A lot of people talk about being stuck.
About not knowing what to do to escape the rat race.
About not being happy with their current situation.
About willing to change things.
About reinventing themselves.
But in the end nothing happens.
It stays the same. Forever.
No courage. Fear. Regret.
It's just too damn hard.
So how can you really reinvent yourself? Over and over again?
I was stuck many times in the past few years.
I had to reinvent myself at least 5+ times in the past few years but I still don't know how exactly it works.
But I have a few things that help me every time I'm stuck.
I've turned from entrepreneur to employee.
From employee to writer, to speaker and back to entrepreneur.
Right now I'm writing and publishing books, promoting them, blogging, speaking at conferences, mentoring at startup events, holding workshops and building small scale and very simple tech businesses.
I gave talks on pretty much every topic there is.
I talked about marketing, sales, entrepreneurship, failure, success, how to pitch investors and even some more spiritual stuff.
It has never been easy. And it still isn't easy. It will probably never be easy.
I struggle every single day.
But you need to keep on pushing. I need to keep on pushing. Every single day.
Reinventing yourself is tough.
I have no clue what I'll be doing next year.
Maybe I'll become a farmer in Inner Mongolia and enjoy watching herds of wild horses out in the plains. Enjoy a light summer breeze..
Who knows? I don't.
But what I know for sure is that I'll have to keep on pushing things forward to be able to grab every opportunity along the way. I'll try to reinvent myself as much and as often as I can.
The other day someone on Quora asked if it's really possible to create your own luck.
Yes, I really think it's possible.
And what I just wrote is exactly how you make your own luck.
By reinventing yourself, by exposing yourself to opportunities over and over again.
That way you'll increase the probability of being lucky.
And that's how you create your own luck. You don't create your own luck by sitting at home or in your cubicle and waiting for luck to magically find you.
I believe that some of the things that helped me in the past and still help me today to reinvent myself over and over again, might help some of you, so I'm going to share the three most important things here. They're the basis for everything else to come.
Maybe they'll help you as well. Maybe they won't. I don't know. But it's worth a try.
# LIVE LIFE BACKWARDS
Every time I find myself in doubt, confused about something, am stuck and don't know what to do next in my life or don't know whether or not I should do something, I picture my older self.
I picture myself sitting on my veranda (or on the streets, who knows), reflecting about my life. Reflecting about the things I did and the things I didn't do.
And if the thing I'm currently pondering on is something my older self might regret not having done and wonder “what would have happened if”, I usually just do it. No matter what. No matter what the consequences might be. No matter what the price might be.
It's just that I don't want to live a life that leaves me with many “what ifs” and a lot of regrets. I want to live a life where at the end of my time I can be sure that I tried everything I could have done to live a meaningful life (whatever that is).
# PICTURE THE WORST CASE SCENARIO
Picture it. Really. Think about what the worst thing is that could possibly ever happen to you.
But don't just think about it for a second. Think it through. Think about it for five minutes.
That's what most people don't do.
Most people will usually just have images in their heads without really and realistically thinking it through. These are mostly images the news, media and what not planted there.
Dead people. Homeless people. Murder. Rape.
Be honest to yourself.
What's the worst thing that could possibly happen to you? Really.
It turns out, that almost every decision you take won't be able to have such a huge impact that it might lead to your own death, someone else's death, you living on the streets, ending up in prison or you loosing everything you have.
In case any of your decisions might really (and realistically) lead to one of the above mentioned things, then don't do it. It's not worth it.
For example, when I picture my worst case scenario it usually boils down to this:
I have to move back in with your mom, live a life with less things until I get back up again (which happened to me not too long ago).
And honestly speaking my worst case scenario isn't really that bad.
I got to know my mom a lot better and was able to show her how thankful I am that she gave birth to me and helped me every time to get back up again.
Also the fact of having to give up material things is not too bad either.
As Brad Pitt said in Fight Club:
“And then at some point the things you own start to own you.”
So what's your worst case scenario?
# EVERY DECISION LEADS TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Over the past few years I realized that every decision I make will result in many other opportunities I didn't think about before. Or thought possible.
I know it's tough to accept this “laisser faire” kind of attitude towards life.
We love to be in control. To know what's next.
But let's face it.
If you always want to control, know and be able to anticipate what's next you'll only be able to thrive towards the things you can think of right now. Towards the things you think are possible. But that way you will limit yourself.
You will never achieve more than you think you're capable of achieving (which is usually very little). You'll never try to achieve the impossible. You'll operate under a fixed set of criteria. A fixed mindset. An imaginary set of criteria that only exists in your head.
As a matter of fact there are millions of things that can happen, that we can achieve, that we might never ever have thought possible. That we might never even thought existed.
Trying to always be in control will tremendously limit your opportunities before you even started exposing yourself to some of them.
Here are some examples:
I never thought I would live in China for almost two years, start a company there, teach English in corporations and learn a tiny bit of Chinese. If someone told me that story five years ago I would have thought that this person must have lost it. And it all started because of one decisions. And then all sorts of other opportunities popped up.
When I started working as a management trainee for one of the largest telecommunication companies in Germany (actually maybe even in the world) I had many doubts about whether or not I should do it. I did it nevertheless. I wanted to know the "what if". And you know what. Hundreds of new opportunities came up. If I didn't join this company, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing right now. I wouldn't have lived in Berlin. I wouldn't have lived in New York. I wouldn't have written a book. These were all parts of the puzzle.
When I decided to quit my job in the summer of 2013 I had no clue about what would happen. I actually didn't even know what I would be doing or how exactly I would be making a living (still haven't figured this out properly). I only knew that I wanted to write a book about my past experiences. And all of the things that happened afterwards happened because of this. Everything I do right now (even writing this) happened because of this one decision. This one opportunity I grabbed. Even in my wildest dreams I could never have imagined what this will lead to. And why did all of these amazing things happen to me? Because I made one small decision that lead to hundreds of other opportunities.
There are a lot of other things I could write about. But these three things are the basis for everything else that helped me to reinvent myself over and over again. To swim against the current. To do the unexpected. To surprise myself over and over again.
At the end of the day it's all a numbers game. The more you expose yourself to opportunities, the more you'll figure out what you really want in your life. What your true passion is. What you love doing.
And then maybe at one point you'll be lucky.
You'll be lucky and find your passion.
And you'll fall in love with your life.
And then, maybe (but only maybe), you'll be able to truly fall in love with someone else..