Occasionally I will write posts around my birthday reflecting on all the things I’ve learned. I haven’t done a post like this in about 4 years. This one feels like it should have zombies involved, but i haven’t ran into any! I’ve learned a lot in 4 years but i will condense it for you in a few points. These posts are mainly for me to look back at but i hope you take something from them as well.
My employees just got me this cake. I’m pretty carbed up at the moment. Me and sugar aren’t the best of friends… prepare for some fuck ups below 🙂
The Most Important Thing in Life Is People
Seems pretty obvious, right? It is very easy to forget in a world with endless information coming at us. So much information we have to categorize some of it as fake. Everywhere you go there are people with their heads down looking at the screen of their choice. Ignoring the people around them, they dive into their own little personal worlds.
No piece of technology can compete with the energy and warmth of a human being. We are not living in an episode of the Black Mirror (yet). Pay attention to the people around you. Love them. They will not be around forever and neither will you.
This has been especially hard for me. My entire life has advanced as far as it has because of the screen i sit behind. It has never been easier to avoid people.
Getting close with people scares the shit out of most of us. It is important though. If you are lucky enough, you will find someone that can point out your flaws and call you on your bullshit. This doesn’t mean to turn into a weak little bitch. It means to improve yourself and keep growing.
The Second Most Important Thing is Your Purpose
What do you want accomplish in this life? Why do you even get up in the morning? Chances are you are either living someone else’s dream or your own. Are you conscious of it? What is your life plan? Can you contribute where you are at?
There is heavy research that says happiness comes from a sense of control over your own life. The less control you have, the less happy you are.
Most people never realize they can create any life they want. Maybe they had some excitement, then forgot. I recently went through the future authoring program. It is the best $15 you can spend. Makes you answer important questions you are constantly too distracted to think about.
Having a strong purpose instantly puts you ahead of others that do not. Don’t over complicate this. Your purpose is literally just that – the reason you exist.
Never Go Half In
I made this mistake in my last relationship and in some companies in which i still own. I wrote previously about investing with time vs investing with money. This is an important distinction that i still continue to learn (and suffer from).
When you make a decision you either need to say no or go all in. There is no middle ground. It doesn’t mean you need to work yourself to death in business or be a try hard person in a relationship. It just means that you made this decision and now you are not going to run away from it. You are going to put your talents on the line.
My generation runs away from everything. A bunch of pussies. An excuse is that we have more decisions to make because of all the information coming at us. It is a poor excuse. People are half in everything these days. Half in relationships. Half in school. Half in work. Completely detached.
I’ve had to chip away at this part of myself to slowly kill it. My enthusiasm for new people, things and ideas sometimes gets the best of me. When I hit 30 in two years there will be no “half ins”. They will all be weeded out.
Car Accidents are a Bitch
On September 2, 2015 i was in a car accident with my girlfriend at the time. It was a bad one. Fucked me mentally for a while. It took a few weeks for me to realize how bad it was. Instead of going to in-depth about it here, i will have a separate post talking about it in the future. In short – don’t work out after your doctor says you had a concussion (and it is confirmed by a brain MRI).
Russia is a Nice Place with Nice People
I went to Moscow last year. Despite what you have heard, these people are great. We met some people born and raised in Moscow. They told us how much they loved the States. They were not people trying to escape Russia either. They loved Putin. It blows peoples mind that a Russian person could love the USA while equally loving Russia. It is because too often Russia and the Russian people are made out to be villains by the US.
When I told my parents I was going to Russia they were not thrilled. I was not scared per say. I did get my affairs in order though. I set up my Living Trust, will and multiple life insurance policies. On the plane to Poland I remember thinking, why the fuck did I do all that? After the accident, i started to over think a lot of things. Will go over this in a future post.
Passion is Not a Long Term Strategy
At the beginning of anything, its exciting. Whether its a new relationship or new business, there is a lot of passion. It doesn’t last. How do you keep things going?
For relationships, I can not answer the question. All I can tell you is that if your relationship is based only on passion and you plan on it lasting, you are fucked. Both literally and figuratively fucked. Getting fucked at the beginning will be the best fucking of your life but getting fucked after the passion is gone just might be the worst fucking of your life.
That was a rough sentence. Sorry to put you through that. Hopefully in my 30s i have a more conclusive answer for you.
When it comes to business, i somewhat have the answer. You need to bounce around to different projects to stay engaged. After one big one is done, you move to the next one. Problem solving within a business can be incredibly rewarding. Not just financially, but to your self esteem.
If You Have Even Half the Mental Strength as Your Grandparents Had…
I’ll let you finish that sentence however you want 🙂
The more successful you get, the more the people around you want something from you. Some of these people may have good intentions. It is important to be able to properly filter through the “opportunities” these people throw at you. At the end of the day you can only do so much. There is only so much time in a day. You really need to pick your battles.
Be Selective & Not Too Opportunistic
In my early 20s, i was extremely opportunistic and most people will tell you that i still am. There is one thing that changed about me though – Now i am extremely selective and ask the hard questions before i just jump into a new venture or project. I treat my time like a good investor treats their money – Every dollar counts. I am also no longer afraid to leave a venture or kill a part of it, if i believe it is on the wrong track. I am no longer blind to continually re-upping on a bad investment.
As an entrepreneur, it is very easy to find yourself in a predicament where you have too much going on. You start to ask questions like – “How the fuck did this happen? I had one thing, it got a bit of success and now i am involved in 7 things.”
At age 19 i was working 18 hours a day on one single business with a very straightforward product line. All day i would focus on marketing, selling and fulfilling that single product line to the point where we began to dominate the industry and to this day still dominate it. Then after a while me and my partner decided to split that single focused company into 2, because of branding issues. It was the right call but things began to get harder. I felt like a mini Elon Musk. I was dealing with 2 companies now. One company was still fairly simple but the other one was a beast that needed to be tamed and simplified.
More Is Not Always Better
Its very simplistic to think that the more companies you have the better off you will be. Most of us are building these organizations from the ground up, with no investor(s). After all, adding investors to the mix just makes things more of a pain in the ass anyway. Better to have full control.
If you are building anything from the ground up, it takes time. Time is more valuable than money because you can never get it back. Money is a renewable resource and there are plenty of ways to get it back if you lose it.
Before you enter into any new venture you should ask yourself these 2 questions:
- How much time / money will i be spending on this new venture?
- What will be my role in this new venture?
If you already have too much going on, be honest about how much you can contribute to this new venture. Most of the time you must say no. Sometimes you will be in a position to say yes.
Investing with Money vs Investing with Time
There are two ways to invest in a business.. Money and Time.
Investing with Time
An example of investing with time is where you are primarily doing all the heavy lifting of the business. You can not become very successful without an initial extreme investment of time. Even if you have money, you will have time take the time to learn an industry inside and out to delegate the tasks. One does not need to be passionate about something to spend time on it but it REALLY HELPS.
This is why you need to ask yourself those 2 vital questions above. You can not jump from one company you are already spending a lot of time in to another one which requires even more time. Your time ends up getting divided.
Tips for Investing with your Time:
- Know your industry inside and out.
- Know your top competitors inside and out.
- Work as much as you possibly can, the more time you spend working the faster your company will grow.
- Eliminate distractions, only be focusing on this one business.
- When you begin to make a little money, re-invest it back into the business.. not another company.
- As you keep re-investing money back in your business, find ways to delegate tasks by either hiring employees, developing software or hiring contractors. Do not half ass this. Anyone will take your money!
Investing with Money
Investing with money means most tasks will be handled by another partner or contractor. You may have heard of the saying “Success Breeds Success”. Its true. Once you spend the time to get one business successful you can either choose to spend time or money to get the next one successful, depending on how much you have of each. At this point you will know more about business as well, you will be sharper and better prepared.
Tips for Investing with Money:
- Know your industry inside and out
- Know your top competitors inside and out
- Make sure your partners / contractors are 100% time invested in making the company grow. After all, you will be funding it.
- Have a simple dashboard to measure the success of the business. You shouldn’t have to put time into this, should happen automatically.
- You need to know the industry because you may have to jump in and put time in to fix things if it becomes available.
So please, never ever ever forget those two questions i wrote earlier (put them below again).
- How much time /money will i be spending on this new venture?
- What will be my role in this new venture?
If you choose to ignore the simple questions, you might find yourself in a position where your success is leaking uncontrollably to every damn thing you decided to jump in to. Of course, you have to be wary of material possessions too 🙂
I’ve experimented and had some success with many habit tracking applications. One of my favorite over the years was Coach.me (use to be called Lift). I noticed that when using habit tracking apps there was potentially a problem in the way your mind molds habits for the long term. Follow me..
Note: this post is only about habit tracking applications, not other tracking applications – running, weight-lifting, etc.
The App Becomes the Reward in the Habit Loop
In the book the Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg breaks down the 3 part habit loop. This includes the Cue, the Routine and Reward. These three parts are different for every single habit, both good and bad, that become part of your daily life. Here is are two examples:
Cue: Boredom at work
Routine: Go surf the web for random funny videos
Reward: Satisfied and covering up your lack of productivity
Cue: Tired in the morning
Routine: Go and Buy a Coffee
If you wanted to change a habit you need to keep the reward the same while changing the routine. In the second example i could replace buying a coffee with taking a cold shower. This would create some level of alertness.
Now, lets say I add “cold shower” to my habit application. My habit no longer lives in my head, it lives in an application. It will be complete when i press the check-box. The check-box becomes the reward alongside alertness. This is a problem for 2 reasons.
- The habit lives in the app, not our brains.
- There are now for sure 2 rewards (the feeling of alertness AND checking the box) and potentially 2 cues (if you set a reminder)
Let’s start with the first problem:
If the habit is not 100% part of our brain internally, it is not our habit. In other words, if we can not do the habit without the application than it is not a habit. Forget the application piece for a minute.
Imagine every day of your life that someone had to tell you to take a cold shower and then gave you a cupcake after you were done. Imagine every single day of your life this happened. Problem is, someone is telling you to do the habit and someone is rewarding you with a cupcake. What happens when the person stops telling you to do it and doesn’t reward you? I know i’m not taking my cold shower without a cupcake!!
Jokes aside: For habits to work, they have to be YOURS and live in your brain. You must FEEL the reward INTERNALLY.
The second problem is now your habit loops look like this:
Cue: Tired in the morning
Cue 2: App reminds you to take a cold shower
Routine: You take a cold shower
Reward 2: Checking off your cold shower habit in the app.
The application becomes a habit in itself. This is the goal of most websites and applications so that you become addicted to using them. The problem is you only have so much dopamine and willpower. You really need to decide how you are going to be using it!
My advice to you:
If you are going to use a habit tracking app, only use it for 30 days. Use it as a habit on-boarding process with a commitment to stop using it. If you can, do not use an app at all. Store the habits in your brain instead! Haven’t you been looking at screens long enough anyway 🙂
I don’t want to over simplify this but honestly this is the case. In business we say that there are certain “money making activities”. Well really, in life in general there are certain “value creating activities”.
Whoever gives the most value wins.
Now this doesn’t mean you will be happy, but you will feel accomplished. This is no different than the producer vs consumer paradigm. You are always either producing or consuming something. Whether that consumption is food, tv shows, youtube videos, etc. Here’s a list of value creating activities (activities that will allow you to give more value to your tribe and the world at large) and value destroying activities. We all do the latter, so don’t freak out next time you watch a movie as there can also be positive messages in some of the consumption. this list should help you identify the difference between the two and help you be give more value.
Value Creating Activities & The Why (Healthy Producing)
- Reading or listening to books that can give you more knowledge so you can give people the correct advise when needed and help people through tough times.
- Exercise so you can be strong and protect your tribe. This will also increase your sex life and overall attractiveness to mates.
- Meditating so you can be centered and focused while everyone else is over stimulated.
- Taking action in various areas of your life so you can get first hand experience which is by far the best way to learn.
- Creating and Publishing any type of content that can help people (audio, video, text, etc). This is not only a great release but has the power to really attract the right people to you and build something powerful.
- Making new friends that are unique and can have a special place in your life. If your life were a movie it would be boring if you were the only character. Your friends should be wide ranging and not destructive to your well being. A good supportive social circle is more powerful than any pill you could take.
- Self reflection and correction to take a look at your life in a non judgmental way and change things that really aren’t working in your favor.
- Having role models to look up to so you can always know what you want is possible.
- Sex, the ultimate act of any producer. It makes a baby folks. Think this one through.
Value Destroying Activities & The Why (Unhealthy Consuming)
- Watching any movie or tv show because it is someone else’s story and not your own. A numbing a effect occurs. Does not include documentaries.
- Taking in useless information that only exist to waste your time (news, pointless youtube videos, some reddit threads, websites, most fiction books).
- Eating any kind of processed food or sugary drinks consistently destroy your body slowly which makes you less capable to do give value to the world around you.
- Smoking, as it deteriorates your body which ruins your life – literally.
- Alcohol, as it deteriorates your brain and makes it less capable, especially in the long term.
- Any non-natural drugs (prescription drugs) will destroy your life. Sometimes they are necessary but it’s best to not get addicted as they will life altering effects on your neurology.
- Using social media for the wrong reasons can cause such a distraction that it will actually ruin your relationships, not enrich them. The most important thing is the people around you in the moment right now, not on a screen. Use with caution.
- Playing any fictional game on any devise that does not add to your actual life.
- Watching porn consistently (daily) destroys your dopamine receptors and could lead to enormous problems for both sexes, but particularly males.
- Buying stuff you actually do not need as it burns a hole through your wallet which makes you less likely to buy actual stuff you may need in the future.
Is it possible to use “Value Destroying Activities” to gain a Creative Edge?
Isn’t “value destroying activities” a bit harsh? Listen, i watch some great shows on TV and have seen some great movies. I love Inception so much i watched it 3 times in theaters. What the hell is my problem?!?
Every once in a while, these activities can help you create value and help you find comfort. But if you do any of them consistently they will kill you mentally and sometimes lead to death. Some people use substances like alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, etc. to temporarily gain a creative or mental edge. This is fine unless you are over doing it. You should be able to live day to day without any of this bullshit, but it won’t kill you if you do it in moderation.
Do you watch TV every day? Shitty content on the internet daily? Yes, it does have an effect on you. However small, it is still poison if you unhealthily consume anything, be it bad food or the news.
In every moment you are either creating your own story or living in someone else’s.
“Don’t analyze, don’t spreadsheet…”
Some people go to school to learn while other people read books about topics that interest them. Some people go on facebook to learn about their (now wide) social circle’s happenings and all the drama that goes with it. It’s so nice to just sit back and let our minds be consumed, it’s so damn easy. I’ll admit, sometime’s I like it as well. We live a comfortable life because men and women of action did things while others minds were being consumed by endless knowledge and stimulation. They took action, they held opinions.
In the Earth, there are so many wonderful treasures.
And if you know where to dig, you will find gold, diamonds, all kinds of treasures.
But if you don’t know where to dig, all you will find is rocks and dirt.
He can show you where to dig, and what to dig for, but the digging you must do yourself.
Knowledge is Not Power
In fact there would be no knowledge, no book, no understanding of anything if someone didn’t first take action. Action. I read books by people who have done things, because mainly I don’t have time to read stuff from some grown person who sits in a high chair spewing shit at me they have never even done.
What I Now Realize
Anything that isn’t an action, even if it’s just a small action, is largely a waste of time. That mean’s if you are reading a business book to improve your business, you better damn well have an action plan in a notebook after you are done. Someone who makes millions more a year than you writes a book that you purchase for $10, you better damn well get something actionable out of it.
When you are doing anything social or spiritual you should be free of your mind. There should be no agenda or to-do list. This, however, doesn’t mean you aren’t taking action When you have fun and are out of your mind it is just a flow of actions with no thought. It’s actually a state of pure ecstasy.
Separate Logical & Emotional Actions
Logical action: Working on business
Emotional action: Hanging out with girlfriend
In the first example, working on business stuff, I will be using my mind. Thinking. This is a logical action. I know if i think too much and don’t take any real action, nothing gets done. In the second example, hanging out with girlfriend, this is more of an emotional action. This is what i refer to as flow above. I’m just out of my head having a great time, enjoying her feminine energy.
More to come.
Never settle for mediocrity, keep pushing yourself beyond your means. Keeps learning and growing. Do it for yourself and your family. Never let up. Don’t get an ego about it. Learn to love the process and respect greatness. Do not put up with people who don’t want to grow and let the fall by the wayside. Know deep down what it takes to succeed is constant improvement. If you forget this and get lazy you will fail. Your life will be meaningless.
Glad it’s Friday, it’s been a CRAZY busy last few weeks. Tomorrow I’m going to Disneyland with the rest of SerTop to celebrate our busiest month ever. Been wanting to get this off my chest for a while…
About a month ago I finally realized the only the way to be truly happy is to kill my ego, almost completely. You were born without an ego or identity. Then slowly you developed one and it latched on to everything – sports teams, status in life, ideals, religions. These things became part of you. People became a part of you and defined you.They formed your ego and your identity. Those things you associate yourself with. The… THIS IS ME aspect of your life.
If you want to become a mature adult you need to kill this part of yourself. Most of us mistake having an ego and attachment as being a more mature adult ( i have a house, a car, a job, therefore i am a mature person). I have news… all that doesn’t mean shit towards your happiness. Without an ego, you can not be hurt – you are completely unafraid of failure and rejection because you have nothing to lose and you also have nothing to prove to ANYONE. The only reason people get fearful in certain life situations is because they feel it will negatively affect their identity aka hurt their ego.
Have you ever see that short movie by Spike Jonze where Kanye West kills his ego (below)? In the video near the end he cuts out this little creature which represents his ego and has hands it a little sword to have it kill itself.
Before you started attaching yourself to everything, you were born happy. Happy and free were your default state. You can not be happy if you continually try to find an identity for yourself in other things and people.
I’ve known this for a while since I’m really big into Eckhart Tolle and his teachings in the book The Power of Now, but it really clicked about a month ago. If I was going to kill most of my ego, I’d have to stop caring about certain things in my life. How can I do this? I needed to obviously prioritize my focus and I recommend you do the same.
As I make this change in my life I am getting closer and closer to becoming completely fearless. Testing myself under extreme situations but not attaching myself to any of it because through meditation and letting go of my thoughts I have become more free. I hope to get to a point to where I can be fully in the moment during every aspect of my life.
Unlike most people who preach to kill the ego, I strongly advise still going for everything you want in life. Be motivated, get the car, the house, the traveling, etc – but don’t attach yourself to any of it. Don’t let it make an identity for you. Don’t let it ruin the real you – the YOU that was born happy.
Here is a great Eckhart Tolle Video…
Non Identical Twins…
Looked at the ultrasound this morning. Name ideas? Names? Nope already got em…
It was scorching fucking hot in Vegas out in front of our office when me and my business partner Adam decided… wow STbands is not giving our customers the best experience. Two different groups coming to one confused site. We decided enough is enough. The site had to be split in two. Before we even knew the names, we new that one site needed to focus on selling custom sweatbands, custom silicone wristbands and other custom promotional products, swag and giveaways. The other site needed to cater to people looking for sweat bands and other unique sports accessories. This was the make up of our old STbands site.
These two sites mark a milestone for my company. Because the two websites are only half the story. We made a substantial investment in a new back-end that will allow our customers / team to have an even better experience.
Also in other SerTop news, we had our busiest month ever last month. As a result, we decided this month to take our whole team to Disneyland – each person gets to bring someone else and everything including the hotel, transportation and meals is paid for by us. We are extremely proud of how hard our team has worked.
I’ll let you know when I really have kids. Which will be soon.
Hear that? Of course you don’t… it’s your mind looking for stimulation. Stimulation that it mistakes for happiness. Lately, I have essentially been training my mind to stop thinking about what doesn’t matter. It’s really an art because you are actively painting your own blank canvas in this life. Every moment you are making an unconscious decision what to focus on, splashing that sheet with all sorts of different colors.
As you get older you realize only a few things are important in life. All the shit that was crammed into your head by society growing up means nothing and in fact it has set you back years in being happy and successful. Shut up with your drama, petty bullshit, excuses and start actually giving a fuck about what does matter.
Do you know what is important to you? If not i recommend you write that shit down… NOW. In my case it’s very simple, three things:
Work – Hustle my ass off until there is nothing left in me. Essentially be a (productive) slave to my team and customers. Having that feeling of being completely drained at the end of the day. Work from home, work at the office, work on the plane, work where-ever. Getting Things Done. If i have a work day where i am not productive (which happens) i feel like complete shit. There is no worse feeling. Why? I hold myself responsible for giving other people the opportunity to excel in life. I hold myself responsible for giving my team and partners the opportunity to be able to give their kids / future kids and there grand kids the upbringing they deserve. That is literally the type of thing running through my head on a day to day basis.
Health– Physical and mental. Eat clean / good food, work out hard, bike, pool, hit trails, meditate, and surround my mind with good people and books. A good dose of learning and taking massive action. Existing in the present moment. Good sex, often. You know, Maslow didn’t put sex as a basic human need on his famous hierarchy of needs as a joke…
Fun – Amazing experiences with amazing people. If I had the energy / time I would go out every single night to meet new people and have a new adventure. Just being outside of the house does it for me. Traveling to different places, even on short notice.
So next time you think about your petty drama or stupid low conscious thoughts ask yourself… Does this even fucking matter in relation to what’s most important to me?