Important things in life don’t come easy. Nor should they. Education, self-learning, staying fit, staying financially stable, mentally sane and acute, etc. — all of these things require friction. They require work.
The hours to put in. The struggle of not knowing where to go next. The thrill of finding a solution. The discipline to push yourself.
That’s why all education is, really, self-education. (As Maria Popova said, knowledge has to be claimed.)
And that is why we must not shy away from doing hard things.
Doing hard things brings freedom we can’t buy otherwise.
The modern agenda in a…
Why do we buy things?
Because don’t have enough. We lack something.
You are hungry — so you go to a grocery store. You lack the means of transportation, so you buy a car or download the Uber app.
That’s Selling and Marketing 101: “realize where people have a gaping hole and fill it with your product or service.” In recent decades, we’ve added content to that stack too.
Any marketing message will roughly say the following: “You will be great if you have XYZ. By the way, we have a discount on XYZ. Get it right now.”
As I reflect on my life and its recent events — usually, sitting on a plane, sipping tomato juice — I can’t help but write lists for myself with the lesson I’ve learned and things I came to understand. I guess that’s the way I am wired: to make sure the lesson solidifies in my head, I need to type it down.
As I was making my way from a three-day-spontaneous trip at sea (fuck you, COVID!), the list I wrote yesterday was about 30 points long. …
When I just started blogging, I was rejected 99% of the time by publications. 7.7K followers since I still get rejected about 40–50% of the time. (When it comes to largest publications like Forge or Mind Cafe, it’s closer to 80%).
The most common thing I hear from editors is that my writing is too subjective. Too opinionated.
I hear the same from people who try to give me writing advice (most of them haven’t written anything longer than a text):
“You should talk less about yourself, do more research, have fewer one-sentence paragraphs, and write about things that people…
I’d always struggled with this.
Back in my video production days, looking at how other people — my friends, competitors, colleagues — were thinking about business, I felt out of place.
“You’re too idealistic,” they said when I mentioned that we should hire only the best staff and fire clients we don’t like working with. “In business, you’ve got to think with a cold head.”
Deep inside, I never agreed with that. But on the surface, I constantly blamed myself for not being practical enough.
My idealism is still fucking with me everywhere I turn.
Some people are natural-born athletes. Others are world-class at writing, “the arts,” or business.
Me? I am the International Cross-Category Heavy-Weight Champion in a sport called “Guilt and Self-Blame.” (Want my business card?)
I frequently mention that I used to be the most disciplined, ambitious, and productive person I knew for a long time. At school, I excelled at both partying and academics. I frequently trained harder in sports than everyone else on the team (often scoring two workouts per day). When it came to writing, I pushed myself to write every single day.
Looking back, I see how much…
No matter where you look, people subscribe to the same western dogma: more, richer, faster, better, 10x, 100x, and “what’s your growth rate?”
Saying you don’t have crazy ambition (becoming a millionaire by 25) is like admitting a crime. Or, at least, that’s how it feels.
When I was 18, I used to think that people who didn’t “make it” by 25-30 were lazy idiots. I thought they’d wasted their precious twenties — in this age of Bitcoin, online money, and startups! — and I promised myself I’d never become one of them.
Back then, my community supported this mindset.
Exactly three months ago, I drank every day. I went to bed no earlier than 4 AM and ate fast food for breakfast. Oh, I also watched endless porn.
As a result of such a *healthy* lifestyle, I got myself in such a hole of low energy, lack of motivation, and no hope that even antidepressants didn’t help. (Looking back, I wonder how I managed to keep my job and keep making any money at all.)
Typing this, I feel 10x better than I felt a month ago and 100x better than I felt two months ago (1,000x better than…
I was a very competitive child. At 8, I remember riding in the back seat of my dad’s car, after a swimming competition, where I scored third. I was crying. My mom was just on a call with the coach. My team-mate — who, as I assumed, was also a friend — scored first.
“He got a gold medal and broke the record for kids his age,” mom said, handing me a McDonald’s bag with my favorite pack: large fries, six McNuggets, and a BBQ sauce. “Don’t worry, you’ll get it next time.”
My mom seemed to be more proud…
Two years ago, I read a book by Alex Banayan called The Third Door.
In this book, Alex describes his journey of figuring his life out by talking to world-class celebrities, businesspeople, and gurus — ranging from Lady Gaga to Bill Gates. It’s an exhilarating read, and I highly recommend it.
The title of the book comes from its main thesis, which I’ll rephrase as:
“There are three doors you can take in life. If you imagine a club, you have the main entrance, which is what 95% of people take. You have the VIP entrance for the 4.9%. And…