When One Door Closes, Find the Key to Another – To say that Cornelius Burns is a go-getter would be considered a gross understatement. Born premature at just two pounds and seven ounces, and with only about 60% of African Americans graduating from college in the U.S., the odds were stacked against him from the very beginning. “I never wanted to be a part of that statistic,” he says.
Cornelius ended up blossoming into a healthy, five-foot eleven frame and was called to his high school’s varsity football team when he was just a sophomore. Unexpectedly, his football career was cut short. “I broke my tibia bone and lost everything,” he says. “I lost all my full-tuition scholarships – to Harvard, Stanford, TCU (Texas Christian University), and some others.” Nevertheless, he was determined to find another way to fund his future education.
After completing eight essays, Cornelius was one of the 1,000 individuals to be selected from 25,000 U.S. applicants for the Bill Gates Scholarship. The scholarship grants him full-tuition at any U.S. college all the way up through a doctorate degree. “I knew that if I didn’t go to college, everything I wanted would vanish,” he says. “Thank God I have a brain.”
Opportunity Comes Knocking
Cornelius is now a senior in his third year of school at Texas Woman’s University (TWU), where women make up 90% of the school population. “I came here because it’s ranked the number one school in Texas for physical therapy. I was sure I was going to be a physical therapist, especially after having experienced it first-hand after I broke my leg,” he explains. “But when I saw the AMWAYTM opportunity things changed.
“I realized that in being a physical therapist I would be limited to helping only the people who came to me. I always knew I wanted to do something bigger; I just never knew how (to do it).”
At age 19, Cornelius and his then-girlfriend, who is now his wife as of October 15, 2011, started up an AMWAY business together. When asked how he finds the time to build a business while attending school full-time he says, “I learned how to manage time at an early age. Even if it’s inconvenient I make time.
“This opportunity is so important. It’s not only dealing with my life – it’s helping other people to succeed, and I just love people. They’ll give up on me before I give up on them.”
From Big to Bigger
From selling knives and working in construction to becoming an Amway IBO, Cornelius is on his way to achieving his goal of becoming a millionaire by age 30. “When I have children I don’t want to have to tell them, ‘I can’t afford it’. I want to be able to make good decisions without basing them on money,” he shares. “As a man it’ll great to be able to stay home and be with my wife and kids.”
Cornelius plans to attend graduate school to obtain a doctorate degree in public health. He is set to soon reach the 1000 PIN level, and he won’t be stopping anytime soon.
“I want to make sure my future is bigger than my past,” he says.