Not many can say that they have lost it all, from his personal belongs, to his wife and children. Since 1991, Tony Biola Dada has used “The Great Experiment” to work in his community and the UK to spread the message of “your possessions do not define who YOU are.” Tony is a creative social entrepreneur, singer, songwriter, author, and former senior executive within the education system. His talents have led him to meet with companies like Apple UK, and Loreal, as well as working with The Home Office, The British Army, Island Records, Yamaha, Channel 4, and many others, including more recently NatWest & HSBC Banks. Tony is dedicated to anyone who takes their vision of success serious and is focused on helping young entrepreneurs.
MVP: Please share with our readers your “Great Experiment” and what life was like before it.
My great experiment was to see if I was able to achieve that which appeared impossible based on my circumstance and situation at that time, which was that even though I was homeless (for the second time, although this time not voluntarily) had no finances or other resources, I had a dream to express my creativity through music and help other young folk do the same. I was armed only with the faith born out of the understanding I gained from a statement my spiritual mentor had shared with me years previous, where he said “it does not matter what happens to you, what matters is how you choose to respond to what happens to you” and the word that is the most important in that sentence is the word choose. I decided I was going to choose to find the positive in my current circumstance and build on that and with faith, hard work, and God’s grace.
MVP: From an outsider looking in, it would seem that you were living a great life. Do you think pressure of living the picture prefect life played a role in your breakdown?
At the time of my break up, I am not sure it looked like I was living a great life. My partner and I were young. We were both in our mid 20’s doing a degree full time and looking after a child. I was not trying to live the picture perfect life but I do think that the foundation to our relationship was simply not solid enough and so when the cracks appeared things crumbled.
MVP: Why do you think tangible possessions hold so much value in our society? Do you think it is all a distraction?
People grow into slaves through becoming overly attached to “things.” When you feel the pain of losing virtually everything that you own you gain a different perspective to life than most. Yes it is a definite and deliberate distraction and is also very effective. As a result we lose focus on what we should be focusing on.
MVP: Thinking back, do you think you knew you were just existing and not living?
Thinking back, I cannot remember a time when I was “just existing.” I have always had a strong sense that my life has to have meaning and purpose. This was part of the reason for me becoming intentionally homeless at 18. I was prepared to risk my life in order to find my purpose. Six months after I made that move I found my spiritual mentor and life for me changed.
MVP: Before the day that you lost everything, did you ever think that you could ever be in the same position of the men and women that you see on the street?
I never saw them, let alone think that I could be in that position and in truth I did not have to sleep on the street I crashed at friends, then in a tiny room at my sisters 1 bedroom flat and built from there.
MVP: Why do you name this part of your life “The Great Experiment”?
I call this an experiment because I had studied and learned a lot of “theory stuff” with my spiritual mentor. But just like a scientist, in that moment, I realised I had to do the practical aspect of what I though I knew to prove to myself weather the theory was flawed or sound. I had to test the theory in and with my life. I found the theory to be sound, incredibly sound.
MVP: One day you can have everything and in a blink of an eye it can all be gone; do you feel that that people put too much stock in their worldly possessions?
When you loose everything you quickly wake up to the truth that in actual fact you don’t own anything, not your car, your clothes, your watches, your money, your jewelry, your partner even your children. Nothing is yours. In fact the truth is everything we think we possess is merely on loan to us for a time, that’s it. The important thing is how we treat those things whilst they are on loan to us. Do we become a slave to those things, do we lord over things. Many parents treat their children like they are possessions and because this is not truth eventually the child reveals the truth and breaks lose. You get the idea.
MVP: It is easy to become discouraged once you have lost everything, how were you able to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel?
I wasn’t discouraged. Once I got the clarity of my situation, I became empowered. I didn’t see a dark tunnel I just saw the light, my vision and I became addicted to my vision working night and day, literally. In the good book it says “A people perish through lack of vision” and it’s so true. It is so true and powerful that I teach people how to create a vision, not a dream, because the two are not the same. A vision can literally give you strength when you have none.
MVP: How did you realize that you wanted more then what materialistic things that you had before?
Like I said it all about seeking a purposeful life. Once you create your personal vision to become something and not just acquire something everything changes. It’s a complete shift in consciousness, it’s like an ahah moment, I just got it.
MVP: If it was not for your “Great Experiment,” do you believe that you would have arrived where you are now?
Probably, see I do believe that we are here on earth to learn and grow as spiritual beings that’s what it’s really about. So my life is now one “Greater experiment” and like the scientists I still regularly get my wow moments as I continue to learn and make new discoveries.
MVP: How do you now describe success in your life? How is this different then how you would describe it before?
My spiritual mentor and I have spoken about this subject over many years and I write about the definition of success in my book “The GPS System” 7 Universal Principles for growing personal success. Here our definition of success
- DoIng that which you love to do
- Doing that which honours you
- Doing that which honours and promotes life
MVP: You have been quoted to say, “Having lost everything I also lost fear…. I literally had nothing to lose.” Do you think that it is fear is what holds people back from reaching their true potential? Do you think people can lose fear without losing everything?
Yeah fear holds people back definitely but few understand why. We may have heard the statement False Evidence Appearing Real but do you understand that this is a paralysis of the MIND. As the education system does not teach us how to think “Solution focused” when fear gets in the mind its seems difficult to get free of the state of paralysis. Learn how to “think” and you won’t lose fear per say but you will reduce fear to an insignificant thing which is kept in its place, in the corner of your mind.
MVP: Many people look at large homes and fancy cars as true success because that is what society teaches us. Because of this do you believe that we are truly taught to reach our full potential?
To pose this question is to totally miss the purpose of modern education over the last 100 years. We were taught on mass so that we could be workers on mass to provide labour for those who own the factories as part of the industrial revolution. We were paid just enough at our jobs to keep us Just Over Broke (J.O.B) so that we would keep showing up and thus making them richer and richer.
The education system was never about helping you reach your full potential and this was confirmed back in 2006 when whilst working within the education system I had a meeting with the Head of Apple UK. Today things are very different the old education system is already dead is being replaced with something new hence the reason why I now run the DADA Success Academy because I know that if you are serious you can learn SUCCESS. I proved it by taking people that society has given up on and seeing some of them go on to become multi-millionaires.
MVP: What is the one thing that you now live by? How do you think those words of wisdom can help others?
Living each day knowing that this journey called life is the Nu School it’s the place where
I get to prove my life through my words, thoughts and deeds I choose daily to live a conscious life as a student with each day offering another opportunity to take my empty cup and fill it with new experiences as I learn and grow my personal vision of Success.
I am Consciously Living & Consciously Evolving and so the journey continues. I am very excited about our latest project The Inspired Entrepreneurs Trust delivered by DADA Success Academy. The vision is to be able to offer support, training, education and investment to aspiring and growing entrepreneurs who are often marginalised, particularly those who are:
1. Under 35’s
2. Start-ups and Business owners trading less than 3 years
3. Black, Asian or ethnic Minority
4. Single parent
6. Struggling Creative
Working with our main partner NatWest Bank and Multi- Millionaire Simon Coulson founder of the Internet Business School during the last 4 years I have developed a trust between us and have managed to convince them that we should be focusing on these group who also aspire to be successful. I should know because at one point during my life I have belonged to each of those categories.
They have now agreed!