Andrew Griffiths had the type of childhood that would turn most people into monsters.

Abandoned by his parents at six months old, alongside his 18-month-old sister, Andrew was taken in by an elderly woman. The woman, despite her being warm enough to take care of Andrew and his sister, systematically abused the two children for years until they were taken away from her when Andrew was 10. She savagely beat them both, made them sleep outside and neglected their physical and emotional health — Andrew wasn’t allowed to brush his teeth until he was 8 years old.

Andrew, as many people do with similar experiences, bounced around homes and turned to drugs, alcohol and crime amid a quest to find himself. But there was a turning point one day — one crossroads among many in his life — where Andrew decided to leave a toxic group of friends and work to make his life better.

Now, Andrew is an international bestselling author with upwards of 20 books of his sold in more than 60 countries. He is a sought-after speaker who has spread his message of entrepreneurship, positivity and individualism all over the world.

So, when so many people would’ve closed themselves up and become negative people, how did Andrew become such a beacon of positivity?

It was a choice, he says. While life throws plenty of things at you, and many of them are beyond your control, how you react to these situations is entirely up to you. Too many people, in his opinion, take a victim mentality and blame outward circumstances for their own unhappiness and lack of meaning in life. There were so many instances in Andrew’s life where he could have either taken a left turn down a path that would lead to more crime, self-abuse and potentially jail, or a right turn that would take him towards a better place. In the end, it’s our own volition and choice that puts us in the right direction, not only external influences.

As Andrew’s business has grown, he’s also learned the importance of self-respect and trusting yourself. He has built his business to a point where he can take a day off if he needs to. Before, when he would maybe take 10 appointments a day, he now only takes three or four. Yes, this can be a bit difficult when you haven’t built a global brand and business, but it should be an ongoing goal in your career. You should always put the health and happiness of you and your loved ones above everything else, prioritising self-respect over chasing a dollar.

Speaking with Andrew on the Get Invested podcast, he had a wealth of advice and friendly humour that is nothing short of inspiring. I’ll leave you with one of his best pieces of advice that you can use in your daily life: make every interaction with another person have meaning.

Listen to my entire conversation with Andrew here.