Curiosity is an unfair advantage.

Curiosity is an unfair advantage.

Curiosity will encourage you to take bold actions, start new projects, and force you out of your comfort zone.

Go back to the last time you truly asked questions about life, your career, your relationships, etc.

At some point, we lost our curiosity of the world.

Be bold, be fearless, embrace life.

Be curious.

Be daring and live the life you want and desire.

No one – and I mean no one – can say otherwise.

Be curious, stay curious.

Be 100% authentic with your true self

The only way to live a full, true, happy life is to be 100%, fully authentic to your true self.

What does that mean?

It means being yourself even when no one is around to watch you.

Life is short.

Time is valuable.

Spend it graciously and abundantly with people you care about.

Protect your time.

Be authentic.

Be yourself.

How to create your 2022 goals

2022 is here.

365 days have passed.

It’s time to set some goals.

Instead of New Year Resolutions, focus on themes.

These themes should be so powerful that you innately tackle your goals every day without having to think.

You may be thinking, “What does that even mean AND how do I create my goals as you mentioned?”

Let’s jump right in.

Create Goals tied to Themes

Every new year, we create resolutions.

Some include losing weight, sleeping earlier, lifting more, etc.

The issue with this is there are no powerful motivators for us to start.

What do I mean?

Let’s start with losing weight.

  • How much weight do you want to lose?
  • How will will you lose the weight?
  • How often will you do the thing to lose weight?
  • WHY do you want to lose weight?
  • Is the reason powerful and strong enough that you do the thing every day/week to lose weight?

These questions are important.

Ultimately, you need themes.

Themes are things that characterize and personify who you are.

Repeat – who YOU are.

Not what anyone else thinks.

Some examples include:

  • Lose weight live a healthier lifestyle and be there for my kids
  • Lose weight to improve overall health and reduce trips to the doctor’s office
  • Lose weight to be more active and have a sharper mind

So instead of creating goals that are vague and bland, focus on themes.

How to create theme-based goals

First, to achieve any goal you have to have a system and process in place.

For example, I use Notion to create my goals.

Then I create a Clickup weekly recurring task to review and analyze my goals.

I do this every week, no questions asked.

Here is my current 2022 goals:

My 2022 goals in Notion

On top are my themes; below are my goals.

When creating your themes, think about what’s most important to you.

What truly matters to you.

For me, being healthy and passing down my heritage to my family is important.

Once you’ve created your goals, review and assess.

Review your goals

This is straightforward.

Review your goals frequently.

Set up a recurring task to review your goals.

I like to deep dive every month for an hour.

I also track my time using Toggl, which provides me with monthly reports to see if I’m doing the things that get me closer to my goals.

It’s important to complete this step; otherwise, December rolls around and another year of not achieving your goals.

None of us want that.

So review frequently, ask the hard questions, and embrace the wins.

Parting Thoughts

Create goals tied to themes.

Make these themes powerful and specific to you.

In some sense, these goals should make you angry.

Why?

Because you’ll be more likely to tackle them.

For me, being healthy is incredibly important because I want to be able to play with my family.

If I don’t take care of my body, I can’t do this.

And it makes me angry.

So I hope this helped you.

Let me know your thoughts and what your 2022 goals are.

#embracethegrind

How I Push Myself To Do Uncomfortable Things

Uncertainty is inevitable.

Fear is inevitable.

We all experience it.

But how we deal with it is a different story.

After trying and experimenting many different things over my 3 decades here on Earth, here’s what I have learned.

Are you proud of what you’ve done?

Is this who I am? Someone who doesn’t take action?

Those two phrases power me every day.

Whenever I face a difficult challenge, I ask those things.

Cold email, networking, jumping on a call, podcast, etc.

They all scared me.

BJJ, MMA, boxing, wrestling.

I’ve done these for over 20 years.

I’m still scared.

But the trick is, I ask those two questions mentioned above to get me fired up.

Is this just me?

The thing is this.

We all CAN change.

It comes down to a choice.

What choice will you make?

Remember this: whatever’s happened in the past is the past.

You CAN change.

Take action.

Be fearless.

Live without regrets.

Don’t be that person

“You’re never going to change.”

“That isn’t you.”

“We’ve been together 20 years. Don’t bother.”

“You say you want to do. But you won’t.”

“You don’t have confidence.”

Please don’t do this.

  • Don’t discourage people.
  • Don’t kill someone’s dreams.
  • Don’t put people down.
  • Don’t place insecurity onto others.

Instead, do this.

  • Be encouraging
  • Be loving
  • Be supportive
  • Be open-minded
  • Be creative
  • Be a partner
  • Be loyal
  • Be a fighter
  • Be hopeful

Be positive vs. negative.

Be supportive vs. unsupportive.

Be hopeful vs. pessimistic.

Be loving vs. uncaring.

Be open-minded vs. close-minded.

Here’s the thing.

The world is your oyster.

You never know what can happen.

So why not choose the path to happiness and exploration.

That’s how to live.

An ounce of happiness

Everything means nothing when all is gone.

You won’t take your cars, your houses, your money to your grave.

Your status games, your desire to show off, your need to please.

None of it matters.

So focus on what makes you happy.

Maybe it’s taking a walk outside at night.

Maybe it’s tinkering with toys.

Maybe it’s a hot meal out near the beach.

Whatever it is, do that.

Be happy.

In a world where social media reigns supreme and everyone is trying to go viral, stick to what makes you happy.

Sanity is nice.

Forget your pride

Yes. You heard that right.

Forget your pride.

Forget trying to be right.

Forget trying to always be number 1.

Forget trying to stomp all over everyone.

Forget trying to prove everything to everyone.

Forget being miserable.

Forget being prideful.

When all’s said and done, and the ashes have cleared, only the people who truly matter will remain.

When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Forget your pride.

Let them know how much you love them.

Don’t wait.

Don’t let your pride sink in.

Just let the words out.

Be grateful.

Time is limited.

Time is precious.

This is our one life.

Our one and only life.

The Grind.

*Originally posted back in May 7, 2017 after leaving my corporate job

What is the “grind”?

My definition of the “grind” is the ability, determination, and willingness to push through an obstacle, despite the unnerving challenges ahead.

This can be working hard at your job to finish a project deadline, working through the Nth hour on your small business, or even anxiously pummeling your way to complete your last set of push-ups.

As a wrestler and lifelong martial artist, I’ve sustained numerous injuries, puked my share of times after practice, and generally felt like giving up.

But I would always recall the “grind”.

How could I look at myself and just quit?

How could I allow myself to just stop when the going got tough?

I can’t.

To grind through tough circumstances is what develops character, strength, heart, and dedication.

It can be hard though.

Fear, rejection, and anxiety. We all face it.

But what’s important is to remember we will endure it.

We will get past it.

You can grind through the pain.

And remember, when you do, cherish every moment.

Soak it all in.

You earned it.

Because when you take a step back, you tell yourself, “I did this. On my own”.

Grind through the circumstances.

Grind through the challenges and obstacles that lie up ahead.

You’ll be proud of yourself for having done so.

Your Belief In You

*This was originally posted on May 13, 2017

By Les Brown

“I can’t do this.”

“I’ve never done this before.”

“Why does it matter. I’ll fail anyways.”

How many times have you or someone else you know said this?

I know I have.

I’ve passed up on many opportunities due to the lack of self-belief.

But why do we think this way?

Growing up, I’ve had to be my own champion.

I had to pump myself up before big events, whether it was interviewing for a new job or competing in a grappling tournament. Rarely did I have someone nearby to say, “You can do this. Believe in yourself.”

Rather, the opposite and would go something to the effect of, “You could get hurt! Why bother? It’s a waste of time!”

I remember those moments. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get those words out of my head.

Now older, I believe more than ever we need to be our own champions.

We need to tell ourselves that it’s possible, that we have the ability to mold our circumstances, that we have to be intrinsically motivated.

We need to fight for what we want in this life.

I remember the first time I stepped into the cage for my MMA debut.

It was easily the most nerving moment of my life. I mean, I was about to step into a cage, in front of hundreds of strangers, with another man who wanted to hurt me.

I was ready to face the very real possibility that I could have my arm snapped off or be knocked unconscious. Publicly, no less.

But I also believed in myself I was ready. Why?

I had completed an eight-week training camp, sparring week in and week out with the best training partners and having the best coaches around.

I knew I prepared the best I could. I was training twice a day, 6 days a week for my fight.

I knew in my heart that regardless of the outcome, I put in the hard work and dedication. I believed in myself.

Thankfully, the result was positive. I won.

With all that said, believe in yourself.

Believe in yourself when no one else will.

We’re our own worst enemies, and more importantly, our own strongest advocates.

It’s amazing what humans can achieve when we believe in ourselves.

Remember, time flies and days become months, months become years.

Whatever is on our minds that we want to achieve, take the first step. Just take an action.

You won’t regret it.

How The Anchor Effect Can Lift You Through Tough Times

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

Many times in our lives we’ll face extremely difficult, almost impossible challenges.

Oftentimes, they happen randomly and unexpectedly.

You’re not prepared for them.

However, time and time again we’re able to face these challenges head-on.

Successfully or not, we get through them.

Let me share with you what I term the “Anchor Effect” and how it has helped me time and time again throughout my life.

What is the Anchor Effect?

Let’s start with how Wikipedia defines it.

“The anchoring effect is a cognitive bias whereby an individual’s decisions are influenced by a particular reference point or ‘anchor’. Once the value of the anchor is set, subsequent arguments, estimates, etc. made by an individual may change from what they would have otherwise been without the anchor.”

Wikipedia

In simple terms, our decisions are based on some previous experience we’ve had.

This is where my definition of the “Anchor Effect” comes into play for maximum, positive impacts.

I define it as “the ability to overcome inhumane, giant obstacles or challenges by leveraging past difficult experiences”.

Said another way, when you face a hard problem or challenging task anchor it on a previous hard experience.

How You Can Use The Anchor Effect To Lift You

Take a step back.

Breathe in.

Recollect all your challenging moments in life.

Remember what you felt in those moments: despair, disappointed, anxious, fearful.

Recall how, despite those emotions, you managed through.

Now let those moments be your guiding light for any difficult choices, decisions, or challenges up ahead.

Doing hard things becomes easier.

Because you’re allowing yourself to embrace fear, to embrace the difficult that lies ahead.

It’s only through these moments we truly find ourselves and what we’re capable of.

When you’re faced with these moments, write them down.

For example:

  • Create simple google spreadsheet
  • Write list of challenging experiences
  • Date each experience to reflect on
  • List how you managed through them and the impacts they had on you
  • Review periodically

This will be your “bible” when you face difficult challenges.

Your fears, your doubts, they won’t seem so big because you’ll be able to anchor them on your previous experiences.

My Personal Story

The “Anchor Effect” has been a big part of my life.

15 years ago, I was left homeless, penniless, and without family.

To be honest, I still don’t know how I managed to get through those times.

But deep down, I knew I would not quit.

Deep down, I knew I was a fighter. I was meant to fight through this.

Fast forward, being able to recall those tough experiences ultimately toughened me.

I learned to embrace fear head-on, to tackle the impossible, and to try new things.

The Anchor Effect is powerful.

It will make you do things you never thought imaginable.

Conclusion

So when you face life’s toughest moments (which will be many), refer back to the “Anchor Effect”.

Let it be your compass.

Know that you will get through these challenging moments.

That you will become stronger and more powerful from it.

Let those moments define you vs. breaking you.

Become a better version of yourself for it.

To my friends I’ve met throughout the US and the world, you inspire me.

It’s because of you I wrote this. I’m grateful we’ve had the chance to connect.

I’m reminded we’re not alone.

Stay strong.

Embrace the grind.

Regain your childlike wonder

“You have to say, ‘Wait a second. Why are we doing it this way? Could it be better? Could it be different?’ That kind of curiosity, that explorer’s mind, that childlike wonder – that’s what makes an inventor.”

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon

We all were excited at one point in our lives.

Foods, bugs, stars, movie stars, teachers, athletes.

But as time went on, we lose a piece of ourselves.

Things we used to love no longer seem as enjoyable.

Days, when we were giddy to get outside, are now filled with the desire to sleep in all day.

It all happens gradually. You don’t even notice it.

What happened?

We lost our childlike wonder.

It wasn’t one specific event.

It was more than likely an accumulation of events: work, family, responsibilities, failures, and disasters that pushed our excitement to the side.

Damn.

How I lost my curiosity and wonderment

This isn’t a how-to guide nor the best way or method.

No. Rather, this is how it’s worked for me.

I hope it may bring inspiration to you.

10 years ago, I was lost.

I worked 10-12 hour days, grinding out financial reports and stressed out of my mind.

I told myself, “Okay, one day I’ll get to that (thing/movie/activity).”

One day became two, two became weeks, then turned months into years.

I stopped caring.

I wasn’t curious anymore.

I couldn’t see beyond what was in front of me: work.

Then, in 2012 I had this moment.

I wanted more. I wanted more from life.

That night would forever change my mindset. It would bring me back to my college days.

The days when I was hungry to learn, excited to try new things and get out of my comfort zone.

Here’s how I regained my childlike wonder

See this kid above here? He’s curious. He’s wondering, “What is this?”

I realized in 2012 I wasn’t curious anymore.

It would eventually be the spark I needed to live my life. To fully own up to it.

I would go on to learn MMA, tackle new projects at work, get married, and travel.

Then, in 2017 I quit my job and turned down an offer from Amazon.

My childlike wonder had me asking, “What do I want to do with my life that I’ve been afraid of?”

In 2018 after returning from a life-changing backpacking experience, I decided I would venture into the world of entrepreneurship.

Little did I know this would be what I was searching for in my professional life.

Admittedly, in my jobs, I would constantly end up doing side projects not related to my job at hand. Hey, I was bored. I wanted more, and I didn’t feel compelled I needed permission.

(P.s. I highly recommend this. You’ll learn a ton. And you’ll learn to be self-sufficient and to think for yourself.)

In the past 3 years since turning down that Amazon offer, my curiosity and childlike wonder has skyrocketed.

I question everything. I find excitement in almost everything. And even when I don’t, I ask so I can learn more.

The best part? I’m not alone.

I found communities that feel the same exact way.

  • What’s no code?
  • What’s marketing? Growth hacking?
  • What is lead generation?
  • What’s a newsletter?
  • What’s a podcast? Which ones are best?
  • How do you buy a company? Wait, you can make money doing what?

So many questions!

But I love it. Absolutely love it.

Parting Thoughts

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I get that sense of childlike wonder?”

It’s quite easy.

Be curious. Have a desire to learn. Ask questions. Be “in the moment”.

Tell yourself, “I want to learn. I want more in this life.”

I’ll never forget Jeff Bezos regret minimization quote:

I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder

His quote always stood out to me above the rest.

I could be 80, on my deathbed, telling myself, “Why didn’t I go for it….”

When you start looking at it that way, chasing your dreams becomes less scary.

So I’ll end with this.

Be excited, Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Be grateful.

Have a sense of childlike wonder.

Tonight, stare up at the stars.

And ask yourself, “What will I regret?”

Focus on what matters to you

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”

Focus on what you can control.

Focus on what you can take action on.

Focus on the people that you care about.

Focus on what matters to you.

Focus on your priorities.

Focus on what makes you happy.

Whatever your focus is, embrace it and go for it.

There’s 24 hours a day, and every second is ticking away.

Try not to allow negative people sway you from your dreams.

Be positive, be around positive people, and be around supportive people.

Whatever it is you do, be proud and go for it.

Focus on a direction, make a choice, and push forward.

Kick Ass Letters is live!

Kick Ass Letters

Finally, I’ve officially launched Kick Ass Letters, a crowdsourced weekly email challenge series to help people take action towards self-growth and personal development.

I decided to create this project for many reasons, but the main one was to ultimately help people who may be struggling to find motivation and purpose in life.

Why?

Because this was me.

It wasn’t until I made a choice back in 2017 to quit my job and backpack Southeast Asia that I felt alive again. I felt like I could do something that was beyond being a corporate drone.

I also decided to create this project because I understand what it’s like to be depressed and sad feeling unfulfilled.

I lived many, many years in depression and sadness after the loss of both parents and a younger sister. I never opened up about this to friends because I always felt like a burden.

That’s another reason I created this project.

Community.

I wanted to create something special for others to learn, grow and perhaps even make friends.

Life’s just too fucking short to live in anger, sadness and political bullshit.

So my hope and goal with Kick Ass Letters is to make people feel alive again and live with a sense of purpose.

But I’m also aware many won’t understand or come along with this journey.

And that’s okay.

I hope in time more and more people will join this movement.

The world has seen enough suffering, and I hope we can all fight together and embrace each other.

Yes, I’m an optimist.

In fact, I consider myself an optimistic nihilist. ?

If life doesn’t matter and no one cares, then why not do what we want to do without hurting others.

That’s my approach at least.

Anyways, I hope you will join me with Kick Ass Letters.

I hope you will be part of this movement.

I hope we can do this together.

Most importantly, I hope we can live our best lives, be happy and show our love to the people who matter most to us.

Till next time ?

Being true to myself

Yarty CES Fight

For the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling with my identity.

Social media has questioned me on what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. E.g. why do I get so damn bothered when someone unfollows me?

I’ve found myself on LinkedIn and Twitter posting things that were sometimes true to my heart and sometimes only to gain followers.

And it had me thinking…why?

Why does it matter?

In the end, we only have one life. It could be long, could be short. We could die tomorrow.

And should it be spent trying to mask ourselves to please others?

The answer is clearly no.

So I’ve decided to be myself, my true self.

Who am I?

I’m a proud father, husband, fighter, orphan, entrepreneur and brother.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of tragedies, fuck ups and regrets.

At my core, I’m a fighter who’s struggled with adversity and hardship all my life. That’s why I got into MMA in the first place.

Yet, I care and empathize deeply with others.

I loved this recent video made by Noah of OkDork/Appsumo on therapy as well as his recent podcast with Lori Gottlieb.

We need more of this, and I was sad to hear that this video didn’t do as well as his other videos. Noah – if you’re reading this by any chance, please continue putting these kinds of videos out.

Finally, if you ever want to chat via Zoom/Meet, hit me up. I’m always up to meet new people.

Thank you for making it this far. I hope you’re safe and doing well.

Till next time. ?

P.s. I’m launching a new project that actually excites me. It’s called Kick Ass Letters, and my mission with it is to empower everybody to learn and grow through weekly email challenges.

You can refer to the link to learn more about why I’m doing this. And if you’re interested in checking it out or even helping shape the project, check out the link above. Thanks!

Reinventing yourself and your career to be happy

While driving to buy groceries, my wife and I were having conversation about how people change their careers. Some either move into an adjacent career, or some move into completely new ones.

Then my wife said to me, “You managed to reinvent yourself though.”

It had me thinking, what does it mean to reinvent yourself. So I looked it up.

The meaning of reinvent

Merriam Webster dictionary defines reinvent as the following:

  • to make as if for the first time something already invented
  • to remake or redo completely
  • to bring into use again

The second definition resonated.

To remake or redo completely….

It had me thinking about my career and what I had done up to this point.

For nearly a decade, I was working in corporate finance, managed multiple promotions in a short time span, collected bonuses and praise, and received options.

But I was never happy.

After working from 7am to 7pm, I would often come home and ask myself, “What am I doing?”.

I was having an existential moment every day I came home.

Then in 2017, I was laid off.

Yes, admittedly I was angry and upset. But a part of me was also relieved and happy. For nearly a decade, I wanted out of this career. And then it happened.

How entrepreneurship enabled me to reinvent myself

After backpacking in 2017 with my wife throughout Southeast Asia, we were having deep conversations about the direction of our lives.

Do we go back to corporate? Do we take another comfy job? Do we do something completely different?

These are hard choices to think about.

But after reading the book “The Everything Store”, a biography on Jeff Bezos and Amazon and one of my favorite books, it gave me the realization that we only have one life–this life.

We have this one life to live and make it our own.

So I decided that entrepreneurship was going to be my path.

Since taking this path, I’ve learned and gained the following skills:

  • How to close deals with prospects
  • How to build a website
  • How to build sales and marketing funnels
  • How to create engaging social posts
  • How to set up analytics to analyze web performance
  • How to project manage using scrum and agile frameworks
  • How to manage remote teams and build team culture
  • How to create automated workflows using no code
  • How to leverage my time for maximum efficiency (i.e. no more 40 hour work weeks)
I save every website I read and learn from. This is just a few of them here.

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned over the past couple of years. But I’ve been so happy. Words can’t describe how much better I feel since taking this path.

I feel like I’m in college all over again.

You can reinvent yourself too

I strongly believe that at some point we become accustom to our lifestyles.

We take that corporate career path, we work our 9-5 shift, we collect our paycheck, then we rinse and repeat.

We don’t think about the possibility that there could be something else.

Fear has overridden us. We take the path of least resistance.

I thought this way for so long. And it wasn’t until being laid off that I realized how big this world is and the opportunities that are out there.

It’s vast.

You can reinvent yourself too. Ask yourself the following:

  • Am I happy in this career path I’m in?
  • Do I actually like this work that I do?
  • Does it align with my values in life?
  • What are my values in life?
  • If I died in the next 5 years, would I do something different?

These simple questions can help determine if you’re truly happy in the path you’re in.

You may be, you might not be. But it’ll manifest if you take the time to ask. Feel free to use a free tool like XMind to create a mind map, which I found to be extremely valuable.

I did this, and it was the best thing for me personally.

Final thoughts

In the end, this is our only life.

Time is the only commodity we can’t make more of. When the time passes, it’s gone. This alone should make us think about what we truly value with our time.

If there’s this burning desire inside of you that’s begging for a change, consider it. Seriously consider it.

It will be scary, it will be daunting.

But remember this — this is our life. We have a choice.

Reinvent yourself. Become the person you want to be.

Above all else, be happy. Because that’s what matters.

Stay strong, stay healthy and best wishes ?