THIS IS ISSUE.001 OF THE SMRT LIST
In this issue:
Happy FRIYAY!! 👋 If you know me, #friyayeveryday and #birthdayeveryday are how I live my life. I work every day but I love my imperfect life and don’t neglect any part of it— because balance is a mindset game.
A mantra I’ve been using lately: “there is lots of time”.
Why? Because I get caught in a trap of thinking there is not enough time so I create self-induced stress.
When I surrender by reminding myself time is a man-made construct, I trick my brain into changing my perception of time. We will take a deep dive into this in future issues (*hint: it has to do with flow state).
Anyway, I’m getting back into the newsletter game, while also preparing and automating my life since I’m on a one-way ticket to Europe next week. My partner just came back from Europe and I’m leaving so we are going to get some R&R in Whistler this weekend.
I’ve been fighting with myself about whether to bring my laptop or not.
These days, I’m trying to practice the art of doing less but it’s difficult when there are so many interesting opportunities (What recession? There’s definitely no shortage of work).
It’s nice to have this freedom but the self-induced pressure to launch while running an agency, staying healthy, and maintaining an active social life is definitely affecting my immune system!
Just like working out, getting there is the hard part— the trick is to build momentum and ride the wave.
Hope you enjoy this issue! ↓
Reinvent Yourself Every Few Years
I’ve lived amongst the top 1% and started a business in the poorest town in my country. Coming from an immigrant middle-class family, my life experiences inspired me to stay well-rounded.
The rich and the poor all have similar problems.
I spent the last 15 years studying people, mindsets, and lifestyles by devouring books, and podcasts and talking to people.
The problem was they didn’t have the tools, insights, and proper environment to deal with them.
⏱ Seven years ago:
✓ I deleted a 12,000-person email list from my lifestyle fitness blog.
✓ I left a lucrative 9-5 in videogames where I woke up excited to go to work every single day.
✓ I ended an 11-year relationship.
✓ I put my condo on Airbnb.
✓ I moved to LA without a plan.
But WHY? The Mailing List?!?! Fucking gasp.
Okay, deleting that mailing list was probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. Fucking gasp is right.
I’ve had my OG lifestyle blog since 2007 and accumulated a lot of readers who were interested in my workouts and what I ate because I was consistent and getting results. It was a rash decision when I didn’t understand the importance of a mailing list since it was just a hobby.
I don’t regret it.
After years of building digital products, I learned it’s sometimes easier to start from scratch because technology… and people are constantly changing.
*The blog is still up but broken. Reply to this email if you want the link.
✈️ I ‘quit’ my life because it was too “perfect”— meaning too conventional. Perfectionism stalls growth.
My career was fun but I felt like I wasn’t learning anything radically new. I knew I was meant for more so I left that part of my life.
Our happiness depends on constant growth because we are wired to survive.
Leveling up is in our biology. When we are stagnant…. is when we are riddled with anxiety.
So I left everything behind to live IRL. IN REAL LIFE— instead of living on my phone, slaving away in the bureaucracies of a big corp… away from a 9-5!
🥂 Instead of doing the same thing every day for a big corp, here is what I’ve done in the past few years:
- Lived amongst the top 1% → All the parties and people you see on TV in Beverly Hills and beyond? The Playboy Mansion, living above Sunset Blvd, pool parties, private jets, travels, villas, yachts. Yep. Wouldn’t go back but it was fucking fun in my late 20s. Zero regrets.
- Got to experience disparity firsthand → which kept me humble. A lot of people READ about things but you have to physically experience them so your brain can “see”.
- Started a business in one of the poorest towns in Canada → I grew the business in weeks to be the top store in town with good marketing and people skills. It was a pretty gangster place and huge men tried to intimidate me but I stood my ground. My customers ended up trusting me enough to tell me their life stories and darkest secrets.
- Lived the hustle life → saw people almost die in front of me, and was put in many life-or-death situations → these experiences put my resilience to the test and I passed with flying colours. I spent my 20s forcing myself into uncomfortable situations so my life ‘seems’ a bit more effortless now.
- Experienced trauma → while sitting front row and watching what it does to someone you love. I left that toxic relationship traumatized and promised I will never let it happen to myself. This was the best lesson I’ve learned
- Healed myself from said trauma + burnout + head-on car accident + gut shutting down + chronic bloating + pain everywhere → I gave myself 2 years to heal and did it in 1.5 years. Still on a journey but I can see the finish line.
- Was able to stay grounded in the Beverly Hills you may only see on TV (it’s real) because of my #BIKELIFE. Being an athlete throughout my 20s was the best thing I did for myself.
- Traveled the world, climbing mountains (the same ones you see in the Tour de France) on my road bike while jumping on a plane every other week for 2+ years.
- Been running my creative agency since 2007 alongside that 9 – 5 and have been exposed to many different industries. I can’t imagine doing the same work all my life! Can you?
- Never have trouble “finding work” → I haven’t had a “conventional” job since 2016 and I would never ever go back to working n a 9-5. Five-week vacation? PSH. 🤚🏼
- Have seen many lifestyles you wouldn’t even believe. Those are stories for another time!
👀 How did this all happen?
I decided to SAY YES to everything.
Michael was a hippie living in the woods in the 60s. After a spiritual awakening, instead of letting fear get in the way, he decided to say YES to life. This leads him on an extraordinary journey of becoming a CEO during the internet boom, an FBI raid— a journey of allowing radical freedom and trusting the process.
The more you let go, the freer you will become.
My spiritual awakening began in 2014.
Once you wake up, there is no going back.
Once you see, you can’t unsee.
Life becomes tenfolds richer when you ‘see’ there is more to the world than what you know and everything is within reach.
👑 Be obsessed with the journey as much as I am!
Join me in my journey to reinvent myself again. And I hope to inspire you to do the same if it’s something that’s been on your mind.
It doesn’t matter if you are happy working for yourself or in the 9 – 5 (many people actually enjoy the structure) but how is the rest of your life?
I know, many people think they are ‘stuck’ perhaps in a mediocre marriage, a monstrous mortgage, kids, can’t get into a consistent fitness routine, or the perpetual feeling of never having enough time…
…but that’s the kind of mindset that keeps you stuck.
Your mind is the only prison.
Exponential changes are the results of micro changes over time.
From my studies, people from all walks of life are transforming themselves. Because of this, I don’t think anything is impossible.
If you still feel stuck, you’re simply not consuming the right content, don’t have the right support, and perhaps… scared?
Don’t worry, fear can be a great motivator.
I feel fear every day and it’ll never go away but you can make it your accomplice.
I personally want to do something different every decade or so in my life. Who says you have to do the same thing your entire life? Boring!
Why can’t you be an engineer in your 20s?
A CEO in your 30s?
A therapist in your 40s?
A neuroscientist in your 50s?
An accomplished author in your 60s?
To live a fulfilling life, you must keep your brain stimulated. In fact, creative stimulation is necessary for personal growth.
I’ve built and exited many businesses over the last few years, and those achievements gave me the confidence to start over, knowing I’ve done it over and over.
Building from zero is exhilarating. It’s fun. It’s hard AF. It’s lonely. But it is SO FULFILLING.
I have a curious contrarian mind and once I accomplish one thing, I want to try something else.
The growth and confidence you get are INSANE.
And why not? Life is too short to be doing the same thing over and over.
😎 I want to teach you how to get the life you want with a direct + no-nonsense approach.
People come to me for coaching and mentorship but it’s hard for me to find time while running an agency so I decided to put my unique insights in a newsletter, with glimpses of my personal life that I won’t share anywhere else.
If you know me:
- I’m direct (if your friends don’t call you out on your BS, find new friends)
- I’m good at reading people (intuition is a skill).
- I will always say what’s on my mind (don’t say anything you can’t take).
- I will never go against my beliefs.
I hate fluff and you should too. I always say: don’t waste my time and I won’t waste yours.
I’ve always tried to stay a step or two ahead of the game by making the right decisions. Future-proofing is never a bad idea because life chucks lemons at you such as recessions.
It sounds scary but it’s not if you fortify a growth mindset and have the tools and support to do so.
Do you want to start a new journey?
It’s never too late.
In future issues, we will explore different concepts, philosophies, and thought processes to force the trajectory of your life onto a new timeline.
Curiosity Is The New Intelligence
Record-breaking athlete, Colin O’Brady, talks about the perils of ascending K2, the deaths of his teammates on that harrowing climb, and cultivating POSSIBLE mindsets. And the dopest part? His wife Jenna is his partner in all of this. Couple goals. 💪
This reminded me of 14 Peaks on Netflix. Nepalese mountaineer, Nirmal Purja and his team attempted to climb all 14 highest peaks with an altitude greater than 8,000 meters within a record time of under 7 months.
Honestly, I love watching documentaries like this on an edible because they are mind-bending AF— I felt as if I was a part of their suffering.
As an (amateur) cyclist, I know a thing about the ‘pain cave’ and what it feels like to be thrown into life-and-death experiences— perhaps not to the extent of what Nirmal and Colin faced but it was intense in my own subjective experience.
I’ve been stranded alone on mountain tops in blizzards (while in summer gear) on the other side of the world with no choice but to descend.
I’ve descended mountains in rain, hail, and even snow in summer gear, blinded by hail, fingers frozen while trying to ignore the pain of gripping my brakes.
30-60+ minutes later, I’m at the bottom shivering uncontrollably and when I get that cold, it takes me hours to warm up because of low body fat.
It’s one of the worst feelings ever.
When it comes to Mother Nature, you have NO idea what to expect especially in the mountains.
And most of the time, we have NO CHOICE BUT TO KEEP GOING.
Talk about getting thrown out of your comfort zone.
It’s scary AF.
But the more you do it, the more you realize how addicting overcoming ‘death’ is (no matter how close you were to it).
As athletes, we can’t help but keep crawling back for more of the suffer-fest because the other side is heaven on earth.
I marvel at athletes who partake in death-defying sports such as mountaineering, climbing, and racing. What does it take to be able to accomplish such insane feats?!
This is why I study mindsets.
Limits are perceptions.
I want to get to that point but at the same time, I’m still trying to get over the fact of the extremely high chances of death or paralyzing injuries.
I dated a race car driver once—albeit not a good one because he didn’t do too well …but ended up creating his own Formula team (which I actually prefer because I like business). I already could tell he sucked because his mindset was definitely not one of an athlete’s and he lacked the ability to get into flow that is required to perform at elite levels. He forced the race rather than surrendering and combining visual attention and intuition.
- Current: Walmart profits are down, meaning customers are cash-strapped. The good news? Huge sales may be on the horizon!
- Health: Why That New “Science-Backed” Supplement Probably Doesn’t Work
- Wealth: No, We’re Not in a Recession—But Somehow, This Economy Feels Worse
- Love: Zelensky and wife Olena: War Is Making Our Love Stronger
- Life: How to Not Fuck Up Your Life (Loss Aversion Is A Powerful Motivator)
- Future: Saudi Arabia Wants To Build A 100 Mile Vertical Glass Walled City
Next time, we will be doing a deep dive into:
- How comfort zones and complacency is killing the economy and widening the gap between the top 1% and the poor (ciao, middle class).
- The athlete’s mindset and why it’s crucial to embody success in all aspects of your life.
Till then. 🤘