The New World Order War

Every major shift in human “world order” was disputed in a war.

Many, many wars changed the world’s balance of power, but just to name a few:

World War II marked the end of the British Empire and USA’s take over, The Battle of Waterloo was the end of Napoleon and the Roman Empire ended… well, that’s complicated because they had a bunch of wars.

In case you’re not aware, we’re in a few wars right now, like the ‘endless’ Middle East war or the (still) quiet one where China is pushing to dominate the world. But there’s also a different kind of war behind the scenes, or underground if you will, and it’s not (only) about the big dog’s fighting for world dominance.

This war started with the Internet and changed how people interact with each other. This led to communities forming outside of cities and countries. It allowed humans to communicate and organize differently.

People that never met in person could now come together based on beliefs, culture or common interests – without physical borders. It’s like a new way to form a country without being stuck in the divided culture and political mayhem of the “real world” location.

There was only one thing that differentiated the “digital countries” from the real ones: economy. Because a community, with its own rules (laws) and a currency, can basically act like a country.

This all changed in 2009, on Jan. 3 when the Bitcoin network launched. Many people missed it until recently (I’m still crying every day) but even more missed its underlying importance.

Bitcoin is not just a digital currency or a store of value. It’s a decentralized permissionless network. A network of people, not institutions. There is no one to issue bitcoin, control it and or devalue it through inflation.

This allows humans for the first time ever to own property they can control without intermediaries. No banks, no states, no ex, not even death can mess with it without permission – and boy “they” hate it.

They hate it because it is democracy without the need for centralized power (like the state).

They hate it because DEFI (decentralized finance) takes back the control of banks and reduce the cost of value transfer to almost zero.

They hate it because blockchain technology allows people to own their digital identity and data, making it impossible to be monetized without permission.

They hate it because it allows for information to be distributed without censorship.

And finally, they hate it because it’s the only property one can hold the keys to and literally take to the grave… forever.

Drama aside, why is that important?

To figure it out, just zoom out to see the big picture: every empire’s rise, decline and the wars in between where about controlling property in a form or another. Whether it’s land or resources.
And when people became property and/or resources, they had to be owned too.

That’s where we are today. Owned by banks, corporations or the state. Controlled more and more, censured, divided to be conquered, ready to cut each other’s trouts for being left or right, carnivore or vegetarian, … vaxed or unvaxed.

This is not the first time we fight this kind of war, but it might be the first time we have the means to win it.

Just look around and be a better human being.
It’s the only way to win The New World Order War.

Order and Chaos

Real success isn’t about creating a business or making money.
It’s building a system that can manage the chaos of life. One that can bring order to the chaos around AND inside you.

You can’t learn the whole system from others.
Sure, you could borrow some ideas, some principles to get you started, but in the end you would have to build it yourself. Then you would have to test it – do real R&D on life itself to see if it holds.

It’s like the crash testings they do on cars. You won’t gonna get any meaningful insights if you barely dent the spoiler. You need to hit it hard.

That’s how the REAL successful people did it, too. They had a rough life, developed a system, ordered the chaos and then crash tested it. Again and again… until they learned to build a better life. Check JEWEL if you need real life proof.

It’s why taking it easy and nurturing yourself won’t cut it. An easy life won’t get you the chance to improve, to harden your system. Here is the formula, if you like simple math:

EASY LIFE = WEAK SYSTEM = LAME LIFE.

Now, if you weren’t “lucky” to get a rough ride, but still want to succeed, there is only one thing you can do: roughen it up yourself and do hard shit on purpose.

That’s the only way to get it right.

Intentions

Get this: there are two kinds of intentions. The ones you just say and the ones you truly mean.

If you say you want to be healthy and productive but then relax and watch a movie till 1 am, your true intention was to relax not to have a good sleep in order to be at your best the next day.

There is nothing wrong with relaxing or watching a movie, but telling apart your true intentions from declarations is critical. Otherwise, you are just fooling yourself.

You will always execute your true intentions, not your declarations. Kinda like politicians, but unknowingly. That’s when you end up saying I tried loosing weight, but I couldn’t or give up smoking, but it didn’t work.

Don’t fool yourself. The results of your actions will tell the truth.

Because:

“Your results will always match your true intentions”

The Passion Test by J. B. & C. Attwood

What is clarity and why it’s going to predict your success?

If you boil down success or failure, you will always get to clarity.

Take any of the successful people, and you will find they knew what they had to do.

They also stuck to that clear vision even when others called them crazy. They didn’t care because they had clarity.

Having that level of clarity is like having a compass or a blueprint: do this and get there.
It’s predictable, it’s clear, it’s easy for your mind to follow through.

It’s also why you won’t get distracted.

Distraction is nothing but your mind hunting for the next clear thing to do.

Because the clearest path is the easiest one. And, just like everything in nature, your mind and therefore your actions will follow the path of less resistance.

Remember those times when you could deeply focus on something, ignoring the world around you? That focus came from clarity.

Now go get really clear about your path, and you will get results.

The clearer, the better.

Evolution 1 0 1

Evolution is learning from experiences.

Without learning, you would have to relive the experience.

Without experiences, you wouldn’t have what to learn from.

Such a simple and elegant design, jet, so many don’t get it: without experiences and learning, there is no evolution.

If you can learn, even the tiniest amount, you can be better after every experience.

Therefore, if you would pass when given the chance to have a unique experience, wouldn’t that leave you a bit stupid?

And if you would pass on one of the most significant experiences you could have in your life, how would that leave you?

Stupid as fuck!

Ideation

“The purpose of thinking is to let the ideas die instead of us dying.”

― Alfred North Whitehead

This is perfectly true only if you don’t account for people’s tendency to overdo it.

A lot of us – myself included – tend to overthink, transforming idea-slaughtering into some kind of odd hobby.

While eliminating stupid ideas is fine, and playing with thoughts can be a good mental exercise, it becomes counterproductive if it hinders you in bringing ideas to life. It can slow you down, it can even immobilize you.

It’s a mind-trap you can escape from, only if you are smart enough to understand that doing nothing is far worse than fruiting bad ideas.

Ideas need to be turned into actions!

Because only actions have the power to build a good life.

The Plan

Business is not your life.
It’s just a piece of your life, a good way to generate value in your lifetime.

You won’t be able to make a good plan for your business if it’s not aligned with the plan of your life.

But you can’t plan your life, if you don’t know what you want to accomplish by the end of your life.

If you don’t know what you want to accomplish by the end of your life, you can’t make a long-term plan.

If you don’t have a long-term plan, you can’t make a five-year plan.

If you don’t have a five-year plan, you can’t plan the year.

If you can’t plan the year, you can’t plan the month.

If you can’t plan the month, you can’t plan the week.

If you can’t plan the week, you can’t plan the day.

If you don’t plan the day, you’ll wander aimlessly, confused and stressed.

If you wake up every morning and don’t have a plan, you can only react, not build.

If you can’t build every day towards your goals, you’ll waste the week.

If you waste the weeks, you waste the months.

If you waste the months, you waste the years.

If you waste the years, you waste your life.

If you waste your life, you will die in regret.

Regret without a second chance is hell.

Without a plan, you will go to hell.

Reflections

People are like mirrors: they will reflect back.

There are mirrors that make you look thin. Others will make you look fat.
Some will reflect a different color while others will reflect at an angle.

There are also the broken ones, where every piece will reflect something different, forming weird kaleidoscopes, making it almost impossible to recognize yourself in it.

Here and then you will also find crystal clear mirrors but fail to recognize them as such. If you stared to long at distorted reflections of yourself, you might be surprised and say: “Hey, I’m not like this! This mirror is distorting”. Kinda like when you hear your own voice recordings, but with visuals.

A number of people will be… versatile and have more sides on their mirror, able to swap reflections and play with angles as they see fit, while others will remain rigid and choose to only reflect images in one particular direction, no mater what.

Throughout their lives, people collect mirrors that will make them look good. It’s how they can live with themselves without needing to change. “Able to look yourself in the eyes”… they say choosing the mirrors upon comparing with their own unfaithful self-image and conveniently reflecting at an angle other peoples distorted reflections through their own distorted mirror. Distorted distortions. Good luck making sense of life or ever having the chance to see ones true self!

But without seeing the truth, how will we ever improve our lives?
By lying to ourselves?

Let’s reflect on that!

Order

Discipline and order go hand in hand.

It takes discipline to stay organized and if you stay organized, you will have it easier to stay disciplined.

But you can’t have order without rules. You need to know where to put all the stuff around you or you will soon be in the middle of a chaotic tornado. That is true for objects, thoughts and actions alike.

Rules are strategic precommitments: you set up a shelf and commit that it’s going to be for books. Putting pickle jars there too, won’t be considered a good strategy. But the real power comes when you extend good strategic rules to actions. Knowing in advance what you’ll do if something happens is so much easier than just blindly reacting in the moment. You only get angry when taken by surprise. If you know that something bad might happen and you have set a rule on how to act, you won’t have any reason to get upset.

Expect the unexpected is a good rule. Don’t get angry is another one. Stay disciplined, don’t steal, don’t lie, be polite, never be late, help other people…

Good rules will get you good results.

If you commit to a set of good rules, you will have a good life. It’s that easy.

Personal Development & Discipline

This is a continuation of my previous post on discipline. Scroll down or click here to read it.

Personal development isn’t egoistic. It is the best life strategy.

Don’t be ashamed to take time for yourself and to invest in your own development. I’m not talking about video-games here.

Whatever higher goals you have set in your life, being it saving the world, financial success or carrying for your family, you won’t be able to achieve them without first doing some upgrades on yourself. Higher goals demand higher energy, both mental and physical.

Without personal development, the high end, high-energy tasks needed to succeed in life, will only lead to burnout and ulcers. And how is that going to help anyone? You might end up needing help yourself.

A high-performance life without personal development is like racing the Formula 1 with a 5-door sedan. It’s going to go off-track, blow up and burn in ashes.

I’ve recently talked about discipline. It is a superpower. And it’s not an optional one if you want any kind of success. Take any of the high performers you know – like Michael Jordan or Schwarzenegger – and you will see that discipline was what propelled them on top of the world.

By the way, it works the other way around too: without discipline you won’t be able to achieve anything. It takes discipline to learn to walk, talk, write, be healthy, make money, have a long-lasting relationship… be a successful human being.

I’m sure you know in great detail how disciplined you are. Or better said, where you lack discipline. Please don’t shame yourself if you’re not doing great. Don’t associate discipline with punishing yourself or with other negative thoughts. It will only make it worse.

Also, if you’re not like mofo Goggins don’t try to be suddenly disciplined with big tasks. You might fail so bad that you will lose momentum and never try again. That’s the worst! Not trying again, I mean.

Instead, try to sneak in small changes that alter your behavior. Give yourself a bit of time to adapt.

Think of discipline as intentional habit training. You will need to enforce discipline until it becomes a habit. That’s roughly a month of repeated – and enforced – behavior. Once you are confident it has become a habit, upgrade it, but only push the boundaries a bit. Not as much as to disrupt your habit. You don’t up your daily 10-minute walk to a HURT 100 Trail Run: if you’ll need weeks to recover, your whole habit building is down the toilet.

So, as you see, discipline is also related to patience. Discipline is patient habit training. It also needs to be consistent.

Now after reading the above, don’t think that you will only have to be disciplined for a month until a habit was formed. It sure gets easier as time passes but discipline isn’t a one-time game. Maintaining habits takes discipline too. That’s also why you constantly have to push boundaries. The higher level you achieve, the fewer chances are you’ll give up on a good habit: if you have trained yourself to run ultramarathons, you most likely won’t fall back to pizza and gaming.

Discipline is also rewarding. Once you consciously implement a good habit – even the smallest one – and can maintain it without great effort you will be proud of yourself. That (repeated) good feeling will reinforce your inner reward system making it easier to amp your game and form new good habits.

So, here is a simple plan for you to start small. Don’t push to hard against your comfort limit… at first.

One good (and easy) habit to develop is stretching before you go to bed and after waking up. Make it 5 minutes or less. No push-ups or other “hard” stuff. Just stretching in all directions. It will relax you for a good night sleep and open you up for a new good day. Every day.

This kind of small habit-forming exercises will not only make you feel good but will also train your will power. Marinate this in a lot of patience and I can guarantee you will see progress. Not right away, but add more good habits and when you’ll look back in a year or so, you will be proud of yourself.

Start today!

The Most Valuable Asset In Your Life

Scarcity is considered high value. That’s why gold and diamonds are so expensive.

Now translate this to humans.

Wouldn’t it be great if you would have something that is scarce and would almost guarantee your success in life?

How about if it is something that you can develop yourself and no-one can take from you once you acquired it?

You don’t need any money to get it but you can make money using it.

People would admire you for having it. Some will envy you.

It’s a superpower.

It’s in reach and it ain’t fancy… yet it is scarce.

It’s not the Holy Grail… or is it?

You might know it as discipline. I’ll say it’s a mindset in disguise. A decision you would have to commit to.

It is for sure the key to a great life.

Before You Start

Waiting for something special to happen before you start?

The perfect plan, the perfect setup, the perfect logo, the perfect constellation alignment? Are you constantly delaying actions, procrastinating, finding other priorities?  How many things did you put on your “need this to start” list?

Are you telling yourself nice stories to support all the above?

Congratulations! You are one of the billions who do the same every day. And you are going towards a life full of regrets, depression and suffering.

But here is what you need to understand: you can’t just stand there and expect things to get better on their own. You can’t expect others to come drag you out of your misery. You need to move away from suffering and take action in order to initiate change. Action ends suffering!

So, what’s holding you back? Why are you building all those obstacles to block your start?
Why can people like Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates start in a garage and you can’t?

It’s fear. Because if you wouldn’t have been afraid of it, you would have done it already.
And this is actually good.

Because here is the thing: being fearless is stupid – dangerous even – and choosing stuff you’re not afraid of, is lazy and boring. None of those will get you from one of the billions to one of the greats.

It’s overcoming fear what separates the ones from the others.

The bigger the fear, the greater the chance.

When Shit Happens

Most of us can handle some little shit (💩) coming our way here and then.

As long as the problems come one by one or it doesn’t happen to often, we can handle even bigger ones and say that this is just life’s way of keeping us alert, and we can usually deal with it.

When shit hits the fan is when we fret.

Suddenly, there is shit in all forms, consistencies and shapes flying around, hitting us from all sides at once.

That’s when we feel overwhelmed  and when life seems to be unfair. It’s when we feel trapped, uncapable to react, afraid to make any move that might trigger more shit.

That’s also the time when we start blaming others.

But wasn’t that our shit in the first place?

Platforms

Do you have something valuable to say but your message doesn’t get through? It’s because most people are already in some conversation, therefore you won’t get their attention.

Imagine yourself in the middle of a huge crowd. A sea of people talking, arguing, some even screaming. Do you want to be heard? Do you want people to pay attention to your valuable message? Do you want your message to spread?

Then, you better start talking.

At first, no-one will listen. No need to panic and start yelling but if you want some attention, you should have a clear and powerful voice. You should talk with passion.

Passion is very powerful. It has energy. This special energy will fuel your actions,  improve your talk and will make people turn heads.

If your message is interesting some will start eavesdropping and even stop their own conversation to be able to hear you. At first the ones closer to you.

For a while you need to be very consistent… and insistent. It’s the only way to show you mean it.
Some time will pass…

You have been talking for a while now. Your voice had some good training. It is clear, powerful, confident, full of passion. You can’t be ignored. Not because you have the loudest voice, but because others turned towards you, listening.

The fact that others listen to you will generate a mix of frustration and curiosity – not the ideal feeling you want to convey, but at first useful if it gets you more attention. They first have to listen in order to understand what you are saying.

If you keep going, this will start to spread. Not alone your message… at first, but also the intriguing fact that others are listening to you. People care a lot about social proof.

If you are good, the people closer to you will start pointing in your direction. Spread your message even, repeat it for the ones who are not close enough to hear it directly. Your message might even get viral.

If you are really good, someone will help you climb on some object so that more people can hear you. It might be just a chair or a table, but no mater how small, it will be your first platform. Blogs are platforms too.

If you continue to be great and deliver value, more and more people will want to hear your message. At some point, table-like platforms will reach their limits.

Some listeners further away might even dislike your platform and gesticulate their feelings of frustration demanding the improvement of your reach.

“I hate Facebook! I like Instagram. Why doesn’t She use LinkedIn?” they say.

If you are fantastic, you will find yourself pushed higher and higher so that you can reach more and more people. It might be a podium, a big stage even. Just higher and bigger platforms amplifying your voice, putting spotlights on you.

At this level you will have learned all the platforms and start using them accordingly to your audience. Social media, podcasts, TV shows, whatever it takes. A book is a platform too, you know?

Time will pass again.

You are now a leader in your industry and your point of view is highly appreciated – surprisingly, even on totally unrelated topics.

You have influenced your generation. How amazing is that considering you just started talking with passion in the middle of a crowd not so long ago?

Your message has become the work of your life. You have changed lives.

At some point you will have to ask yourself if all this will die with you or if your work has enough value for the generations to come. True value, not ego!

If the latter is true, it will become your duty to teach, to mentor, to reach in time, to touch the next generation To build the ultimate platform. A platform on which other peoples platforms are built.

A platform that builds a better future for all.

Make Time

You can’t actually make time. You can’t manufacture or multiply it. You can’t even make it up.

Making time is just another unfortunate word entanglement we easily throw around without understanding the deeper meaning. For this reason, so many people end up saying “I don’t have time”.

Maybe we say that because deep down we know we can’t actually make time.

You can’t make time! You can only steal time.

And you can only steal from one activity and use it for another.

The way you steal, where you steal it from and what you use it for is an art in itself.

It’s an art that all successful people seem to have mastered damn well.

Maybe you should “make time” to master it too.

Fill The Void Of Your Life

There is a quantity of well-being everyone needs in their lives.

You will feel miserable if you won’t reach your quota and won’t stop searching until you satisfy the need.

Some will get that good feeling from relationships, religion, business or sports, but the most won’t really commit to such complex endeavors and will instead reach for shortcuts.

Alcohol, smoking, even bad eating habits… are just ways to patch the void.

What most won’t realize, is that voids can’t be filled with short moments of satisfaction.

That is also why chasing happiness is the wrong approach.

Some happy moments here and there are precious but won’t get you the life you want. Inevitably you will end up with a lot of empty spots.

Because happiness is bliss, short, intense.  Great firework that doesn’t last.

It can’t fill all the emptiness on it’s own. It can’t FILL UP YOUR WHOLE LIFE.

What you need is a steady , long-lasting, deeply satisfying energy. That worm feeling in your soul that can put a day-long smile on your face. Every day.

That is fulfillment.

Fulfillment is trickier than happiness. It’s not that jerk off type of quick fix. It’s deeply anchored in your core and it only thrives on meaning.

The best way to get there is a growth mindset and knowing what you really enjoy doing. Now go do that and bust your ass to get extremely good at it. The best if possible. That will be your superpower.

Now go be a superhero and use your power to help other people, to make their lives better.

That’s how you will reach fulfillment.

Does it last for a lifetime? It can and it usually does.

You will feel fulfilled as long as your core doesn’t change. Until your soul doesn’t find meaning elsewhere. If that ever happens, don’t panic. Just rinse and repeat.

But don’t ever let the void be your life.

Safe to click

A way to change the world

As a hole, people are curious creatures but at individual level you will often encounter a lot of resistance towards the new.

Take links for example: you usually don’t click them if you’re not clear about where they’ll take you.

It’s the reason why most web designers will stick to the rules and place your logo in the top left corner, will have the menu top right and will populate it in a classic manner: About, Services, Products, Contact even in this exact order.

The same will be true if you are naming your products or your book. You will get more engagement if, instead of using abstract notions, your titles just spell it out and everyone is clear about the subject.

That is, if you are not a celebrity in your space, like Seth Godin is in marketing. He can get away with book titles like “Purple Cow” and “Meatball Sundae” or with an unusual blog format.

Why? How? He’s set expectations upfront. His reputation, his other good books, and his bold actions, like shipping “Purple Cow” in a milk Carton (story here: https://seths.blog/2007/03/purple_cow_redu/) have already primed the buyers.

Even so, he didn’t risk colliding with people’s reluctance to new stuff. He distributed the first batch for free (except shipping costs), and had a small subtitle saying: “Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable”… aka he spelled it out.

Do you see what’s going on?

You need to be remarkable to stand out from the crowd but you also need to overcome resistance to the new.

Seth’s “Purple Cow” is great example but just look around and you’ll find a lot more. Take Musk’s Tesla: he overcame resistance with a remarkable super fast electric sports car.

It changed the world.

Is your product remarkable and “safe to click”?

10X Wealth Mind Shift

Growth is a fundamental human need, and you will be chronically unhappy until you satisfy it. Without growth, you will feel unfulfilled and the moment you stop developing, you’ll start dying.

Growth is progress. It requires action.

To generate action, you need a growth mindset. That means shifting a fixed mindset like “I can’t do this” – which doesn’t generate action but depression – to “I can’t do this YET” – which leaves a door open and generates a question: “What do I have to do to be able to…?”.

The answer to this question generates action.

Action is change.

The degree to which you shift your mindset is also crucial.
There is a big difference in asking “What do I have to do to earn 10% more this year?” and “What do I have to do to 10X my earnings this year?”

The first question isn’t wrong, but it generates a different mindset and therefore a distinct set of solutions. It would generate answers like: “I have to be a bit better at that and do less of this”. The answers and actions would be for incremental improvements.

Get more a bit more efficient in some areas and you might do 10% better.

The 10X question is a whole different story: you don’t get 10X by slightly improving your processes. You get there by rethinking everything, by reinventing yourself, by coming up with unique solutions.

10X is a revolution, not a protest.

Would just changing a question make you 10X in a year? Probably not.
But by rethinking everything, you would have a chance to do 2X. A chance that never existed in the 10% improvement world.

2X means 100% improvement… instead of 10%.

And at least percentage wise, that is a 10X!

Choice

Working towards a potential future, one that we imagine, is what separates us from animals.
 
Animals react – we are able to anticipate and act with intention.
 
It is this super-power that enabled our evolution, and it is the only power that can save us from destroying our future.
 
Be health conscious now and you will have a long healthy life.
Grow a brand now and you will develop a future-proof business.
Protect the environment now to save the planet for our children.
 
It’s not easy.
 
We are going to feel the pain of discipline by doing the right things now,
or we are going to feel the pain of regret later, when it might be too late.
 
It’s a choice.

You Are NOT What You Eat

You are not fat because you eat fat!

Likewise, assholes don’t eat any… holes.

This myth, along with “breakfast is the healthiest meal of the day”, “fat causes heart disease”, “eat healthy cereals” and similar BS, is why we face this global worse-than-corona overweight pandemic.

Understand this: carbohydrates turn into glucose – the so called blood-sugar.

Glucose triggers insulin -otherwise you could die.

Insulin “commands” fat cells to get rid of the sugar – this becomes high priority.

Fat cells “absorb” sugar transforming it into fat – abuse this and you’ll be obese.

By the way, after some years of abuse, this system stops working properly.
Doctors call it diabetes.

Fact is that you can die on low fat but not on low carbs.
Another one is that you will perform better especially in your business by eating low-carb.

Now somebody please explain to me why some assholes promote low-fat and high carbs.

Discomfort

This world has forgotten the positive effects of discomfort.

Half the world is overweight because exercise and dietary restrictions aren’t comfortable.

Weak bodies and frail immune systems are what you get by avoiding cold and heat exposure.

And forget about mental toughness if you avoid failure or any kind of stress.

So why is discomfort perceived as dangerous when in fact it’s helping us become stronger?

Isn’t strength, health and mental power what we should strive for?

When has it become more important for people to feel good than to evolve?

Toughen up pussies!

Design Doctor

If you find yourself telling your doctor what to do, you either need to change the doctor or your attitude.
 
So, if you know more than your doctor about the illness, you should find a more specialized one or become one yourself.
 
If you’re not that good but still trying to tell others what to do, like micromanaging everyone, you are again in need of a specialist. A psychotherapist or a good coach.
 
Keep that example in mind the next time you as a business owner are visiting a designer.

Grow or die

Growth is a fundamental human need.

You will be chronically unhappy and unfulfilled until you satisfy it.

The moment you stop developing, you start dying and you are setting yourself up for a depressing life full of regrets.

You don’t want to reach the end of your life and realize you just wasted your time and are now about to die in vain.

I know people, even younger ones, who already gave up. They are in a bad place.

When asked, they describe void, lack of motivation and no desire to live.
Don’t ever allow yourself to reach that state, it’s tough to snap out.

Keep growing.

How To Shift Your Mindset

Your mindset will either make or break you.

Therefore, understanding and fixing your mindset is critical for anyone seeking success.

If you think “I can’t do this”, your mindset is called ‘fixed’ and you won’t have a chance to grow beyond that believe. If instead, you say “I can’t do this YET” you will not only set yourself up for growth but you will also have a direction for your action: “I have to do this, to get there”… and so, the CAN’T is gone! A tiny shift with huge benefits.

And that’s basically it: shift from fixed to growth mindset.
Just by taking a CAN’T and adding a YET, you give yourself a chance to achieve anything.

But there is something else you need to be aware of. It’s a trick your mind plays, one that might prevent you from identifying your CAN’Ts and therefore kill the opportunity to add the YET.

I’m talking about those actions that you unconsciously avoid doing. In fact, your mind is so tricky that you even avoid thinking about avoiding them. You simply… don’t do them and your mind silently sweeps the whole thing under the carpet. You don’t even get to the point of articulating a clear “I can’t”. As a result, you won’t put those tasks on your to-do’s or just end up procrastinating.
 
This is definitely preventing your growth.
 
To outsmart your own mind’s foxiness, you’ll have to honestly think about it. You need to identify the things you’re not doing and articulate them. Dig them out, write them down and find that deeply hidden self-doubt that’s sabotaging your actions. You have to get to the point where you hit the “I can’t” wall.
 
And once you identified your CAN’T just add YET… and outgrow it.

Design your business

Think of design as intention.
 
‘By design’ we say when something was purposefully crafted and didn’t happen by chance. It’s a way to predict results and to mitigate risks. We design the world around us to be able to control it and generate purpose.

Design is intention. It has purpose.

So should the looks and feels of your business be.

Designing the customer touchpoints of your business should never be left to chance. How you show up is a statement! So is the lack of design. It proves the lack of intention, purpose and knowledge.

If you didn’t bother to get at least a decent logo, business cards and a website, your statement is “I don’t give a fuck”.

Then why should I? If you don’t care about your business, how can I trust you to take care of mine?

Future-Proof Business

Teaching the principles of Future-Proof Businesses in the middle of a global pandemic is like describing the most delicious, decadent chocolate cake recipe to drooling hunger strikers.

But the timing isn’t really wrong – I’d bet you are paying attention now. More than ever, actually. Because if your business is in lockdown, almost dead, craving for the tiniest crumb… of revenue,  you probably have abundant time for self-reflection and for finding out what you could have done better and how to avoid it for the future.

So if you are stubborn enough to stay in business even in the strangest times, here’s a concise list of the ingredients you will need for the cake… I mean Future-Proof Business:

Know your WHY!

Your WHY is the foundation for everything else. It’s your motivation, your energy and the source for all your core values. It needs to be so high that everyone can see what you stand for and so sturdy that no calamity could touch it. A clear WHY gives you the choice to select and adapt your HOW. And there isn’t really a better way to survive and be future-proof than adapting and evolving.
Look for Simon Sinek if you want to seriously drill this into your head. He wrote the book on the subject and delivered the most famous Ted-talk ever.

Build a Brand!

It should be a no-brainer, but just in case, let me tell you how the cookie crumbles. A brand represents the sum of people’s perception of a company’s behavior, promises, looks and services/products.

It’s about their feelings and your reputation.

You have to make sure it’s coherent and reflects your core values – see how you already need your WHY? The Brand – if properly constructed – is there to remind everyone what you stand for. It’s how you are perceived by the world. Do it right and you will have followers. Stay consistent and you will have support even when the world seems to turn upside-down.
How to build a brand is a huge topic and you shouldn’t leave it to chance, but rather seek help or at least teach yourself. Turning vision into strategy is an art. Stick around and I promise I will drill the subject in your head.
Nevertheless, a remarkable brand is a must for any future-proof business.

Become a leader and develop a personal brand!

I really can’t separate these two because together they form a strong team and a big difference in how tall you stand in the darkest times. It’s also not the “paid influencer that sells you crap” kind of personal brand.
I mean the real deal leadership, trustworthy people, that special breed people like and look up to. The ones that seem to be able to make anything happen. I’m sure you know a few, but here is a short selection of the finest: Tony Robbins, Richard Bronson, Elon Musk. They have proven consistently what they stand for, what they are capable of.
I don’t say you have to build rockets and go to Mars to be a leader. You can be a pillar of your community, a rock in the waves for your team, or stand out like a shining beacon in the sadness of mediocrity.
I argue that carrying for others and consistently showing up, earns trust. The kind of trust that gives leader-owned businesses an edge over their competition, even when the economy shivers. You buy from people you trust, right?

Diversify!

As in ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’. Here is where the WHY comes again to save your ass. Now enough about anatomy. Let’s better use a global pandemic lockdown example.

If your WHY is high and clear enough – something like ‘delivering tasty food to the world’ – you get a lot of flexibility to play with. So if you start this outstanding mission by opening a small pizza shop in your neighborhood – and have to close doors because of some new Corona 5.3 type of virus – having this overarching WHY, gives you the flexibility to go online, to cater, to deliver coffee every morning, to make birthday-cakes if you feel like it, or to invent some new trend-setting food, like the Croissant-Muffins called Crussins. And if you are really committed, you could make the Star Trek Replicator become a reality and save humanity from hunger too. Because your promise is ‘delivering tasty food to the world’ not ‘making pizza for my neighborhood’. If you are just the pizza-shop down the corner, you’ll get raised eyebrows if you suddenly deliver chocolate cakes.

Here is a tip on how to diversify: look for the kill-switches of your current business – simulate scenarios, be a pessimist for a while – and come up with ideas that don’t have the same kill-switch. Branch out, but be coherent with your WHY, your message, your brand, your reputation and people will buy goodies from you even if they don’t have mozzarella and pepperoni topping.

Predict the future!

I know crystal globes don’t work, that’s a mutant ability… duh! One that you need to evolve and take control of. But some future tendencies don’t even require mutant powers. I mean, anyone can foresee how electric cars will change the world. Then, you should always observe and quantify trends. Not like you have to be trendy all the time if your business doesn’t require it, but rather make out the direction, triangulating trends if you’re a geek. What do those trends have in common? Where could that lead us? What will they change? Who will be affected?
You don’t want to miss the next disrupting technology like the car, the airplane or the internet, for example. Two reasons I give you for this: first, you could miss huge opportunities, and second, your business could be wiped out by new technologies or trends. So, if future-proof is your thing, keep an open eye on the world.

Be able to sustain!

This is a huge topic for me and it’s all about the long-term. You are not the opportunist kind of “make a quick buck”, “hit-and-run”, “after me, the flood” type, I hope. If by any chance, hit the X in the right-top corner, because my wisdom is not for you.

You can look at any action through the lens of sustainability: if you’re not healthy and able to deliver the energy, you can’t sustain your journey, if you’re not a leader, you can’t sustain a team, if you don’t make profit, you won’t sustain anything in the long-run. See how you need to check all the points above if you want to be able to sustain your business? 

But if you spend a deep thought on sustainability, you also have to consider the environment. You can’t call your business future-proof and in no way sustainable if you fuck up the planet and the generations to come! It could be as “small” as improperly discharging waste and thus harming your community, or as big as extracting and selling the limited resources of the planet  – both would count as long-term unsustainable in my book and therefore not clearly future-proof.

And finally…

We’ve covered the main ones but I feel like ranting a bit more on the overall meaning of business. First, do me a favor. If “It’s just business” ever surfaced your lovely mind, please slap your face right now! That is one of the stupidest things to say if you actually care about the future of your business.

Business is made by people for people. Slap yourself again so you don’t forget it.

Because there are three kind of people YOU HAVE TO CARE for, if you ever want to future-proof your business: the people who pay for your services and products, the people on your team, and the people who started the whole endeavor –  I mean you. Care about the people you serve/sell to, and they will care back, help your team grow, and they will help you grow.

As for you, I think it’s obvious: it all starts and ends with you! That’s why you really need to take care of yourself. You need to be a raw model, passionate, healthy, energetic and full of joy. It’s the only way to build a future-proof business.
  
Feel free to hit me with your questions if you think your business isn’t as future-proof as it should and subscribe to my newsletter if you enjoy my fancy way of putting things in perspective. It’s free and the whole package comes with a no-BS-future-proof guarantee.

Positioning Fetish

Stating “The client is always right” is like volunteering for slavery. It’s diminishing.

If that’s your fetish you should visit another kind of site. My fetish is to help YOU be the dominator in your business.

It is a positioning problem. It shows that you desperately chase your clients and that you rely on luck to close a deal. It tells how rare prospects find you attractive, or proves that you are just a commodity. That there are many like you, that the client has a lot of alternatives and that you only survive by competing on price.

This fetish is expensive and not sustainable long term. It eats your soul.

Instead, you could be in a position where YOU are always right. Where the client chases you to solve a problem and where you are the best solution.

For this to happen, you need to figure out the problem you want and can solve for a specific group of clients. How unique and stringent the problem, and also how narrow the group of people confronted with that problem is, will determine your success.

THEY have the problem! You have the solution! If that’s not stupidly clear for everyone, you need to reposition.

When that’s done, you just need to make yourself visible. To reliably show up in all those places where the clients can see you.
And let THEM chase you.

Now, what is that going to do for your pricing? How about your soul?

Fake it ’til you make it

Fake it ’til you make it is one of those ‘like and hate’ expressions. I particularly don’t like the negative connotation of the word fake. I don’t like fake people! But just like many other sayings, this one hides a useful truth behind the unfortunate wording.
 
To make a point, I’ll jump right into some neuroscience-voodoo, but without the fancy terminology.
 
Out of the many entities living inside us, we’ll focus on two that live on opposite ends of the spectrum. The first is what I call the ‘autopilot’ and that’s the one in charge of body functions… mainly. It’s the one that likes working in the background without making too much noise about it. It’s the one that needs to coordinate every muscle, listen to sensory feedback and make adjustments every time some action that needs to happen. You couldn’t wipe your ass without this one.
 
What I find interesting in this fancy neuroscience lecture is the automatic feedback-correction-loop. Once some action is started, there is this forth and back, echo like signaling, where the autopilot listens to sensory input, corrects the action if needed, listens again, adjusts, listens… Just balance on one leg for a minute to see it in action.
It’s not easy to synchronize thousands of muscles AND body functions at the same time. Lucky for us the autopilot does a fairly good job, and we don’t shit ourselves while tieing our shoelaces. Most of the time.

Another big thing on this robot’s to-do list, is reaction. To listen and quickly react on stuff coming from our sensors. It needs to take action way before all other lazy ass inner entities even notice what’s going on.
Considering all the surrounding chaos, it’s a restless responsibility for the poor robot. That’s why evolution had to trade smartness for efficiency in this case and evolve a separate system for the thinking part. That’s why only Dalai Lama-level gurus get to consciously control their heart-rate. Normal folks wouldn’t survive a day without the dumber, unconscious autopilot.
 
The second entity invited on today’s show is… drum roll… the conscious one. The I, I, me, me, me that supposedly is in charge of the whole spectacle called life. It can also trigger actions but doesn’t have a clue about how those get executed by the autopilot. It’s the “I don’t care, just do it” kind of asshole boss.
 
If this smarty-pants decides to go for a run, the autopilot needs to do the hard work and coordinate the one-two, one-two of your gluteal muscles – a. k. a. your buttocks.

It can listen to or ignore the sensory input (at least until you step on that Lego) and it can get the poor robot in serious trouble by making really poor decisions. This conscious MOFO can even outsmart the other one and is first-hand responsible for the ‘fake’ in our story. We’ll use that!

This two don’t always get along, but there are situations where they work seamlessly together – almost like one. Jokes are a good example. The understanding off and reaction to a funny situation requires a hell of a team work. Even a smile isn’t easy to pull off. It is part conscious work, part reaction, and remember that feedback-loop we addressed earlier? It’s fully in action for that smile to happen, synchronizing hundreds of tiny muscles, getting feedback, correcting, getting feedback… so you don’t end up grinning like an idiot. Well, this doesn’t always work flawlessly, but you know what I mean.

Now that you understand the relationship between this two a bit better, lets get to the useful stuff.

Because your inner robot can’t initiate on its own and just reacts to input – why I call it autopilot – it can also be tricked fairly easy by the other one. So if YOU – the conscious – decide to smile without any sensory input, for no reason what so ever, the autopilot will execute the movement without ‘knowing’ if the hilarious situation is real or not, hence the ‘fake’ in our saying. YOU, the puppet-master, will decide how big of a smile you want to show on your face and the autopilot will try to make it happen by comparing signals from your face nerves to the kind of smile that YOU imagined. Compare, adjust, compare, adjust… you could use a mirror to help your robot get it right AND to avoid some rally funny faces.

But wait, there is more! When you laugh and even when you smile, the autopilot reduces the production of stress hormones and amps up endorphins that can relieve physical pain and boost the antibody-producing cells. It also releases dopamine, which creates a sense of euphoria. This plays a significant role in our motivation to continue the behavior and sometimes starts a hard to control loop. The ‘ROFLMAO’ describes this process elegantly.

Because your autopilot can’t help itself, it will release a microdose of all those happy juices, even if YOU consciously fake the smile or laughter.

You basically get high on your own supply by tricking the autopilot to produce the dope for you. That’s not to say, you’re ‘stoned like a gravel road’ or ‘higher than giraffe pussy’ just by putting up a stupid smile. Far from it. That wouldn’t be so practical either, especially if you don’t like those long-sleeve restraining jackets. Yet, the chemistry is there – in small amounts, just like a microdose. And this adds up.

As a result, you’d end up smiling a lot more, as well as feel better overall. People would notice that and would more often smile back to you, which again would add up to your wellness, release more dopamine and also reinforce the loop.

See how easy it is to transform grumpiness into pleasant appearance? To generate joy and well-being? Smile.

And here’s a bonus you can use if you’re smart – and I bet you are! In the beginning – until you get the snowball big enough to roll on its own – you can train in some triggers. Like a discrete sound programmed on your phone or smartwatch every hour. Or every time you see something, like when you see your kid or your other half. Anything that will remind you to move those mouth corners toward your ears would work just fine.

Now, if you really want to go hardcore, you could even ‘tie’ this grinning therapy to some action. Maybe something you try to improve. Maybe even actions you don’t enjoy as much. Take work-outs, for example. And before you know it, there is a smiling hulk walking among us.

See how you could improve your life and that of the people around you?

Now go out there and fake it ’til you make it!

Searching It

I know you are looking for some answers, for a magic bullet even. You’ve searched around, tried so many things, but you still can’t find the answer. Everything you’ve tried has got you a bit further, but every time you also realized that it wasn’t what you were looking for. You felt stuck and started the search again.
 
You have that urge to keep searching. Because you can feel it’s there. It has to be! You felt that more than once.
 
Like the times you got so excited about that new thing and believed that this could be it. Something you could do for the rest of your life. That’s why you tuck that path and also why you did such a good job. At least for a while. Then, you noticed the flows, the ugly side, the one that you couldn’t ever enjoy doing. And just like a quick fire, it only had enough energy to get you started. Then it died. Suddenly you knew: That wasn’t it. Again.
 
It’s not wrong to keep searching, but time is limited, you know?!?
 
You could be well beyond your midlife and look back without feeling shame. Knowing you have done a good job, knowing you lived a decent life. The people around you see it too. They know you always do a good job. They recognize you are above average. Still, everybody agrees: That’s not it.
 
Because if it would be IT you wouldn’t be just above average. You would be one in a hundred. Part of the 1% of remarkably successful humans. Those are the ones that found it – most of them in their younger years. They recognized it, accepted it, build upon it.
 
Sometimes we call it talent, sometimes passion. We might even think it’s madness. It’s that powerful!
 
You can see it in their eyes, how they light up when talking about it.
People who have it are tenacious and confident. Their level of energy is contagious. Their achievements are exceptional. Nothing stands in their way. And that is the first clue: they HAVE a way. They know where they want to go and what they want to accomplish. Their life has a purpose, a direction, a mission. You don’t.
 
How this people found their talent, their passion, their madness doesn’t seem to follow a clear pattern. Some of them woke up and saw it after a trauma quaked their existence while others developed out of a rough life with the determination to make the world a better place. There are also those who were lucky to find it on their own or had a supporting family that recognized and nurtured their talent. 
 
But the key to a fulfilling and successful life is self-awareness. Passion alone is not enough.

You need to understand how your passion drives you, what it does, where does it take you and how to take advantage of that energy. Without self-awareness, you lack the knowledge and the tools. You wouldn’t be even aware of your mission and you’d just waste your energy.

Without self-awareness, you could even stumble upon your inborn talent and deny it, leaving you empty… searching for a lifetime.

Become Smarter Now

Your mind is ready to start become smarter now. It’s designed to do this on its own. Just by processing the sensory input, by thinking about a subject, by exploring an idea in your mind, you become smarter. It’s figuring by its own how things work. The one fucking up this process is you!

You are constantly working against your own progress. If I can get you to stop at least some of the mind-fuckery, you will become smarter by the day. Every day. And by adding a few simple tricks, I promise this will add up and change your life.

When thinking about the time your brain is awake, you can roughly break it in two: input time and processing time.

The input part is assured: there is a lot going on around us and our senses will automatically make sure you receive information all the time. In fact, it’s really hard not to.

The quality of your input material is to be considered, but shouldn’t be your main focus. At least not as much as the processing of information. Here is why: If you take the time to process information, you can analyze, learn from and even filter out bad content. Any kind of learning is progress.

So in order to become smarter, your mind needs processing time. But how is this going to happen if you allocate so much time for input?

Take a moment to analyze your schedule: in the morning you are in a hurry, if you commute, you listen to a podcast, at work you …work, during breaks you check your socials, at home you take time for your family. If you ever have to wait for something, you check your social media accounts …again.

You intentionally fill up even the tiniest gap between your activities and increasingly, you also fill up the time during activities: How many times do you check your mail while working or scroll your Facebook page while eating? Do you take a shit without your phone anymore?!?

So overall when DO you allocate time for thinking? Time for processing information? Time to generate new ideas?

By keeping your mind busy all the time, by making sure you don’t ‘get bored’, by entertaining yourself, you’ll get a lot of input but won’t have much time left for processing: You don’t even take the time to think about the stuff on social media, you just mindlessly ingest it. Scroll ahead! Your brain likes that effortless, delicious and mostly dumb information.

It doesn’t like the processing part as much. Thinking uses energy. It takes effort.

Unfortunately, and comparable to muscle building, the effort is the one that drives progress. You know what happens if you overeat and don’t exercise. The same happens with your mind. If you feed it constantly, but don’t take the time to do the thinking, contemplate, connect the dots, in other words, ‘exercise’ your neurons, you can’t expect it to be other than sluggish and mindfully frigid.

This dumbness adds up too, you know?!?

Now, I’m sure you’re not the drooling while scrolling type. You wouldn’t be here, reading. Yet, there still might be room for improvement. Maybe you could purposefully allocate more time for thinking. Here is what I do:

Before I get out of bed, I meditate and, out of that calm state, I let my mind slide into an unrestricted exploration mode. Free to generate ideas, to elaborate on themes. There is no effort involved, no direction, I just let it happen. Usually this is how I end up with viewpoints for my content.

Before I start my office-hours, I take time to think about my schedule. I might even simulate a meeting in my head and try to foresee sore points that need special handling. I take notes and think on ways to improve the day. This way, I think my way through the day, instead of just reacting to unexpected situations, instead of letting it happen. Living with purpose is the name of this game.

If I’m taking a longer break, I take a walk. This is when the best thinking takes place. Darwin, Nietzsche and Aristotle are a few that described this process. It’s backed by science too.

In the evening, I shut down my screens. You can’t do much thinking while staring at screens. Instead, I read. Reading is a special type of input. The narrative materializes in your mind and you inevitably contribute on how the images develop in your head. If you’re not reading the last bullshit on earth, you will generate some useful thinking too, even AHA moments if the writing is good.

Before going to bed is also a good time for your neurons to unwind, to wrap up the day, to think about what you could have done better. To let all problems rest. This is also good for your sleep.

So if you think about it (pun intended), you will find plenty of ways to integrate thinking in your daily routine. Without stress, without forcing it. It’s not like working out, it’s more like reserving time for, allowing it to happen. And here is my promise: If you cut down screen time and add thinking time, you will become smarter. If you also add reading, walking and meditation to your good habits, it’s going to change your life.

There is no reason to not start thinking about thinking right now.

Freedom

Freedom is not the same as happiness. In some ways, it’s better.

Being free from financial burden, free from any obligation, free from disease and having freed your mind is like having happiness at your fingertips. You could just dip your fingers and lick’em whenever you’d feel like it.

Freedom is easier to grasp, easier to explain, easier to pursue. It’s not as abstract as happiness.

If it’s easier to understand, it’s easier to apply.

If you can apply freedom in every aspect of your life, you can bet it’s going to be a great ride.

You can put every action against freedom and let it guide your decisions: What sets me free? Become what my parents expect or what I dream? Let addictions drive me or be clean? Be healthy and strong or patched up by doctors? Getting a job or starting a business?

Financial freedom is a good start to train your inner dragon. By no means should this be your purpose in life: There are enough rich, unhappy motherfuckers out there. You won’t be free if money drives you!

Let freedom drive you!
If your life wouldn’t depend on money, what would it look like? What would you do if you wouldn’t have to work? What would you build? What would you create? How would you help others?

Would you be a better human being?

The 1% Rule for Guaranteed Success

Looking for guaranteed success? Here is 1 way that works in 99% of cases.

First, note that the wealth of the richest 1% population equals the wealth of the other 99%.

That means, only one percent are really successful and ninety-nine are not. So, one person out of a hundred does something that the other ninety-nine do not. So, in order to succeed, we need to identify WHAT the one percent does.

Fortunately, it’s easy to see WHAT the one in a hundred does, and you might have already tried it out. It’s the hard stuff. It’s all those things the other ninety-nine don’t enjoy doing:

  • The one does the hard work while the ninety-nine complain about light tasks.
  • The one becomes an entrepreneur while the ninety-nine choose safe jobs.
  • The one runs to the gym when the ninety-nine watch tv.
  • The one studies books when the ninety-nine scroll through social-media.
  • The one saves money when the ninety-nine waste it.
  • The one endures pain as the ninety-nine seek comfort.
  • The one takes risks as the ninety-nine demand security.
  • The one explores new paths while the ninety-nine take the same route.
  • The one can fast when the ninety-nine eat fast-food.
  • The one pulls off eighty-hour weeks while the ninety-nine complain about Mondays.

You get the idea. You know why you’re one… of the ninety-nine! We all know, or at least have a feeling of WHAT we should do. It’s the action that splits the one from the ninety-nine. It’s the DOING.

The one can do it. Ninety-nine find reasons not to.

Be the one.
Everything else will follow.

The Daily Vitamin

Although I’m not a doctor, I get to answer questions about taking vitamins every day. People want to get healthy, right?


It’s true, I absorbed tons of knowledge about nutrition over the years and I know a few neat tricks on the subject, but that’s not what I get asked. It’s just common sense stuff that – at least in my limited imagination – should be clear to everyone.

You won’t find medical advice here. Get yourself an open-minded doctor for that.

First, I find it encouraging that you are interested in your well-being and that you consider vitamins a part of it. Vitamins and minerals are essential micronutrients involved in every function of your body. By essential, I mean you can’t live without them, so making sure to get the right amount is a good strategy.

That doesn’t mean you should mindlessly swallow vitamins with a ‘just in case’ mindset!

Actually, you shouldn’t take any of them without confirming a deficiency. That is what Lab tests and doctors are for.

Not knowing what your body needs can’t be just covered by taking them all in multivitamin formulations. That’s not how it works.

I’m also pretty confident you can’t be deficient in all the stuff that’s on the label of a multivitamin bottle. You would be in serious trouble if that would be the case.

Some of those micronutrients are harmless if overdosed and get filtered out by healthy kidneys without you even noticing. “Expensive Pee” is the scientific term that describes it best.

The rest of them are the ones you should care more about. There are vitamins and minerals that can do some serious damage – and even kill you – if dosed carelessly.

And even if you can’t immediately feel the effect of a multivitamin, you are still playing with the chemistry of your body. That is especially true if you ingest some form of high dose synthetic supplement.

When whole foods are the source of our nutrients, we are generally safe. Nature has build in some ingenious self-regulating mechanisms to prevent disasters and I don’t mean poisonous mushrooms by that.

Take the apparently safe potassium as an extreme example. It’s a part of every living cell. Overdosing it from Avocados or bananas would be quite a task. You would have to eat around 400 bananas to get to a dangerous level. As a supplement though, you could in theory get the fatal dose in a pill.

Don’t fret now, potassium is pretty well regulated, but I hope you get the idea. Don’t supplement without making sure you know what you are doing.

The solution is obvious and disliked simultaneously. Eat healthy!

Before you start hating me forever, let me touch on a few advantages.

Getting the nutrients from real food is how we evolved. The body absorbs them safely and efficiently.
The benefits of whole food include lower rates of the biggest three man killers: heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Not the same is true for supplements. The body seems to have some issues recognizing and using them. In part, because they don’t come in combination with the other stuff that is in real whole food, but also because they are synthetic. And please don’t fool yourself, most of the ‘whole food’ labeled vitamins contain at least 80% man made ingredients.

Another fact is that some multivitamins contain combinations of ingredients that compete with each other, preventing absorption. Now how stupid is that?

It’s not only that you rise the value of your pee, it’s also that by taking a multivitamin, you get nutrients you don’t need or have more than enough of.

Some, like the fat soluble ones (A, D, E, K) don’t get excreted as well as water-soluble ones and can accumulate in your body leading to toxicity. Migraine, nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, irregular heartbeat and mental function disorders are just some of the mild outcomes.

Now lets get practical real quick, assuming you have done your lab results and your doctor, for example, points out a magnesium and Vitamin B12 deficiency. If it’s critical, your doctor might want to save you with a healthy dose of supplements. That’s OK. It is a necessity.

But after you did what the doctor said, it’s time to make sure you don’t get deficient again. That’s not so hard. Just ask Google what foods contain the missing vitamin or mineral and include them in your diet.

Eat Spinach for Magnesium and vitamin K, eat Beef to avoid B12 deficiency and get your vitamin C from Broccoli and Peppers. There is always a healthy food that contains what you need, so stop looking for pill-formed shortcuts.

And then, there is vitamin D. Not to call it an exception from the rant above, but because of its importance, it deserves its own paragraph and a rise in awareness. Vitamin D is naturally made through a chain of reactions when the skin gets sun exposure.
Unfortunately, many people don’t get that minimum sunshine in their busy lives. Blame it on skin cancer or daylong working hours, the fact remains that those folks – also considering scarcity of vitamin D rich foods – will have to take it from supplements.
Make sure to check your levels first and consult your well-informed, open-minded doctor about the form and dosage needed.

Finally, I hope I could convince you that, if nothing’s wrong, you don’t need to take vitamins just for the sake of it.
Also, I hope you will become mindful of your own lifestyle.

You don’t need supplements if you supply them the way nature intended to. It’s healthier too.

Imagine

Imagine, we could bridge time and tie the first cigarette with death from lung cancer years later. Like smoking one cigarette and perishing in agony right after.

That would be a bummer for the Tobacco industry!

Well, it wouldn’t be a guaranteed death. More like a Russian roulette. Some would still try it out.

And it’s not only Tobacco that kills you. Food can do it too. Imagine eating Fast-food, instantly becoming obese and dying of heart failure a few minutes later.

How about all the actions that lead to deadly accidents? But let’s not get all morbid. How about the softer ones like dementia or depression? Even tying loneliness and poverty and to the leading actions would be ‘fun’.

In your mind you could extend this in all directions. See what is causing what and just speed it up.

I bet A LOT of bad habits could disappear just like magic.

Just imagine…

The voice

So many of you speculate about how to become successful yet fail to fiddle the right questions.
I see it all the time. What microphone to use, how often to post or finding the best hashtags seem to be the main concerns. That’s “putting the cart before horse” definition!

Marketing and gadgets are not responsible for success. You are. Your voice is.

It’s the loud and clear voice you use to talk about the subjects that excite you. It’s about sharing with others the life-changing secrets you uncovered, helping them understand, enriching their lives. Providing value.

If you are not excited, not sure what to talk about or not carrying enough, you are not there yet. You don’t have a voice.

Finding your voice is the toughest part of the journey. It’s also the most important.

But be aware, your voice might be just a whisper at first. A feeling you can’t describe. A shiver so easy to lose and forget while stumbling through a busy life. So easy to ignore.
As if a busy life can justify not having a life. As if understanding oneself is just wasted time. As if the purpose of our existence is insignificant and a lifetime of unhappiness isn’t worth taking the time to bring our true meaning to life. Our purpose.

Yet having a purpose, IS life. It’s a life worth living, worth sharing, worth celebrating. It’s your voice.

A voice that will give you the energy for everything else. For writing books, for posting twenty times a day, for managing ten platforms, for becoming an influencer. Even for public speaking.

That’s a voice worth following!

Then, and only then, wonder about the brand of your microphone.

A Way to Start

Did you consume a ton of content on building the perfect life and successful businesses and still haven’t changed your life?

There are so many great people ranting on those topics, and I’m sure you have learned useful stuff by consuming their content. But have you applied that knowledge jet? Do you read articles and say “Hell yes!” but still don’t have a clue where to start? That’s normal and your will-power might not be the culprit. You might just need a more practical approach. Like do A to get B.


So here is the A:

  1. Get up early, preferably before your family so that no-one gets a chance to claim your time.
  2. Do your toilet routine and drink a glass of water or green tea.
  3. Exercise – can be as little as stretching and warming up your muscles. Even five minutes will do.
  4. Meditate.
  5. Take enough time to think about the day you are starting and organize it efficiently.
  6. Make sure to get at least 16 hours of fasting between dinner and your next meal. Eat low carb, no junk-food.
  7. Work through your schedule in short sprints with five to ten minutes of active pauses (walk, stretch, jump, etc.) in-between.
  8. Take at least one hour (two is better) to work on your personal progress: learning, writing, hitting the gym.
  9. Avoid eating, drinking, working and screens at least two hours before sleep.
  10. Do relaxing stretching before going to bed and make sure you get eight hours of good sleep.


Do this every day, without cheating and you get B:

It will, guaranteed, change your life, and you will feel results before one month is over. You will become healthier, have more energy and become smarter every day. It will train your willpower, drive self-esteem, and you will be able to start being successful on purpose.
 
Now focus all this new energy in one direction by finding your WHY.

Chicken or Egg?

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

Considering only results, who cares? Once started, the system works!
Being able to create any of them will start the process.

It’s what I care about.

Because people need results.

But you ain’t getting any without starting first.

Some will need to start some healthy routines first. That will give them the necessary energy to start chasing their dreams. Having a purpose in life will generate even more energy. That will inevitably lead to even more healthy habits which will only reinforce the power to succeed in life.

Others can’t start anything without motivation. They need a mission first, a why for everything they do. Building on that, they will have enough energy to form the healthy habits that drive success. Healthy habits become fuel for accomplishing the mission.

You just have to figure out how you’re going to start the system.

A simple rule

Long time ago, as a kid I promised myself to never be late. It’s a very simple rule that everyone could and should apply without exception.

Basic rules like this can be very powerful. In fact, everything we know is based on a simple set of rules that evolved and formed a complex universe. Here is how it applied in my case:

The basic rule was to never be late. NEVER! That meant being well organized and planning in advance. That meant acting with intention and eliminating the unexpected as much as possible.

That translated in being responsible and reliable. After a while, everyone around knew they could rely on me. I would never be late on a project, on a meeting or on a date. Consequently, this attracted people that appreciate those values. I think of my beloved other half as a beautiful illustration of this. It also applied to other aspects of my life, from friends to business. It shaped my life.

This is how, when committing even to one simple rule, you can evolve a complex personality, a brand, even a life.

Choose your rules wisely, it works the other way around too.

Positioning against stress

How do you make decisions? And how can positioning fight stress?


We are wired to make decisions by comparing stuff. It’s how our brain works.

Comparing details and finding differences is what we constantly do, sometimes without even noticing. But you will notice tension and stress rising if you fail to find something that will help you make up your mind.


Similarly, finding yourself in front of too many choices, is confusing and stressful. Mainly because, if nothing stands out, you’ll have way too many details to compare before reaching a conclusion.

For that reason, behavioral scientist and smart marketers alike will advise limiting price options to three while making the middle one stand out. It satisfies decision-making (and ego), while providing the obvious and easy choice. It’s relaxing and rewarding.


Now think about your business. Order an audit if you are biased. How many options do your customers have? Are you one of many, offering the same or similar product? Can you differentiate yourself from competition? Are you clearly communicating those differences?

In other words, are you making it easy for your customer to choose?


The set of actions that will allow customers to tell at a glance that you are the obvious choice, is called positioning.

Yes, it’s not only a buzzword, it’s a great success insuring strategy. And, along financial benefits for your business, it will also ease your customers’ decision-making.

One way or the other, positioning is a fantastic way to reduce stress.

How to become talented

Talent is overrated and widely misunderstood.

If you understand what talent is, you will know how to transform your life.

Talent is not a superpower you discover and can use instantly. You are not born a “talented” painter. You become one by obsessively exercising your craft.

Talent is the ability to do the hard work. That obsession that provides the strength to not give up.

The ones we call talented are just the lucky ones. The ones that discovered a passion and were able to exercise it to mastery.

That passion formed a habit. That habit became part of the daily routine. That daily grinding led to mastery.

We don’t see the thousands of hours. We don’t look at how they used to stay home and exercise instead of running out to play. We just acknowledge the talent years later, when they already got good at it.

It’s not magic or genetics, it’s hard work. From Schwarzenegger to Picasso they all worked their ass off.

There is good and bad news about this whole talent thing.

It’s hard to find the passion that puts everything in motion. Most never do.

The good news is that you can apply the same mechanics to “become talented”. The whole secret lies in habit-forming.

Talent is an unconscious habit-forming mechanism. So if you were not “born talented”, you just need to consciously form those habits.

If you are able to form and maintain a habit, you too can develop into a master of your craft. Doesn’t matter if your habit was not generated by a passion.

It’s doable. All successful people do it.

Now go start your talent!

Well-Being Optimization

A good percentage of my clients hire me for Strategy and Marketing related work. Most of them add my lifestyle performance coaching to the list to better understand how to be healthy, live longer and master their lives.

There is good reason why I teach business AND life optimization, despite it sometimes harming my own marketing strategy.

I deeply believe you can’t separate business and lifestyle. Not if you want happiness and fulfillment in your life. Not if you prefer to be successful without destroying your private life and not if you care about your achievements at the end of the road. So, yes, I don’t think you can have a great life being average. I believe we can all achieve greatness at an individually determined level.

But how could you perform at a high level if you are not able to deliver a high level of physical and mental energy? And how could you be happy and have a fulfilled life if you can’t materialize your dreams and ideas?

You only get the freedom to pursue happiness if you are your own boss. Only then, you get to choose your schedule, the people you work with and the ideas worth materializing. It’s the freedom to make a living from your passions.

Don’t let others determine your life. Give yourself the freedom to live with purpose.

And if you do it right, you will also achieve financial independence as a bonus.
Which only helps you reinforce your well-being optimization.

Setting price expectations

If you find yourself in a very competitive market, without setting yourself apart from others, you will rather sooner than later find that your only leverage is to compete on price. That is fine if you do it on purpose.

But here is how I find most of my clients.

Margins are low to start with. That is a self-regulating mechanism in a crowded niche. It’s normal.

To counter the small margins, you have to sell more items. And how do you sell more if you don’t differentiate yourself from competition? Make a special offer. You choose some products and go as low as possible. Sometimes even lower.

But that is unsustainable long term. You only manage short bursts from time to time. You hope, you can win the hearts of your customers. But you don’t. You just set another level of expectation. So does your competition.

It’s the perfect procedure to teach customers that lower prices are possible. That’s irreversible.

This has been done so often, that people have learned to hunt for offers. They expect low prices now. And you helped set this low price point.
Congrats! You just earned yourself a name on a price-comparison website.

Why do startups fail

“Eight of out 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months” was the myth spread by Forbes in 2013.

Don’t let this journalistic marble scare you. It’s not that bad. Jet, the real numbers still show you have to do your homework. So lets start right now:

Half of new businesses fail during the first five years, of which 30% in the first two years, … seem to be the accepted rough numbers across multiple institutions and media. For me, that is still a lot of failure waiting to happen. It’s what I want to help you with and what I have done for so many years. It’s what my advisory firm does.

Combining my experience with a lot of research, I compiled the most serious causes that can shatter your chances of success:

1. Lack of Brand Platform and Strategy.

The Brand Platform is where it all starts. It sets the values on which the whole business will operate: why you do it, who’s problems you are going to solve and how you approach everything. Brand building, positioning, value proposition, target audience, corporate identity and communications are all materializations of the Brand Platform. Getting this wrong is like starting in the wrong direction.

As a side effect, and if done right, the Brand Platform can serve as proof of concept because it forces you to know your customers and your market extremely well. Therefore, it significantly reduces the risk of failure.

I’ll only touch briefly on positioning here although it is a huge strategy decision that can lift or bury your business pretty easy.

Positioning is the art of putting yourself in that sweet spot where your product or service is unique enough to largely cut down on competition while still maintaining a niche rich enough to sustain your business. You don’t want to be a commodity fighting for a place in price comparison charts and you don’t want to be so focused that only a handful people will buy your products. In this article I touch a bit on that sweet spot: Competition Audit.

For all the reasons above, you need to settle on your Brand Platform upfront. Unfortunately, too many startups ignore this part completely. It’s the perfect setup for short-term failure.

2. Wrong market evaluation / business model.

Or in other words “Presumption is the mother of all fuck-ups”.

It’s not enough to establish the core values through your Brand Platform and to understand your audience’s needs. You also want to find out if it can sustain your business. Can your customers afford it and is are they willing to buy? It’s a matter of numbers, not suppositions.

There is a lot of other stuff you could get wrong here: number of customers that really need your product, their capabilities, scalability, competition in your niche, pricing of your products and timing just to name the big ones.

Another set of presumptions often made when evaluating the market is about customer acquisition. How easy it is to acquire new customers and how much this action will cost, needs to face the total value the customer is returning.

Technically speaking, that is the CAC/LTV rule (cost of acquiring the customer/lifetime value of customer) and it’s pretty evident: CAC needs to be less than LTV for a profitable business model.

You also wouldn’t want to ignore the time needed to recover the cost of acquiring your customers. Put that against your capital and you already have a better chance to estimate how the few next years will look like.

3. Product problems.

You can make the best market evaluation and identify the best product or service to satisfy the need of your customers, but you also have to deliver. If your product doesn’t meet the needs of your customers, if it is faulty, badly supported or any other product related issue, you can’t be expecting a lot of success are you?

If you are smart and can dig up the resources, it’s a great practice to test your product in advance at a smaller scale, collect the reviews and improve. This is not always possible but correcting mistakes in a quick manner is essential. You could even win a few points in your customer’s eyes if executed properly.

If you did a good job setting the values of your company and understanding what your customers expect, your product should be fine. Then, it’s only a mater of fine-tuning.

4. Deficient management.

It all boils down to leadership in my eyes. Being a good leader means having happy employees. Happy employees make happy customers. It’s that simple.

Jet I see the opposite all the time: miserable company culture, inadequate payment, lack of communication, stress, hate and unfair competition among employees. Nothing can thrive in such an environment.

Leadership is something you should figure out if you aspire to be an entrepreneur. I give you a hint: it’s a lot about compassion. Otherwise, you should be smart enough to step aside and hire someone that does it for you.

The more technical side of management is how well organized you are and how efficient you are at administering the company’s resources. Time management belongs here, too. Management is something you can learn. If that is not your thing, again, find someone who can.

It’s a matter of self awareness. Don’t let your own ego destroy your business.

5. Poor Communication.

You should have figured out what you need to communicate in the first phase, as you built the Brand Platform. But the values of your Brand only give direction and set the tone, the voice of your communication. How efficient the message can be delivered, is a matter of technique and tactics.

Firstly, you need to understand that attention is an asset. Where is the attention of your customer? Is it on social media, on television or on billboards? That’s where you need to be. Even if you don’t like it. And if you don’t show up in those places, how would your audience even know you exist?

By the way, a website, even a great one, is not going to be enough for most businesses in 2020 and the trend shows it’s getting worse. That shouldn’t mean, you don’t need a website or that it doesn’t have to be built well. It is still one of the most important touchpoints for any business, not only for startups. One that should communicate the values of your company.

6. Displeasing Touchpoints.

Touchpoints actually belong to communication but the situations where they are mismanaged and where customers are treated inappropriately are so common, that I want to hammer it separately.

Take support centers and guarantees for example. Those are touchpoints where your customer comes “begging” for help and is so often let down. If you want to stay in business, you can’t afford the bad experiences your customers have to go through. You will lose them for good. And what is worse, they will also tell others about it.

Now, imagine the opposite: delivering such a great experience, that your customers will convince others to join.

A more abstract approach to touchpoints and therefore to communication, is to look at every business-client interaction as a good opportunity to communicate your values. It’s those small things, but they add up to your brand.

Take your Logo for example. Does it look amateurish? Is it communicating your values and can be easily remembered or does it communicate you don’t care?

How about packaging? Did you just consider price or did you invest some thought on how it will be opened. Did your stupid molded plastic packaging just cut my finger?!? Fuck you, cheep company!

7. Persistence and patience.

If you figured the previous points out and business is still slow, it’s usually a matter of persistence and patience.

To a certain degree, you could beat time with a beefy marketing budget and by brilliantly covering all the above points. Especially communication. That would move the needle faster. Otherwise, be prepared to invest some time and perseverance.

On the other hand, business doesn’t have a finish line. You can’t arrive at the “I’m the best” finish line and end the race. There will always be someone assessing your weaknesses trying to surpass you. This is a race that never ends and you constantly need to improve in order to stay ahead. Then, you just need to outlast everyone.

There can be other causes that could contribute to a business failure. Some, you could say are industry specific. Sometimes luck plays a role, although, you should to be prepared for at least some unfortunate situations.

Other than luck, it’s all in your hands. You can’t blame others for failing. It’s just knowledge and the way you apply it. I guarantee you: if you score high on all the points above, you are going to be in business for a long time.

Sleep – Intro

You will never operate at peak level if you ignore sleep.

You will never be as good as you could be.

You will regret it later in life.
 
Trust me, I have solid first-hand experience. Up to my mid-30s, I was convinced that sleep is the biggest waste of time ever. I was young and was owning/running a huge disco. And that was just one of my businesses.
 
I wish I knew better. It’s one of those mistakes that will alter your life forever. There is no way to recuperate those all-nighters and restore the damage done.
 
That is a darn good reason to start optimizing your sleep right now! Regardless of age.
 
Here are the main areas affected by sleep:

  • Cognition
  • Concentration
  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Intelligence
  • Emotion
  • Decision-making
  • Problem solving
  • Sexual function
  • Child development
  • Weight gain
  • Physical performance
  • Coordination
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Inflammation
  • Immune system
  • Depression
  • Risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Longevity

As you can see, that is some heavy stuff. You can’t ignore sleep if you care about your wellbeing. Now think of business and read the list again.

The subject is huge and can’t be covered in just a few posts, so I decided to make it a mini series that will examine details, solutions and even gadgets. I will link the articles back and forth so you don’t miss any of them.

By now, I’m happy if I could raise awareness and ‘wake you up’, if you don’t mind me using this thematic expression.
If not, please hear what the sleep researcher Mathew Walker has to say:

@ Joe Rogan: Joe Rogan Experience #1109 – Matthew Walker
@ Ted: Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker
@ Google: Matthew Walker: “Why Sleep Matters” | Talks at Google

The expert position

You want to be respected?
You own the business but don’t feel like your own boss?
You want to be The One in your industry?

Position yourself as an expert!

This is good advice for life in general, but I find it important for business in particular and critical for service providers.

As a result, you won’t be pushed around or micromanaged and your recommendations won’t be questioned. You also won’t have to pitch because they will turn to you asking for help, therefore allowing you to charge more.

There is always a hierarchy game between people. Establishing a position in this hierarchy isn’t always a conscious process, but your actions will determine it. So, if you don’t clearly occupy (and maintain) a high position, someone will.

This is such a basic concept, that one could easy extend it to products too.

The process of determining your rank sums all the impressions and feelings one person has gathered about you. That includes how you look, talk, walk, dress and so on. Do you behave like an expert? Are you a pro?

Reputation is very powerful. People care about what other people think of you. You should control and use that. It lets you set your level in advance. That is why social media and testimonials are so powerful.

So how do you achieve the expert title? There is no workaround: you have to grow into one and also show it.

That is what this “For My Brand” blog is all about. To help you become The One.

Competition audit

You can’t ignore competition. It has the power to destroy or boost your business, depending on how well you understand its position in your market. The way to start understanding it, regardless if you are a startup or a seasoned entrepreneur, is through an audit.
 
The competition audit is one of the best tools to help you assess your business and the environment in which you operate. Whether you do it yourself or bring in an expert, here is what you should learn from it.
 
Firstly, how many competitors do you have? Knowing that there are many or just a few is not enough. You need a number. Make it as precise as possible.
 
If for no other reason, this is a precise way of learning how your niche evolves in time. If your niche is a goldmine, you might find, upon repeated auditing, that the numbers are flying up. Is that a concern? Sure, if it doubled in a year.
Or, on the other extreme, you dominate the market, so that half of your competitors give up. I’d sure want to see the numbers if that was the case.
 
Knowing the extent of your competition will also help classify the feasibility of your niche and how efficient your positioning is.

Too many competitors, might indicate that others see the business potential too. That’s good, it’s not just your wishful thinking. 

It also shows that you are targeting a large pool of customers. Once you know this, you can simply narrow your focus by targeting a more specific audience. This balancing act is a great way to thin out your competition, to specialize and to become the expert in your market.

If the number is very low, you might ask yourself if the niche you are in, is viable. Is the business idea any good? Are you being to specific in defining your ideal customer? Fine-tuning your focus is a great way to go from survival to success. You want to get this right!

David C. Baker has a must-read article on this. He even came up with a formula.

Knowing your niche and your business environment is great, but you get even more value out of your competition audit by using it to evaluate yourself. Think of your competition as if it was your own free of charge team. A team that already tested the target audience for you. It already made decisions and reacted to their needs. How did they do?

Speaking of team, are you considering how their advertising is also helping you? Think about it.

Learning the good stuff your competitors do, is a great way to learn what your own customers prefer. You might need to implement the findings in your own business or find ways to improve on those points.

Learning the mistakes your competitors do or did is even better and can help you avoid failure. To better illustrate that, let’s say you find out that the support your competitors offer is terrible. There is your opportunity: offer flawless support and make it your competitive advantage. Your customers will repay you with fidelity.
 
By deeply evaluating a thorough competition audit, you instantly recognize the strong players. Who is really serious about their future? Who are the ones that truly care about their customers? Which are the ones that invest in brand? Those are your worthy rivals. Know them well. They will be around for a while.
 
So you see, just by reframing how you look at competition changes everything. Don’t waste time and resources trying to beat the competition. They are your team. They are there to help you get better.

And getting better every day is what this is all about.

Employee or self-employed?

Are you happily employed? You better skip this post then. I’m about to argue against employment.

Let’s say you have some average job and you go to work every day. The entrepreneur, your boss, will have to sell your work for more. There is no other way. He/she will have to pay you as little as possible and sell it for as much as possible.

Clearly, the entrepreneur has to pay for a lot of stuff, like rent, materials, marketing, maybe a nice secretary or a staff chief… to help you work better.

On top of all those (justified) expenses comes the profit. The top 500 companies made $2.15 trillion profit last year (source: Fortune – https://fortune.com/global500/2019/). That is two million one hundred fifty thousand millions or 2 150 000 million if you prefer digits.

“Profits are better than wages.
“Profit can make you filthy rich. Wages don’t.”
– Jim Rohn

How much the entrepreneur can throw on top of your work depends on the business. It’s usually going to be sold for more than double. Anyhow, you’re not getting paid what your work is actually worth to the buyer. Your work has to cover company expenses too. How efficient are those managed? Could you do better?

Maybe you are pushing for a raise? How is it going? For most entrepreneurs, considering you can’t work more, raising your salary means less profit or having to raise prices. When it comes to raising, they rather fight employees over clients.

As an employee, you rent out your time. The time you can rent out is limited. So is the hourly rate. Thus, your earnings will always be limited.

“Hourly billing is nuts” – Jonathan Stark.

But it gets worse. Most jobs extend way beyond working hours. The daily commute, unfinished work you might take home, the exhaustion and the stress are all there AFTER work. And how is that for your life and family?

If you have higher aspirations, you might find it extremely hard to work on achieving them. You would need to invest at least some time and energy. After work! At work, your boss will try to squeeze everything out of you. Do you feel empty after work? Happy to just lay down? Good luck on your dreams. How about some depression instead?

At work, you can’t decide how your time is used. How about your free time? Need a day off or planning a vacation? You will need to ask for permission. You don’t get to decide. In fact, you don’t get to decide much or at all. Someone else sets the rules.

Surrendering to a job is letting others decide your future. Financial security is the argument used.

So, how secure is your job? And for how long? As you age, does this security increase? Does the company prefer older employees over younger ones? Is the entrepreneur making the right decisions or risking bankruptcy? Is technology, like AI, influencing your industry? Are layoffs necessary in order to keep shareholders happy? How is the market trending? And how about a financial crash? Again?

Maybe you have some ideas on how to prevent some of the above. If you read this blog, you should. Good luck getting them across.

I could go on and on adding poor health insurance, risky retirement plans, the worst colleagues and a nightmare boss into the mix. You could argue that self-employment also involves risk. Sure, it does. Risk is everywhere. Crossing the street is risky. It’s up to you to compare the risks and decide your life.
I’m here to raise awareness on your ‘good job’ and on your future. Also here to mitigate some of that risk, if you might dare the plunge.

I’m here to teach you how to become a successful entrepreneur. A better one, than the one you are working for.

Communication principles

Communication is vital, jet so many misunderstand and misuse it with regularity.
Here are some arguments to raise your awareness:
 
Without communication, we wouldn’t be.
 
Society was built through communication and every relationship is a communication game. We communicate with ourselves and our organs communicate to each other. So are our cells. Even microbial invasions depend on communication. 
 
Disrupting communication is an efficient way to destroy almost anything.
 
Being able to communicate better than others is how you gain leverage.
 
Communication is everywhere. In how we look, sound, smell, feel, and even taste.
 
How we behave is communication.
 
A loud fart in a full bus is how you communicate you’re a jerk. The answer, is how the others communicate what they think of you.
 
Who we choose to be is communication. It’s a choice.
 
Jet, every day, we see bad communication at work. The manager who can’t lead a team, the husband who fights his wife, the parent who doesn’t know how to deal with a rebel kid.
 
Organizations are no exception. Even huge corporations fuck up communication every day. Shameless lies, misleading advertising, unclear statements, poor design, stupid packaging and terrible support, just to name a few. What does it communicate? “Screw the customer! Profit is our god”.
 
Scarce communication is also a big topic. I find most of my clients in this state. I can tell by the desperate look in their eyes when I tell them to communicate daily on all major social media platforms. Choosing not to communicate is also a form of communication. Most of the time it is seen as insecurity, not as ”… silence is golden”.
 
Social media is one of the best communication tools ever invented. How we use it is often wrong.
 
We get to decide. No one is forcing you to post dumb stuff, or even to use the Internet. It’s on you if you choose to screw your customers, to be an awful boss, to yell at your kid or to fart in the bus.
 
If your communication tells everyone that you don’t care, why should anyone else care about you?

Short-term vs. long-term business

There are essentially two ways of doing business: short term and long term.
Most don’t think about this. I bet there are in the short-term game.

Capitalizing on opportunities isn’t entirely wrong. Jet, it’s a good way to fail in the long run if you are not aware of its finite life cycle.

Take trends, for example. You could earn a pretty penny out of today’s trend, but be aware, the opposite might be preferred next year. If your organization is not built to handle disrupting direction changes, you might quickly fail and even face bankruptcy.

Trendy for profit might also drive you to become immoral. It’s like playing the wolf in sheepskin. You might get a few sheep this way, but how long can you do this? Could you pretend to be a sheep for the rest of your life if required? And what if sheep would learn your smell? What if you couldn’t fool them anymore? What if sheep go extinct? And if pigs are trendy next year, would you become a pig?

If you’re not into animal examples, take the one Simon Sinek uses: Railroad tycoons. The once biggest companies faced extinction like dinosaurs as airplanes and automobiles came to life. They positioned their business as railway companies instead of transportation companies and perished fighting airplanes instead of owning them!

Long-term thinking is a condition to avoid extinction.

It allows you to position your business above trends and to transform trends in opportunities without being a fraud. You even get to set new trends. It comes with appreciation, followers and a solid, successful future.

Long-term business is achieved by building a brand. Great brands are led by outstanding leaders who are driven by high purpose, not profit. Great leaders are also fantastic human beings. Fantastic human beings can build a better world.

See how it all connects? Now, you have to decide. Quick profit or great legacy?

The Grinch

Merry Christmas everyone!
I’m having a great time this morning being the brand advisor of The Grinch himself 🙂

First thing I notice, is that being the Grinch isn’t the worst thing. Being unknown is far worse.
And having Santa as a rival is also a good thing: it’s just one.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who don’t like Christmas. There are plenty of reasons for that. Take religion, for example. And then there are the folks who hate the traffic around Christmas or the ones that have a problem with all the resources spent for organizing the Holidays. There are even some who just don’t like the red dressed oversized old Santa and even some who are afraid of him.

So, there is a niche and plenty of followers. We just need to identify them. Building those personas would be a fun exercise.

Now how about brand strategy?
It wouldn’t be a good brand strategy to just turn everything upside-down. Advising the Grinch to become nice and to love Christmas would be a big mistake. The Grinch couldn’t ever compete on niceness with Santa. It would be against his beliefs and the ones of his fellowship.
As a result he would instantly lose his advantage.

The point is, a brand doesn’t need to be nice and jolly. As long as you find and serve your people, you also have a business. Being the Grinch is not that bad so don’t be grumpy. It’s still Christmas.

Ho, ho, ho…

Year review

We’re about to complete another year and maybe you feel like writing a review.
It’s not the trend that should drive your action, but the need to evaluate your progress.

How do you feel about the past year? How did you change? What did you learn?

Here is my guideline: If I’m looking back at my one-year-younger version, and I’m not ashamed, then, I didn’t learn enough.

I heard this a few years ago and it stuck with me. It became like a mantra. And I use it all the time, not only at the end of the year.

Mainly because learning is the most precious investment ever. It’s something you can take with you everywhere, whatever the situation. It’s the foundation for all your actions. It’s what can generate success and even happiness. Those, if applied, it will shape your future and the future of all the people around you.

Imagine this: If you learn how to be a better leader and entrepreneur, it will affect you, your family, your friends, your employees and also their families. This can go far beyond that. Think of people that changed the world. That is what I’m talking about.

Just by learning stuff, you can change the future.
Think about it for a moment and let it sink in. It’s life changing.

May the gods grant you wisdom

Not so long ago, only the gods determined our lifespan. Meanwhile, they got bored and quit giving a crap. But they’ve set some weird rules before retiring. So, if you eat fast-food, get poor sleep and don’t work out a bit, you get to meat them sooner than expected. For the most of us, that’s common knowledge.

We also figured out some stuff. Like, not killing each other as often. That increased our life expectancy a lot. Hygiene is another big one. Comparing to our ancestors, our lives are sterile but mostly bug-free.

There’s also a lot of hacking allowed. Like pills. We use pills to solve a plethora of head-to-head problems. Have a headache? Take a pill. Can’t get it up? Take another. Then, we also got a lot better at surgery. Tits too small, or stomach too big? Take a knife and fix it!

All in one, funny or not, considering all mortality causes and using all the new tricks in the bag, we were able to double our lifespan in the last 200 years while only occasionally having to implore the gods for it.

Recent discovery looks more like cheating. Scientists discovered how DNA and Epigenomics shape our lives and invented a clock able to measure our real age. It’s also able to determine how much we got left. That sets new standards. Being like 30 in a 50 year old body, is becoming the norm for those who care enough to learn and apply this knowledge.

And for the first time in recorded history, gods have even allowed us to play with reversing the age itself. It’s a tornado of change in the field of lifespan research, and we are right in the middle of it. New stuff spins around every day. You just need to stay alert and grab it.

Clearly, we have come a long way. From caves to apartments and from Shamans to scientists. We even got space stations and plans for space colonies. There is no excuse for our Millennials to not reach 100 and no good reason for mankind to not explore way beyond that.

That is… if we also learn to be smart enough.

Branding vs Brand Design

It’s funny how people confuse the two so let’s clear it up quickly.

Brand design is about designing a brand. It’s not design used to create brand elements. It’s the architecture of a brand and it happens in the planning phase.

A good sample of that is when building a personal brand that sprouts other brands. Elon Musk and his Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, Neuralink, etc. brands is a good example.
I’ll write more on this under “Planning for my Brand”

Design and Branding are a huge topic. We find a bit of confusion here too.
A Logo is not a brand. It’s just a symbol to remind people of your brand. Not even the whole Corporate Identity can be simply equaled to brand.

The Brand is about feelings. It’s about how people feel about your or your business. For this to happen, people will have to come in contact with your brand first. That is what we call “Brand touchpoints” and this is where Design gets to be the lead actor.

Design is decisive to all the visual touchpoints of your brand: the logo, the colors, the typeface, the interior design, the products, the packaging and so on.

All design elements have to be aligned to the brand core values. That is why you always need to start at the core. A discovery session is a good approach if you want to find those core values. A good designer will understand and apply this. He will go deep into the soul of your brand before he starts showing you logo options.

Finding a designer that can understand your brand and how it’s values need to be communicated, is something that way to many entrepreneurs ignore. That is one of the first checkpoints in your entrepreneurial journey. It’s what will set the whole tone of your business and it’s what people will feel about you and your brand.

Don’t screw it! You’ll regret it later.

Positioning for Value Based Pricing is THE key to success and prosperity

Value based pricing is by far the most discussed and most interesting pricing method out there. It’s also the best.
In theory, it could be applied to almost any pricing situation. Depending on your business, value based pricing can be a game changer, however, you need to be aware of its limitations.

There are two main ways to understand value pricing.

The more classical one, is usually applied to products and productized services that only have some differences when compared to competition. “It’s the same, but mine is better because of X, Y, Z.”
If those differences have a value for certain buyers, you can set a price on them. Determining who this people are and the value they perceive, is the task you end up with. Communicating those differences to the right people is how you position yourself.

The other way of applying value based pricing is more suitable for custom services or even custom-made stuff. In this scenario, you solve a problem for the buyer. If the problem is big enough for the buyer, you can charge a lot for solving it.
Only the perceived value counts, not how much you spend to solve the problem.
For some, it won’t be that big of a problem, so you might not be able to solve it and still make a profit.
Solving big problems for “big” people is where you want to be positioned.


If your business isn’t positioned properly, value based pricing can be even impossible to implement.

By not differentiating your product from others, you put the buyer in a difficult position: having one to many choices. Choices complicate decision-making. It’s a conflict that needs to be solved.

There is a solid chance your buyer wont toss a coin to make the buying decision. To solve the dilemma they will search for some differences. If you ever researched for hours before buying something, you know what I mean. This is natural. Comparing stuff is how our brain functions. Finding even tinny differences and establishing a hierarchy for the buying options, is how we solve the conflict.

This is why price-comparison and product-testing websites have thrived.

So, if your product is a commodity (others sell it too), you are most-likely forcing the buyer to compare prices. You are competing on price. You’ll need to “go low”. I don’t need to tell you how that ends.

A good positioning makes your product or service unique in the eyes of your buyer. This “One of a kind”, adds value to your product or service and this perceived value is what it’s all about. It also helps solving the buying decision conflict. They will thank you for this.

Here are the best positions to sell from:

  • Expert: you are seen as THE expert in your field – you are the safe option, most likely to solve the problem, the buyer can’t afford the risk
  • Brand: you have grown a brand name, so even if others sell the same stuff you get all the love
  • Problem solving: you solve a problem that others can’t – even if you are not THE expert in you field, if you’re the only one who can solve this, you get to be the only choice
  • How you do it: the way you solve the problem is unique in some way. For the ones that appreciate this, you are the one.
  • Demographic: you are the only one that can speak to this people – language, culture, tradition, race, sex, age, usually, a unique combination of those.

I realize how exceptional these examples are. Being the number one expert or the only one capable to solve a problem is rare or at least time limited.
The solution is straight forward: use a combination! Be an expert, with a good reputation, who knows to solve a problem in a good way and who is able to communicate to a specific buyer.


Making it easy for the buyer to identify you as the obvious choice is what positioning is all about.
Combining it with value pricing is THE key to success and prosperity.

Convenience

Convenience is one of the biggest driving forces in decision-making.

We try to cut corners every day. We give up our privacy, just to be able to buy with one click. Some even prefer stomach surgery to dieting.

We would do anything if it would spare us some effort. Most people can’t fight this kind of laziness, it’s part of evolution. Nature needs to be efficient and preserve energy whenever possible. As a result, we are on a shortcut hunt all the time.

For entrepreneurs, convenience is a powerful marketing tool. Especially if you sell the same or similar product as your competition.
If your product isn’t unique, you are left to compete on price and convenience. When done right, convenience wins.

If you find yourself in this uneasy situation and have to compete on price, you should immediately check your competition. Can you deliver a better user experience and make it easier for the clients to do business with you?

Here are just a few aspects to look into:
Are you easy to find?
Is it simple to do business with you?
What touchpoints need to be optimized?
How many steps does your client make until he gets your product?
Is your statement clear enough?

And even if your product is one of a kind, you should still fiddle every aspect of your business to make it more accessible. Do you offer enough payment options, a quick delivery and reliable service? Is your support friendly and helpful?

People will notice your effort to make their life easier. They will know you care. This builds brand!

Convenience is also a good argument for widespread marketing communication. Use all platforms if possible. Some hate Facebook, some think TikTok is stupid. You should know better.

Make it convenient easy for your clients.

Psylotropin – the psilocybin-nootropic-vitamin stack

Are you looking for a good Bio-hack? One of the best nootropic stacks that will change your life?

One that will make you a better leader and entrepreneur by promoting courage and empathy?

Something that can mitigate PTSD, anxiety and depression, boost your good mood, enhance your productivity, cognition and creativity?

How about nerve and brain regeneration, like regeneration of vision and auditory neurons? Reduction of the beta-amyloid plaques to prevent Alzheimer’s? Without known negative effects?

How about all the above in just one small gulp?

It’s no fantasy, it’s real, it’s the psilocybin-nootropic-vitamin stack promoted by Paul Stamets. I call it Psylotropin, you can call it “The Stamets Protocol” like the rest of the world. Regardless of the name, if you are on a mission to become a better entrepreneur and to enhance your life, you need to be aware of this natural intervention. And then you have to forget about it.

Because Psilocybin, which is the active substance in magic mushrooms, is labeled as an illegal drug in most countries (except the smart ones like The Netherlands). I won’t recommend you to try this. Don’t do it, because some very smart politically driven people shoveled mushrooms and weed in the same category with Cocaine and Heroin… to protect you. Don’t mess with their good intentions, you might get in trouble. There are even places on this planet where the police hides in bushes waiting for people to pick up mushrooms (that naturally grow there) and arrest them.

Now you might think, a trip to another universe is needed in order to harvest all those fantastic benefits. Nope, you would be wrong. Because the magic mushrooms/psilocybin dose needed is so small that you wouldn’t even notice it. No trip, no dragons chasing you, not even distorted faces, just… microdosing.

So, here is Paul Stamet’s Stacking formula for epigenetic neurogenesis:

  • Psilocybin/Psilocin: 1-10mg or Psylocybe mushrooms at 1%: 0.1-1 g
  • Erinacines/Hericenones: 50-200 mg or Lion’s mane mushrooms at 1%: 5-20 g
  • Vitamin B3(Niacin/Nicotinic acid): 100-200 mg

The range is quite generous to allow for variance in body weight, tolerance and desired effect. One would have to experiment a bit and, starting with the lowest dose, would be good practice. The whole idea is to keep the psilocybin at an unperceptible level. So if you would hypothetically try this and you would feel the mushroom kick in at about 1 gram, you would want to microdose at about 0.1-0.3g.

Stamet’s suggested dosing protocol is five days on, two days off, to avoid tolerance build. Others prefer 1-2 days on, 1-2 days off, so experimenting is again the rule here.

The stack combines the capacity of the two mushrooms to create new neurons and neural pathways, and also to repair neurological damage. Niacin (Vitamin B3) helps better deliver the substances and amplifies long-term changes.

Since you are here, I assume you are a busy entrepreneur looking for a quick fix to enhance workflow and life in general and you won’t have time to read the studies and the biochemistry behind this protocol. Here are some resources if I’m wrong:

I’ll end with some good news: in some countries, psilocybin mushroom grow kits are legal or at least tolerated. Check the status in your area. And if you are in Denver or Oakland, you are even luckier, because magic mushrooms have been recently decriminalized. Is this becoming a trend like Cannabis?

Is there hope for this world?

Happy wishes

Are you unhappy? It’s because life didn’t evolve the way you wished.
In the past, you wished for a future state that didn’t materialize.

Now you don’t like your current state.

There is also a future state that you wish for right now.

The current state is a manifestation of your past actions. The future state is a manifestation of your current actions.

So what do you expect? Having a better future without changing your current actions? The future will look the same without first changing something in the present. Or are you relying on hope?

Do you hope, a better future will come, without making the necessary changes? No wonder you are unhappy.

Besides your actions, there is another path to happiness. It might not be your favorite, but it’s a proven way to prevent future disappointment and unhappiness. It’s… wishing for less.

And if life decides to give you more than what you wished for? Would that make you happy?

Lucky plans

If you don’t plan your life, others will.

Acquiring skills can be a good plan for your life. At least if you also have a good plan on how to use them.

Maybe you are lucky and don’t need a plan.

With a bit of luck, a set of good skills will get you a job.
A job is not your plan. It’s how you contribute to someone else’s plan.

If you’re lucky, they included you in their plans: a job you don’t hate, a decent salary and a stable employment until you retire. If you’re lucky, it’s a long-term stable plan, without layoffs, cutoffs or similar life-changing events.

If those plans also align with your personal life, you can call yourself very lucky.

If you’re really, really lucky, you work for a great leader.

Great leaders care for you, listen to your needs and help you grow. Great leaders go beyond having a good plan, they serve a cause.

If you’re so damn lucky, it will be a cause that will give your life meaning so you can live a purposeful and happy life.

How lucky are you?

Freelancer vs Entrepreneur – a Definition

There is a lot of confusion around the two terms and a lot of people use them wrongly.

What is a Freelancer?

Originally the word Freelancer described a “medieval mercenary warrior” or “free-lance” who’s lance was not sworn to a lord or master. Are you free and carry a lance? You are a freelancer. And don’t worry, other weapons will do, as long as you know how to use them.

Today we mostly refer to professionals who are self-employed and are working alone. Sometimes they are called independent contractors. For your grandma, it could mean unemployed and come with a negative connotation. This is changing as we speak.

What is an Entrepreneur?

Seth Godin’s take on this: A freelancer is available for hire. Entrepreneurs hire other people to do the job.

Wikipedia has a rather long definition for Entrepreneurship. Here is a piece that clearly sets it apart from Freelancing: “…the entrepreneurial process requires the organization of people and resources.”

The take-away: They scale differently.

Freelancers usually scale by having better clients, so they have to become experts in their niche. Entrepreneurs also need to know what their doing, but don’t need to become experts in their field of business. They can hire in order to grow the business, and they can hire experts to dominate the field.

Why is the definition important?

It defines your strategy. It defines your actions. If you understand the difference, you are going to change your evolution. As a freelancer you should invest a lot in yourself, as an entrepreneur you should primarily invest in others. You need to make a choice.

What is your choice?

Original Ideas

Do you feel like a fraud for not having original ideas? Are you censoring yourself because of that? Do you call it a writer’s block?


Coming up with original ideas, ideas that no-one before has articulated, is really, really hard. Someone said it before, someone has written about it, someone thought about it before you. Good luck beating Socrates on original ideas.


People share inspiration for as long as we have been a species, so it’s getting harder every day to come up with something truly original. Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t stop looking for new ideas. It’s great if you find one that hasn’t been claimed but don’t get stuck if you don’t. Promoting great ideas or simply not letting them die is also a big deal. It could be your deal. Because the way you deliver an idea IS original.


Everyone is a bit different. Some are quite unique and you, for sure, are one of a kind.

You have your own way of understanding the world and your unique way of communicating ideas. And that is the superpower you should use. Because your way of communicating will resonate with some people in a way no-one else does. Because the way you articulate what you have learned can touch and change peoples lives in a unique way. Even if it’s not your idea!

For a select audience you could be even better at communicating that idea than the original creator. So what actually maters is to find your voice.

It will be a voice that will resonate with a special kind of people. The kind that will become your audience.

Read this to understand why

Why are you here? Are you interested in building a successful business or career? Do you want to live a long, meaningful and healthy life? How about both?

I, too, have searched many years for those answers. I started my first business in high school, became a serial entrepreneur in my twenties, employed hundreds of people, tasted success a few times, failed badly more than once and restarted my life from scratch three times.

Throughout my career I had the chance to bring many ideas to life, to design Brands, to support entrepreneurs and to help start tens of new businesses. Finally, I became a brand advisor.

Now I’m on a mission to help you become a better human being, by sharing my personal experience and by curating the wisdom of the brightest minds in marketing, health and lifespan.

Why?

Because I believe entrepreneurs can become inspiring leaders, by building remarkable brands and by living empowering lifestyles. Because it’s our future.

Join my journey and make good use of my research.

It will CHANGE your life, your world, THE WORLD.

By following this Blog you will learn, not only how to properly start a business, but more important, build a remarkable brand, earn the loyalty of your tribe and build a great community to support your cause.

It all starts with you, the most important asset of your business.

Building a successful business isn’t easy. You have to put in a lot of work, to make good decisions and to be highly efficient. You need to be healthy and to act with a clear mind.

There is a lot of new research on how to live a healthy life, how to increase your energy and even how to live longer. It’s great for you and a game changer for your business. You can become smarter, enhance cognition, increase memory, have more energy and use this “tools” to fuel your success.

Want to take it a step further? Life hacks can help. Smart molecules, powerful supplement combos or mind enhancing exercises. There is a wide range to choose from. I’ll show you the ones that work.

This Blog will focus on both brand building and self-improvement. Together they have the power to build and sustain a purposeful happy life.

This Blog will become a book series. Why?

Because a book can have a structure. One that helps organize the ideas in a logical order. One that helps you better see the whole picture and understand everything, even if you missed some of the blog posts on this site. A book, that you can have at hand when you need it and that you can give to your loved ones and friends when they’re stuck.

And it will be free!

Want to help? I’d love your contribution.

Help me with ideas, with resources, with stuff you find interesting, by helping me write, by sharing with others, by becoming a better human being.

Let’s promote health and longevity. Let’s create remarkable brands. Let’s turn struggling people into free and happy entrepreneurs.

Join me now!

Living for my Brand

Most people wander around like zombies and don’t even realize it. Most likely you are one of them.
 
Not having inexhaustible high energy and a razor-sharp clear mind are the prime symptoms. Health issues, bad mood, lack of motivation, unfortunate decisions, uneasy relationships and most forms of depression, on top of addictions, would accompany this sluggish party too. Performing at 60% or less is where I find most of my clients start at – and by extension, that’s also the world average.
 
That is enough to make you mediocre and not great. Enough to determine how your personal life and your business develop. Sufficient to drive you unhappy and to shape your entire future. Unfortunately, that’s how the entire world ticks.
 
It’s now safe to assume that increasing average human performance by 10% would make the whole world a better place and mathematically, any kind of positive human development would improve the world average.
Do you feel you could reach 90%? How about 100%? And if I show you levels beyond that?
 
Now let’s start small. It’s how habits are formed. Good habits are powerful.
I usually find the 10% performance improvement to be enough to get you started and to help you realize how high you can aim. Enough to raise awareness, to inspire you and to boost your energy, enough to generate momentum. It’s like rising a kite but with you at both ends of the string.
 
That’s why I’m here and why “Living for my Brand” exists. And if your life is not high above average, that’s why you’re here.
 
Now let’s increase that world average. All you need, is a good start.