My Story

Me sitting and being awkward at a high school party

Back in high school, I was not the person I am today.  I remember going through depression, social anxiety and low self-esteem.  I was at a major low.  I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself and didn't have the confidence I could do much of anything anyway.  

Right after high school, things got worse.  I stopped talking to almost all of my friends who weren't online and spent most of my time playing video games when I wasn't in a community college class for Computer Programming.  It only took a semester for me to realize this was not what I wanted to do with my life.  I tried getting retail jobs and didn't get a call back after a few of my first interviews.  I honestly wouldn't have hired me either.  I had low confidence in myself and no experience working a job and dealing with customers.  Eventually, I ran into an old friend working in the mall making pretzels who told me they were hiring and asked if I wanted a job.  I was lucky, but still struggled with social interactions and talking to customers.  If the customer was a cute girl, I was practically petrified!  

After that job, I went on to work in a bookstore as the cafe barista.  Why this is significant is because I was now constantly around a huge source of knowledge, which is the start of my major turning point.  I found myself curious about the New Age section and started to look through some of the books.  I realized that these books were filled with information about bettering your life.  This led me to become curious about the Personal Growth section which was placed only one bookshelf over.  Through these books I learned about mindset adjustment and the power of positive thinking.  I learned about The Secret and law of attraction.  I learned how to be more confident in myself and how to handle social situations better.  This interest started to take more of my time and I would begin to watch personal growth videos or read the books at home.  I began to apply what I learned to my actual life and watched my life get increasingly better and better.  I became better at talking to people and more confident in myself.  I started doing much better at work to the point that I ended up being featured on the companies website home page for breaking a company record.  I was getting good at what I put my energy towards and confronted my manager about a raise.  She denied me the raise and within a month, I found a new job that payed me significantly higher. 

From this increase in pay, I was able to purchase the proper equipment and laptop that I would need to start my interest in DJing and producing music.  I used what I learned from the self-help books to improve on my musical interest, as well as every other field I found important in my life.  These aspects are Mental, Physical, Social, Spiritual and Financial.  

TJ Kurtyka 2013TJ Kurtyka 2013

After years of learning and finding out what really works in the real world, I could say that I had made huge progress.  I was no longer experiencing anxiety in social situations.  In fact, I became very good at social interactions!  I'd go out with friends and meet new people often.  Even if my friends couldn't make it out that night, I could still go out alone because I knew I'd be able to just make friends wherever I went.  I was out dating girls and sometimes committed to relationships.  I was doing well financially and learning more and more about entrepreneurship.  My food habits became healthy and I dedicated time to the gym and built a strong and attractive physique.  With this also came mental clarity, which was also improving from all the reading, learning and creating I was now doing regularly.  I was positive, energetic, healthy and I felt on top of the world!  I felt like I could accomplish anything.  

I felt like there was nothing that could bring me down until the relationship I was in took a turn for the worst.  It was like she was draining me of my energy and purposely finding ways to bring me down.  She began showing her true colors and expressed her negative outlook on life.  She would be angry often and take it out on me.  I had to get out of the relationship, but was afraid of what she might do if I broke up with her.  On top of this, the well paying job I was holding was making me miserable!

We eventually broke up and I was no longer feeling on top of the world.  I felt low again and hurt emotionally.  I didn't know what happened.  I improved so much over the past few years and now I was back to feeling low.  I decided that I was going to rebuild myself back up, but this time I wanted to give back everything I learned.  This is how my website came to be.  During this second growth journey, I decided that everything I was learning to actually work for me, I would post on the website to help other people in similar situations.  The more info I shared on the site, the more traffic it would get.  I started receiving mail from others thanking me for helping them to improve their lives and would tell me about how it has helped them.  This felt great to be making an impact on people's lives and as I was helping others, I was also improving myself.  Although I built myself back up to a positive mindset, something still wasn't right.  I realized that as long as I was still working this job, I wouldn't be truly happy.  The day I made that realization, I walked into work and told my manager that I was giving in my two weeks.  When he asked me where I was going, I replied, "California."

I looked into plane tickets and two and a half months later, I was on my way to San Diego.  I had no job lined up and no place to stay, but I had a strong belief that things would be fine.  Things would work out for me, as long as I followed what felt good to me.  This was by far the riskiest thing I have done in my life.. so far.  My first month in California was quite an adventure.  I was lucky enough to have the help of my aunt, who gave me a couch to sleep on, and a one month time limit to get myself together.  I skated all over San Diego looking for work and doing what I could for some extra cash.  San Diego is like one huge skatepark, being you can skate pretty much everywhere!  Fueled by my excitement of new unfamiliar area, I had to hit any cool skate spots I discovered on my journey.  This landed me in the hospital twice during my first month haha.  Two medical bills I was not too enthusiastic about paying, since I was still unemployed and by this time had under half a month to find a job and a place to live.  I kept a very positive mindset, though.  Running out of cash, I was forced to donate blood plasma for some extra pocket change, just so I could afford a little food.

With one week left with a roof over my head, I got a call back from a coffee shop asking if I'd like to come in for an interview.  I landed a job!  All this positive thinking and hard work looking for jobs was finally paying off.  I still had no place to live, and encountered a new problem.. I had no way to get to work, being the coffee shop wasn't exactly close and the buses didn't run as late as they wanted me to work.

On my final day of the month with my aunt, we had a bit of an altercation.  "I told you I'd give you one month!  The month is up.  I don't care where you go, but you have to go."  The harshness from my family member was upsetting, but she was right.  I was about to pay to stay in a hostel while I looked for a more permanent place when I received a phone call from a craigslist ad asking me if I wanted to check out the room they were renting out.  I went there, barely cared what the place looked like and signed my name to the lease.  I had done it!  I made it in California!

After getting settled in, I checked the place out and I was living in luxury!  The furnished rooms with the granite counter top, the gym with sauna, the tennis courts, the in-ground heated pool with jacuzzi next to it right outside my front door!  And to make it even better, this place was a four minute skate from my new job!  I'm still baffled by the amazing turn out.  I just did what I truly wanted, stayed positive and worked toward what I wanted, and could now chill out by the pool whenever I wanted.

Pond at my Condo, San DiegoPond at my Condo, San Diego

I spent the next six months in this condo with some awesome roommates and used this time to build myself up financially, as well as socially, since my entire social circle was in New Jersey.  After those six months, I moved to a place much more private and only a block away from the beach.  If it was possible to find a place better than the last one, this is it.

This year spent in San Diego was a blast and I worked hard on and music, while holding the job as a barista to pay the cost of living.  Due to unforeseen family circumstances, I decided to move back to New Jersey.  

Since coming back, opportunities have unfolded greatly for me.  I am currently earning income solely through entrepreneurial ventures and by providing value to others around topics I enjoy. has reached top ranking status for a handful of keywords and I continue to help many people to better their lives and the lives around them every day!  I have a book published on the kindle bookstore titled 'Be the Prize: The Complete Guide for Building Self Confidence in Any Aspect', which can be found through and by search on the Amazon Kindle Bookstore.  

As far as my music career goes, I go by the stage name Jersey Devil.  I've been booked for a handful of events including GRIDWORK Meltdown, 2015 Booze Cruise out of Atlantic City, NJ and 4th of July Rooftop Party in Philadelphia, PA.  I also perform most Wednesdays during summer at an outdoor weekly in Philly.  My next show as of now is at Electric Halloween Music Festival on October 31, 2015.  

To hear my music find me at:

My mixes:

Booking Inquiries/Artist Collaboration email:

If you are associated with either the Personal Growth/New Age niche, or associated with the electronic music scene, let's connect!  That's why we're here anyway, right?  Let's work together and reach the top!

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