Growing up poor, I used to think that money would solve all my problems or that money really is the root of all evil. Little did I know the real truth.
The only way to move ahead in life is to make decisions. I mean real solid decisions like: “I am no longer a smoker”, “I am breaking up with her/him”, “I am a vegan”, “I am quitting my job”, “I am starting a company”, “I am working out 3 times per week”, “I no longer want to associate with that person”, “I am saving $100 every month”. With decisions like this, you get ahead in life. The trick during this time is that life sends us “chicken or the egg / catch 22” problems. We say things like; I will work out when I have time, I would be a vegan but I love eating cheese, I would quit smoking but I’ve always been a smoker. So we try to “motivate” ourselves, and change our habits.
Money, in particular, is a great excuse. We often say: I would travel if I had more money. I would quit my job and start a company if I had money. This is very easy for us, and extremely convenient. Without absolutely any effort – we have a way out, with practically anything! I don’t have money, therefore I chose to __________. Problem solved! Here’s a parenting example of how not having money is making it extremely EASY for us. If you have a child, and the child wants something, but you can not afford it, case closed. Daddy, I want this. We don’t have money, case closed. Majority of people (including me, wrongly) thinks that this is a harder way to live and very, very difficult on people. But it’s actually easier that way!
Imagine if you have a ton of money, and your child (like any other) wants ice cream every 5 minutes. You cannot say to them “we don’t have money, case closed”, now what? I know this sounds like first world problem but think about it. This is a harder problem to solve. You need to be a higher level person in order to solve this situation. You have to communicate, deal with guilt, evaluate your options, plan ahead, care about deeper things. You don’t have a one-solution-fits-all.
It is the same with choosing a career. People choose lousy jobs and carers so that they don’t have to think about what they REALLY want to work on and contribute. It is extremely easy to say: “I would paint if I had money, but since I don’t, I have this lousy job that pays the bills”. We should all start somewhere, but after a while, you need to get with the program. If you are lucky, you will spend 40 years, 8 hours per day working. Do you really want to work on something that’s meaningless to you? Something that you don’t love, or at least you are passionate about? But here’s the million dollar question, do you REALLY know what it is that you love? Even I am not sure I do.
There’s a big debate on how people shouldn’t really work on something they are passionate about. For example, some people are passionate about eating chocolate on a sofa, but that doesn’t pay well. That is true, but maybe there’s a solution to that. Sure, you could start a website about chocolate, but then again, chocolate is not the healthiest thing you can eat. So who knows what would happen after 40 years of eating chocolate every day. And then again, some would say, better to live 10 years of your best life, than 100 years of awfull life. What do you think?
Let’s move on to our third station, which is productivity. So, first was money, the second was a life calling, and third is productivity or efficiency. How many times in your life have you heard or said: “I don’t have time”? It easily fits the sentence I mentioned earlier: “I don’t have time, therefore I chose to__________”. It is the easiest joker card you can use. And you can use it over and over again. I think some people are plainly scared of delegating work, tasks and focusing because then they would have to deal with their thoughts and make serious decisions. So they opt for the “I am too busy” option. Isn’t it easier to spend a few hours per day in your inbox just responding to other people’s requests? Off-course, this is about prioritization. But how you set priorities depends on your decisions, and your decisions are based on your “why” or as I call it, “your rock“. The one thing you chose to leave your mark on.
I am telling you, once I started eliminating tasks, automate processes, delegate work I had so much time on my hands I got so bored I even found time for some childhood hobbies. Here’s a big conclusion. Having more money, more time and working on something you really care about isn’t easier, it’s harder! I think that most people don’t really know what to do with their lives, but they enjoy the fantasy or a possibility of that fantasy. Remember how Agent Smith in the movie Matrix said: “Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world, but I believe that as a species that human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. So the perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from.” You can hate Smith all you want, but it seems to me Smith has a point. After all, according to this guy, Smith is The One, not Neo. How do we break that and live our dream?
Let’s switch the tables. Having a lot of money is great, until everybody you know and don’t know ask you to give them money or judge you only by the size of your checkbook. Working on your dream is great until you are disappointed by your business partner, lack of market acceptance. Having a lot of time is great until you are bored out of your mind not sure what to do with your life. No wonder so many people are not rich, doing work they don’t like without any free time. So what is the solution, is there a way out?
I don’t know, but here’s the route we can take. I just remembered a book I read. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson. The author explains how he had a vision of himself becoming a rock star. He would picture himself creating euphoria on the stage with his guitar. One problem, he hated practicing playing the guitar, driving around in a van with his first band, and what have you. In other words, he hated the process of becoming this rock star, but, as we’ve heard Smith say, his perfect world was a dream that his primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Another author writing on a similar topic (James Clear) mentions this same dilemma and proposes a solution just like Mark Manson. You need to fall in love with the process, and the results will follow.
This was said so many times, that I can’t find the original author of the quote. It sounds so nice, but what does it mean? I’ll risk being all weird and oversimplistic, it means you have to love your life, yourself, enjoy what you are doing and you will reach the gates of Valhalla. Are you convinced? Probably not.
You could also interpret this as self-confidence and believe in yourself. In case you don’t like that one, you could use the good old “Act as if”. Keep doing what you are doing, and act as you are already there! I think your best bet here is to know your powers. Sun Tzu said that if you know yourself, you will win all your battles.
Know yourself, and you will win all your battles.
— Sun Tzu
I think that knowing yourself is perhaps the most important thing because you can dream all you can about becoming an NBA basketball player, but if you are 170 cm, (5 feet and 6.9291 inches), it’s practically impossible. So you have to know your strengths and your weaknesses. But then again, who am I to predict your chances of success. Just recently I was listening to an old Niche Pursuits podcast episode, that was published back in August 2014. Dre Baldwin is not a basketball player you’ve heard of, BUT he is making thousands of dollars just off of his Youtube channel. Also, he is making money with his book, by modeling, and as a basketball player. This was 2014, so I would imagine his income is much higher now, but he is also no longer a professional basketball player. What I am trying to say is that even if you don’t end up in the NBA, you could still end up pretty well if :
- Find the thing you love doing, your mission, your calling (easier said than done)
- Find a way to monetize your: talent, passion
- Never give up (also easier said than done)
Thinking about Dre Baldwin, I can’t shake off the feeling of importance for a definite chief aim. As mentioned in Napoleon Hill’s Law of Success (warning, this book has almost 600 pages, and may change your life) a vast majority of people doesn’t have a definite chief aim in life. It goes without saying, that they also don’t have a plan of achieving it, nor help from a Master Mind (another thing mentioned in the same book). Fun fact, check out Bruce Lee’s definite chief aim! Where is yours? Did you know that almost all successful people have it?
So where does that leave us? What do you want to do with your life? How do you want to create value? Which problem do you want to help solve? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where can you become a world champion? Will you turn your rock into a beautiful statue? Please do, and share it with everybody in the comment section. Sometimes it’s easier to learn what you don’t want to do. If that’s the case with you, start with that. List the things you don’t want to do and then try doing some things that aren’t on the list. Let me know how it goes.
Recently I finished reading a book called “The happiness of pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau. There I learned a lot about advantages of going on a personal quest. What you are reading here, is me getting back to my quest.
After reading this book, I set several goals that would create something of a quest. And, one part of that is writing 100 blog posts. I was doing very good and published several posts on Webmaster.Ninja and WhoAPI and then “life happened”. My bookkeeper sent me a lot of things to do, I let some “opportunities” distract me and I flew to Spain. But, with this post, I am fighting back, I am returning to my path.
So what is this about? What does “Find your rock” mean?
Last month (February 2018) I was in Florence, Italy. I went there for one specific reason. I wanted to see the statue of David (by Michelangelo). Naturally, Florence is so much more! Besides David, the rest of Galleria dell’Accademia is just amazing. Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, and perhaps the best thing, Uffizi Gallery. So many masterpieces in there. Botticelli’s Primavera, The Birth of Venus. It is impossible not to get inspired by maybe the best Renaissance artists. For sure, Florence is the epicenter of the Renaissance.
Compared to Renaissance, in this day and age, it has become increasingly difficult to focus on your work. To focus on the present moment. To find your true meaning or reason for doing something. We get distracted by social media, “important work” and we mistake movement for achievement. So here’s what I mean by “Finding your rock”.
Michelangelo mastered his rock
When you see the statue of David it just overwhelms you. It is magnificent. Perfect. It screams. Dominates. You try to imagine what did all those poor, sick, uneducated, short-lived people back in 1504 think once the statue was unveiled. Have in mind that this is a 5.17-metre (17.0 ft) marble statue. Yes, this masterpiece was once a marble rock. So literally, Michelangelo, found his rock. He knew every second, that unless he is hammering this rock, nothing is happening.
Every action he takes has to be in direct line with that rock. This rock is waiting, and it is hiding a masterpiece, and only Michelangelo can reveal it.
What is your rock?
Have you found your rock yet? Are you pounding it with all you’ve got every day? Or, are you still looking for it? Confused with all the options that are out there.
One thing I am sure is that unless you found that piece of marble (skill, product, company, book) and you are not giving it all you got, nothing is happening. This lead me to the conclusion how it is very hard to achieve this (even you have your rock in front of you). And while I was reading “Market wizards” by Jack Schwager I again found a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche. He who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how.
He who has a why to live for, can bare almost any how.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen it. I found it in “Man’s search for meaning” by Viktor Frankl. You see, without a reason, without a “why”, every attempt is futile. Simon Sinek says “Start with why”. Perfect! Have a reason, understand it, and then execute.
You can see how important reason someone has by seeing their results. This is visible absolutely everywhere. Just this morning, I’ve seen a short video on Instagram about Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid lost 0:2 in the first leg against Wolfsburg in the 2015/2016 Champions League. In the rematch, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 3 goals, and they proceeded to the next round with a 3:0 win. There were more than 22 people on that field, and one person decided that their team is going through.
Don’t get me wrong. I played soccer for years, and I understand it’s a team sport. But when someone scores 3 goals in a 3:0 win (after losing 0:2 in the first match) there is more to it. Ronaldo has a reason and it is more powerful. Ronaldo found his rock. We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg and all we can do is stand in awe.
Stronger the reason, easier the game
As I explain in the video below, once you have a strong reason, it gets easier. I found many reasons on why I shouldn’t be eating animal products, and suddenly it became extremely easy not to eat chickens, pigs, cows etc. But years earlier I struggled with my goal on cutting eating hamburgers, processed meat, etc…
This is also evident in more radical examples how some people stop smoking when they get cancer (like my late grandfather) or how otherwise poor people are able to fundraise $100,000 for a cause that’s extremely important to them (sick child, hurricane victims, etc).
How is it possible to make such shifts, and do the impossible?
I am sure you’ve seen this. Maybe you’ve even witnessed this first hand? After a little bit of thinking, I remembered the story of Buster Douglas. According to the rumors, his mother told everyone how his son will knock out Mike Tyson. Unfortunately, 2 days before the fight, his mother died. On the day of the fight between Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas, what do you think, who had a better reason to win? Sure, the explanation could be that Don King rigged the fight, but count the number of punches Buster Douglas received. Including the uppercut that laid him down.
There are so many motivational and inspirational books from Norman V. Peale, Robin Sharma, saying at one point or another how we should change our attitude. We are using just a small percentage of our brain, but when you have a reason, and I mean a really good reason, weird things start to happen.
So that’s it for me. I hope that you have a great reason for achieving whatever you want to achieve. And I hope that you will find your “rock” soon and that you will turn it into a masterpiece. As for me, I am just warming up, one down 91 to go.
Few days ago I read James Clear’s “Transform your habits“, and here’s me transforming them. Kudos to James. I would recommend this read to anyone who I care about (both this post and James’s guide), so it got me writing .
So I figured I’d give a few more recommendations what might help out.
Studying to become a Jedi
Since today, I am a level 1 Jedi master. Trust me, it’s not just closing your eyes, and hoping the force will do the rest. There is an intense workout involved. Check it our here: Jedi master workout
“The body cannot live without the mind”
Why stop at Jedi master training. Instead of regular ol’ music, why not put a little bit of preaching by Jim Rohn?
Jim Rohn – Best life ever
If you don’t know who Jim Rohn is, this is a must see for you. It’s 4 and a half hours, so if you workout for only 20 minutes, this video will support you for the next 14 sessions.
After working out, may I recommend a dose of a cold shower (courtesy of Timothy Ferris 4 hour body, and Dragomir Gabric Kolo Srece) they both recommend it in their books. After that cold shower, I recommend what Tony Robbins recommends you do every morning when you wake up. Water + drop of lemon or my favorite hot water + lemon juice + honey. This oxygenates your body, and even cancer cells don’t do well in an environment like that.
Addon: Don’t over do it, because you might burn out, or just stop improving. But you already knew that if you read James’s guide.
You will probably hate me after this post, but I have to get it off my chest. Too much stuff piled up in the last few months that it needs to be said publicly. You never hear about this because we (the entrepreneurs) are strong, tough, invincible. We invent new stuff, we solve people problems with our products, and we solve governments problems with paid taxes. Yes, we are the go to solution for everything. Everything that surrounds you, and that you are using currently is a result of an inventor or/and an entrepreneur – fact! Yet no one asks us how we feel, what bothers us. People just ride our ass.
Case one – Working tired, sick, depressed
By working, I mean 12 hours (in some cases 14-16, who is counting?), I mean Saturdays, Sundays. I mean being diagnosed with some shit disease that lasts couple of months, and you doing something so stressful like fundraising. During all that, people tapping you on the back, telling you: that’s great, come back to us when you are making more money.
Ok, lets practice pitching – from 10pm to 1am after having 5 meetings, and working about 10 hours. And change the pitch 3 days before demo day, because it’s so crucial for people to understand what it is that you are saying. And you are saying something no one ever said before. How do you teach someone something they never saw – well compare it with something they have seen. Problems is, people then have misconceptions and they misunderstand you.
Case two – no love
Imagine being in the Antarctica. Alone. Or in some cases, there’s a few of you. Like an expedition. Trust me, some days, you wish you are alone in the Antarctica, better than being with an expedition. No sex for 4 months. No hugging, no kissing, your love is…. somewhere. To some, no big deal, to some heartbreaking.
I heard one startup co-founder telling me how he was just recently blessed with another child. And after a few months being home, he had to leave for Silicon Valley. The older girl who is still 5-6 years, told her daddy:”Please daddy, don’t forget me and the little one.”.
And after that he left for Silicon Valley, to build his startup.
It is an up at dawn, pride swallowing siege that no one will ever fully tell you about! But today, I gathered the courage to give you a small portion.
Another startup co-founder told me that his wife just gave birth to twins. And while they were 6 months he had to leave to attend an accelerator program. Now when he talks with her wife, she holds them both in her arms – via video conference. You are my hero Sampad!
I met a startup co-founder whose wife was diagnosed with cancer, and still he went to Silicon Valley, to get his startup funded, and it was with the support of his wife.
In case you have tears in your eyes, it’s OK, because I sure as hell do.
How do these people find the courage, strength, persistence to not just continue, but to crush it?
It’s such a shame that investors, and users don’t care about the entrepreneur heart breaking story. A story where you meet the love of your life, you just changed “the relationship status on Facebook”, and then you have to leave for 4 long months. SHOW ME TRACTION BOY!
Oh right, I don’t get to be a cry baby cause I have a new iPhone, iPad, Air, fire, balls, shit.
Case three – compared to war criminals, slavery and connected to controversy
In some countries (and you people will recognize yourselves), citizens actually compare entrepreneurs to war criminals! You know how the word “theory” always goes with “conspiracy”? Well in some countries the word “controversial” almost always goes with “entrepreneur”! The picture is distorted because of the media! If someone is controversial, he is not an entrepreneur, he is shit, and call him like that! People need to be taught what entrepreneur is, and isn’t. It’s like saying Yoda and Lord Sidius are the same tip of guy. Well they are not!
Calling entrepreneurs slavers, and knowing that they are the ones who get up each day, thinking about 1 thing – how the hell do I make money so I can:
– make payroll
– pay taxes
– pay company bills
– make new services
– (there’s a catch, if you make too much, you get to pay more taxes, ha!)
– everything else that all normal people think about: help my parents, take my girl out, pay for personal bills, pay value added tax, etc…
Everyday we fly into the unknown. If I take an investment will they crucify me later? If I open a company in a foreign country, will I go to jail for something wrong I did, that I didn’t know I am not supposed to do? Will I amount so much debt for financing my startup that I will have to pay for it for the rest of my life?
Yes, I am a war criminal and a slaver. Well then, why do I have to pay for my employees taxes, health and pension security? And pay extra if I miss a day? Why don’t I just give you the money, and you deal with your security, and taxes, and missed payments?
It’s OK, you go home and sleep. I go home and worry how I am going to pay your lunch.
So, what happens next? The difficult part.
Learn, progress, evolve, grow, help others! If you are not happy with your work, paycheck, boss, don’t blame them, blame yourself! Yes, I just spit in your face! I don’t care, I am a blood sucking controversial slavering war criminal. Learn something difficult, and a miracle will appear! Make my life easier for change, and help me, help you!
I bought 20 books this month, when will I read them if I am so tired that today I woke up tired after 9 hours of sleep, and then went back to bed to get 1 more hour of rest. You don’t necessarily have to buy books, maybe your knowledge can be acquired differently, through seminars, courses, networking, but the dog has to learn new tricks.
A man of humble beginnings walks a path that ultimately leads to the salvation of many…but at the cost of the man’s own life. That is the path of a messiah called the entrepreneur.
[EDIT 22nd, August, 2014] If you liked this blog post, perhaps you will like the ebook]