I’m now going out of my way to do the opposite of what I’ve strived for the last 20 years.
Striving to earn less money.
But first, a lot of context.
For the last ten years, I’ve been on the exact opposite quest, to earn more with a venture funded start up.
Besides the fact I whole-heartedly believe starting a technology company is the fastest way to get financially rich in this country (though I think real estate is the best path considering the overall risks to get there), I told myself I’d do anything to become a billionaire and wouldn’t stop until I did it.
I was decided, committed and I burned my boats.
I paid the price.
I moved to NYC because the movers and shakers of the world are in New York and I wanted to meet all of them.
I moved to San Francisco because it’s by far the #1 technology market in the world. It’s “where the talent is” and where the VC’s live.
Even better, I got sponsored and hosted at a top start up lab, co-founded by the founder of Uber and other entrepreneurs who founded industry defining start ups.
For the last two years, I went into a beautiful office with the best snacks and worked with some of the brightest people.
It had so many tangible benefits and it helped our chances for success more than you can imagine.
However all throughout that time, I never felt wealthy. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated and expressed gratitude for all that was around me, but I was working toward something in a state of lack, of not having.
Now, for the first time, I actually feel like I’m not lacking anything and feel like I have everything I need whether it’s the billion dollars or anything else.
Now that I have this and know of the many ways to make money, I want to optimize for free time, to continue cultivating myself and following my higher path which requires a lot of time in meditation, reading — and it’s outward manifestation, my writing and film.
How does that translate to earning less money?
Because I still need to earn a living, and if I wanted, I’m sure I can continue trying to earn more and more money spending time working on the company and other projects it often requires to earn more and more.
Ultimately, I deeply realized at the bottom of my soul that nothing matters without the things that are free — and that those things are actually the true wealth — fulfillment, creative power, relationships and for the purpose of this piece, time. And those things are actually much harder to find from within, and owning them internally can be challenging.
What’s funny is for the first time, I can even confidently visualize the financial billions coming, yet I’ll be just as wealthy now, as I will be then. I know this. And I’m now confident it actually should happen now.
I have everything I need, and everything is aligned. Nothing can hold it back. Nothing is in the way and I’m not blocking it.
The stark realizations I’ve had, and principles that lead me to this secret state required the following principles:
1. Build Resilience
I’m not sure how I’ve made it this far because I’m generally a stress ball who’s paranoid and driven by fear and guilt but I did.
I think my survivalist fears of not being a successful male, as a result of either being banished from my tribe or not attracting a mate pushed me hard enough to achieve, but oh how I paid the price in health and wealth throughout the years.
It is hard, but I lasted and broke through to having a quiet mind. I’m now tapping superman and I feel it.
You can too if you keep going, work hard and embrace pain for resilience because we can only go so far as to how far we’re willing to risk pain. The resilient ones can go the farthest.
Don’t be afraid of ‘jumping around’ and experimenting.
I tried three different ideas to get to my first small winner and am really blowing it out on the next winner.
Most people see ‘hopping around’ as a sign of inconsistency, indecisiveness or a lack of commitment. This is industrial era thinking and needs to be forgotten.
They’re generally thinking about leaving a job or company or aren’t pure entrepreneurs themselves and don’t understand where experimentation plays a role in the ‘founder market fit’, where the right founder is working on the right market and ‘product market fit’ where the right product has reached a ripe market that actually needs it — which is a big mistake a lot of founders make.
It’s generally assumed product market fit is found after finding founder market fit.
Most importantly, it takes a lot of shots on goal to be right once but as Marc Cuban says, “you only need to be right once”.
We learn best bydoing, and many of us only learn the hard way — with mistakes.
Each and every time you try something, you get better at the next one.
This is why Churchhill said “success in life is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Travis Kalanick just started and built a $70 billion company with Uber and (very obviously) learned a ton from mistakes from the experience. His next one will be ten times better.
Elon Musk has learned a ton from SpaceX and Tesla and his next company will be run even better.
Big thinkers know bold successes require ideas that look stupid at first and yes, the hard truth is that most of them fail.
Mediocre people believe success means not missing.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t going after my first idea which now that I know what I know, was both a dumb idea and bad business model.
Actually shocked at how bad I did it but that’s what happens on your first try.
3. Quality And Level of Consciousness Is Actually How Wealthy You Are
My high state of consciousness allowed me to see things as realistically as they actually are and to appreciate how much abundance is around me.
A state of peace and love will attract everything financially you need.
People will want to work with you.
You’ll spot opportunities clearly.
We’ve become so possessed with earning, taking, and consuming that we’ve forgotten what we actually need is tangibly pretty little.
Numerous studies show happiness levels don’t increase that much more beyond basic essentials, and if all we’re doing is chasing feelings when we yearn for things, train yourself to feel more with less.
If my walk to work can produce the same happiness chemicals and feel as good as the yacht party you need, who wins?
4. I Stopped Drinking Alcohol
This is a quiet one because alcohol is such a massive part of our culture and weirdly accepted as some social thing you do even though it’s a poisonous drug that’s among the worst things you can put in your body and causes death every single day.
I haven’t drank in four years and am convinced the health and wealth that’s resulted in not drinking has been instrumental in faster growth.
I’m now high on life, in a high state of existence, every day, literally, and look forward to just being. Being is a win in this state.
There are no physical ups and downs and even when my body isn’t up to speed, I’m able to watch it so serenely that I relinquish it and let it go.
Just last week I got slammed with a cold after I traveled to a new city and recovered in three days. It was right before traveling internationally to Columbia and I went there at about 75% and recovered over the weekend just fine.
I was the only one of 18 who didn’t drink all weekend and it isn’t shocking I was the only one who got work done, read and published articles etc. I didn’t do it because I wanted to work, but because I enjoy the activity of reading, reflection and creative output.
5. I Made Learning My #1 Time Priority, Each and Every Day
Learning as a top priority every day not only has you acquire knowledge voraciously, but when you show up every day, your routines and rituals refine themselves to have you show up in such a deliberate state that the learning itself becomes so much more effective and of higher quality.
And this doesn’t take up the bulk of my day, I am working on a start up full time, but every morning, I make sure to take sacred space to read and write.
6. I Realized Performance Comes From My State Of Mind
Your state determines how you perform. If you’re in an enthusiastic state of love, you’ll perform that way.
If you’re in a state of anxiety or fear, you’ll perform that way.
The great performers and ‘competitors’ stay within, and never look at how the rest are doing. They compete by not competing.
They know if they show up in the right state, their potential is limitless and only focus on themselves.
7. I Appreciate the Power of Meditation And a Still Mind
A still mind is a mind that’s in a higher state of acceptance and resilience. It’s exceptionally difficult sitting still today, with nothing but our thoughts.
This is why the great philosopher Blaise Pascal said: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Longer meditation has changed my life and have watched it create my biggest insights and am convinced it helps physiologically and spiritually.
If you’ve reached a place, a state, to where you’re able to proactively earn less, because you’ve acknowledged all the wealth that’s around you — it’s acknowledging that you possess that wealth.
It becomes something you have and own. The sky, the air, the water you drink and friendships you have-all wealth.
When you possess this great and powerful thing through appreciation, it internalizes abundance, and you’re able to focus on quality. Quality that’s at a different level than all the other ‘competitors’ who are racing away for more business.
Quality that will blow people’s minds when you touch them.
If you can strive to earn less while acknowledging and appreciating the abundance around you, you’ve conquered the secret of work and life and will be able to achieve any goal you want.