest, truest kinds of friends a person can have. Within months I was back on my feet and running a hedge fund. If that sounds crazy, try living it. This transition helped me to realize that my true talents were crisis management, operating under pressure, problem-solving and people management. I learned that those skill sets were very transferable to many industries.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Even as a child, I wanted to take control, be hands-on and learn things for myself. I wanted to build things. I remember taking apart and putting back together bicycles, then motorcycles, then cars. From there I did the same with houses as a real estate developer. I believe that a hands-on process with tangible measurable results became a reference point for all things to come.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Perspective: I ended up in an unplanned situation on an island off Tasmania. I didn’t have food or supplies or even shoes. While it got tough for a bit, basically lost in the middle of the rain forest, at one moment I realized I was having a good time. What was critical in that solo adventure off of Tasmania without resources, was that I popped out of the moment and got some perspective which gave me a sense of calmness. Once I realized I was having fun, I was able to think more clearly and get busy with using my survival skills to create shelter and eventually find my way out.
- Patience: Wait a moment longer on everything you do and practice this every day with every decision or action. In negotiations, for instance, I think it’s important to exhibit patience. When I was building luxury homes, I had a buyer offer a very high number. In this negotiation, I took a deep breath and responded with a polite and respectful no. I then anxiously paced the room for a while wondering if I did the right thing. But I did wait and stifled the impulse to call him back and ask if I could still take his offer! Two days later he raised his offer by 20% and we then closed the deal.
- Decisiveness: When you make a decision, own it. I don’t mean own it outwardly or in some defensive manner. I really mean internally taking ownership. Make sure you are comfortable that you have asked all the questions, talked to everyone you needed to and researched as much as reasonable. If you have done that, you can proudly own that decision. Continue that process of learning and asking. You may have to pivot and if so, do it with clarity, confidence and great communication. As for a story of decisiveness, the most dramatic is probably the day I went from COO to CEO at The Crypto Company. There were millions of dollars of other people’s money at stake and the future of our company hung in the balance. As COO, I had limited liability and could have walked away. Instead, I took on the CEO role, with all the liability, so that I could do all I could to save the situation. I am very proud of that decision and I’m enjoying the fruit of those efforts: the continued and growing health of our company.
- Sincerity: Every adventure has ups and downs. When you hit the downs, you need something to get through it. You need all the qualities mentioned, but without sincerity, even success is a failure. I worked with a very famous law firm in the bank case. They told me that they never had a plaintiff who wasn’t caught in some lie at some point of review and investigation during a case. After four years of working with them and a six-week trial, they told me I was their first plaintiff they had worked for who had not told so much as a white lie or half-truth.
- Respect others: As you’re bouncing back, you need a team and people to help you. If you don’t respect others, you will have failed to build a truly loyal team. I had an experience where I found myself in a position having to negotiate out of a tough situation and the people on the other end of the table, they were of questionable moral character. However, I had to find something to respect about them. This helped me to understand their viewpoint better and to create a win out of a tricky situation.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Blockchain can empower people around the world who never had power before. In the U.S., it’s a nice idea and the icing on the cake. But around the world, it’s the cake itself. Billions of people in third world countries have been “subjects of” and “subjected to” for too long… whether to others or to governments. You go into certain countries and the corruption is rampant at the top with those in traditional positions of power and, of course, the people suffer. Blockchain offers solutions for that. With blockchain, anyone with a smartphone can exchange value just by virtue of putting their attention and energy toward the network. Every human has the capacity to add value to the network and be compensated for it.
I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that this is the watershed moment for humanity.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
I’d love to have coffee with President Biden and educate him on the blockchain space with the goal to help him understand its incredible benefits to the U.S., its citizens and our future generations. Consider this: I believe that we are experiencing the largest migration of talent in history into one industry. That industry is blockchain. And my team is at the forefront of training that talent pool. I think I have something important for President Biden to hear.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!