Many people go their whole life without ever knowing who they are. My search for self-discovery started way before most people begin their search. I was a middle school student at St. Michael Catholic School. My name is Austin Langley. I’m now 16 years old and attend Memorial High School in Houston, Texas. I have two loving parents, one younger brother, one younger sister, and a handful of great friends. This is where my voyage of self-discovery began.
I was in 7th grade when I met Fred Cuellar. He was a volunteer from Junior Achievement which is a program in which working people come to schools and talk to children about economics and the business world. He was going to come to my class for just a few weeks at the end of the school year to show us a preview of what it would be like in his class the following 8th grade year. I had earlier heard from the 8th graders that he gave away sweet prizes and money and so forth. Everyone in school was talking about how he designed Super Bowl rings and Derek Jeter’s ring and all sorts of other celebrity bling. “The Diamond Guy” was the talk of the junior high building. I was advised by several 8th grade friends to raise my hand and attempt to answer any of his questions because of the sweet prizes that he gave away. Little did I know that these questions would change my life forever.
Mr. Cuellar shook everyone’s hand as we walked into the classroom and happily greeted us. He began grabbing our attention by telling us several of his achievements in the diamond business. He instantly had my interest with his intellectual ways of thinking and asking questions and basically gave us the story of his life and how he came to be the person he is over the three classes that we had with him as previews for the next year.
On the last day of his teaching before summer break, Mr. Cuellar gave our class a riddle. He gave us a puzzle to figure out written on note cards and handed one out to each of us. The question on the card read, “What is the secret to the Four Triads?” and the only clues were the scrambled words AAAAVCTLR and CSRLSLO. He said that we could ask anyone in the world for help. I raised my hand and asked, “May I ask you for help?” but he replied with a laugh and a “No.” The prize for figuring out the puzzle was a beautiful rosewood music box and more. Nobody had found the answer to the puzzle in the 10 years that Fred had been giving the puzzle and I was bound to be the first.
For the rest of the day everyone was talking about how they were going to figure it out and in several classes teachers actually took up some of the note cards because people would be trying to unscramble the words or figure out the answer while in class. Pretty soon everyone knew that one of the scrambled words was ”scrolls’ but no one could figure out the other word, much less the answer to the puzzle.
I found it pretty funny how everyone was talking about the scrambled words and who had figured it out and everything without even so much as thinking about the actual puzzle and when I got home I hit the internet and began to Google “The Four Triads.” I must have gone through 150 pages of Google and did not find anything pertaining to the Four Triads that “The Diamond Guy” was referring to.
I posted the puzzle on Able2Know.com and got a reply from an anonymous person under the name ”Calatrava.’ He replied that the secret to the Four Triads is actually a search in the meaning of life and can be used to achieve self-actualization. He also said that the secrets could be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which refer to the ”scrolls’ clue. I later found his name, Calatrava, to be the other scrambled word.
A good friend of mine, Stephen Pasta, happened to find the site where I had posted the question and jumped in with Calatrava and I and began conversing over the Four Triads and asking Calatrava for more clues and answers. He said that he was a close contact with “The Diamond Guy” and was limited to what answers he could give us. Mr. Cuellar later told me that “Calatrava” was his teacher who had given him the puzzle when he was in 6th grade and that Fred had figured it out.
I began to find through hints and clues from both Calatrava and Mr. Cuellar that the Four Triads were the basis of and had a stronghold in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Zodiacs. I researched “Calatrava” on the internet and found that Patek Philippe, who was a renowned watchmaker, created the designs for some of the finest watches in the world and put the Calatrava Cross on his timepieces. With this I found that Time was the first triad. I quickly figured out that the three counterparts were Past, Present, and Future. Mr. Cuellar asked what the secret to Time was. I found that the Present is the key to Time because it is reality and it is now. If we worry about the Past or the Future, we will miss out on the Present. The Present builds itself on the Past and prepares for the Future.
I had a clue from “Calatrava” on the second triad which was, “It is something you have now but will eventually lose.” I did some thinking and found that the second triad was the triad of Life. Everyone lives and everyone dies. The three counterparts of Life were very hard to figure out. I eventually found out, with hints, clues, and questions from Mr. Cuellar, that they are Mind, Body, and Soul, with Soul being the key to the Triad of Life. I concluded with that that our Body is just our physical being that allows us to simply be here. Our Mind is what helps us to think out problems, but also plagues our true feelings by filling them with thoughts of logic and reason. Our true and everlasting element is our Soul. Once we come to listen to our Soul, rather than our Mind or our Body, we come to find happiness and success in everything that we do.
On to the third triad. The third was more difficult. I began to research the Dead Sea Scrolls online and could not exactly find what I needed. I turned to Mr. Cuellar for help but he would never give me answers. His way of teaching is not by answering, but by questioning. He would ask me questions in which I would find clues to the answers of the bigger picture. Not only does he do this to get you to find the answer, but to figure it out on your own and in your own way. One of the things he has always taught me is that everyone has different thoughts and perceptions, and that perception is reality, so many people are correct in many different ways. There is never a direct, true answer. This helped me to figure out that the third triad is Awareness. We must be Aware of something in order for there to be something there. I found the three counterparts in the conversation with Calatrava on Able2Know. As he was ending his mentoring to Stephen and I he said to Stephen, “I HOPE, BELIEVE, KNOW you will do well.” These were the counterparts and the key to being Aware is to Know. People can Hope for things their whole life, but nothing is guaranteed. People can Believe things their whole life, but Believing leaves room for misconstrued thoughts. Knowing leaves no room for error. Knowing implies understanding a person’s circumstances and surroundings. We must not Hope or Believe in things, but Know them.
Stephen was hot on my tail, we were practically tied at this point. The race was on to find the secret to the Four Triads. This puzzle was taking over my life as I spent all of my time trying to figure it out. LaTeace, Mr. Cuellar’s wife, later jokingly complained to me for keeping Fred up late on his computer every night as we constantly emailed each other.
The fourth triad was even more difficult to find. I tried to use the first, second, and third triads to lead myself to the fourth. I looked deep into the Dead Sea Scrolls and deep into the Bible, because I had been told the answers were there, but I missed the big, simple picture that was sitting right in front of me, Creation. Without Creation, there is nothing, and we must Create what we want and build our own Life, not have it created for us by others. Creation is put into use in three processes, Thought, Word, and Action. The key to this is Action. Thoughts and Words are worthless unless put into Action. The Creation of something begins with a Thought, and then can be spread by Word, but truly can be displayed when put into Action. I found that Creation must be used along with the other Triads to Create yourself and your world around you.
I was told that Stephen had figured out the Triad of Creation right after me and realized that we were tied. I was so close!
Mr. Cuellar told me that the final part of the puzzle was just one word. When the Four Triads are brought together and implemented they lead you to this. I guessed with many different words but none were correct. I was getting more and more worried that I would indeed not figure it out. Mr. Cuellar gave me a clue: “Self-___ ,” the word had the prefix of self-. I was so close. I had been consulting my parents for some help here and there but they seemed unable to help out much throughout the puzzle. I do not have the best vocabulary and figured that the word was just out of my hands and consulted my father who has a great vocabulary. I told him that the word had to do with someone finding themselves. (I had been keeping my parents up-to-date about the puzzle and recently explained the Four Triads to them). I told him that all of the Triads, when implemented together formed this word. I had tried every single word I could think of and even sent Mr. Cuellar a copy-and-paste of a list of words with the prefix self- that I had found on the internet but none were correct. My father helped me to figure out that the word was Self-Actualization. I knew this was correct before I even sent it to Mr. Cuellar. Self-Actualization, by Webster’s definition it means the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world. Fred replied with a quote by Dr. Abraham Maslow, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. This is the need we may call self-actualization…It refers to man’s desire for fulfillment, namely to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything that one is capable of becoming…” He told me that he had something to tell me and listed his telephone number below it.
I called him and he congratulated me on being the first and only person to solve the puzzle in 10 years. I was elated. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. We set up an appointment to meet and for me to receive my prize.
Mr. Cuellar happily greeted my mother and I into his office when we arrived to talk about the puzzle and for me to receive my music box. He explained the process by which I figured out the puzzle, the answers, and me to my mother who started to get very emotional. He gave me the music box and went on to explain how music is a great example of life and how it can change lives, that is why he chose it as the prize. Music has a great impact on my life. It flows in a lively way and changes peoples feelings. Music can make you relax or feel sad or feel happy, just pick your song. He showed me a line of coins which he designed which had the Calatrava Cross on one side and the Four Triads and SELF on the other. He gave me a pure gold coin which is only 1 of 10 in the world. He also later gave me a silver one. He explained how the Calatrava Cross can be found in numerous successful places such as the Vatican, Nike, and Patek Philippe watches and the secrets to the Four Triads have led many to become billionaires. He explained the process by which the Secret of the Four Triads was harnessed where Pope Gregory VIII gave a cross in which four fleur-de-lis anchors united in the middle to a group of shepherds who were commissioned as knights to save Christianity form the Moors in 1158. The Knights of Calatrava, as they were called, were victorious, outnumbered 10 to 1. The secret of the Calatrava Cross, as it came to be known, was kept secret by the Popes of the ages until Patek Philippe stumbled upon it. Supposedly, he found the secrets to the Calatrava Cross and how to harness them. Philippe Patek designed what are known by many as the greatest timepieces of all time.
Mr. Cuellar and Diamond Cutters Intl. now come out with a line of Calatrava jewelry which has become very popular, even by first lady Laura Bush. I have a Calatrava necklace and wear it as a reminder of the Four Triads. I will use it as a guide and compass on my journey to Self-Actualization.
Looking back, I put all of the Triads and Secrets and Meanings together and found this: Time is of the essence, Life is a mere moment in Time. The Present is all there is to deal with. Knowing the Present gives Experience. Living in Soul, not Body and Mind, will bring happiness to the bearer of Soul and those around him, after-all, it is everlasting. Using our Soul, Knowledge, Experience, and Present Time, we must Create. We Create who we are and use who we are to Create everything around us. Nothing is “out of your hands.” In living in the Present Soul, Knowledgeable and Creative we come to a point of Self-Actualization.
The quote from Dr. Maslow that Mr. Cuellar sent to me when I figured out the answers to the puzzles speaks of who we are and how to put it to use. We must figure out who we are and use that to be great and find what we are meant to do. “A musician must make music, an artist must paint…” We must live to the potential of who we are. Do/be things that you enjoy and become everything that you can.
I cannot even begin to tell you everything that Fred has taught me. I use his lessons and teachings both consciously and subconsciously everyday. Now that I have met him, I question everything, strive to succeed, love everything, and much more. He has changed my life. I feel that if I had never met him, I would be lost in an abyss. At least now I have a path to follow.
My mom later explained to me that the reason she became so emotional was because all of the talk about life and finding Who You Are reminded her of her father, my grandfather, who once found himself and who always used to talk to her about such things. Poppy, as we called him was an executer of the secrets of Four Triads and brought enjoyment to everyone around him. Poppy passed away from cancer several years ago, but his legacy as a great example of life still lives on in those who were close to him.
One example of this is when after he was diagnosed with cancer he gave me a book called As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. He told me that it held one of the most important lessons of life and that his father had handed it down to him as he was doing to me. He told me to read it, apply it to my life, and then later pass it on to my own children. I learned from that little book that what we think affects our surroundings. How thought affects our actions, which in turn, affects everything around us. His ability to change his surroundings was visible when he would light up the room. You could not help but to enjoy his happiness and joy of life. This is how I would like to be. I want to light people’s worlds doing something I love.
I enjoy life the most when I have no doubts. Many of the most enjoyable moments of my life have been with my family and my friends. I feel comfortable with my family and my friends, as if I can tell them almost anything. When I am with them I feel more like myself than I do when I am not with them. One of my goals in life is to simply enjoy it. Being with these people are key to me enjoying my life. The only thing better than having fun is having fun with other people.
Probably one of the most vital things that I have now come to conclusion through all of this is that I cannot find myself, I have to create myself. In search of myself I found a bundle of confusion, but I have found that when I am not thinking, I am myself. You cannot try and be yourself because then you are simply not who you are. That is my problem is that I overanalyze in search of answers when they are sitting right in front of me. As Hugh Prather said, “My trouble is I analyze life instead of live it.”
So in my search for self-discovery or should I say Creation I am trying to attain I will use the Calatrava Cross and it’s Four Triads as a guide and compass in life. On this voyage of creation I am working to forget my unwanted thoughts and begin to create my life. With Fred’s help, I now know some of the secrets to success in Life, and now with the Calatrava Cross by my side, I am on my way to figuring out how to apply them so that I may come closer to a point of self-actualization.
“I reached out for answers
To questions that didn’t exist
To find meaning in the ones that do
I evolved not out of chance nor fear
But to recognize my face in the mirror”
To questions that didn’t exist
To find meaning in the ones that do
I evolved not out of chance nor fear
But to recognize my face in the mirror”
-Fred Cuellar, “In Search of Me”