As in Love letters of great men, I am continuing my reflections on life, love, business and things that matter in order to live a meaningful life. 30 letters to my future 30 year old self continue
Letter 16: Nothing fluffy about meditation
I need to say something about meditation as well. It's like this game to spot a red car, once you focus you start seeing it everywhere. I was watching a Future Voices conference by Business of Fashion and they created a very interesting programme by widening the topic of fashion with other disciplines that affect it. I was very much surprised to see a phenomenal speaker to get an entire time slot to talk to the fashion crowd about meditation.
What he said affected me. He gave me a solution for my "living in the head" - problem. I am aware that I am a quite intelligent human being, but until recently I wasn't aware of the fact that your mind is your master if you live in your head. We all are thinking and busy human beings, but to not be able to switch your mind off and just notice how it feels to be in a situation is very tiring.
Feeling feelings freely, whether pleasant or unpleasant, without trying to explain it to yourself, it was something very unfamiliar to me. So what meditation, more specific transcendental meditation, provides you with is literally a peace of mind, focus, energy and realisation that your thoughts are like waves in the ocean and reminds you that underneath the ocean is always calm.
If everything seems under control, you are not going fast enough. - Andretti
Letter 17: I'm a hustler
Every good hustle starts before you even know it. When you operate in a real business world, the realities are very simple either your product or service works well or it doesn't. It's not like in restaurant when your food sucks, but the people don't dare to tell you. When it's good there will be support and a lot of it and if it's not it's not. Simple.
Of course when you are a starter you need to be aware of two invariable truths. Companies are constantly looking for talent and a great professional eventually will be noticed. (Comforting isn't it? When your current lifestyle is pretty much: I can't afford anything). And if you are too someone who has a gazillion of ideas, I would suggest for you to pick one and just try it. You will soon figure out if it excites you and the market enough to go through all that hustle.
Letter 18: Oh, I'm so special
There is no path or destiny for you. Oh boy, I believed in that for so long. Forget it: you are not special and there is no special destiny for you. This is not the same thing as you suck and you are worthless. It means you have the same options on what to do with your life as others and it is what you choose to do with it that makes you stand out.
So, the only life path that there is, is the path that you choose to explore. You can not connect the Google Maps destination dots upfront and follow this safely calculated path if you really want to live this "sweet purposeful life". If you never decide on your path and you don't stay true to yourself, you will never discover what real fulfilment is.
Letter 19: Spoiler
The real fulfilment this is when you have discovered what you would love to do for hours and hours, years and years and you are amazed that people even want to pay you for it. Above that what you do contributes directly or indirectly to people's lives. This is a path of long term happiness and successful career. (I am at the start of it here, but you need to encourage your future self, don't you?)
Letter 20: Investors and their perks
Potential investors will want to see that you have efficiently used as many of your own resources as possible so that when they offer capital, you can do the same with their investment. Capiche? Aight, working on it ;)!
The thing with great ideas, others have them too. You need to have your own strategy and scale that you want it to have, but most of all you need to test it before you even want to go to investors. This is when the real deal starts and you need to be ready to grab it.
Letter 21: Unfulfilled potential, hurts
There is a difference between having an enormous potential and being competent. You learn it while you are in it, I suppose. Before I started doing styling concepts I always felt that I wasn't really using my talents, but you think this is life, stop dreaming.
On a certain point a friend of mine and I were talking and she said to me: "Oh, you have so much potential." Few years prior I would have felt good actually. I have a lot in me to be a great professional until it stroke me. This is a nice way of saying: you lack discipline to fulfil everything you are capable of. If you thing of great athletes, they never say: "Oh Usain Bolt has so much potential." They say: "He is the best athlete in the world." The difference here is that he is competent and capable of delivering a result at the highest level of his industry.
What was meant to be a positive affirmation from a loving friend, ended up being a painful realisation that an unfulfilled potential hurts. Then I decided that I don't want to hear this from anyone ever again. I am not a scalable start-up with a lot of potential. I am a competent professional, you see. You don't want to be these 2% of the population that knew that could, but didn't.
Letter 22: Commitment is not scary
You hear that a lot in our generation. As Baz Luhrman said in his Sunscreen song: "Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft." For me it applies straight to commitment. In anything.
I was having a wine and dine moment with a friend of mind while we were working in Paris. The evening in September and a few glasses of red wine got us talking about us being single, but we both then just met someone "special". And I was explaining to her that my career was so important to me that I couldn't take on a relationship right now. And she asked me one question then: "What are you getting now from this relationship? You are only in it for 75%. So, if you will never commit and try it even for a little while, you will never know what it would feel like to be loved for 100%."
Two weeks after Paris I we became a couple. Officially and significantly and I never looked back. You know why this was the best decision I've ever made, because she was right. If you never fully commit, you will never fully know. Your decision is everything!
Pink is the navy blue of India. - Vreeland
Letter 23: Agent of change
Being a creative agent of change in the era of digital lifestyle. Sounds like a plan, doesn't it? From my experience if you are involved in a business that implies change you need to understand that change has different connotations.
Social entrepreneurs that are using technology to solve world problems are not softies. They want change, but they want a quality of life as well. And there is a misinterpretation that sustainability entrepreneurs are activists. I am not an activist. If your sustainable business doesn't make money, you will not be able to invest in further development of it. Neither make this change happen.
Currently the biggest innovations are happening on business model level. The battle is on and it is going to stay this way for at least the next decade. So get used to it and at least try something.
Letter 24: It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be!
You need to know that. How good? Quite good. Good. Very Good. The best in your field. The best in the world. All of us want to be good at our jobs, but how good do we really want to be? I always knew I was a very creative person, but I was also sure that I didn't have enough talent to make it as a top artist. (now I'm not so sure anymore ;))
I am aware now that talent helps, but it won't take you as far as ambition. Many of us want to be very good, but not many want to eat the same shit sandwich for the same amount of time. For a long time being nice and being liked were more important to me, but it has nothing to do with being good I'm afraid. You will become whoever you want to be, so it's better to know who!
Letter 25: Trust yourself.
I really love watching and reading biographies of extraordinary people in order to understand their thinking. Certainly this process is more complicated than we will ever be able to analyse, but there is something that all of them do: They trust their own gut feelings and they are comfortable being uncomfortable.
When they need to make a decision they know when it is right, not because the numbers are right, but because of the alignment of several factors AND their feeling about it. They trust their feelings and judgment. Successful people know that where it is uncomfortable - the magic happens.
Letter 26: Learn how to pitch, because even if you are very good at what you do, but you cannot sell it you are in trouble. You need to be able to explain your idea, work or needs simply and to a variety of public in an engaging way. This is easier said than done, but practice make perfect.
You can compare it to the difference between beautiful people and models. When you see a beautiful girl it doesn't mean she will look good on screen and other way around. A model knows how to work her body, her face and plays with the audience through the lens. Therefore her pictures are astonishing. You, with your amazing talent, need to be your own model and play your audience.
Letter 27: Worrying and fantasising is like chewing bubble gum. When you fantasise too much of how great your future will be, if it doesn't happen there follows resentment of the reality that sneaks in. The journey is long and you better enjoy it.
When it takes too long, you start worrying if it will ever happen. Waste of energy, don't do it. Go to the movies instead, breath and relax and let the movie carry you away to the magical world of your imagination. Walk your talk and don't be fooled: you looks matter too, but I am sure you know that already!
Letter 28: The world around you is a reflection of your inner world.
Your life to date is the result of your past beliefs. Your future will be the result of the beliefs you choose to hold today. You are shaping your future, right now. It will be your choice to live a life of conventional limitation and minuscule potential or a life of unlimited opportunities and infinite possibilities. What life do you choose to lead?
Happiness is a singular incentive to mediocrity - Montagne
Letter 29: Your energy is everything.
That moment when you are the face of what you do, your energy and your reputation become the most important authentic and unique assets that you have. By your energy I mean your health, your 'glow' and your condition. It is very simple you will need a lot more of yourself by the time this business of yours hits of the ground, so you better work it. Trust me on the sunscreen too, by the time you are 30 you'll be obsessed with it.
Letter 30: Self-reliance
This is the single universal quality that truly powerful individuals share. It is what separates high achievers from their followers, imitators and critics. And remember don't accept a Saturday date after Wednesday!
These are my wise words to you, as a present and an opportunity to live a better life and have a hell of a great celebration of the third decade on this planet!