The bigger the business... the more important I will be.
This was the belief dictating every action, decision & choice I made over the past decade.
A deep rooted desire for significance... something I felt I lost when my mother passed in 2010.
I felt I wasn't worthy of love... 'yet.'
That I must prove myself in a capitalistic world to (re)gain what I lost.
A recipe for vice-inducing actions disguised as a desire to make life meaningful... as if internal significance is somehow gained, not chosen.
I've built multiple businesses... not yet to multi 7-figures, but I never struggled to surpass the 'online infamous' $10k/mo mark.
In 2020, I launched my first high-ticket course ($6,400) and sold 3 paid-in-fulls in the first 72 hours. Before that I was making 140-200k/yr facilitating 4-6 international retreats... and before that, 6-figures at Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
My belief is that because I never placed it on a pedestal it didn't become something bigger than myself... a lesson for another edition.
To be clear - money is not the goal, nor the primary output... though it's one of the most fun games of life I've ever played.
Especially after I removed my finance-induced anxiety and tripled my income in less than six months... which I'll give you a step-by-step process for below.
In truth, money is nothing more than a quantitative metric our society believes holds value... and we're conditioned to think of it as a big dick measuring stick.
This is where most of us get into trouble.
They sign a contract with themselves to live in a perpetual state of lack… always having someone or something else to measure up too.
Let's get philosophical for a moment...
Reality is nothing more than your perception of it...
... and your beliefs dictate your actions, decisions, choices, and outcomes.
I believed money would make me important, and every time I made more I spent more... It all felt the same.
I'm not here to demonize currency... quite the opposite.
It's our only unlimited resource and you should treat it as such.
*There's a floor on cutting expenses, but no cap to income potential.
I share this to help you see money as a tool...
... one that exists in flow and grows in direct correlation to your capacity to handle it.
It's a game of logic disguised by emotion...
Make logical responses your baseline and you'll open the floodgates.
A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE
Here's what changed it all for me:
What I've made before is history, and what I'll make tomorrow is a mystery... both are emotional states based on perception and do not exist.
What matters are the choices (inputs) I make today... they are either in alignment with the life I want to create or are the same standards that got me what I've already had.
The only way to improve your relationship with money is to increase your capacity to handle risk.
Risk is nothing more than uncertainty of outcome... not because it's 'risky,' but because it's something you've never done.
Blame then gets directed toward someone or something instead of going in search of the lesson... with the intention of iteration.
What most fail to recognize is by pointing a finger elsewhere you point three back at yourself.
Truth is, belief is a poor substitute for experience.
Nothing can replace the education received by taking perceived risks... which is nothing more than believing in yourself.
BUT... here are a few pieces to help you avoid the queue and head straight for the wealthy PJ riddled fast lane... if that's the lifestyle you desire.
5 MUSTS FOR WEALTH CREATION
1. THE VEHICLE MUST BE MEANINGFUL
No matter how hard you try, or how 'accepting' society becomes... you'll never be an elephant - even if that's how you choose to identify.
This holds true for business too.
No matter what you do, if you're in the wrong vehicle, it'll be impossible to design the lifestyle you desire.
Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy.— Naval (@naval) May 31, 2018
The conditioned curse of a salary is a milestone chased by the masses. It is nothing more than a guarantee to keep you within the same social class you started.
It provides security... and it caps your potential.
It gives you a floor (expenses) and a ceiling (salary)...and it feels a bit like slavery too.
In the correct vehicle, there is no ceiling... only the self-imposed one you placed on your creative imagination.
"The three most harmful addictions are Heroine, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary."
- Nassim Nicholas Taleb
When determining the vehicle you need to create the lifestyle you desire, start with the end in mind.
It's here where you can define what a wealthy life looks like for you.
2. NEVER CONFUSE WEALTH FOR WISDOM
Imagine you're in a room with the top 25 financial minds in the world.
The top 3 speakers control over a trillion dollars of wealth.
The man to your right is running a $500M annual recurring revenue business, and the one to your left, $50M.
That was me in February 2022 - listening for 18 hours per day to the likes of Ray Dalio, Paul Tudor Jones & Howard Marks.
In truth, I didn't feel like I belonged in that room... yet it is my unique life experiences and consistent choices that got me there.
During a break I spoke in depth to the $500M man to my right… only to discover severe depression, suicidal thoughts and contempt for his family.
He described the prison he created for himself over the past three decades... and how he would trade it all to be 28 and broke - the age he was when he started the company.
I was 28 when we had this conversation.
It's the exact moment my focus shifted from 'what can I get' to 'what can I be grateful for right now.'
Life will never be the same again.
*I wrote a post just days after this experience around The Psychology of Money and Business Psychology.
**Another resource I highly recommend is The Diary of a CEO Podcast with Steven Bartlett.
3. UNCOVER & INTERNALIZE THE BLESSING
My greatest blessings to date were all on the other side of extreme uncertainty and pain... sometimes real, but most often perceived.
For years all I hoped for was a life and business devoid of problems.
It's what so many fantasize about... and it will never exist.
Problems are a constant... what changes is your capacity to handle them.
When you realize that problems are the pressure we must push again to craft our character… you begin seeking them out.
Problems are a blessing.
They provide a depth of character, resilience and emotional intelligence few will understand.
Those who choose to thrive, will.
My process is now subconscious, but it started by asking myself a singular question:
"If I had to find a lesson in this experience, what would it be?"
Change how you perceive what you experience and your life will change.
*It's also the secret to longevity in the world's five blue zones.
4. THE 8TH WONDER OF THE WORLD
Let's say you're a scratch golfer and we decide to go play a round at your favorite course.
To make things interesting I ask you if you'd like to play for $1 per hole...
You say yes, and then up the ante by telling me we're going to double the bet every hole. (I.e. Hole 1 = $1, Hole 2 = $2, Hole 3 = $4)
How much would we be betting on the final hole (18)?
We would be betting $262,142 on the last hole of the round.
Albert Einstein referred to compounding interest as the eighth wonder of the world... stating that those who understand it, earn it and those who don't, will pay it.
It is important to understand what it is, where it fits in and how to use it in your everyday life... plus it exists everywhere.
“My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest.”
- Warren Buffett
The game of investing is that of doubles...
*How fast can I double my money with your investment?
One step further - where can I find an asymmetrical risk/reward ratio?
Asymmetrical = Parts that are not equal.
Said simply... where can I find the highest likelihood that my investment will perform as expected?
Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.— Naval (@naval) May 31, 2018
Most investments are nothing more than bets on what you find interesting... disguised as intelligent decisions.
In truth, the more you knew, the less you'd diversify.
Invest in what you know better than anyone or anything else in the world... yourself.
Once you've mastered that you can begin to diversify.
5. FOLLOW THE MONEY (+ FREE TOOL)
Alcoholics Anonymous is bullshit for a lot of reasons... but one thing I subscribe to is their ability to harness the power of awareness.
It's the first step to change, and the only way to overcome the "you don't know what you don't know" challenge.
I know I'm resourceful, so for years I chose not to look at my finances... I'd spend, and spend, and spend until things got tight and then find a way to pay off the debt I'd taken on.
I don't regret this one bit... only because all I ever spend my money on are education and experiences.
In all seriousness, at the time of this writing, I've been living out of the equivalent of a single suitcase for the last 7+ months... and only purchased a new jacket in Madrid because I left mine on a train.
Everything changed when I went inward.
I dug through my patterned behavior and psychology with a fine-toothed comb... and I discovered a set point.
Our brains operate like a thermostat.
When life cools off, your subconscious kicks in and finds problems.
When things get spicy, it kicks you into high gear.
This is why you can always 'find' money for an unexpected bill.
It's also why your bank account never exceeds your 30-day average daily balance for more than a few hours.
I initially fixed this by installing Mike Michalowicz's Profit First accounting system.
Consistency then became the name of the game.
I accomplished this by analyzing my finances on the *10th and 25th of every month.
*Something I added to the technology I use below.
I now track my entire life (habits, people, accounts, etc) in a single Google Sheet.
Download the incredibly powerful productivity tool for free here.
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