Iranian National Golf Team Member, Ali Khazanbeik, Shares His Story - Life As a Child Refugee

"If I can survive as a refugee in Germany, I can hit a fricken ball into a hole."


Welcome to 1st Floor Conversations, where the view at the top is only as good as the foundation which preserves it. In episode 41, we were joined by Ali Khazanbeik, a member of the Iranian National Golf team, an ex-Iranian refugee, and a man with a story that every single one of us needed to hear.

Though only 25 years old, Khazanbeik's story began before his time, in 1979 with the revolution that ousted the Iranian king, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, and sided with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as the democratic leader of the Islamic Republic.

Due to a difference of political opinion, Ali's parents left Iran in the year 2000 and sought refuge in 6 different European nations while preserving the hope of traveling to America. Each step required a series of bureaucratic hurdles, documentation, and green cards, which took months to process. Then, in a flash, 9/11 stranded the Khazanbeik family as German refugees. Ali was just five years old.

In just under an hour, Ali shared the secret to his successes through three very powerful mindsets: trusting his instinct, The Law of Attraction, and commitment.


Ali is no stranger to adversity. He recognizes that "life throws challenges at you, and you have to make decisions based on instinct." Making fast decisions was part of his DNA, meaning Ali was no stranger to picking up and relocating so long as it resonated with his goals and desires. Whether they were moving from one country to another or working hard to pay for travel to junior golf championships, Ali often credits his parents for trusting and supporting his journey.

Sometimes it is simple. It's an innate ability that draws you toward your natural strengths. To understand the higher level of divine intervention in Ali's story, we first have to recognize his background. Golf is generally a sport for the wealthy that barely existed in Iran. He then found himself growing up in Germany as a young man with access to slow internet and a computer game that allowed you to golf against other players around the world.

The game evolved to lessons at the local course and a whole lot of practice. Ali would spend long days at the golf club while his mother worked as a waitress for the club restaurant.

At this point, he progressed from an amateur to a competitive golfer in a short period, qualifying for German National Championships, but unable to compete without proper citizenship.

We make most of our decisions from a subconscious level, meaning they've already been made before we think we make them. At a basic level, Ali knew golf was going to be a big part of his life. There was no way to rationalize it with facts. What he did not understand at the time was that his parents would trust and support the intuition of a twelve-year-old. A hunch that led to obtaining citizenship, traveling around the world, golfing for a national team, and finally achieving the vision of moving to the United States as a college student for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The Law of Attraction

The First Law of the Universe states everything is in a constant state of vibration. Even the solid screen you're viewing this article on is in motion. Beyond that, vibrations of a similar frequency are drawn together. The glory of social media perpetuates the Law of Attraction, often undermined by the immediacy of the world we live in.

Let's be clear; attraction does not mean if you want something, it will migrate toward you. It means, if you're going to attract something, get out there and start vibing at a frequency congruent with your desired reality.

For example, when Ali began receiving recognition in the golf community, he didn't sit back and let it happen to him. He found every opportunity to remain in motion. He joined the best team in Germany, traveling two hours in each direction to practice three times a week. He said yes to training with the team's fitness coach, taking public transportation six hours away, once a week, for six months.

It's not always a measure of how far you go. The critical statistics lie in how quickly Ali made decisions to move toward his goals.


The final theme we witnessed in our conversation with Ali was unwavering commitment. Ali was fortunate enough to experience something at a very young age that few recognize in a lifetime. When he played for the Iranian National Team, he was playing against the best golfers in the world, and the most valuable understanding was the feeling of, "Man, I want to do this every day of my life."

This is when hobbies, and sports specifically, change from something you do to what you are doing. This is an active decision to commit to a desire and move forward regardless of the adversity staring back at you.

Entrepreneurial business coach Dan Sullivan uses the 4 C's Formula to explain a universal and straightforward process for achieving bigger and better goals. The 4 C's are commitment, courage, capability, and confidence. In short, nothing is accomplished until you commit to the desired outcome. Commitment prompts courage, the courage to make mistakes builds capability, and capability grows confidence.

When Ali was asked about taking the next step from training in Germany to applying to college in the United States, he responded, "I tried to fake the reality just from fear. Maybe I was scared to go there, maybe I knew was too expensive, but somehow, I just did it. Once, it made clear in my brain that I need to go to the States."

He made the decision and found a way to make it a reality. This doesn't mean it came quickly or easily. Ali emailed hundreds of schools and applied to every athletic division across the country.

This committed effort provided between 30-40 opportunities to be a collegiate athlete in the US.

The Wrap Up

If we learned anything from Ali Khazanbeik, let it be that life is about perspective. He found success as a golfer on a national stage by approaching his goals and his passion with commitment and gratitude, often reminding himself, "If I can survive as a refugee in Germany, I can hit a fricken ball into a hole." In essence, make a decision and enjoy the process, good or bad.