Two young boys had the unfortunate up bringing by a father who was a thief a scoundrel and a drunk. He gave them little support and set the worst possible example for how to lead life as an adult.
One of the boys grew up to be just like his father. A thief and scoundrel and a drunk.
One of the boys grew up to be a successful businessman and a stand up member of his community.
When they were asked why they turned out the way they did as adults they both gave the same answer:
“What did you expect, my dad was a thief, a scoundrel and a drunk”
Was thinking about this laying in bed last night. The things we should never think twice about
spending investing money on.
Mainly because they make us and life better and they build on our entrepreneurial foundations. Here’s my top 10 list.
- Health Care
- Car maintenance
- Shouting a friend (Meal or a drink)
- Healthy Food
- Childrens well being
What’s on your list?
I’ve been thinking about a few different projects I’d like to do. Which at this stage have no real revenue or business associated with them, other than I find them interesting. I thought I’d list them here to see if anyone has similar crazy ‘just because’ projects. Maybe these fun crazy things are what we should be doing and building, instead of working out what other people want. Maybe the thing that really matters is what we want. Either way here they are;
- Take a year to fly to every commercial Airport in the world – without a break. yes, including living in planes and airports for a full 12 months. Document it and what happens for some reason. Find interesting stuff and people. See what happens. Film it. Socialize it on live digital media. Find something no one has ever thought of or seen. Just because.
- Live for a year only on food that is grown at home. Vegetables and animals. Cook using only wood and home made ovens. Every bit of food that goes in my mouth I will have grown, baked, killed cooked and created. Document it all. Just because.
- Walk around the entire coastline of Australia. Beach by beach, headland by headland. 25,760 km’s of it. Learn something. Document it…. Just because.
- Make a short film. Without any false ambitions of becoming the next Tarantino. Just to create. Be part of it. Just because.
- Renovate a house. Yes, a totally dilapidated 100 year old timber home. To see what my eye and hands can really make when they collaborate. Build a house my family can live in, be safe in, grow together in. Take time out and do this. A non Grand Design for me and my people. Just because.
- Start a cult. Just to see if we can make a positive one. A cult of good. To see if I could lead people in such a way that they live for the cause, but to flip it. To make the cause about fixing broken shit in the world….Like the banking system and the 1%. Just because.
- Be a used car salesman. mainly because I think it would be really, really hard. To see how I could sell in a difficult environment. To test my skills, and see what I could learn to take into my future. To be the most untrusted person in the commercial world. To be that guy. The be that guy and see how I handle myself and what I become. Just because.
- Coach A little league team. Pass on some skills, about the game, and maybe about life. Teach some youngsters stuff that matters – have am impact on their attitude without them even knowing. See how it feels to help out the people who will inherit our world. Just because.
- Live in a tropical paradise. Mainly to remove the myth or confirm it. A place where little money is needed, the weather is always warm and technology and financial growth are irrelevant. Find out out if the picture of paradise is real or perceived. Stay forever if it is real. Just because.
- Join a street gang. A real underworld style gang. Think East L.A. Get dirty and down and be part of something bigger than me that is from the opposite side of town. Learn their rules and play by them. Deal, steal and destroy. See if the emotional roller coaster is the same, or different. See if I like it more or less. Understand the plight and political machinations of a crime organization from the inside. Draw the analogies and comparisons to the legal world – find out the truth. Just because.
Sometimes we need to embark on startup projects, that aren’t really startups…. Just because.
If money didn’t exist what would we do differently? Let me first remind us what this would mean.
In this imaginary moneyless it would mean: That we all had enough to eat. That we all had a place to live. That we all have equal access to healthcare and education. That we wouldn’t get paid for our work. That no-one gets paid for the work they do, in dollars at least.
It means that we do in during the day has an entirely different perspective. In this imaginary world it make sense that we choose our line of work carefully. The work itself, becomes the thing that matters.
It turns out that this is also the best approach for a world that does actually have money.
As a surfer, today I was devastated to learn that former world surfing champion Andy Irons died. He was 32.
It’s a poignant reminder that waiting is for fools. Andy only had 32 short years, but managed to surf the world and be the best at what he did.
But the key question here isn’t about whether you are, or ever will be the best. Rather, it’s about knowing if what you are spending your days doing is what you actually would dream about being the best at.
This is a guest post by Jared Shay, who recently decided being employed was for chumps and started walking his own path. He blogs with his brother Xavier about personal development and being awesome at two-shay.com.
The advice “everyone has something of value to give” used to crop up all the time in my morning feeds, and it used to annoy the hell out of me. It was easy for all those successful internet folks to say it, they were travelling the world with nothing but a back pack and a laptop, or working with people who were at the top of their fields. It was obvious what their value to give was. What could I possibly do that would compare to that? I was always trying to think of that one big idea to set me apart. If I could find that, I’d have it made. I couldn’t find it though. It was my white whale.
You know who else had a white whale? Captain Ahab. His white whale was called Moby Dick and it bit one of his legs clean off. He spent years chasing after the thing so he could get his revenge. Eventually he caught up to big MD and decided to go toe-to-fin with it. Predictably the whale smoked him, and whilst he did get a few good hits in the whole thing makes you wonder—maybe Ahab’s obsession with finding that one big thing just wasn’t worth it. I got lucky. That could’ve been me—dragged into a watery grave by a whale. I realised I didn’t need to find that one big idea, I just needed to take stock of the life I had already and take notice of the things that I spend every second of every day either doing or thinking about doing. Things that I’d been doing so long they had become routine and boring to me, but were totally interesting to other people. As soon as I discovered this I realised why it was so easy for those annoying successful people. They didn’t start travelling the world or turning themselves into experts just to get readers or sell products—that’s just who they were already.
Let’s suppose Captain Ahab was alive today and he decided to forgive and forget all that whale business. He lead a pretty darn interesting life: He grew up as an orphan, began sailing at age eighteen, got a leg bitten off by a whale and in in forty years spent less than three on land. Now just try and tell me that if he started a blog that you wouldn’t want to read it, or that he couldn’t package together an international sailing guide, or fill a venue on a public speaking tour. He wouldn’t need to go out and find interesting things to do. Just from living his life he’d have all the material he’d ever need.
My life resume might not be quite as impressive but it still has plenty of things I can use to provide value to other people. I’m a musician who teaches and performs regularly, a huge personal development geek, and I exercise everyday. I’ve been cooking and eating vegetarian and vegan food for years. I got through a computer science degree without a computer, can juggle, have tutored maths, and have watched more professional Starcraft than just about anyone outside of South Korea. I’ve been doing most of these things my whole life, and that pretty much makes me an expert by default. Doesn’t mean I’m the best, but it does mean I can provide something of value to others.
I stopped looking for big ideas and starting using what I already had. I’d already done the hard work. I started blogging about personal development because I’ve spent years reading and practicing it; I began teaching drums because I’ve played the instrument my whole life; I help people learn to cook vegan food because that’s how I live. One out of these three is already profitable. These aren’t new or innovative ideas, but they’re backed with solid life experience.
Everyone’s lives are filled with things they can use to provide value to others. You don’t have to be the best, you only need to get out there and start sharing what you’ve got, even if you can’t immediately see where it’s going to lead.
I am incredibly happy with the following things:
- My relationship with my family (immediate and wider family)
- The state of my health. I fit and well enough to enjoy, people life and exercise.
- Where I live. Yarraville, Melbourne, Australia. In fact so much so that I evangelize it.
- My house. A beautiful little renovated Edwardian, not big but it’s just right for me and my wife.
- The state of my country Australia. It allows us to practice any religion / or not and live a free life with opportunity.
- How I invest my spare time. I like surfing, gym and mountain bike riding.
- The fact that I am continuing a vocation of learning. Both in life and academically in my areas of interest.
- The work I do. Running rentoid.com teaching at Melbourne University and writing this blog.
If any of these parts of your life aren’t right. If we are not quite happy with them, no less totally unhappy with them. Then this is the most important startup we can focus on. The start required to change it. Start today.
The title of this post is a philosophy I have. People often disagree siting financial hardship, opportunity, income, age… you name it. They can argue all they like but it is true. People who look after themselves, have pride and a solid work ethic have nice cars. Not necessarily expensive cars, but cars which are washed regularly, are tidy inside, and don’t have any obvious dings or fractures which are to be fixed.
Keeping a clean car doesn’t really cost any money, just a little bit of time and effort. In fact it usually saves people money, just like servicing a car does. Sure, cars get smashed, need repairs and are generally a necessary expense and not an asset. But like all things, delays in making it right will have a compound effect. Dints which aren’t fixed get rusty. Unserviced cars break down more often. Trying to save money letting your car go, just costs money in the long run. People with unbroken lives know this. It also has an important impact on your own self worth and psyche. Not to mention other peoples opinions of you, rightly or wrongly.
Show me an adult with a broken car, and I’ll show you a person with a broken life. (students are the exception)
Below is a classic example. Both cars of similar style and age. The first is owned by a person with a broken life, the other with by a person with a great attitude.
Do the test for a week or two. Assess the people you know and the state of their vehicle. It tells a very clear story.
Startup blog says take pride in all you do and all you own and your life will be better.