I was 14 when my life changed. I realized I could leverage humor, pranks, and average Ohio-teen recklessness in the emerging frontier of social media and actually make money online. I had no idea what was right around the corner.
Since then, I’ve amassed over 64million followers, I’ve been one of the most searched people on Google, I’ve been hired and fired by Disney, I’ve gone undefeated as a fighter, I’ve become a household name, and I’ve transcended the traditional media landscape into mainstream business success, not one bit of it which I take for granted.
The current iteration of being an ‘influencer’ is an unsustainable environment that rewards brash behavior, to say the least. This reality is highly conducive to bully-like behavior of which I’ve witnessed, been subjected to and been the instigator of.
Jake Paul, the self-proclaimed ‘problem child’ had a scandal-ridden rise to fame as a teen
The 24-year-old has since turned his hand to boxing, a sport, he insists, that has saved his life
Bullying, whether it’s from behind a keyboard or in a classroom, can affect a person’s overall confidence and happiness. Our generation is enthralled with negativity, drama, and rumors. The toxic energy of social media has created a new type of playground for bullies to frolic.
In this new digital world where our reputations are so closely tied to our online presence, where people have zero accountability for words posted behind obscure online handles, cyberbullying has exploded into a normal part of life that has equal if not more traumatizing and long-lasting effects.
The most critical and cathartic lesson I’ve learned, and painfully come to grips with, is the fact that I’ve been the bully and that’s something I struggle with and drives me to be better every day as a human, brother, son, partner, businessman and a boxer.
Jake and brother Logan both became online stars in their own right before taking to the ring
In today’s generation specifically, bullying can literally be deadly. This is something that’s taken me a while to fully comprehend. It’s a prevalent and increasing issue that can affect people for the rest of their lives. I believe that this is something not talked about nearly enough.
Bullying and negativity is contagious – hurt people, hurt people. I am a perfect example of this. I’ve been bullied, and I have been a bully.
Frankly, being a bully and attacking others was easier than letting people see how much their words and opinions affected me. I justified my own actions as ‘content’; however, sometimes it ventured into different territory I’m not proud of upon reflection.
Simply put, I justified that it was OK to be negative – until I realized that it wasn’t. Some have become confused when I launched this foundation against bullying, but, am still on social media bombarding my opponents and foes with insults.
Paul hired and fired by Disney as part of a tumultuous rise to fame via his social media backing
Paul spoke exclusively to DailyMailTV host Thomas Roberts about his latest nonprofit venture
In the world of promoting fights and engaging with an opponent, there is some back-and-forth that is part of the game, but I’m talking about something very different that happens to regular kids and adults everyday, something that is fueled by a dark level of insecurity and pain.
I believe there are a lot of kids out there who are hurting like I was, who don’t know how to properly deal with it. This is a dangerous combination that will often result in more bullying and more struggle for others. I think it’s important to acknowledge my past and accept that I didn’t always deal with things in a constructive way that might allow me to learn and grow from it.
We will always make mistakes, but as long as we acknowledge and learn from them, we can turn the negative experiences of our past into ones that affect the rest of our lives in a positive way. It wasn’t until I started boxing, that I gained the confidence that I hadn’t had before.
Paul has set up Boxing Bullies which aims to deliver anti-bullying education to young people
Paul wants to share the confidence boxing gave to him with as many people as possible
Becoming a social media personality might have changed my life, but boxing was what saved it.
I started Boxing Bullies because I finally found an outlet that gave me the confidence to live a happier life and I wanted to share this feeling with as many people as possible – especially kids – who are facing real challenges and real bullies every day without an outlet to channel the negativity into.
Boxing provides structure, discipline, emotional awareness, patience, teamwork, and humility.
As part of the Boxing Bullies format, we’re placing kids with coaches, providing official equipment, and teaching them the basics – so they have the foundation to launch an interest in the sport and in themselves.
The 24-year-old has entered the professional realm of boxing, last taking on Tyron Woodley
Paul wants Boxing Bullies to inspire the next generation of leaders, athletes and warriors
We’re reaching out directly to the communities and neighborhoods we came from, in the hope that if we inspire one kid and improve their lives even the slightest bit, we’ve done what we’ve set out to do.
Our ethos and mission is simple, and follows the words of Tupac: I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.
I want this organization to inspire the next generation of leaders, athletes, and warriors who aren’t afraid to fight back, fight for themselves, and fight for what they know is right.
We’re teaching them to foster positivity, to never initiate, and to use our voice and platforms to speak up against bullying. Boxing gave me the life I needed. Boxing Bullies is my way of putting that forward, to create a more positive, accepting, and kinder world.
Jake Paul is a professional boxer and entrepreneur. For more information on Boxing Bullies and how to get involved, visit boxingbullies.com
Entrepreneur Paul also spoke exclusively to DailyMailTV about his Boxing Bullies initiative