All I did from age seven to age fourteen was to play video games at my friend's place. That's really all I did...
Oh and of course we were eating McDonald's almost all the time.
Maybe I did something else. But that's all I really remember doing other than going to school each and every day.
Sometimes on the weekends I would stay over at his place and we would watch TV until late at night in his attic.
One time we did prank calls until 2am in the morning. I don't think I ever laughed that hard in my entire life ever again.
We were calling his dad downstairs who was watching TV.
He couldn't move or reach the phone. He was paralyzed...
So he was constantly shouting for my friend's mom to pick up the phone because he couldn't reach it.
I know. Looking back it was foolish. And childish. But back then it was the funniest thing ever...
And that's exactly what we were back then. We were foolish. And childish.
And we had fun. A lot of fun...
And that's exactly what this is all about.
Life is all about being be childish. And foolish. It's about exploring. And laughing. And having a good time. It's about making mistakes. And finding your way.
That's what this is all about. About doing stupid stuff. About getting punched in the face. And getting back up again. Over and over again. About bending the rules to figure out what works and what doesn't.
I can still remember people saying at pretty much every occasion...
"Now real life starts. Now you have to be a real man."
I had no clue back then what that even meant. Even today I don't really know what it means...
I heard it when I graduated from high school. Then I heard it again when I graduated from university. Sometimes I can still hear it when I'm really, really quiet...
Then that voice in my head repeats the choir we've all been taught over and over again. The same thing we've heard over and over again. The same thing our parents have heard from their parents. And their parents have heard it from their parents. And on and on and on...
"Now real life starts. Now you have to be a real man (or woman)."
You have to get a job, build a house and start a family.
It's about to get serious now. There's no more fooling around. No more fun. For the next 40 or 50 years. Maybe even less if you die before you retire...
I don't know. Maybe it just applies to me...
But the only way I ever learned anything in life was through play. To do stuff and approach it like play. To experiment. And figure things out. To make mistakes and learn from my mistakes. To slip and fall and then get back up again. To ride that bicycle and come home with my knees and legs covered in blood. So that maybe one day I'd be able to ride that bicycle...
Over the past eight years or so I've gone from entrepreneur to employee, from employee back to entrepreneur, to author, blogger, public speaker, back to entrepreneur and now I'm even doing a bit of day trading just for the fun of it. It's all like a big game. Some days you lose. And some days you win.
And the only secret there is, is to never give up...
I don't even know what exactly it is that I'm doing right now. It's probably a mix of everything I've ever done in my entire life.
And the only way that ever worked for me was to approach everything like a game. An endless game that's all about learning as much as you can. So that maybe one day you know the rules of the game. The rules of the world's most complex, most complicated and most difficult game.
The game called life...
So here are a few principles I try to live by every day. The principles I try to live by to navigate through the maze I have to get out of each and every single morning when I get up...
Needless to say that I fail at it almost every single day. But in the grand scheme of things, that's what has helped me to stay alive over the past couple of years living the life I live, doing the things I do. Whatever it is that I'm doing.
This is what works for me. Maybe it'll also work for you. Maybe not...
# DON'T LISTEN TO EXPERTS
Whatever you do, don't ever listen to so called experts. They mostly have no clue what they're talking about. Just like I clearly have no clue what I'm talking about...
Most of the time those expert's expertise is based on past events. Even worse, most experts don't even have any expertise in their field as they've never even done what they're talking about. Avoid those like the plague.
Even though history repeats itself over and over again, the details are always going to be different. All you need to know is how people navigated through the maze in the past so you have a couple of ideas on how you might be able to properly navigate the future.
Sure, there are dozens of bubbles out there. And everybody is talking about them. And every year it's a new bubble. I'm sick and tired of all that bubble talk...
And yes, every single one of them is going to burst. The housing bubble in Asia (or Germany or China or any other place in the world), the crypto bubble, the stock market bubble or whatever bubble out there is going to burst. Sooner or later.
It's always been like this and will always be like this. What goes up must come down. Every big party leads to a big hangover. And every hangover will go away. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later.
But just because something is going to burst some day in the future doesn't mean that you shouldn't at least try to surf that wave.
Because every wave can lead to opportunities. And opportunities lead to freedom. And freedom leads to happiness...
Sure, you shouldn't try to surf the world's biggest wave if you've never even surfed before. That's a surefire way to kill yourself.
But what you can do instead is to get out there into the water, test things, see how it works, get used to the current, to the waves and then go on from there.
You've gotta learn how to ride that wave first. And even though you might not be able to surf that first wave you might be able to surf that second, third, fourth or maybe that twentieth wave.
And as you grow more confident and experienced, one day you might be able to surf that wave all the way to the shore, all the way to freedom...
# DO STUFF
It's the only way to see what really works. It's the only way to free yourself from the opinions of so called experts, gurus, friends, society and yes even your family.
Here's the thing...
Everybody wants to protect you (while some want to take advantage of you).
But by trying to protect you, by trying to protect yourself from all of the harm out there you build an invisible bubble around yourself.
A bubble that holds you back from experiencing life in all of its beauty and ugliness. All of its love and hate. All of its happiness and sadness. A bubble that's ultimately holding you back from living a life worth living...
# LEARN AS MANY DIFFERENT THINGS AS POSSIBLE
Being able and knowing how to build something out of nothing, no matter how good or bad the economy might be, no matter how smart or stupid you might be, is one of the most important skills in the 21st century. Period.
# YOU CAN'T PROTECT YOURSELF
The more you try to protect yourself, the harder you'll get punched in the face.
The more you try to avoid the darkness, the less you'll know how to navigate that darkness when someone turns off that light. And the less you'll know how to find your way back to that beautiful light.
So instead of avoiding uncertainty, embrace it. Instead of avoiding risk, dance with it. Instead of avoiding the darkness, learn how to find the way back to that beautiful light...
# SPREAD YOUR RISK
All our lives we've been taught to do one thing and one thing only. And to do it very, very, very well. This is advice from back in the days where we've worked in factories where it was all about doing one thing and one thing only.
But the thing is that the world has gotten way too complex and being able to do just one thing and one thing only will only lead to one thing...
It will lead to you not being needed anymore tomorrow. Because tomorrow there'll be someone who'll do your work for a third of what you want for your work. Or the thing you do will be done by a robot or an artificial intelligence.
So instead of betting on one thing and one thing only, spread your risk.
Spread your risk across multiple projects, multiple skills and multiple streams of income so that no matter what happens, no matter what the future brings, you're not going to stand naked on the beach when the tide goes out...
# STAY FLEXIBLE
Avoid everything that takes away your flexibility as much as you can. For as long as you can. The more flexible you are, the better you can react when the shit hits the fan. And it's going to hit the fan sooner or later. That's just the way it goes. What goes up, must come down.
And once it went down there will be new ways to get it back up again. That's what life is all about. This is what innovation is all about. And reinvention. And humanity. That's what got us where we are today. The new replaces the old and the old gives way to the new.
Try to be as flexible as possible. So that when everybody else is panicking you can go ahead and just keep doing your thing. Maybe even stronger and better than you did it before. Try to build a flexibility fund or a freedom fund as I'd like to call it...
# EXPECT THE WORST
But always, always do your best. That way you'll never be disappointed and instead you'll almost always be pleasantly surprised...
# DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME
On people you don't really care about. On things you don't really care about. On working on things you don't really care about. On staying at places you don't really care about.
Life is too short to drink wine that others love drinking that you can't stand at all...
# BE INDEPENDENT
Don't outsource responsibility for your life to anyone else except yourself.
Here's the thing...
We go through our lives outsourcing responsibility for our entire lives.
When we're born our parents take care of us until we graduate or find a job.
Then we outsource responsibility for our lives to corporations, our bosses, the government, our partners and on and on and on.
And guess what they're going to do with your life?
They're going to do whatever they feel like doing..
They're going to force you to do things you don't really want to be doing,
They'll charge you fees for things you don't really want or don't really need.
They'll ask you to be loyal when all they can think about is how to get rid of you as quickly and as easily as possible.
So when you're outsourcing responsibility for your life you're basically outsourcing all the big decisions in your life.
Including where to live. What to do. What not to do. What to do with your time. When to work. How to work...
Only because you've decided to be lazy and outsource responsibility for your life in exchange for a lousy salary that will never lead to freedom, independence and a life you really wanted to live in the first place.
The only thing that will ever lead to anything is to take over responsibility for your own life once again.
So you can decide what to do. How to do it. And when to do it.
How you get there is up to you. There are millions of ways. And they all start with you taking over responsibility for your life instead of outsourcing it.
It all starts with you going out there and learning again how to kill what you eat. Instead of being that lazy tiger that's just waiting for that steak to be served. Because one day there won't be any more free steaks left...
# DON'T WAIT FOR ANYONE
Whatever you do, don't wait for anyone.
If you feel stuck, if you feel like you're waiting your life away, if you feel like you have so much more potential than this, then just stop it. Stop waiting...
Don't wait for that company to hire you.
And instead start your own thing.
Don't wait for that website to publish your article.
And instead start your own blog.
Don't wait for that guy to come over and talk to you.
And instead start a conversation right now.
Don't wait for the government to save you.
That's the only way.
Because no one else ever will...
# TAKING RISKS
There are two types of risk out there...
There's the risk you never take.
And that risk won't lead to anything.
It won't change a thing.
It won't lead to misery, failure and regret.
But it also won't lead to happiness, success and satisfaction.
And then there's the risk you take.
And that risk can lead to misery, failure and regret.
But it can also lead to happiness, success and satisfaction.
Which one are you going to take?
# MORE MONEY
The more money you have, the bigger your impact will be. It's as simple as that.
Money rules the world and it can go a really long way. It's not a necessity but it will make a lot of things a lot easier.
And when I say more money I don't necessarily talk about millions or hundreds of thousands.
I'm talking about having enough money in the bank so you can get out there and do stuff that doesn't have to pay off within the next couple of years without having to worry about not being able to pay for rent and food. You've gotta have your basics covered. Always. That's rule #1. Rule number #2 is to never forget rule #1...
If you're not able to take care of yourself you will never be able to take care or help anybody else.
And how you get there doesn't really matter. Maybe you work a job for a while and save as much as you can. Maybe you take on three jobs at the same time for a few years. Or maybe you work remotely and move to a super cheap country. So that you can start building your freedom fund.
Because it's just like they say...
When you're poor and you're an ass, you're just going to be an even bigger ass when you're successful. But when you're poor and you're nice, then you're going to be even nicer when you have more money.
Be nice and make sure you've got all your basics covered so you can be even nicer and have an even bigger impact on other people's lives...
# DIFERENT KINDS OF INFLUENCES
It's hard to grow as a person and learn new things when you're constantly hanging out with the same people, do the same things each and every day, never get exposed to anything new and stay at the same place all the time.
And that's especially hard because we were taught that the most important thing in life is safety and stability at any price.
But over time this safety and stability can wear you down. And that safety net you tried to build for yourself, your family and the people around you can over time turn into a deadly spider web you will never be able to escape from ever again... as someone a lot smarter than me once said.
# BE A KID
Whatever you do, don't forget that all of this is just a game. A game that no matter what you do, that no matter how well you play it, you can't possibly win. A game that will ultimately lead to death. Whether you like it or not...
So why not try to make it as memorable, as much fun and as enjoyable as possible for yourself and everybody around you, doing more and more things that make you happy instead of doing more and more things that suck all the energy out of you?
But even more importantly, never forget the most important rule...
The only reason why rules exist is to bend them, to break them and to reinvent them. Over and over again. Just like yourself...