This is a reminder for myself. A lesson for my team. And a wish for you. To create value for people you admire in business to earn their trust. And win their friendship.
Any successful person I’ve been lucky enough to call a friend, I’ve went out of my ways to create value for them first. To earn their trust. To show my respect.
I did this well early on in my career but my ego later blocked me from doing it more. I’m coming back to my senses now, I’m putting my ego aside, to begin serving people I respect again. Humbly.
To earn someone’s trust, you need to pay a deposit. That upfront payment, shows your commitment and understanding of the potential of the given opportunity at hand. In a simple word, it communicates respect.
That deposit will either be paid back or it will be lost. That depends on the quality of your service. But if you do it well, that deposit will turn into a life lasting investment. One that determines your true wealth. In a rainy day, when your business is near bankruptcy, it’s the relationship with these people that will save you from falling. Their relationship builds business.
To do this well, you need to learn a few things.
First, you have to be present. The gift of being present is noticing all that is life as it passes you by. Be aware of your place in time. The bigger picture of your life, your timeline. Are you on the high or the low? Or floating in the middle? This will help you to prioritise the right opportunities and people at the right time.
Second, you need to study your people. Learn about their history to find your common ground with them. Ask them questions about their past, the pain they had to go through, to understand them better. To deepen your respect. To learn what made them who they are. The necessity in their sometimes pulsative comments.
Third, you need to uncover their current challenges. Their headaches are now your puzzles to solve. Learn all the dependencies in the tasks you are given to see what else you could be taking off their plate. The more end to end ownership you can take on, and deliver on, the more you will be trusted with bigger projects.
Ironically, the most successful people, pay the least. Sometimes they even ask for probono. But take it from me, it’s yours to pay. Their relationship is worth more. And they know it.
If you do this well, for an extensive period of time, you become an irreplaceable person in their mind. Because you’ve been giving them the gift of time.
The work once occupied most of their mind is now yours to lead. You win their business and they win time. That’s a dynamic relationship to bet on.
Nothing worthwhile in business is given. Earn it by paying a deposit. Serve until you are given the gift of time.
It's odd that your mind can break. Over a night, it can turn your life upside down. Leaving it like that, forever. I was 19 when it happened. Until this morning, writing this post, I'm still thinking about why and how that happened.
At the time, I was working a lot. Basically every waking hour. I figured if I unlocked a revenue stream, my life would change. I could gain control. I wanted out. I was living in refugee camp then. Sharing a 2-bedroom apartment with 2 other families. Each from different countries, living with different cultures. For years, we shared bathroom and kitchen. I had adapted to that lifestyle but I knew I could be more. I believed the success of my work could become the key to my freedom. So I spent all my time working. And I did so for years until it clicked. The door opened. And I got out.
But it came with a price. One night, just as I was getting ready for bed, around 4am, I suddenly felt disoriented. I looked around the room and couldn't make sense of it. Suddenly, nothing felt real. I looked at my hand and I couldn't recognise it. I thought I was in a dream. My body felt like a shell. Every cell in my body was sure I was dreaming. But I was fully awake.
So we rushed to the hospital. My mind somehow had collapsed.
The intensity of that state lasted a good while. For weeks, normal tasks like walking, talking, eating, felt overwhelming. Couldn't do most things on my own. For months I couldn't look at people in the eyes. It didn't feel right. And for years I had a fear of looking at myself in the mirror. I still sometimes get flashbacks to this day.
I had developed derealisation and depersonalisation disorder with severe PTSD. Due to a lot of different factors. And as most health challenges, doctors can never point out the reason for certain. There's a lot of could-be and probably in science still. But the suspects are familiar. High stress, felt unsafe, little sleep, wrong diet, for an extensive period of time, can cause lasting harm to your mind. Your brain chemical levels change. They go out of balance. As a result, your perception of life alters. Your reality changes. That left me terrified. All the time. For years.
I felt fragile. I couldn't see it, but I felt broken. And that's a difficult healing process.
When you don't see where you are hurt, you don't know if you are healed. Or even if you are healed properly. Will it come back if I push too hard? Will it ever be as intense as it was before if I face life challenging obstacles? It's hard to know for certain.
Today, I feel better. Probably best. Ever. But last night, I felt it again.
It comes and goes. It's the same fear, wearing different masks. It sometimes catches me by surprise, gets me disoriented, makes me fear life. But it doesn't take me long to unmask it. To uncover the same core emotions underneath that have gone expressed until they burst in attacks.
I'm still a work-in-progress. But I've learned a few things. A few hints. That if you feel the same, you might find them helpful.
The first is, your mind is a trap. It's a labyrinth, designed not to be solved.
At the time of panic or stress, your escape is in your focus. Bring your attention from your mind to your body. Feel your weight, find your centre, align yourself. Sitting or standing. Bring your attention to your senses. Focus on your hearing. Smell. Eyes closed or open. Observe your environment through your senses. Feel the presence. Then mentally scan your body top to bottom. Imagine a horizontal line going from the top of your head all the way to your toes. Focus on each part of your body. Slowly. Feel how it feels. Don't judge the sensations. Just observe them. This is meditation. Focus meditation. It works best for me. Experiment with different type of mediations to find yours. Once you feel a bit present, write down your thoughts. To empty your mind. To find what triggered the anxiety. Then take action.
The second is, your body holds the key. It brings order to the chaos of your mind.
Your body needs its releases. Your mind does it through expression. Writing. Talking. Your body does it through movement. Running. Lifting. Exercise daily to release the energy trapped in your body. The same pressure your body feels during stress, it does through excitement as well. I exercise everyday to keep my body light. One day I run. Another day I do body weight training. I picked these two so I have no excuses. Wherever I am, busy schedule or not, I can do them without any equipments. Find your favourite exercise and don't break it for 21 days. Then it becomes a habit that you won't break. Enjoy the power of change.
The third is, your gut holds the secret. It stimulates your emotions and thought quality.
I became aware of what feeds my energy and what drains me off of it. I started noticing how I felt before I ate, during and after to better understand what type of diet works for me. With the main goal of maintaining a stable energy flow throughout the day. Vegetarian diet works best for me. Since my mid 20s, I've been on a vegetarian diet. And I'm currently experimenting with vegetarian keto to cure my immune disease disorder. This detox diet with no sugar does wonders. Experiment with what works for you. Notice the quality of your thoughts. Do you feel foggy? Did you suddenly notice an energy drop after a meal? These are all little signs that if you pay enough attention to, they will lead you to a better health. Feel the connection between your gut and mind. Keep them in balance.
These work for me. I hope they help you too. If you want to chat, I'm here to listen.
Isn’t that love? Knowing what the other person needs and give it to them before they ask. That act, without the ask, to me, is love. Between you and I, I’ve spent a fair part of the last years searching for the meaning of love. What it means to me. Not what I’ve seen in others or have been told. My description of what it holds and how it’s given. Because knowing that answer, I believe, is 80% of what life is about. So naturally, that answer, doesn’t come easy. Pain leads you the way.
At first, I thought love was passion. You feel it when you see it. Your heart finds it. It beats faster when it’s nearby. But it doesn’t last long.
Then I learned love grows with curiosity. Your never ending interest in someone. Your mind grows it. It observes and asks to find out more about it. But it’s not enough. Now I’ve realised, love transmits in act. Your eyes confirm it. When you see an act of love without your ask. When knowing transforms to thoughtful actions. So, for now, That’s is my description of Love. Your heart finds it. Your mind grows it. Your actions keep it. So keep your eyes wide open, to notice the gifts your loved ones are giving. Prioritise your time and energy accordingly. To return the gift. Love is life. Live it as such.
What good does it make to beat each other on the path to the same end. To fight for the top when we share the same destiny. To compete with each other when we are on the same timeline. Sharing the same beginning and end.
Imagine the progress we could make if we were united. This is not a mantra. I’m stepping aside from this monopoly game, that never made sense to me.
Walking in malls nowadays feels like walking in illusions. All these brands, selling the same things, just in different colors, priced with different status labels. Shortcut to perceived wealth is on display.
Tech is the same. Perhaps worse. $100M+ fundings for a presentation app or another task management solution makes me wonder what we are working towards.
If work is where we spend most of our time, are we really working on the right things? What’s the end goal? Where do we like to end up? Let’s back-engineer our way to the present to see if we are aligned.
Are we working for personal wealth? No shame in that if that’s what you need to get out of your system to realise it won’t fulfil you. This materialistic gain only gives us access to perceived wealth. It’s hollow. You’ll feel lonely at the end. They say journey to success is lonely, what they don’t share is that the destination feels the same.
But like any other lesson in life, sometimes it needs to be experienced to reach the same conclusion. To gain the same understanding. The truth.
Reason with your current knowledge of life and review your beliefs. Do they still resonate with you? You heard something or made believe when you were a kid, programmed when you were naive, but now that you know more and have a choice, do you still see reason in those beliefs? Or do you feel the truth?
Life is meant to be shared. Death as our the common end was set to align us on the widely ignored truth. So why are we not pursuing life knowing this simple fact? What’s the competition for?
I’m not here to state the obvious and walk away doing what I’ve always done. Working on the same tasks doesn’t inspire me anymore.
So I’m running an experiment to learn if there are more like me, thinking the way I do. And I’m starting it with OFC, and later applying the same to OP and BR. After all, none of them would be anything without others. So why not share them and progress together.
This is an experiment to challenge the concept of ownership. The closest I’ve come to describe what I have in mind is a mix of open sourced culture with web3 movement.
Contribution to a greater good and direct reward for your input. With the goal of making what we know and use, accessible to all. To unify our learnings and contribute to the same tools, processes and network. To evolve beyond our selfish means.
Let me share my deposit to this system. I’ve spent around $400k building a suite of tools that we needed for our work. That’s a few years worth of a few full-time members. So far, we’ve built 5 apps. Each designed and build to satisfy the core needs in different areas of our work. Made in the same design system, tech stack and principles to optimise and decentralise our building processes.
Then we have a handbook for almost every company type. Service, product, physical or digital. A simple set of how-tos to navigate you through the maze of team building and packaging.
Supported by a group of people that will contribute with key-turning advise or connections you need in order to elevate your output.
The tools, processes and network that took us years to learn and unlock. The type of platform that can help create opportunities for everyone that share the same belief. Regardless of your location, background, connections or financial status.
That’s the offer of OFC. To level the playground for those that are aligned on the same vision for our future. A new baseline.
A community of top designers and engineers aligned to build a more open ecosystem.
Our learnings and contributions will funnel into our 3 pillars. Tools, processes and network. With the goal of making software free for all. Processes will evolve with the collective mind of OFC and Network will be shared among the contributors.
At the end, if this experiment goes well, we should be able to set a new baseline. A set of tools and processes to serve as bare minimum to build any business facing solutions to consumer goods. With a little help from AI. As our agents.
I’m depositing everything I’ve learned and built to begin this. If you feel the same, and share the same understanding, I would love to hear from you.
A future with no competition. To unite. As one. To be one.
It's been almost half a year since I decided to go homeless. I don't mean living on the street, although one day, I'm planning to do so. But I mean living without owning or renting a place. And I'm on track to continue it for at least another 6 months to reach my one year goal.
I stay at hotels but mostly airbnbs, booked weekly. Every Sunday, I switch place. Even if I like the place. That's the constraint.
Initially that trigged panic attacks. My concept of safety was challenged. Not having a place to go home to, specially on days or nights when I felt very tired or sad, made me feel extremely vulnerable.
But a few months into the experiment, through the discomfort, I found peace. The concept of home or safety transitioned from being this external place to internal. Within, I felt home. Calm. At peace.
I started this experiment following my previous one. Which was not to buy new pieces of clothes for a year. Which initially triggered some interesting anxiety. I felt agitated. Bored of myself.
Mostly because I used to go for a makeover type of shopping whenever I needed a refresh. I used to donate everything I owned, once or twice a year, and renew my closet to create a new character. To help form a new identity to help me overcome the next challenges. A human form of shedding my skin to evolve I thought.
Couple of months into that experiment, I started caring less about how I seem to people. There was also an interesting shift to how I used to approach my work meetings, where I previously used to dress to impress. My confidence transitioned from how I look to how I feel or who I am. Another transition from external to internal. I started feeling less fragmented and more authentic. Once again, I found peace. Within.
This is not a new way of life for me. I've always been designing experiments to challenge myself. As a kid, I was just unaware of what I was doing. As an example, I used to have a rule at the age of 6 or 7. The rule was simple. I could only wear my good clothes if I did well in school. Only when I felt like I deserved them. If I didn't do well then, I would limit myself by wearing my least favourite clothes. That's my polite way of saying I wore the stuff I hated.
I started this because my parents didn't set any boundaries for me. I think. They didn't push me to do well in school nor did they punish or limit my access when I did poorly. I think because of this, I created ways to motivate and discipline myself.
So I started forming all of these experiments. To challenge my comfort, to create discomfort, just to evolve. Mutate almost. Part of me even thinks I unconsciously got myself into the situation I am in now. To become someone that doesn't have a citizenship anywhere in this world.
I have to say, my deportations grew my life. They were all blessings. The first one taught me that I had a choice in how I felt. The second taught me that I had a choice in who I am. And the third taught me that I no longer need to seek. I already have all I need. I even think the true meaning of "What you seek, you shall find" means you should stop seeking.
For the first time, in a long time, I feel happy. Hopeful. And at peace. With where I am. Who I am. And what I can do for others. I had to get kicked out of my home 3 times, to learn I've always been at home.
Life update — A week ago, I moved to Turkey. My visa expired in Thailand and I couldn't renew it. Giving up everything I worked for in the past 4 years taught me a lot. I share it here one day. But for now, I'm happy I came out.
Turkey is going to be my new home for the next year or so. If you are here, or planning to take a trip here, let me know. Happy to meet.
This is to finding peace through discomfort. Challenge yourself.
Current Airbnb at Istanbul. Traveling this Sunday to Bodrum.
It's difficult to enjoy the process when the outcome doesn't match your expectations. It's difficult to progress when you are obsessing about the outcome. It's difficult to evolve when your mind constantly jumps ahead or travels back.
All these mental blocks travel your creative flow. They remove you from the present and put you in limbo. But all fades away if you bring your focus from the outcome to the process.
Run this experiment with me next time you sit down to create.
Divide your mind into two parts: one that creates and one that observes. Watch yourself create. Observe the thoughts and emotions that arise as you create. Hear the inner dialogue. Notice your state of mind.
Are you present?
Or is your mind on the imaginary future, fantasizing about the result you are not getting? Or are you focused on the past, judging your progress? Or maybe you are comparing, looking at your craft and comparing it with others' work?
I don't have to tell you how unhelpful these thought patterns are. You already know this. But we are still doing it. Why?
Because we are attaching our self-worth to the result of our work. If the result is worthless, then so are we. We identify ourselves with the outcome of our work. We believe we are what we create.
Your creativity becomes your curse. Ego is to blame.
The part of us that has no patience, is never satisfied, and always asks for more. Every time it feels ignored, it demands attention. Like a child, it gets loud and yells our list of entitlements. It amplifies your past accomplishments and diminishes your presence. It projects an illusion of the future and asks why it can't have it now. As a result, it bloats your self-image and alters your reality.
No wonder we can't create from this state of mind. It's natural that we feel agitated when we try to create from this place. Of course, we feel insecure when we constantly compare our craft with what it could be or what it should be. It's natural we feel stuck and unhappy, when our ego is in charge.
What's the alternative?
If ego is outcome-driven and grows when we identify ourselves with the result of our work, then soul is process-oriented. It grows with a mind that appreciates the present. It accepts things as they are and creates with what it has now.
A soulful way of work. What does it feel like to create when you are present?
Your soul lights the way. You feel grounded. You feel light and right. Your ideas naturally flow through you and create an art that authentically communicates your vision. You are in tone with your emotions. Your thoughts intuitively turn into iterations. You appreciate each version for what they are and understand each holds unique value as a stepping stone in your process. You focus on the art of creation. You enjoy the work. Your soul flows through your creations. Connects you with others. Widens your reach. You feel understood. You become one. With all there is.
Your creativity becomes your blessing.
So next time you sit down to create, make a mental note of what needs to be done, then ground yourself in the presence and let ideas flow through you. Regard each iteration as a stepping stone to your destination. And enjoy the work.
Starve the ego. Feed the soul.
With that being said, we've updated OP Brand Shop with more ready-to-launch brand packages. And we've included a customisation option to change the logo to the name of your company.
This is to walk the talk. Falling in love with the process without becoming attached to the outcome. A creative exercise for our team to evolve.
OpenPurpose® is here to serve. We are working to evolve our way of service. Hope you like the work.
I'm biased on workflows over one-time wonders. Reliable outcomes are where I bet my time and money on. Systems are where I feel alive. And Processes are what I breath.
There's no life in me, without the two. These invisible patterns that sum up our lives in the form of habits. Within systems in which we come to this life and leave this form.
You might say you feel limited by processes. That you feel trapped within systems. But then my answer to you would be, you are following the wrong ones.
The magic is in applying the right constraints to create the freedom. That's right. Freedom without boundaries is madness. Nobody enjoy those.
For me, if a process is longer than a couple of steps, then it's a manual and nobody reads those. Too long. People rather figure things out on their own. And when everyone does their own thing, nobody knows how things are made. Then sooner or later, when someone gets sick or leaves, so does your business. Nobody knows how to create what they did.
And if a system holds more than a dozen of processes, then it's a party without a host and nobody knows where things are. No accountability. Every mistake is blamed on the person that is not in the room. Nobody likes to come back. So most leave. And those that stay, begin to pull everyone's weight and at the end, they burn themselves out.
Now imagine when things are made in simple, easily repeatable steps. And those steps are openly shared and understood by everyone within the team.
Do you feel the breeze?
Imagine the perfect harmony. The intersection of the right people, processes and systems. You feel it in the results. After all, energy is contagious. It travels through time and matter.
That sweet sweet wind that takes your mind away. Makes you feel present. Helps you see life in a new light.
You can feel a team's energy through their creations. What you experience is the sum of the energy spent on the project. If your experience with the product or service wasn't great, then most likely, the team weren't feeling particularly joyful when they designed it that way.
So maybe emotions can be designed. You can design an environment to influence a collective state of mind in order to produce an emotion as an outcome through a product or service.
That's the job of Processes and Systems.
And I believe they together attract their matching people. Wrong processes and systems, attract the wrong fits. The right ones, attract the right ones. So get your processes right, to get the right people in.
I've said it before, I'm saying it again.
Culture is the sum of people's energy. That energy is produced from their emotions. Emotions are influenced by systems they live in. Those systems are designed by man-made processes (sometimes we forget this part). And processes are in your control.
If work doesn't feel right, take it apart. Name each part it's made of and put it back together. Then make changes to each part until it feels right. Experiment with your process. To change how you feel. To create new results.
Systems are life. Processes are habits. Some are designed by your conscious self, others by your subconscious mind. But you are in control of both. Apply the same experiment in your personal life to create a new present : )
Change has got a bad stigma. Change is not bad. Change is not a sign of instability. Change is not due to a failure.
Change is wisdom. Change requires awareness. We change when we feel stuck. We are stuck because we can't move on the way we are. So we change. We change to leave the past behind. We change to have a better future.
But changing is painful. Letting go of parts of you that no longer serve you is unsettling. And letting other parts to take place is unfamiliar. The process is not linear. It's multi-dimensional. A spiral journey through space and time.
And sometimes, that journey, requires you to begin again. From the start. From the square 1.
Imagine spending years climbing the highest mountain. Near the top, you realise the path you are on, will only take you as far. The path to top, is different than the one you are on. To reach the top, you need to begin again. You need to climb all the way down and start again.
Change is necessary.
So we climb down. We don't spend too much time petting ourselves, regretting the time we've lost. We cherish the lessons we've learned, humble ourselves, and begin again. We feel grateful to have had the chance to experience this pain, learn and grow.
Change is growth. And growth is painful.
So if today, things are tough, know that you are changing. For the better. A brighter future. The pain is the sign of that change.
At the end, there are no shortcuts. The more pain you endure, the more you change and the more you grow.
I used to believe luxury brands are built with high quality products + offered in low quantity + sold at high prices. Then I launched a few brands and learned otherwise.
I started experimenting with creating physical products in 2020. Right when covid began. I started brands like Compliment, Renklar, Reserved and Marviaca to learn the craft of making by doing (you can read about my learnings from each on my Read.CV). I hired a small team of designers for each, defined a simple 3-step creative process to keep all members aligned, across projects and started the work.
Explore. Experiment. Execute. Each of these steps were time-boxed for to apply good creative constraints. In order to complete a step, members had to post the outcome of their work, by sharing a couple of options, and get the team to vote. Less decisions from me. More growth for my team. Always provide options. Always trust the collective mind over a single leader.
Anyway, it took us roughly about a year to get the first products in place. First round, we created everything from scratch. For clothing, we hired tailors and pattern artists to experiment with different fabrics and shapes to find our signature. For self-care products, we tested small local shops specialised in organic products to try different product types. For furniture, we collaborated with a small studio to prototype and manufacture our designs in low quantities. And for the space design, well, the biggest nightmare of all, we hired a range of different teams to bring our designs to life for the store and studio.
It was nerve racking. Probably because I started many projects at once. But I thought it was necessary to experiment with a lot at once and apply the learnings across projects in real time. And I figured now that I'm dedicating a year or two to go through this growth pain, I rather go all in and learn as much as I can.
Once the products were close to be done, we began the marketing work. From art direction to photoshoots, from ads to hiring influencers. We did it all. And we learned the art of it.
For pricing, we went ambitious. In my mind, better to start high, then lower the prices if needed because the other way around is more challenging. Also, I had a strong belief that starting with a high price, would position us as a high-end brand from the start. And I believed customers that can afford higher prices, are usually easier to deal with in terms of sale and support.
Well, we got most of those right. But we underestimated a little detail. It takes years to build a luxury brand. We had all kinds of influencers wearing our clothes. From celebrities to top instagrammers. Most even did it for free because they liked our designs. We had the right products. The branding was right. Art direction was on point. We stood out. But our name didn't travel fast enough. Word of mouth was missing. And that reflected in our sales numbers. We only sold when we boosted our posts on social media or launched a creative campaign.
Then I realised a simple truth.
People only recommend when they find a great product, priced lower than their expectation. So they run around, and tell everyone, as if it’s a secret. It may sound obvious but it wasn't. At least for me. So we changed the formula a little bit.
Accessible quality + sustainable quantity + affordable pricing. Magic happened once we made that change.
Why am I sharing this now? Because we are in recession. Recession rewards adaptive businesses.
As designers, I believe it's a great time for us to humble ourselves. To lower our prices and package our services. We can go after the bigger shops. Agencies. By taking less and offer more. They won't last.
Optimise your processes, shorten your timelines, package your skills, and price it at an affordable rate.
I'm doing the same with my team at OP®. Historically we've been a high-end agency. Most couldn't afford us. But we are working to change that. With all the talents available now for hire, and clients looking for speedy turnarounds, we would be fool not to try.
Also, my new lifestyle brand, BR, will be covering all your essentials with great quality products from clothing to self-care products and more, at an affordable pricing.
With the rise of AI, most tech businesses are at the risk of becoming worthless with time. And that time gets cut in half with every big AI update.
AutoGPT is already building simple tools and deploying them on its own with simple commands. Midjourney is creating outstanding visuals, in any style you imagine, with just a few lines of description. Runway delivers remarkable solutions for creating/editing videos and Soundraw has started the same for music.
AI hasn't reached the mainstream yet and we are already at this pace of progression. Imagine when it hits the public. Imagine when Google launches Magi. Putting AI infront of over a billion people. Imagine the younger generation learning the power of AI by experimenting with it in school and the older generation understands how they can benefit from it in their every day lives. Imagine the mutation we are about to experience online.
We are at corner of probably the biggest change in the creative industry. Anything that can be created digitally, can soon be done in fraction of the time with significantly less cost. And maybe, just maybe, with enough time and progress, that cost will eventually become free.
Software will indeed become less valuable with time. Or in other words, mindblowingly great software will soon become very affordable. With AI, most companies are enabled to create custom tailored tools for needs in minutes. Qatalog is already on this. An AI that creates software by putting together the right components, workflows and roles to solve your needs, with less, in seconds.
Now imagine no-code tools like Webflow, Framer, Play, Glide and others implement AI. With their data, templates, systems, component library, the AI can create a world of tools for web, mobile, watch, in probably minutes to hours that we can just csutomize as we adjust the lightning on our photos and publish online. Brand, copy, pitch, pricing, marketing, all done by AI.
The no-code tools will soon become no interface tools. We speak our ideas into existence.
So in a world where digital craft becomes mundane, what will we desire? What will we spend our money on?
To real people. In small communities. Focused on a shared vision for the future. The more niche, the higher the value.
I think a new era of social media might be upon us. One that is not designed to scale up but scale down. One that is not for everyone. But for some. A network of small communities to join, contribute, and get rewarded.
I've been causing existential crises in almost everyone I've talked to about AI. Especially fellow designers. Mainly because I'm afraid most of us will be replaced by AI. That is IF we stick to the way we work today. In the roles we have today.
Creative work is about to take a big shift. Execution is no longer the name of the game. Directing is. Learning the skills of a producer and directing your way through the process will help you evolve your role into what will be the next step in your career. In a world where Ai and Humans work together to design the future.
And by skills I don't mean learning how to prompt. I mean developing a high-level of taste. Some might say it's a born-with talent. But I believe it's a self-taught skill. And it starts with understanding why you feel what you feel towards the things you like or don't like.
How? By observing. Mainly by putting words on your internal language. Your emotions. Start by taking things you like or don't like apart to see which elements you feel positively towards them or resistant. That's the beginning of learning any creative skill. By understanding why you feel what you feel.
Name the art. Music. Movie. Architecture. Industrial design. Digital. Brand. Fashion. You name it. You can now be good at it. Without knowing how to play the instruments. Without speaking the language. Without knowing how to execute it. You can talk your way through designing your favourite house. Your dream car. Even directing your movie. With the actresses you like. (The AI version of them). Or producing the songs you hear in your head, with the whomever as the voice. You can become the executive producing director of your full potential creative.
Your goal should now be to develop the skills necessary to articulate what you feel in simple words so others, regardless of age or experience, know how to execute it.
And know our time is ticking. This will be the mother tongue of the younger generation. So you and I need to invest our time, to learn that language now.
With this being said, we are running a new experiment at OP. You can now use our Trial to get a glimpse of what future holds for your business with AI. During our 2-week sprint, we will explore radical and realistic concepts for how AI could impact and empower your business.
So why did I decide to sell my previous ventures as Brand Packages in the new OP® Shop?
Well, it's a lesson that took me a while to learn but I finally learned it. To evolve, you need to let go. Let go of past ideas, dreams and visions to make room for what is.
Over the past few years, as you might have seen on Wayward Group, I dedicated most of my time, energy and money to start new ventures/experiments. I figured I had to step out of my comfort zone to scale my learnings. I wanted to see what else life had in store for me besides running a design agency and a SaaS startup before my time runs out. Maybe there's more within me that could be unlocked with new challenges.
For the ventures, I picked four areas where I felt most excited about: Incubator/Accelerator Program/Fund, Fashion, Self-Care products, and exploring a new multi-purpose retail/event space.
For each, I hired a small team of 1-3 members, sat clear time constraints for each phase of the process and begun the work. For reviews and decisions, I created a simple 3-step process to keep all members in sync with each others plan and accountable to their progress. No decisions were made in the silos by team leads. All decisions had to be made in the open channels by majority votes, and everyone had to participate. This way the learning and responsibilities for our next steps were shared among the members. In other words, less "founder" stress for me.
Fast forward to two years later, at the end of 2022, we launched three ventures and paused one. We launched a high-end fashion brand, released our first self-care product, and built a new retail/event space and formed an accelerator program, pitched a conglomerate for funding and paused before we begun (too many dependencies, more on this later).
But at the end, I decided to shut down almost all of them.
It was hard. Going from 0 → 1 on ventures you haven't worked on before is especially difficult. Because most of the time, you experience growth pain. Every step of the progress, comes with friction. In the form of uncertainty. Just this background noise that gets louder the more you spend on a venture that you might be on the wrong path. Because you don't know what the right path looks like.
But, we learned the way. We paved the steps. We created the process. And we applied them to OFC.
And for all of our physical product exploration, and experimentations, we brought them all to BR. Our new brand. Blank Residents.
TLDR; It took me a long time but at the end, I learned the only way to truly grow outside of your own way, you need to let go of your old self. Your old ideas, visions, fantasies. To create new ones. Adapted to your present self with your present mind to stay present.
In my journal, I wrapped these two years under the first two phase of our creative process: Explore and Experiment. Now, we are entering our third: Execution. In the next post, I will share more of OFC and BR.
Until then, Have a look at our new Brand Shop. You might find the Brand for your next venture there. ;)
Earlier this year, we launched OpenPurpose® Design Trial. a two-week sprint for founders to explore, experiment, and execute [B] Brand / [P] Product design ideas with our team for $14K.
This experiment was designed to simplify the initial phase of project exploration, replacing the time-consuming process of putting together the perfect brief, weeks of doing calls, and talking about "what ifs" with action. After all, we would rather show you than talk about it. So, it worked out perfectly for us and our clients.
Founders like Tariq from Qatalog, Jürgen (founder of Things) from Semantical, Eli from Multi, Dennis from Amie, and many others reached out to book a trial with us. You've probably seen bits of the work we did for them on our Twitter. Most booked both Brand and Product trials, mainly to see our take on their designs or our perspective on their next step.
So we made some updates to our Trial page and opened two new slots to see what April has in store for us. To book a trial, visit openpurpose.com/trial.
Over the past few years, I invested most of my time, energy, and money into starting new ventures, from researching incubators and accelerators worldwide to creating the perfect program/fund for creatives by partnering with enterprises to launching streetwear fashion brands, organic self-care products, and even a new marketing agency.
I learned a ton. In fact, these past two years felt more like ten years. I surely 10xed my grey hair. And I learned a lot. And I think the most important lesson was: To evolve, you need to let go. You need to let go of your past ideas, dreams, and visions to make room for what is. I will tell you what that is in my next post.
Our new experiment is productizing Brands, ready-to-launch brands for entrepreneurs looking for a new name + domain + logo + website for their next venture. For $10K, you can own one of our OP® designed Brands (transferred to you within 3 days) to kickstart your new journey. UPDATE: We've lowered our packaging price to $3K to speed up the process of making and selling.
You may fear it, but I welcome it. I get inspired by it. I feel free. Free to explore. Free to create. Free to become. It's a place of freedom.
It's a place where nothing can go wrong. It's a safe place. Nothing to lose. You are here to only gain. And you get as many chances as you wish. To create something, different from past. With your new learnings, with your new perspective. It's a place to reborn.
Every once in a while, we reach ground zero. Sometimes willingly, to get on a different path. And sometimes we get directed here, because of a turn of an event. But everytime we find ourselves at Ground Zero, we take this moment to reflect. To observe. To study. It's a place to learn.
With OFC, we've reached Ground Zero. With the experiments we ran over the past 6 months, we learned what we are not. Which brought us closer to cherish who we are. Confidently.
We thought building in this space, required us to be on Discord, because that was the norm. And yet again, we learned the cost of following the norm. Anxiety.
While Discord may work for others, we learned it doesn't work for us. One of the strongest indicators for us was the need/anxiety to be always present. To be always active. And if not, there needs to be something to be discussed just for the sake of staying active. That's what social media is capitalising on and that's not how we would like to grow OFC.
Discord, for us, was the type of noise we were trying to stay away from. So remaining true to our "The antidote to hypergrowth culture", we believe Discord is part of that and we've decided to step aside.
We do so to remain focused on building OFC OS and will start the funding through NFTs when the right time comes by. We've been on this journey for the past 6 years. We are committed to our long term vision and following our plan. OFC OS is a place where our peers and their teams will align on work and evolve with the help of the shared knowledge from all OFC members.
To all of our Inner Circle members, thank you for your participation in this process. Your involvement helped us to define a better next step, that we couldn't have reached without you. And to all of you following our updates, I hope you learn from our experiments.
I hope you learn to prioritise (ruthlessly) by saying No (respectfully) to what's not aligned with your long-term goal. I hope you learn to believe in yourself (unconditionally) and grow confidence in your work (stubbornly).
Learn to lead from within by following your intuition. You are more.
Ground Zero is a place where you shed your self-doubts.It's a place of growth. Embrace it.
I started 3drops over a decade ago in a refugee camp in Sweden. At the time, I had no ID. Nor any work permit. Without it, it's impossible to go to university or apply for any job.
Starting my own was the only option. I worked every waking hour to turn that hope of freedom to reality. It took me a few years to get my first client project. And a couple more to hire our first member.
Due to the lack of permanent residency, I had to build a remote company. Remote clients, remote teams. It wasn’t easy but nothing worthwhile ever is.
3drops became the key to my freedom. Even though I still don’t have a permanent residency (hint on the new name Blank Resident, more on this later) I am living comfortably, collaborating with people I admire, working on projects that inspire me.
3drops has fulfilled its purpose for me. It’s time to open it for others to find theirs.
Yet, most of us, waste so much time and money trying to prove people/ourselves wrong. Our ego gets in the way. The designer in us, the introvert, takes over and starts polishing every little detail from within. As if that's going to help us make more money. And we all know what happens when we go down that rabbit hole. Days, months, and sometimes years go by and we are still making changes. And the longer we spent in this hole, the more insecure we get about our product, our vision, our whole being.
But what if we let the entrepreneur in us lead the way. The extrovert. What if, instead of looking for validation from our peers, we looked for potential customers. What if we just took a break from making and instead, started spending all of our time on learning how to sell what we already have.
It's Marketing, isn't it? That's what stops us. I think marketing got a bad rep among creatives. Most people think marketing is just ads. It's distasteful. Nobody wants to become that one person on twitter that always talks about her/his product. It's annoying. But that's not Marketing.
Marketing is about sharing. It's about inviting others to see how you do what you do. Marketing is about sharing your story. It's about showing people why you do what you do. Marketing is not selfish. Marketing helps you to understand people you care about more. It teaches you what they like and what they don't like. Marketing makes you a better conversationist. It makes you interesting.
I believe all designers and developers are great marketers. I believe we all have it in us. We just need to get comfortable with sharing more. And the way we do that is by documenting our progress as we do it, instead of focusing on creating content for the sake of creating content. Just take a screenshot of what you are currently working on and share it twitter. Record your screen for a few seconds and show people what you are doing now. Unlike product design/development, quality doesn't matter as much as quantity does. How often you share matters more than what you share. Then once you've got the habit of sharing, the quality will follow.
If you ask anyone who knows me about what describes me the best, they will most likely answer with: "Farzad likes to make his life difficult. He could live a much easier life if only he wanted to."
And they are right. I tend to, at times, turn my life into hell for a few months/years, when I see, in my mind, that it might help me reach my goals sooner. I believe it's necessary. I believe if I don't, I might never get there on time. After all, we are all running on a limited time. Something that most of us overestimate. And things usually take a while until they fall into their place.
It took me a decade to turn 3drops from a one-man design shop into a world-class design agency, working with governments, institutions and enterprises to rethink the future. It took me almost 5 really difficult years to turn Roadmap into a self-funded, software studio that we now call OFC. And last, to make the full-circle, it took a good couple of years to get over myself and hire better CEOs for each. Which today enables me to take on my next journey: To turn Thailand into South East Asia's new tech hub through the work we do at Inen.
Throughout all these years, I've had countless nights where I wanted to call it all off. The thought of doing the wrong things, making the wrong decisions, hiring the wrong people, or simply not doing enough was just too overwhelming at times. But all these hard learned lessons aside, one thing made the most impact.
And that was to grow our business, we need to evolve our business model instead of growing our operations. Let me explain what I mean.
Every year, as we learn more about our work and others in the business, we brainstorm new ways to stand out by doing less. Every year, instead of growing our team size, taking on more challenges, offering more services, we remain small, charge more and do less. Which goes against our instincts as founders. Specially when things start to show return. More clients knocking on your door asking for more services, more customers want your product to offer more features and more people want to join your team.
And sure, who am I kidding, we did try to grow our operation at first. We added more services to our agency, hired more members to our team and took on more projects. We implemented more features to our products and tried to do more things for more people. And sure, we maybe saw some peaks in our revenue but it never lasted long enough to justify the new set of challenges that came with that growth. The type growth that you need to constantly grow your headcount, offer more services and implement more features just to keep it moving upwards. And at the end, more capabilities, more features, more services, means more people, and more people mean less flexibility, less freedom and less fun.
So we learned in order to create exponential businesses we need to become notorious constraint creators. Which may create pain in the short term as you figure out what your secret ingredients are but once you've found the right balance, you can build remarkable businesses, with small teams and budget. This means if you apply the right constraints in the right areas of your processes/products, you can deliver much better results compared to your competitors which allows you to charge more without adding more services/features/people.
I have limited availability in May. But if you are running a company and feeling stuck, I would be happy to help. I might not have the right answers, but I can guarantee that together, we can figure out what you can try next that might just help move the needle.
To start, DM to tell me a bit about yourself and your company.
Let's talk about what motivates you. Because that's what aligns you, controls you, makes you and breaks you.
Over the past few months, I've been questioning a lot of my recent decisions. I mean, when I wake up, I'm all charged and ready to take on the challenges head-on, then later at night, when I'm tired, I question every bit of it. I mean, I doubt every bit of it. Wondering whether I really should start these new companies or should I just focus on what I already have. After all, I know how much it takes to get something off-ground but I've invested most of my past 6 months into these new projects. So do I really want to dedicate the next couple of years to bring these ideas to life? Do I even have what it takes to pull it off?
Most nights, like tonight, I'm re-thinking every decision I've made lately. And by rethinking, I mean overthinking. Probably. But you be the judge of that. Let me paint that picture for you so you can see what it's like to meditate with this mind of mine.
I run a design agency called 3drops since 2010. You already know this. We work with enterprises and governments to create or improve their digital products. Big deal right? Portion of the profits from 3drops goes to OFC, our self-funded startup studio, where we ship next-gen SaaS solutions for smaller companies. So far, we have 3 products in 3 different categories, but all directed towards the same customer base → early-stage startups. We do productivity, marketing and analytics. Roadmap, Sincere and Slim. Experimenting with new ideas, in this space, in this format, is a dream come true.
Now, to the new companies. I've been living in Bangkok, Thailand for a couple of years now. And the longer I live here, the more I think about the potential of this country. And the more I think about it, the more obsess I become with this thought and slowly ideas are beginning to form. Especially in the past year. Thailand is a country where resources are very affordable, the weather is amazing, the food is delicious and the people are kind, which makes Thailand the perfect place to start your new company. But why isn't anything happening here? It lacks something. It has almost all of the key components needed to become the next tech hub but it lacks that beautiful interface to communicate them. It needs design. Thailand needs world-class design.
So I'm starting two new companies to help with that. Each is directed towards different markets but both are needed to design this city from the inside out. One is in tech while the other is in commerce. One is an incubator/accelerator backed by enterprises while the other is a branding and manufacturing studio with in-house influencers. One is designed to build innovative tech companies leveraging the resources available here, while the other is formed to build world-class brands, products and services here in Thailand. Basically, in a couple of years, most startups here will look like startups in Silicon Valley, and most shops will look like Swedish brands.
Doable? 100%. Can I do it? I believe so. I hope so. I think so. I do believe this is why I'm here. I believe this is the place where I can be most helpful. And if I do it right, it will hopefully put me in touch with the right people to make this possible.
So what drives me? The freedom to experiment with new ideas in different spaces and scale to meet interesting people and evolve.
What's my end goal? Reform how governments operate from within, to bring speed and transparency through tech, to ensure justice we all need to live our lives right. This motherboard we are all operating in, needs a major redesign. And I hope through the experiences and relationships I build along the way, one day, I can get the opportunity to add to the conversation of a new government/system.
These words, these mental fragmented images is what I see when I'm up or down. This is what excites me and overwhelms me. But this is what grounds me. This is what motivates me. What's yours?
We recently had a client project that got cancelled at the very last minute. A day before our kick-off. After weeks of discussions, the founder realised, at the very last minute, that he couldn't let go of his control over the product. He was too afraid to find out what needed to be done in order to get his business on track. Which in most cases is a matter of a re-organising and re-prioritising the features in their products. But in some cases, it's also about taking away some of those features to make it easier for the rest to be understood. Something that is only obvious to a fresh pair of eyes with experience but unimaginable to a founder that's been staring at it for too long.
It's more common among bootstrapped founders because of their 100% control over their business. A freedom that can become a curse. I've had it. I remember feeling stuck with Roadmap so I asked my friends who run insanely profitable bootstrapped companies for advice. The result? I panicked. I didn't like anything they said. Their advice: I had to remove at least half a year worth of work to get it on a better track and then pause the development and focus on Marketing. Too much of my ego was wrapped up in these things to make such a drastic decision. So I didn't. I carried on as we had planned only to realise, two years later, that it was the best move so I did it then.
Your ego becomes your work and your work becomes part of your identity and then everything becomes personal. This is why founders look for a clone to delegate this type of work to. But there are better ways to make those decisions easier for yourself:
Don't waste time discussing ideas. Don't reject ideas too early either. Just because you explored something similar in the past doesn't mean the result would be the same. It's all about the execution. Explore fearlessly and prototype rapidly. That's what we do during our test weeks. We explore all potential directions, then we put the best pieces together and prototype the end result. At last, we send the prototype to a few existing/potential customers to get our proof. That's how we launch outstanding products for our clients in a fraction of the time it would take for an in-house team to achieve. That's how we do our test weeks.
When I was growing up, I was told the more responsibilities one takes on, the greater he/she becomes. A simple phrase that went on to shape my world view. It became the filter I saw the world through. That's how I ranked people around me and that's what I was striving for to leave behind.
In my head, more equaled to progress. So I spent my entire 20s looking for more things to take care of. More responsibilities. More people. More money. And as I was going up this ladder, I slowly lost sight of the ground. Where I started from. Who I was. What I wanted. So you can guess what happened next. After a couple of breakdowns, I stopped.
Now I'm in my 30s believing the opposite. The fewer things you are responsible for, the greater you can become. I thought I was doing a good job on all of those things when I was younger. But it turned out, I wasn't.
You would be surprised how similar it is in our work. As a founder, growing a company sometimes feels like raising a kid. So if you teach this kid that the more things you are able to do, the greater you become, you know now where that leads. Most startups start simple but after a couple of years of taking on more requests, more responsibilities, they lose sight on what they were actually good at. Now they are just another all-in-one tool that are not really doing a good at any.
Resist the urge to do more. Progress by doing less.
Only a day left from Christmas, a few days left to my 30th birthday and a week to a brand new decade. What a countdown.
As I'm reflecting on the past decade and preparing myself to get back to work in 2020, after a 2 years long break, I can't help but feel nostalgic. I started working as a freelance product designer right after high school in 2010 and spent my entire 20s growing it to become one of the few go-to product design agencies in the world, among governments, fortune 50 companies, and leading startups. All this while traveling between countries, building a super talented remote team and chasing a dream in Sweden. The dream of being able to call Sweden my home so I can be close to my family and continue growing 3drops in Stockholm, but it turned into a nightmare that cost me half of my life. Thanks to their injustice, inhumane migration policy, I felt like I lost half of my life and part of my identity during that process.
2 years of blowing up money, traveling alone between countries, meeting inspiring people and getting high on adventures I previously was too scared of beginning, led me to find a new self within me.
2020 is a new beginning, a new opportunity, and a new chance to evolve. It's time to get back to work. A new 3drops is coming soon.
This is an attempt to break the bubble and start living a more transparent life where others outside of my close friends and family get to see into my life and hopefully learn from the outcome of my choices and decisions.
I don’t believe in right or wrong. I believe in experiences. I believe there’s no right path in life, there are just simply different experiences. The fork in the road metaphor, that we were taught in school at a young age is just too extreme and not the reality we live today. Do you remember the picture? The left path takes you into this dark and what it seems to be a horrifying jungle where pain and horror await and the right one takes you to this beautiful land where all your dreams come true.
But to tell you the truth, between these two paths, if I had to pick, the left one has always been more appealing to me than the right one. Why? I think it’s because I just don’t believe there are any shortcuts to your dreams in life. In fact, whenever I’ve been shown or offered a shortcut, I’ve always turned around and ran the other way. From getting job offers with fancy titles at industry leading companies to acquisitions offers for my company from the big league and investment opportunities from the rich gangs in our own ventures.
To me, these are all distractions. My goal has always been the same. To own my own time by doing what I love. To me, that means turning my passion into a business and run it until it can run itself.
I don’t believe working for a big company would teach you anything about running your own company, so I’ve always declined the job offers, no matter how good the titles were. I also don’t believe selling your company is such a good happy ending as most people think, regardless of how much money you are offered. I would rather have a recurring income doing what I love than a fixed big sum in my bank account. And lastly, I don’t believe you can learn how to make money by spending someone else’s money. I believe you need the financial constraints to keep your team’s focus in check. Otherwise, it’s effortless to jump between things and develop this shiny object syndrome most founders seem to struggle with and as a result, lose sight of what really matters.
That’s why I believe walking in that dark jungle, is necessary, regardless of how many bruises you get when you come out. Those are just signs of the lessons you had to learn in order to find your own way out.
I’ve been using the same framework, the same core principles that I apply to make decisions in my professional life, in my personal life as well. That means I tend to take the path with the highest risk and endure the pain in the short term to get to my long-lasting reward. Sometimes I get the reward I aimed for, and sometimes I benefit from the lessons I learned, later in life which always turn out to be much more valuable than the reward I was aiming for in the first place. But unlike my professional life, I’ve spent the last 14 years of my life trying to find a way out of this jungle with no luck as of yet.
Let me explain.
I currently have no country I can stay in more than 90 days. That means I don’t have any permanent citizenship or even a temporary one, in any country at this moment. Not even the country I was born in. Nor the country that I grew up in. Yes, there are two different countries. And no, this is not my first time. I believe most things that “happen” to us in life are just the result of our own choices and actions which means these could’ve easily been avoided if I took the right path, the shortcut but somewhere deep inside me, still believes that beautiful land is just a facade. The real destination lays after this dark, scary jungle.
Let’s take a walk.
I was 14 years old when I moved to Sweden with my family and applied for asylum. Roughly 6 years later, thanks to my mother’s job, my parents got the citizenship. Me? I got deported because I was 19, adult in the eyes of the law, no longer depended on my family to survive. With no country to return to, I had no choice other than picking a random country I had never been in nor did I know anyone there, outside of Europe which would grant me a 90 days tourist visa just so I had a bit of time to figure out a plan to get a temporarily 1 year visa. I chose Malaysia (one of the two countries with more than 30 days tourist visa), booked my own ticket, and left Sweden within the 4 weeks timeframe to avoid getting deported by the police. That was the first time I got deported.
After almost 3 years of living in Malaysia and a few other neighbour countries and airports in South East Asia, I came back to Sweden with a work permit. Fast forward to today, 5 years later I’m getting deported wrongfully, again, at the age of 28, because of an insurance we missed from the beginning. It’s a matter of a few thousand kronor (a few hundred dollars). For some reason, the Swedish Migration Agency never bothered to let us know we were missing the insurance 5 years ago when I applied for my work permit or 3 years ago when I extended it. They simply waited until I applied for my permanent citizenship to tell me I never actually met all the requirements, to begin with, and therefore need to be deported. Again.
I’m going to skip the part when the Swedish Migration Agency lost my case for over a year with no effort whatsoever from their side to get things back on track. For the record, let me just say that it’s the waiting that takes the most toll on you, not the final answer.
That’s 14 years of my life spent in uncertainty. That’s half of my life, not knowing where I belong. Even though my entire family is Swedish citizens now, I don’t seem to belong here. I mean this is my second time I got deported from this country.
Let me put things in perspective for you.
I started my company in Sweden when I was 20. A few months before my first deportation, I signed the ownership of my company over to my family so I could keep it alive. For the past 8 years, I took it from absolutely nothing to a world-class agency working remotely with Fortune 500 and governments as clients. In fact, if you’ve applied for a visa lately, the chances are you went through the system we designed together with governments in over 60 countries to make the process simple, transparent and more efficient for you and the staff.
The success of my first company gave me the opportunity to reinvest some of our profit into our own ventures that gave birth to our second profitable business. I like to think that these are the results of the constraints I’ve lived in for so long. But I also sometimes think that I might have jeopardized my own comfort in my personal life to keep myself in check and focus on what matters the most. To tell you the truth, I’ve never felt comfortable in my comfort zone so I’ve always done whatever I can to make sure I never end up there. Or maybe I’ve never really been that comfortable to see what it’s like. I just know there were shortcuts I could’ve taken to get my visa like marrying someone as most people do in this situation. But both times I got the option I turned around and walked the other way. Mainly because I believe I shouldn’t have to marry someone just to get what is rightfully mine. I mean I grew up here, my entire family is here, I went to school here and when I wasn’t allowed to continue my studies in University because of the lack of permit, I instead started a business while I was in the refugee camp and grew it into the successful business it is today from absolutely nothing and created jobs in Sweden and paid millions in tax in the process, just in the past few years.
This is why how I get this visa is so important to me. I invested too much of my time and energy here just to take a shortcut now. This is why the How is more important to me than the What, and it has become a core principle, both in my personal and professional life.
The system in the Swedish Migration Agency is unbelievably broken, and I have my life to prove it.
As I’m preparing to leave Sweden again, within the next two weeks with no destination where I can stay longer than 90 days, I can’t help but feel resentful. But I’ve been here once before so this time around I’m more mindful about how I can use this energy to my benefit. I’m more aware of what kind of opportunity I have on my hands too. There’s a rare luxury in having everything taken away from you. There’s a certain freedom to it that I now come to desire. You get the chance to start over, from scratch with nothing in your luggage. I see it as a plain canvas with endless opportunities. Do you realize this is what most people are afraid of?
Here’s what I’ve learned in the past 14 years of living in uncertainty:
- Realise there are no right or wrong path in life, just different experiences. Believe in yourself and trust your own intuition. Somehow, deep down, unconsciously, we all know where we need to go.
- Realise you are where you chose to be. Nobody took those steps for you. Take responsibility for everything you are and everything you are not.You are always in control of your life.
- Realise you are more than what you own and what you don’t own. You are not your house, your car or in my case, where you are from. Never let these stuff become a reason to stop you from taking risks necessary to persuade your dreams.
- Realise all you have in life is what you choose to do with your limited time. We are all going to die. Sooner than we would like to. People put their money in the bank to buy the things they don’t need and continue to sell their time until it runs out. Do the opposite. Protect your time and ruthlessly prioritize what you invest it in, and spend your money on things that buy you more time.
- Last but not least, realize the power of spoken words. Always speak your truth or don’t speak at all. We tend to listen to our own words more than we listen to our own thoughts. It’s like a magic spell. What we say, we feel, what we say often, we believe, and what we say the most, we become. That’s how our mind is wired, and that’s how we can reprogram the picture from within. To reach our true potential, we must carefully select the words we speak because it will change the way we think which leads to desired behaviors and that becomes the force to change our lives.