Category Archives: Deep Reads

We are All Just Humans

I’ve traveled the world for almost 2 years now, spent extended time (1+ month) in 6-7 countries, and “lived” in at least 3 countries (2 if you count living as a minimum of one year).

This blessing has provided me the opportunity to meet people of vastly different backgrounds.

I’ve met people from all 6 human continents, from countless countries, countless races, ethnic backgrounds, etc.

One thing that always stands out to me is this: we are all just humans, fundamentally.

Sure our brains may process information differently. We may speak different languages. We may come from cultures so vastly different we will never be able to fully comprehend the other’s life and upbringing.

But at a deep, fundamental level- we are all just humans. We have feelings, goals, ambitions, hopes, and a wide array of emotions.

Some of those feelings are tribal, such as the “us vs. them” mentality you see in various countries. Other feelings are productive, such as compassion & empathy.

When I see someone, even if they look different than me or speak a language I don’t understand, I just see a human.

A Russian does not look Russian, and an African does not look African. I just see a light that is a human being.

It’s really strange to think that 101 years ago the first great world war ended, and little did the world know that another greater one was right around the corner.

When I see a German I don’t fear for my life or my territory. I don’t see a Russian and think that they might wish to take my secrets. I see just people living their lives.

Most people are just good people. Yeah there’s a shitty German or two but there’s a shitty American or two also.

War just makes no sense- especially now, now that our economies are so dependent on each other.

I think 99% of people, even if slightly misguided at times, just want the best for themselves and everyone. Most people aren’t naturally tribal and aggressive.

In Bali I would often hang out in groups so diverse- people from vastly different backgrounds and cultures. We could have an American, Canadian, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, and more all in one group. And we just had fun, as if the strange past of our nations clashing did not exist.

I think that war is started by a small group of heavily misguided people that somehow inspire fear & hatred in the masses. It is the politicians that send their sons to war.

When America drafted countless young boys to the pointless Vietnam War, did the Senators and House of Representatives and Judges and President go to join them? No. They sat in their comfy little chairs and read war statistics.

It’s SO easy to hate another group of people when you don’t actually know them. When you create misconceptions and a view of them but you’ve never met them, it’s easy to hate.

The politicians and generals sitting in their comfy chairs do not see that the people getting killed are normal humans just like us. When an American life is lost, it sucks. But what they didn’t see is that a German dying in WWII or a Russian or Vietcong was not a win but equally tragic.

A family back in their respective homeland will mourn the loss. A partner will grieve the loss of their lover. The economy will lose what could’ve been a productive member of society.

Travel and world connection is so beautiful because it allows all of humanity to stop putting these ridiculous stereotypes of other groups of people in their mind.

The Russians are not evil. Their language may sound harsh to an English speaker (and all the ridiculous propaganda of us vs. them) but they love, celebrate, party, desire wealth, and prosperity just like the Americans.

They really are no different. They are just humans. Germans are just humans. Africans are.

Everyone everywhere is just human- and I’m grateful that we live in a world so connected than before because it’s becoming near-impossible to hate another group of people because the world is becoming so integrated.

The compounding effect of war is why we must do all that we can to avoid another war of any kind, anywhere. If I lose my brother to enemy gunfire, it would only be natural to hate them- and then I may hurt one of them, but then their brothers will hate me… and thus the cycle continues.

If we remain a globally connected planet, then this hatred will be hard to hold onto. Our societies will be so interconnected that we won’t be able to hate each other.

This doesn’t mean we’ll lose our culture or values as nations. It just means that we will have enough respect, understanding, and love to prevent ridiculous tribal mentality from ever arising again.

In many places in the world being a foreigner or having foreigners is still not common. We don’t get enough exposure to other cultures & people, so it’s too easy to say “we are this and they are that.” That’s not how it really is- we’re all just human.

I have no tolerance now for people that initiate such ridiculous mentality. When people say that “Russians are this” or “Americans are that” or whatever, it just reveals a deep insecurity in the individual. They have no understanding or connection with anyone outside their own tribe.

When I meet people, I don’t see a label of “American” or “Russian” or “German” or “Spanish” or any other of the great nations. We are all just humans. Everyone looks human, acts human, and is human.

Last month in Bali I got sick for about a week, so I purchased a childhood favorite game to pass the time- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

While I enjoyed playing it, a part of me felt sickened. I realized that games such as this continued this “America vs. Russia” mentality. It made “us” the good guys and “them” the bad guys.

The game was fun, but sometimes I couldn’t help but wonder about the video game character’s lives. I empathized with “the enemy” because even though they were shooting at us, they had a family back home, and also thought they were on the right side.

In fact, the game was a completely different experience than when I played it growing up- when I grew up I enjoyed the action, shooting, and adventure.

But this time I paid attention to the story, and the story made the game even more painful.

Roughly speaking (and I could be wrong), the Americans were trying to infiltrate a terrorist organization to get rid of their leader, but then the terrorist pulled a trick on the Americans which led the Russians to think that America had attacked them, when really it was the terrorists that attacked Russia.

Naturally Russia attacked USA, and thus began the war. Even though the Russians were still slightly the “bad guys,” it was surprising how hard the developers tried to make a story that made sense in a way.

I wrote this last part of the video game just to say that as fun as they can be, a game such as this also feels wrong in a way because it still makes Americans right and Russians wrong. It humanizes one group of people while isolating another group, and making the other group appear immoral and inhuman.

That’s not the truth. We are all just humans, and the only enemy is the darkness that pulls us back into the tribal mentality of “us vs them.”

The truth that none of us realized was that we were all playing the game of life on the same team all along, but the team had a fight and broke into sub-teams that competed against each other.

The real problems that our one team of humanity had to face such as the environment, creating abundance, prosperity, and happiness fade to the background when we can’t even work as a team.

That’s the big joke of it all: we are all just humans playing on the same team, but we got so trapped in our illusion of “us vs them” that we forgot there were greater things to battle- together.

We are all just humans, and nothing else. Let’s treat everyone like that.

-Michael

All In or All Out

When I took magic mushrooms for the first time over a year ago, I knew it would be deeply spiritual, but I never could’ve guessed just how important the messages would be to me.

I learned several key lessons in that first trip, which I wrote down, saved, and some of which I remind myself of to this today.

One of those lessons is this: all in, or all out.

All In or All Out

Life is full of decisions. You could eat at a million different restaurants, live in countless countries and countless cities, date countless people, and work too many jobs to fulfill a dozen lifetimes.

We each feel particularly called to something, which is our “heart” or “intuition.” It’s very important that we listen to it.

The whole Universe works to help you follow your own path, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

Events which we consider “bad luck” could actually be events which are designed to change our course and bring us unknowingly to riches we deserve.

How many stories are there of someone getting fired, then finding what they are truly passionate in? Suddenly they feel so grateful for getting fired, otherwise they may be dying slowly on the 9-5 grind they never really wanted.

Sometimes though you face a crossroad where there isn’t a clear path. The choice is up to you.

You should always consult your heart, and if your intuition doesn’t say “no” to any of them, then try listen closely to see what feels better. Sometimes it doesn’t matter- but you still have to make a choice.

You can’t live with regrets though. Sometimes you follow your heart and not everything goes to plan, or something unexpected which we call “bad” happens.

Should you have not followed your heart? No because in following your heart, you often learn to listen deeper, and your heart becomes wiser in its decisions.

Sometimes your heart knows that it must go through some pain and growth or loss in order to get something which it wants. The heart wants what it wants, but it also wants you to feel good, creating conflict.

This is where success barriers come in- we avoid doing what we know we really must do.

With anything, you need to be “all in” or “all out.” If you make a decision, go all in with it in that moment- if you can’t, then maybe you should be all in for the other decision.

The problem with many, including sometimes myself, is that they make a decision but think of the other, or hold regrets, or always wonder “what if…”

One great way to make decisions is ask whether you’d regret something because you know that if you would not be all in for the other decision and regret not taking the other path then it is a path you truly must take.

I’m speaking even of the small things here- if you can’t be all in for eating Mexican food tonight, then why should you go eat Mexican sitting there wondering what Italian food might taste like on your tongue?

Sometimes we make a decision and there’s no clear path. There is no good answer. In these cases it still makes the best sense to go all in for one decision.

If you make a decision but don’t take responsibility for it, then you can only be bitter at the world for that it didn’t work out exactly as you desired.

If you make an uncertain decision certain, then you can be “all in” and fully responsible for the outcomes, even if you can’t control it completely.

In this way you become the captain of your life, guiding yourself through life. You listen to your heart, and you follow it, knowing that things may not always go as planned but that it’s your true path.

There may be nothing worse on this Earth than not following your true path.

To fail in the face of authenticity is to have earned yourself a wonderful experience of following your heart, an experience which may just lead to your treasure.

To fail in the face of inauthenticity is to have cut yourself twice- once for denying your heart, and once for failing also.

The pain of not following your heart is greater than any pain you could experience by following your heart.

The nagging feeling of your heart whispering “I want to do this” is enough to drive man mad.

For long I’ve ignored the next big step in my path, and now that I’m taking it, it feels scary, but I know that I am living true and that whatever fault may come it is for better.

There is risk, of course. I don’t say anything of the future, either- I will not say where my path will go, just that I think I know where it goes, and I believe that I’ll arrive where I desire to arrive.

Of course, the path may change to get there, but I have faith as long as I follow my heart everything will turn out- it always does.

Try to follow your heart, be all in for it. We both know you can’t be “all out,” for that is to not be alive, and you are here now for a reason. You know it intuitively.

Promise your heart you will listen to it, that you will do what it asks of you.

And when you need to make any decision, be all in or all out. Not fully down for it? Don’t do it.

If you are uncertain, choose to be all in because there is no other choice. It is pointless to take one weak step in either direction, when you could choose to take a step with power, even if you don’t know what the right decision is.

Fortune favors the bold, which requires you to be all in.

All in, or all out. Choose. Now.

Done.

-Michael

Fear is Your Compass

We humans fear success more than we do failure- I don’t know why, but that’s just the case.

I mean sure we pretend to fear failure, especially if we’ve some arbitrary degree of status or success that we might lose.

But what we really fear is moving up and embracing a new reality. Is it just the fear of change, or is there more to it?

I’ve watched all kinds of videos on this. Some people suggest that we have resistance because our primal brains just want to do what’s comfortable and what brings short-term rewards.

Another video suggested that we fear failure because back in caveman times we subconsciously knew that rising up in status too fast would trigger jealousy in others (in theory), and so we would keep ourselves at the level everyone else thought us to be to avoid unnecessary attention.

Whatever it is, I’d argue that success is scarier in a way than failure. With it comes power, responsibility, and a complete transformation of yourself.

In failing, you only have to enter a “derp” state and become less of yourself. You can dull out the pain with social media, YouTube, drugs, sex, TV, you name it.

What if you become rich? Now guilt-vampires may chase you down, reminding you that other people don’t have it so good.

Or worse: your friends and family may beg from money from you, and exploit your kindness.

You may wake up just to realize that all your friends & family were fake all along, and that they never really were authentic… Now that you’re a crab coming out of the bucket, everyone wants to pull you back down.

Maybe your girlfriend or boyfriend gets insanely jealous. They attack you with all their might, despite being the one person who was supposed to always be with you.

If you fail, they criticize you and work with the world to push you down, but if you succeed they grab onto you and pull you down, because they don’t get to be in the limelight.

I don’t know what it is, but you can’t lie to me and say that you don’t know what you really want to do- you have at least a sense of direction with where you want to go, or riches you wish to have.

Today I was talking with a friend about business, and we got really excited. We realized how simple business really is.

All you have to do is create a good ad, run it, sell a top-funnel product that breaks-even, and then create an upsell offer and you’ll be literally printing money.

If you don’t understand what I just wrote there, I promise it only takes a day’s worth of immersion to figure out what it means. Boom, instantly you’ll have the framework to be excessively rich from internet marketing.

The next steps are just to figure out how to write great ad copy, target the ad properly, get a great product, and sell the product. It’s really not complicated- it’s not super easy, but the path is there to walk, and it doesn’t take years to achieve riches.

But… it often does. I’ve remained mostly at the same income level for the past year. In fact, I haven’t really done too much in the past 2 years.

I’ve noticed that sometimes when I tried to get new clients I’d start sneezing a lot, get a headache, feel numb, self-sabotage, self-attack, and feel like an imposer, as if I wasn’t good enough to make a certain income level.

Anyways, my current income level is fantastic. I can enjoy a wonderful life in Bulgaria or Southeast Asia that many could only dream of.

The idea of doubling my income- something which in actuality is extremely easy to do- is quite exciting but in a sense also over-stimulating.

One psychology article I read suggested that the excitement associated with growing a business can often be subconsciously mixed up with the same excitement experienced during a traumatic situation which previously caused PTSD.

I’ve had diagnosed PTSD before, from a situation in which a gay guy tried to rape me in my sleep. I’ve also experienced severe bullying in school.

Because I have experienced these terrible things does my brain associate the overwhelming excitement with becoming financially free with these things? Is my brain circuitry a bit messed up?

This explanation actually makes a lot of sense, and even if you haven’t had one single-defining traumatic moment of your life (studies suggest many more have, you’re not alone!), you’ve likely experienced some emotional turmoil such so that you associate excitement with fear, and get emotionally overstimulated.

That which lies beyond comprehension is scary. I think of what tripling my income would do for me, which I could do, but haven’t yet:

I could take first-class long-haul flights, live in luxurious villas anywhere, make same-day travel decisions instead of budgeting, buy anything anywhere that I want. My income is good for a 21 year old (just turned 21 today!). Tripling it would be insane!

For a mixture of reasons, success is over-stimulating to us. The good is SO amazing that we don’t go for it. It’s too unknown, too much change, and we also use the fear of failure as an excuse not to move on.

One dangerous thing that traps a lot of people is when “a little success” prevents them from getting “a lot of success.” That has happened to me.

Someone makes a little money, but then in fear of making more, they never take the risk to make more, so they just stay where they are at.

Example: I know that I should run ads to try get new clients, especially now that my Facebook Ads skills has been validated. If I just dedicated $1,000 per month for ads, I could sign on several clients which allows me to scale my business very quickly.

The problem is: that $1k could go towards my savings in the event something goes wrong, or it could go towards paying tax debt that I owe. In the short-term, the 1k is very valuable, especially in terms of financial security.

One post on Reddit said “the middle class is when $100 isn’t a lot to make but it’s a lot to lose.”

That is so true- making a few hundred bucks is not exciting to me. I am in no hurry to do that because it wouldn’t change much. Dealing with that low of clients is not worth my time.

Losing a few hundred? That would affect me quite a bit. There’s A LOT I can buy with a few hundred bucks. That could be my food budget for the month, or in a place like Bali where my rent is currently $425 per month (and it could be less), that’s almost an entire month’s worth of rent!

At the end of the day, it’s all just excuses. Fear is the compass. You shouldn’t be reckless, though reckless people still often end up multi-millionaires.

What does fear is the compass mean? It means that what you’re afraid to do, you should probably do.

You should probably go talk to that girl. You should do that work out. You should probably run those ads, Michael!

Following Your Path

Following your heart is not always easy, and I’m still working on it every day. It’s what we all intuitively know needs to be done, but so few people actually do it.

One way to get started is to create a plan. Then the next hardest step is taking the first step.

A huge modern-day trap people have is “information paralysis.” There is so much information on getting started. You could watch countless videos on picking up girls, but one approach is better than all the videos you could watch by a certain point.

It’s easy to theorize, talk, plan, and learn but where is the actual growth? That’s done by walking the walk.

I just wrote a post earlier about a complete fake who received so many interviews, and was to be a Tedx speaker, yet was essentially broke. Those people are habitually addicted to the validation of appearing successful, without actually being successful.

Instagram makes it too easy to be those people. The only thing that matters in business is the profit you’re making and the clients you’re servicing, but you could just take nice photos of “the hustle” all day and make people think that you’re working.

Then you can wonder why it took 4 years to get your business going… maybe it’s because those types wasted all their time doing BS work, rather than what really counts (like making sales).

In my own life, I’m walking my own path. I’m terrified. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the fear of not being good enough. We fear that we don’t deserve the income, especially when so many others don’t have that income.

I know what I need to do, and finally walking the path is… exhilarating. It’s not always pleasant.

Sometimes I created an ad for a client that flopped right on its face, and I had to awkwardly explain why we spent $100+ for a lead that will go nowhere.

But now, I’m finally seeing the results come in. I’m finally developing my Facebook Ads skills.

I’ve finally got some clients (that I’m working with for free until my skills are validated) to run Ads for, and I’m finally seeing that I am deserving and skillful in this.

I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do.. for years. It didn’t take years of hard work to reach this level.

It could’ve been done so much faster. Probably in months. You could reach this success level in a mere 3-6 months, but success is more about overcoming mental blocks than it is about actually progressing.

When I spoke to my friend this morning, we realized just how easy building wealth is. I told you how earlier. The theory is so simple. The focused work, potential rejections, potential flops, and every other obstacle isn’t that bad but it’s all your mentality about it.

Lifting weights isn’t hard. It takes maybe 5 hours per week. Running isn’t hard. It takes 20 minutes a few mornings per week. Business isn’t hard. It just takes studying & working a few hours per day.

Everything is only hard in our minds because deep down, we’re afraid. We’re terrified. We have some resistance. We don’t know why it’s there. Logically we know that even if all our fears come true the success is more than worth it.

It’s all a battle in the mind, one we each must fight alone.

Fear is the compass. What you fear most, you know you must do.

The path is yours.

-Michael

WARNING: Beware Fake “Successful” People

One day recently I woke up and saw that a “friend” on Facebook had just announced he was to be selected as a Tedx speaker.

My mouth dropped in shock, like you see in those comical movies- except no, there’s absolutely no fucking way in hell this guy deserves to be a Tedx speaker.

You see, this guy just ghosted his company because he hooked up with an employee who decided to press sexual assault charges on him. He has no money, yet gets interviewed and pasted on magazines about business success.

Based on what I’ve heard he’s fled the USA- my source (his co-founder at the company he fled) has no idea how he’ll even do this Tedx talk considering he may have ruined his chances to ever return to America.

But despite all this, you see his picture-perfect Facebook & Instagram photos… “Oh look at me, I’m going to be a Tedx speaker!”

The sad part is people fucking believe it, and if he finds a way back into the USA, he probably will give a Tedx talk about some other hype.

I even used to believe this guy was “all that!” Back a few years ago I actually took his business advice- and now months ago he confided in me as we made a business deal that they have no money, and that he had to downgrade apartments because he can’t afford rent.

In fact, this is a rather interesting story development…

A Story of Me & a “Successful” Friend

When I first moved to Phoenix, I had just turned 18- I was fresh, new to the world, and without much life experience.

All I knew is that I wanted to make lots of money, do something epic like travel, pick up girls, and live a great life.

I met this friend through a self-help Facebook group, and we clicked fast. Soon we were hitting parties & hitting up girls together. I didn’t know so much of what he did, but that didn’t matter.

When I started getting interested in business, I realized that this guy was a co-founder in a company. Awesome, I thought!

He suggested to me that I go to University & do something besides Facebook Ads because they “don’t work.” I of course ignored the advice, thinking it to be a bit strange. Other advice he gave sounded good (the typical hustle shit you see everywhere on Instagram).

For the last 4-6 months of Phoenix, I was pretty isolated due to some chronic pain, and we weren’t hanging out much. I don’t think he or anyone really believed in my goal of making money online and traveling the world, until I announced to family that I had a one-way out of the country.

When I returned he was quite shocked, and confessed he didn’t think I could actually do it so fast- but all’s well that ends well!

All up to this point, I was under the social media illusion that he was a successful CEO. He also had an epic, large apartment right in the party area in Phoenix where he regularly pulled girls to.

One of the last weekends I spent the weekend at his place because his roommate was gone and we actually had a blast throwing late-night parties and bringing people up from the party area to have a crazy fun time.

And Then, One Year Later…

So, no harm no foul- everything appeared normal. He had girls, money, he was the CEO, he lived in an epic apartment, etc.

I left Phoenix and lived in Sofia, Bulgaria and also traveled all around Europe for about a year before I returned to Phoenix. I became a lot more authentic as well.

When I returned for a short 3 weeks to see family and I met with him, I was quite… unimpressed by him.

He had put on a few pounds, and he was super obsessed with social media and creating the perfect image on Instagram to get girls. I was more of the mentality that you should just be a bit more real.

Still, I hadn’t realized just how fake he was yet- he reported that his company had received millions in funding (I think this might actually be true), or that they needed a million, or something like this, and I was happy he was successful.

Me, another “successful” friend, and him all sat down and eat dinner together one evening and I proclaimed that we would see each other next year even more successful.

Note: that other “successful” friend could be slightly more successful, but it seems he also is more of an Instagram appearance success than anything else.

Then I left and returned to Europe, thinking that I wouldn’t be back in America for another year or so- but then shit went south, I became a mess, and I ended up back in Phoenix maybe 4 months later.

And That’s When The Lies Were Revealed

Despite being such a mess after the break up with my ex, it seemed that the Universe still had some synchronicity waiting for me. My friend was expanding his company to provide software development services and other services to other companies.

He had such a huge network (he appeared successful) that he could close deals and then a highly skilled team of software developers or marketers like me could service the clients. It seemed like a win-win- he gets the deals, I work the clients, we all get paid.

There were some instant red flags when we got things going. It became apparent quickly that all was not well in this company. The first was that they were actually doing this new venture because of the fact that their current venture wasn’t profitable yet.

Their current venture is a health product which definitely has the capacity to be profitable, but they blew so many funds from stupid moves and still had hurdles to overcome. They now had to leverage their teams to service other clients to get funds to fund their primary business!

When I sent my second invoice, it wasn’t paid… until a week later. I became frustrated. The pay wasn’t so good as it was. I quickly realized I was the only person being paid because I was the only one with boundaries- many other people were ASU interns working for free, or simply not paid.

My friend confided in me that he had moved apartments from his awesome party place to a less-flashy location because he had troubles with money. He also started another small service-based business (which isn’t that valuable) because he didn’t have money!

Suddenly it made sense why my friend never wanted to go out or eat somewhere or do anything- he had no money! But, I thought he was the CEO of a successful company?

The company was an extreme mess, hiring free labor (“interns” are legal slaves), not paying me on time, and the other founder of the company was pouring his parent’s money into the business and hadn’t make any money back.

They had investors, but the investors were investing in the long-term potential payout… no one seemed to be happy though because no profit was being turned now.

In short, this business was a fucking disaster. They had no money. Yet… They were everywhere reported as “successful.”

And Then, It Got Worse

My friend hooked up with an intern. Because that always goes somewhere good, right?

The intern later claimed to the company that she was sexually assaulted, AKA raped. She was considering pressing both civil and legal charges. She is a lawyer, too…

When the situation was investigated, it became apparent that her claims were 99% lies. The other co-founder secretly recorded every conversation with her and there were holes in her story (she told a different victim story every time).

There were multiple text records, audio records, etc. which made it highly unlikely it was sexual assault. The more likely story was that my “friend” and her had a thing, and then he cut it off realizing it was wrong and then she flipped out and pulled the rape card.

When her background was investigated, it became apparent that she regularly did this to companies. She had a pattern of “getting raped” at the various companies she worked for.

Note: this intel was relayed to me by the other co-founder, so who knows, maybe she was raped, but based on my personal interaction, etc. my first guess would be that she wasn’t raped.

As soon as this happened my “friend” disappeared from the company. At the same time as this happened, I stopped working for the company because I was tired of this invoice not being paid bullshit- all work was halted until my invoice was paid, and all future invoices paid 100% in advance.

So basically all the clients got confused and left in a rage and wanted their money back… money which had disappeared…

My “friend” ghosted the company, terrified… but why? The evidence highly suggested that she was not raped at all. Based on my personal interaction with the chick, she seemed bat-shit crazy and her story made no sense. I had a friend who coincidentally hiked in a group with her and secretly recorded an audio conversation with her which also revealed her to be batshit crazy (to warn me about this company, lol) .

This chick was scaring all the interns off, and people like me that were already frustrated with the company. I prepared my resignation letter, ready to disappear- but I put on a face of staying just so that my invoice could be paid, then I’d disappear!

My “friend” NEEDED to be present at the company to fix this shit. The clients were confused. The interns were disappearing. His friend/co-founder was confused.

The evidence suggested he was innocent. Why was he disappearing and not able to stand up against the charges?

I hate to say this, but even if he did rape her… *whipser* he could get away with it because of the overwhelming evidence against her.

Whatever, I didn’t care. Fuck this company, fuck this situation, fuck everything- I collected my money and headed out!

A couple months later now, I find out that my “friend” is in a country on the other side of the world, which makes no sense given his visa situation. Note: this could be false intel, but is most likely true.

Why in the hell is he on the other side of the world? I get that receiving a false rape allegation is bloody terrifying, but running away from it makes you look guilty!

I must say that I do think he’s likely innocent, knowing him, knowing this chick, and having seen the records. It’s abundantly clear they had a secret relationship which he then cut off and she responded by going batshit crazy.

But is there more to the story? I don’t know, it’s about my paygrade. Maybe there’s even more to this rape story or more probably there’s more going on at the company that he fled from (ie. maybe he has a history of seducing interns, or something like this so despite it being consensual it’s still way fucking wrong).

And Then…

And then, after all this shit, I wake up and see a Goddamn post about my “friend” doing a Tedx talk. What in the fucking fuck?

And so many people were liking on it, commenting on it, so excited, so many likes, so many engagements- are people really so blind?

This is why I hardly use social media personally. So many people that build themselves up on social media are actually so full of shit. Not all people that build an image on social media are bad, but too many of the people I meet on social media that are “Insta-famous” are actually just shit in life.

My Friend vs. Me (and Others)

I don’t mean to brag, so sorry if this comes across like it, but let’s make a fair comparison.

My “friend” is on magazines, news, whatever, super popular and receiving business awards and has a lot of Instagram & Facebook followers. He has been selected to give a Tedx talk. He has been interviewed a lot to give business advice.

Yet his company has never turned a profit, he can barley afford rent, he’s hooking up with interns that claim he sexually assaulted him, and despite the overwhelming amount of evidence that supports his innocence he fled the country & ghosted his company which suggests he’s either a massive pussy (meaning he’s afraid his perfect social media image is ruined), or there’s something more going on at the company, or.. he actually did do that horrible thing.

And then there’s me (and countless others like me): I have like 100 Instagram followers, maybe 3 Facebook posts, and maybe 60 friends subscribed to my blog (but maybe only 10 people who actually read each post). My website gets maybe 5 views per day or something terrible like that.

I could be insta-famous or blow this blog up, but instead I choose to develop my character, and my real business, and live real life. My image is secret. No one knows my life, and you would never discover me on Google, Instagram, or Facebook.

Yet despite living in the shadows I’ve lived in multiple countries, traveled to 13+, eat out every day, and have been (for the most part, though I’d be lying if I said always) financially secure for the past 2 years.

Look Past The Image

People like my friend are exactly why success can be hard to attain- many of the truly successful live secretly in the shadows, actually enjoying their life.

For example in 2018 all I cared about was my ex-girlfriend. I wasn’t trying to post photos of her butt on Instagram to get likes n’ views. I’d rather just enjoy my time with her.

I have a group of absolutely amazing friends in Sofia, Bulgaria and several wonderful contacts all around the world (such as in Montreal, Phoenix, Belgium, London, and now places in Southeast Asia).

You would never guess by my Facebook images or profile that I’m living an epic life- and even as I write this, don’t assume that I am!

I try to be authentic, and if I’m being completely authentic I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, I’ve been sick the past week, and feeling generally agitated / mildly culture shocked. So even as I write “living an epic life,” I can guarantee that my past week has not been significantly more legendary than many other people’s especially due to my cold that I had.

Very few people are willing to be authentic though. I’d get more likes if I took a photo of a nice ass on the beaches of Bali, or took a selfie on a surf board, or maybe took a selfie with some of the monkey’s in Ubud.

The fact is me admitting that I’ve been sick a week, or that I cussed out the Ocean when I struggled surfing, or that Bali traffic is something hella annoying, simply doesn’t get likes or engagement- but it’s the truth.

People like my “friend” love the attention. He’s probably a narcissist (or worse, considering that the rape charges may be legit).

Note: if I didn’t include “friend” or every time I said my “friend” please include it mentally because obviously he’s not a good friend anymore or even really an acquaintance.

SO MANY people are posting these fucking picture-perfect photos on Instagram, it just makes me sick. Even on my flight to Bali I met a guy and girl who both had picture-perfect photos, but the girl was just a straight-up bitch; they were all talk, no substance.

You’re a million times more likely to find these people on Instagram than me or someone truly successful because the truly successful don’t have time to perfect a stupid social media image.

They’re out making millions, enjoying an amazing girlfriend, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the finer things in life… and they feel no need to whip out the phone to go get 1,000 likes from strangers that mean nothing to them.

It’s all too easy to get hooked on Instagram because it’s what we think we want- but it’s not.

The people you look up to are creating an image. It’s OK to get inspired by it- for example, I was often inspired by photos & videos of Bali or Bulgaria or whatever. But don’t get attached to the people that are sharing these stories.

Don’t even get attached to me! I am a guy writing a blog, you might think I’m successful but I guarantee you there are countless people way more successful than I am that have 0 social media presence and 0 blog and just have like a family of 5 and then 2 close friends.

The truth is always deeper than the image. So many people appear to be successful, but they actually are fleeing their company, a country, they have sexual assault charges, and their company has never been profitable but instead countless dollars in the hole… and they can’t even hire employees or pay interns.

You might think this is a one-off case, but I assure you it isn’t. As I’ve grown in such LITTLE success, my bullshit-meter is super high. Your reality would fall apart if you knew just how many of those people you follow on Instagram are secretly miserable.

Verify Real Success

When taking advice from people… verify real success. You may just be taking advice from an ass-hat that enjoys jerking off their ego and that has no real success.

Also keep in mind that many of the truly successful people lie in the shadows. When you sit down in a restaurant or coffee shop, there might just be a millionaire or billionaire living the best life on Earth, but you’d never know because they’re dressed in plain clothing and focused on taking care of their kids just like everyone else.

Appearances are just that- appearances. It’s hard, but don’t get sucked into them, because the truth behind these people is not what it appears to be.

Done.

-Michael

Don’t Make Promises

Last night I did some late-night reflecting, and I realized that most promises aren’t worth making. You can’t actually guarantee any promise will be fulfilled. Here’s why.

The Unspoken Promise

In most commitments, there is an unspoken promise being made also. Let’s give an example of this.

“I will stay with you forever and ever,” a girl and a boy say madly in love with each other. That’s the explicit promise.

There’s also an unspoken promise, which goes “…if the circumstances of this promise remain the same.” In most promises I think this unspoken catch is there, whether or not you realize it (most people probably don’t, which leads to several problems, discussed in a moment).

If girl cheats on boy, then the boy will leave the girl. Is that not breaking the promise?

Well, it depends on how you look at the promise. Technically speaking he did break the promise because he left her! The unspoken promise (I won’t ever leave you… as long as you don’t cheat) may not have been made verbally explicit.

This is why business contracts are so long and complicated. Most would make the moral argument that it’s safe to leave her if she cheated, and that he’s not really breaking a promise, but technically speaking there was no “if you cheat on me” clause on the promise.

The Grey-Area of Promises

This murky grey-area is what leads to so much suffering, pain, and worst of all: guilt.

I know that for me stepping away from my ex was one of the hardest and most painful decisions I made in my life because I made the promise to “always figure things out.”

I like to stand by my word, so in a way I was breaking my word, and to someone whom (despite I was leaving) I cared so much about!

In my case there unspoken circumstances of the promise were violated- huge boundaries that involved life and death were crossed. Problems kept recurring in the relationship. Perhaps not everything can be “always figured out.”

Another unspoken promise of the “we’ll always figure things out” is that both parties work to keep the circumstances of the promise the same. What if one person doesn’t work to figure things out, but the other does, and then because the person not trying doesn’t try, the person who was trying leaves?

The person who left broke a promise, but again, the circumstances of the promise changed!

Promises & Time-Problems

Try making this promise: at 10AM next Saturday, you will go to the public mall closest to you.

Sounds easy to achieve, right? It probably is. You could make this promise with for the most part high confidence that it will be fulfilled.

Now make the promise for next month. Or 2 months from now. Or 6 months. Can you make the promise 1 year from now? What about 10 years?

It becomes clear that the more time you add onto a promise for it to be fulfilled, the more likely it is that the promise won’t be fulfilled! 5 years from now you might rather adventure through Europe, or perhaps you’ll be working long hours in your new job.

Imagine living on the other side of the world 10 years from now. Or what if you live in an area that gets severe flooding, and 5 years from now the mall is in a severe flood. Will you risk your life to fulfill such a promise?

The above example is obviously ridiculous (going to the mall), but think about how this applies to your unique life: how can you promise to be with someone 10 years from now?

Unfortunately, the more time between the length of time it takes to fulfill a promise and now, the more likely you are to have data-problems:

Promises & Data-Problems

By “data problems” I mean that circumstances change. Let’s say you make a promise to go out with your boyfriend on Sunday at 11AM. Then your car breaks down, so you can’t drive.

The promise was broken, technically speaking! Of course this is another “silly” example (and a forgive-able problem), but really consider the implications of such things which I’m describing here.

When you make a promise, it means you guarantee a certain thing will be fulfilled, typically no matter the circumstances. Are all of the circumstances under control? No.

And as discussed above, the more time it takes to fulfill a promise, the more likely you are to encounter uncertain events that nullifies the promise, technically speaking.

Remember, almost everyone would agree that there are “unspoken exceptions” such as a disaster preventing you from having to show up to your work commitments. Still, at a very technical level, your promise has been broken unless the exceptions were explicitly agreed upon.

Dangers of Promises

You might be reading this and going, “okay, this is a bit ridiculous… everyone would agree that in the face of disaster it’s okay to nullify a promise!”

That’s where we have to take things back to the grey-zone. Some situations have circumstances which changed slightly, but not a ton (like a severe disaster), where some people would agree that the promise is nullified but others wouldn’t. That is the danger of promises.

You ever read one of those intense moral problems in school, with no right answer? Often the classroom will be split roughly 50/50 on who’s right and who’s wrong. The fact is that while extreme scenarios described above everyone can agree nullify the promises, there are situations that not everyone agree upon.

And if you’re one of the group of thinks that the promise is nullified, but the person you made to doesn’t believe that, you’re in for a lot of trouble…

This is why relationships, friendships, and family can be so complicated. Grey-zone issues arise that places a little fault on everyone, and black/white blame can’t be assigned to anyone. To some perspectives some are bad, and some are good.

If you make promises that end up in the grey zone, you’re sure to enjoy a lot of drama in your life.

Really think about this here: odds are you’ve made a promise that hit the grey-zone that caused a bit of strife. You might not think you did any wrong, but REMEMBER: that is your perspective and in many cases the other perspective is also valid.

This is why I say “don’t make promises.” Of course you will still make some, but you should be extremely careful with promises that you make, and make damn-well sure the unstated exceptions become known so that there is no grey-zone. More on this below.

One final huge danger of promises is when you make one to a narcissist or energy vampire, or anyone else who would exploit you for backing out of a promise. If you’re like me, you would prefer to keep every promise, so you sometimes feel a bit guilty when backing out of a promise.

If you made a promise to someone who will exploit those feelings of guilt, you’re in for a world of trouble.

In short, promises that hit the grey-zone where one party thinks the promise should be nullified and the other shouldn’t is where promises become dangerous. The more time it takes to fulfill a promise, the more likely circumstances (data) will change.

The circumstances are key to any promise. We humans often mean a promise 110% when we say it because the circumstances as are they are. Will you withhold the promise even if circumstances change? What if the other person thinks that the circumstances didn’t change enough to nullify the promise, but you do?

A Rough Personal Example

Let me try give a good rough personal example. This promise I made hasn’t hit the grey-zone yet as no conflict as arose, and I think the other person will be okay with me backing out of the promise. However, it’s possible they couldn’t be… Let’s see what you think.

Right before I left to Bali in Mid-April, I made a promise to a girl I just connected deeply with. We had a “thing” but nothing was happening (I am still not over my ex), but on our last day together we started kissing.. Alas, the “thing” became real!

I made a promise to her that I’d meet her in Bangkok in late May / early June and we’d travel Southeast Asia together for 2-3 months. This seemed to be perfect timing for us: she wanted to travel, we connected, I still needed a month or so to get over my ex, so I’d be able to travel alone for a couple months to get over my ex finally then she’d come and we’d travel and enjoy a little romance.

After the little romance she’d return to America (most likely, I suspect she’ll find a way to make money online) and I’d go back to Bulgaria for 3 months. The timing was perfect and I felt certain of the plan.

Suddenly she texted me: she had made a promise to a friend and her friend was expecting her to keep it. She wouldn’t be able to come to Asia until Mid July at the earliest!

This messed with my plans greatly. If I were to wait in Asia for her, then travel Asia with her, I would not be able to return to Bulgaria until much later than I’d like- probably December at the earliest.

I would not want this for it would be winter, and more importantly I miss my friends there so much that I refuse to let myself wait so long to see them! I must go, and soon.

This created another option: I could then leave in mid-May (around now) after a month in Bali to Bulgaria, spend a couple months, or spend another month in Asia then enjoy a month or so in Bulgaria before meeting her to travel in Western Europe or Asia.

This is also far from desirable. I do not want to leave Asia so soon on a long flight, especially to stay in Bulgaria for such a short time- if I’m going, I’m staying minimum 2 months probably 3. I am also not currently interested in visiting Western Europe or any expensive countries as my finances are a priority.

It should be noted that she doesn’t wish to travel to Bulgaria, which is why this complicates the matter.

This situation created a conundrum for a day for me, but then it hit me: why don’t I just do what I want to do regardless of her, and then she can join or not?

I haven’t told her yet, but what I’m personally leaning on doing is traveling in Southeast Asia for another month (so about 2 months total, maybe 3 if I’m loving the next destination) then I’ll go to Bulgaria for minimum 2 months maybe 3.

She will either have to wait, visit me in Bulgaria, or cancel traveling with me at all.

Already now we can see how this situation enters the “grey zone” of promises. Does her slight adjustment allow me to make an even bigger adjustment? Is it right to her to just do my own thing and tell her to come or not?

This depends on many factors, for example she is not my girlfriend so there is no consistent promise to her (and it’s not like we’re regularly calling or anything, too- we’re just friends with a thing between us). If you were certain you wanted this girl, you might make the necessary compromises in your life to allow this girl in.

I promised this girl that I would be there in Bangkok when she flew in and that we would travel together. She made a slight adjustment, which through my plans a bit out of whack.

Whether it’s right or not to decide to not consider her completely and do my own thing is up for debate. Of course, it also depends on your level of commitment (if she’s your wife of 10 years, this is a whole different equation than a girl you had a thing with and connected closely with in the last month of Phoenix).

Back to the whole guilt thing too: this girl is unlikely to make me feel bad when I do tell her how I changed my plans, but where this gets risky is if I get a guilt complex and she exploits that.

I feel that the level of guilt in me is going quite away as I self-improve, but some people could easily be manipulated into compromising themselves for another person.

What do you think of my situation? I’m happy with my decision, and everyone will have their own unique perspective which reflects their own values.

My personal lesson is to make less promises because of changes in circumstances. I believe that this promise was completely nullified by the fact that the circumstances changed when she changed her travel dates, but another person might have a different perspective. I also do not want to put myself at risk for a guilt-tripping vampire, in the event that when I update her with my plans she attempts that (again unlikely, and I’d block her if she did, but this stuff does happen).

Some Compromises are Necessary

Now some yin for the yang. Some compromises are necessary. You can’t have a happy, healthy relationship without some compromise. Never heard of such a thing.

Those are called one-sided relationships, and people that think they must be on their path 1,628.83% of the time regardless of anyone else usually end up alone and unhappy (or they end up with a pushover who molds themselves to fit their partner).

Promises are also necessary in life sometime, but the point of this piece is to make you reconsider when you’re giving promises and what the possible variables are that could affect the promise.

For example, you need to speak with the recipient of the promise the possible variables that could affect whether a promise gets fulfilled or not. You two need to agree on what happens when circumstances change because the longer it takes until the promise can be fulfilled, the higher the chances circumstances will change.

Right now my priorities are self-centered and YOLO-style. I will not promise anyone my time or commitment far in advance. Promising this girl I’d meet her was a mistake, in a way. Again, I think it was nullified based on the fact travel dates changed, but that wasn’t explicitly stated.

Note: I know it sounds silly writing this, but seriously guilt-vampires will destroy the hell out of you for backing out of a “promise” despite circumstances changing. It’s happened to me and also why I’m in this YOLO anti-promise stage.

Actually, now that I write this, it wasn’t a mistake to promise this girl to meet her- sometimes you also just need to stand by your own values & truth! Remember that at the end of the day it’s your life and sometimes you need to be a bit dis-agreeable.

The circumstances changed by her, so now the promise is nullified. Just think though of other promises in your life, that are perhaps a bit more serious (business, marriage, children, etc.) and how they could end up in the grey-zone… prepare for contingency and variable circumstance.

But all this being said, some compromises are necessary. This girl isn’t currently important enough to justify changing my plans for. A 5-year wife would be a 100% different scenario (but in that case I’d also likely feel satisfied adjusting plans to accommodate her).

Done.

What did you think?

-Michael