Category Archives: Deep Reads

Demon Humans: Protecting Yourself From Hell on Earth

I’d like to think that the vast majority of people on Earth are good- that it is only bad situations which turn them dark, and that darkness is but a passing moment, not them.

But even in such optimistic beliefs, it is impossible not to deny the darkness that lies within some of the walking demons here on Earth.

These people- demon humans- are in reality as they are described figuratively. Let one into your life and you can expect hell on Earth.

The thing about demon humans is that it’s the smart ones you have to be afraid of, or at least the ones that are “more normal” but still corrupted.

The less intelligent demon humans will go rob a bank, or commit some crime that gets them locked up rather easily. These are the obvious dangers we should fear.

It’s often visible who these people are very early on, and their vibes are powerfully potent- it doesn’t take long around them to feel a sense of danger so strong that even those most disconnected from their intuition know logically this person needs to be cut out.

The ones you should fear are those that you’ll never know are a demon until weeks, months, or years later.

These walking demons are “more human” on the scale from hell to heaven. They will have friendships, relationships, successes and achievements, and be “okay enough” to get by in society.

What I am describing by using the term “demons” are those crimes committed by humans that are not legally criminal- instead those humans that’ll ruin your life in every other way.


It is illegal to punch you in public, but it is not illegal to make you fall in love with someone, get you very attached, then cause you emotional hell, destroy your self esteem, and take everything you’ve got and leave you dry.

These demons are not just romantic either (but the romantic ones receive the most press)- they can be friends, co-workers, bosses, clients, anyone!

What makes someone a demon?


A demon will typically be a narcissist, have machiavellian tendencies, be a psychopath, be extremely bipolar (and take it out on you), or have some other mental illness that hurts not just them but torments those around them.

Remember it is a grey scale. Most people are not black n’ white. There is a degree of psychopathy, a degree of narcissism, etc.

The grey zone is what we need to be careful of. Those that are clearly dark will be shunned from society rather quickly, or commit a crime that sends them to prison.

The grey zone people (or even some of the smarter darker ones) will make you feel amazing- they will be charming, loving, or have only a few red flags.

We all have our personality quirks, right? How do you distinguish between a quirk and darkness?

The point of this post is not to write about all of the red flags because there are many, and I am no expert. I’ve just had a few experiences, done a bit of research on the “dark triad” and other personality type theories, and in integrating the knowledge + experience have become more naturally aware of what’s going on with the people around me.

These days I am more cautious. I am more guarded. I carry a big smile, yes- you must be enthusiastic with everyone you meet as to not turn off the good people.

But I don’t let anyone get too close for some time now. When a girl wants me to commit to her, I wait. I tell her this too, and remind her that she doesn’t know me either (if we’re being completely honest, we all have a little darkness within).

I am careful to tell details about my work, my life, my weaknesses, to anyone who might be able to abuse it. I do not have roommates, and do not intend to have roommates for a long time.

Sounds like a lot- sounds like I’m being paranoid, but if you met me, you’d never know that I think this. You’d probably assume I’m naive and giggly with joy.

Like I said you can’t turn off the many great people in this world being afraid of the few evil ones. You just have to be careful in how you approach any new person.

I will be giving, abundant, happy, free-flowing, all that without paranoia. No need to not enjoy an interaction- there are some “demons” I’ve met with whom I smile and talk when they are there within a group, because there is no other choice and because they still have a little light within ‘em.

The key thing here is to not give too much or to be naive. Give people the benefit of the doubt, but don’t trust them with your wallet until they’ve earned it- you get what I mean?

The thing you need to realize too is that the high-functioning “demons” (ie. sociopaths and narcissists) will not be recognized as such by everyone.

We all scream evil at the atrocities committed by those in the great wars, but few will see you getting backstabbed by someone you thought you could trust.

This is the great dilemma here- you can’t necessarily scream “demon” and cut the person out if they hurt you, or if they are presenting extremely red flags. Other people will jump to the demon’s back because the demon has only been given to them; the demon has not backstabbed them… Yet.

You need to be attentive to red flags when meeting new people without cutting them out too soon. There are good people with a few dark sides that deserve to be trusted and cared for, and whom you can rely on, but there are also bad people with a very good side.

All I can do is point you in the direction of learning about narcissists, sociopaths, and all that- it’s rather fascinating, and you no doubt will have stories of your own!

In the end there is almost always red flags. People’s true natures come out somehow before that “epic event” which ruins it all. In some rare cases there are perhaps no red flags, but in many there are.

You should trust your intuition too- sometimes you just get a feeling of “oh wait this person is not right.” Leave, and give it time.

Other times you may be lacking in a certain way (ie. business connections, dating connections, etc.) and feel that you are stuck with that person.

This has happened to me when I was moved to a new city. Because high-quality, socially intelligent people don’t hangout with narcissists and other “demons,” they cut out demons…

Thus making the demons easier to meet. You’re looking for new friends, and they’re constantly getting cut out so… They find you!

Other times the narcissist is super high-functioning, capable of love-bombing some people and making some connections. In these cases it’s also tempting to stay in their life because of what they have to offer.

Or the narcissist may have certain necessary skills for business. In these grey zone situations, there’s almost always SOME value or slightly good side that makes it hard for you to cut out the otherwise toxic person.

These are the situations I wish to raise awareness for! If someone is 100% rotten you will know obviously- you don’t need intuition to tell you because it’ll be screaming and your mind will see clearly what’s going!

It is those situations that are grey where it’s dangerous.

They’re nice for a month then start acting up. Is it you, did you mess up? Maybe you hurt them?

They’ve got massive value to offer, but there’s a sense they’re taking a bit too much. Maybe you aren’t that valuable after all?

They praise you when you please them, but as soon as who you are isn’t in total alignment with them, they criticize you harshly. Maybe they were right?

The sex is so good, and he or she is nice “BUT……”

The “friendship” was strong for 5 months, when “SUDDENLY…..”

These people may not even be aware that they are doing such toxic things, and good people also make some of the same mistakes that narcissists and demons make.

That’s why it’s so hard to figure out who is who! The good person will make a mistake, be genuinely sorry, and then make sure it doesn’t happen again

The bad person will make the mistake and then do anything it takes to get you back, disregarding your feelings at the same time.

It’s hard to distinguish between the two. That’s why I’m raising awareness for this to you.

One scary thing about learning about this is seeing those negative patterns and behaviors in yourself.

You may come to find YOU are a bit dark in some ways, and that you need to fix it. Although the pain of others will hurt a ton, it is even more difficult to recognize the darkness within yourself and heal it.

“Oh shit… Maybe I was a little manipulative. Maybe I acted the wrong way and hurt him/her because of that way. Maybe it wasn’t ALL their fault.”

Confronting my own darkness in the demise of my last serious relationship was the hardest thing to do.

Strangely enough, it doesn’t hurt that much. The pain from others will be more painful, but to just see what YOU did is worse.

When you become aware of your darkness, it almost instantly dissolves into light. The hardest part of your own personal transformation is complete. The first step, and hardest, is to see.

In the future you will not be so easily capable of those dark acts, for you will know that they hurt others, and even more hurt your own honor and integrity.

You can’t be dark because you are aware, and to be intentionally dark in awareness is true evil.

You’ll notice the pull of darkness when it comes. You’ve read the articles. You’ve reflected on your past. You will stay aware, and burn the darkness into light.

This is your inner transformation, and without the inner side of this path you will remain a victim to the darkness within others. Darkness finds darkness.

You may not be evil like a demon, but it is still that trauma and pain within that attracts you to the darkness of others.

Those that are light, that are free, happy, socially intelligent, and abundant in their lives can cut out so quickly those people that are not good for them.

It is only those that are desperate and in pain themselves, or also dark, that will miss the red flags the demons wave as they plunge their knife into your gut or your heart.

Ultimately remember that in cutting people out you are doing everyone involved a favor.

You are no longer feeding their darkness. You are taking care of yourself. You are opening a space for good people to come into your life- good people who might genuinely need your support and love!

You will become more abundant and light and happy, and be able to spread more lightness to others…

But it all comes down to that single choice to be aware. To observe the actions of others and even more importantly the actions of yourself.

Those that are good in your life treat well- and those that are not, no need to be dramatic. Smile and move on. Be authentic if they ask, but be careful not to get sucked into battle.

Know that darkness exists, even among so much light. Research narcissism, sociopaths, all that stuff! They are in prison, but they are also walking among us.

It is a crime to physically destroy someone, but not emotionally. So be careful those that hurt your emotions, and be daring in taking care of yourself.

You are an adult now. We all are. No one can take care of you but you. The fate of your own life rests on your shoulders from now on.

Armed with this awareness, I hope that you go out and take care of yourself. Be light, heal yourself, and free yourself of the chains others tie onto you!

Thanks,

-Michael

Embracing Freedom as a Lifestyle

Recently, I believe that one of the most dangerous words in the English language is “should.”

In many ways it is egoic, guilt-filled, and you “shouldn’t” force yourself into undesired action with the word “should.” Yet this is how we are trained as kids.

This past year has been filled with epiphany and personal growth, and one recent lesson I’m about to share with you is embracing freedom as a lifestyle- and removing “should” from my vocabulary, except when absolutely necessary.

For example, in my recent dilemma of whether I should go to Thailand then USA or straight to the USA I had in my mind that I “should” go to USA because “that was the plan” and “I am American and thus should try out living there.”

Note that I “must” (should) leave Bulgaria because of my visa expiring- that is a practical, truthful use of the word “should.”

But the second use- that I “should go” to America- was not fair to myself and let to an egoic split within my mind that made it harder to follow what my heart really wanted to go, which was to go to Thailand.

Eventually I came to the conclusion (thanks to the support of some friends) that it would be wiser to go to Thailand, and save my “mind energy” for dealing with the logistical issues of Thailand such as the difference in time zone, instead of living somewhere I don’t truly want to live!

Another example of this (and even better) is last night I was at a party. I wasn’t sure if I should go or not as I was feeling tired and a bit sad to be leaving Bulgaria.

I ended up going, and was having a blast. I then decided to leave, when some friends came together and one suggested we go to a club playing some great electronic music.

My mind said “I should go home and get some rest.” So when we left, I promptly excused myself and started walking home.

During my walk home I began to feel this sense of nagging… My heart was saying “no, let’s go to the club and party all night.”

Keep in mind North American readers, this was at 2 or 3 AM, and clubs in Bulgaria go until the sun rises! When I say “party all night” I mean literally party until 5 or 6 in the morning.

During my walk I reflected on this feeling- I asked myself, “Why should I go home?” No answer came up.

I was saying that I “should” go home because it’s “healthier,” but I also had nothing to do all day Saturday! If I stayed out, I could sleep in as late as I want, and allow myself to recover.

Furthermore I loved the party, the group of friends, and my days in Bulgaria are numbered. Why not enjoy some time at an awesome Bulgarian club?

I turned around and went back to the club, and partied past 5 AM. It was a ton of fun. The music was great, the dancing awesome, the club filled with great vibes and attractive women.

Today (the next evening) I slept in late, ate some food, drank coffee, and I feel good.

Deep down I know that had I eaten a sandwich then went home at 3AM, I would’ve been more tired than staying up until past 5 AM partying with no food. I could feel it in my heart.

When you follow your heart, you are gifted with more energy than is required to do what you want to do.

I feel incredible today- why? I should, by all standards, be more fucked up… But I’m not. I lived authentically. I’m not hungover, despite being hardly able to walk straight earlier today at 5AM.

Today I was talking with an awesome friend I made via a mutual friend about life stuff- travel, where to live, adventure, our jobs, dating, all that stuff.

She was very authentic and down to Earth, and in being in that energy field it made me reflect on my own lessons that I’ve been learning and applying in life.

For example, she had a very specific type of guy that she liked- and she was totally okay with that.

Deep down I know that I’ve felt more attracted to Asian girls and Bulgarian-looking girls, but I never admitted it publicly. I always felt some discomfort in admitting it.

But part of embracing freedom as a lifestyle is in being okay with the way you are. You have to know who you are, and what you want, and when you know that, you should just go for it.

Don’t over-complicate things with the whole “should.”

I had a friend suggested I live in Las Vegas to “learn how to pick up girls,” but what’s the point in going all the way there? It’s just a useless “should.” I know that what I like is in Eastern Europe + Asia, why “should” I follow a path to there?

In reflection, it is actually strange to not have a type, in the dating example. Most everyone I’ve met has common denominators in all of their past partners.

Yet due to society we feel scared to admit it. We don’t want to admit what we like or want, and thus we never chase our true dreams and goals. We get stuck in the loop of “should” rather than truly living our authentic lives!

When I write, I am thinking of the YouTuber Nomad Capitalist who says something along the lines of:

“Go where you’re treated best.”

He was saying this in reference to other countries in which you can enjoy a better cost of living, but also where you might actually be treated better in certain regards.

When examined though, and in a deeper video upon his life quote, it is revealed that the meaning of this is to be completely free. Just follow your dreams, your heart, whatever you want to do.

Stop worrying about other people, or getting stuck in the egoic notion of “should.”

It should be said also that this also means being careful about creating unnecessary life steps for success in your life.

The biggest example of this I can give is that sometimes people recommended that I go to a certain city for a certain thing, but the two things are vaguely related.

Example: “you should go to XYZ City because it’s great for business… Or because you can network, etc.”

People have suggested to me to move to a certain city or check it out just because the city has made a loose association with business or the type of work that I do.

This is a huge way I see people fucking themselves up- when I’ve observed friends doing these things, they usually shoot themselves in the foot.

Now, I’m not saying that moving to a new city doesn’t carry certain benefits. Obviously if Asian girls is your thing Asia is better than Eastern Europe, so on and so forth everywhere.

What I am saying is when there’s not a clear-cut statistical relationship between two data points and you make a decision on that, that’s basically just you creating extra steps in your life for no reason.

Some people say that Sofia, Bulgaria is not that good for business. Often times I am believing this as well- I would likely not have clients here as they can’t afford my rates, and when it comes to the EU you minus well sell to countries like Germany, Sweden, or Finland that are much more abundant.

However in reflection we can see that my work is online, and thus I can work from anywhere. I could have German clients but live in Bulgaria, or American clients and live in Thailand.

The biggest problem with this is that I am in a different time zone, and also unable to meet people in person. These are the two biggest disadvantages to such a thing, which are real, measurable disadvantages.

Does that mean I should move to another city? I don’t know, but I don’t think so.

There are ways to overcome this problem that allow me to maintain my life of freedom and adventure. There are still clients that I can close, and remote work is starting to become the norm slowly but surely.

In short, what I’m trying to describe here is that a loose association between two cities (ie. New York and business) is often made in people’s minds, and then people make decisions based on that when in reality they might be able to succeed in business (or whatever) right where they are.

This is the hardest “should” to overcome because as I mentioned earlier there are several cases in which moving to a new city will have tangible benefits.

Again Asia has Asian girls, if you’re into that. Moving out of the Middle East provides you with a safer political environment, as another example. These are tangible benefits associated with moving.

But many people confuse tangible benefits with general associations that are drawn up, so people say they “should” go here or there or do this or that when in fact they have not personally measured whether this particular action will tangibly help them!

Just Be Free

It sounds almost ridiculous to write those 3 words as you’ve seen similar stuff everywhere, but when actively applied it is completely true- and I understand it can be harder to apply at some times over others.

There are societal pressures, your own ego, friend pressures, family pressures, etc. but ultimately you have to follow your own path in life.

This is the big mindset shift that I’ve been making in 2019, and it’s been reconnecting me with the original dreamer I had inside me in 2017. In 2018 I took a slightly different path that was necessary for my growth, but now I’m finally coming full circle, integrating both sides of the coin.

If my heart decides that I should live in Thailand and not in the USA, then I should just follow that- I can always check out USA later! Same is true for Bulgaria.

No need to overthink it or burden myself with “shoulds.” You should (pun intended) save the shoulds for when they’re genuinely necessary, ie. I must leave Bulgaria because my visa is expiring and if I don’t leave there will be trouble.

If you want to work a certain job, just do it. If you want to go somewhere, go there. If you want to date a certain type, then just date that type and stop holding yourself back from what you truly want deep down!

Last night I really wanted to party- I wanted to party like that for a long time, but every time the opportunity came up I passed it up with a “I should rest” or some other bullshit. But no, I wanted to party. So I did it. And now I feel better, I feel more energized than had I gone home at 2 or 3AM like all the other nights!

To live this life of freedom, you have to know who you are and what you want. Then you need to just take steps for getting what you want.

I know that my heart enjoys living in Bulgaria & Thailand, so I’ll just live there. If my heart decides to live in the USA, I’ll do that- but for a large part of the past year it’s been a “mind thing” to want to go back there- it’s been something in my mind, not my true, authentic & free self!

There are still places I want to travel and adventure, and living in Thailand and/or Bulgaria make it easier to do so. It’s cheaper, why spend more and have to work harder when my heart wants to live out here anyways?

Like I said I might later this year be “all in” for the USA- or I might not. But I’m writing this now both to you and to me, just to follow your damn fucking heart.

Live a life of freedom! Go for what you want! It’s okay to have a dating type, or want to go somewhere, or create a business or whatever.

Stop bogging yourself down with “should this should that,” when really you SHOULD just follow your heart and make it into a reality.

As sad as I am to leave Bulgaria, I feel excited to head back to wild Bangkok and beautiful Chaing Mai. I’m highly considering- especially if I get a girlfriend- to skip attempting to live in America, and instead just fly back for the holidays then back to Thailand… Or even just stay there during?

There are other things I’ve considered doing out of the norm recently, such as playing video games or going skydiving. Instead of rationalizing these things away, I’m now embracing the freedom lifestyle, and saying “why not?”

“Why not?” is such a powerful thing to ask because it reveals just how silly your rationalizations actually are.

One way or another, just do what you want. Stop complicating things. Follow your heart! Be free and happy!

Finally, I will add that this doesn’t mean neglecting important responsibilities such as your finances- it’s wiser then to reflect on these things so that your heart truly wants it.

When I live more in tune with my heart, I feel more motivated to work harder and longer because I’m actually producing wealth to spend and save for things I genuinely want to do!

What does your heart want?

Go follow it (:

Thanks,

-Michael Keller

Observing Patterns of Existence: Your Destructive Pendulums Revealed

“People don’t have business problems. They have personal problems that reflect themselves in business.” -Sam Ovens

Months after completing the best business course ever (that link is referral if you’re interested), I am still processing what I’ve learned. I rushed through week I and week II of the course, yet I’m finding those weeks to be the most valuable, funny enough.

That quote above was found on I believe week II, in which course creator Sam Ovens spends a whole week to immerse you in your mindset & mentality so that you don’t fuck up all the valuable information you learn.

It was difficult to go through Week 2’s content because I didn’t always understand initially how relevant it was. For example, one thing he talks about is your “Patterns of Existence” over a macro period of time.

It’s hard to observe these things until you become aware that it exists- and now that I’m aware, and have been aware for months, I can observe my negative patterns of existence play out over many months.

Another critical thing taught in Week 2 is that success is not about playing up your strengths, but minimizing your weaknesses. This is counter-intuitive to typical mainstream feel-good content which is all about “focus on your strengths.”

But when applied, this way of thinking actually makes sense. You could have a ship as awesome as the titanic, but it only takes one hole (weakness) to sink it. Same is true for your life: it doesn’t matter how many healthy habits you have if you shoot up heroin and undo all the good you’ve done over the course of years.

The problem is that many of our true weaknesses are not obviously apparent. My obvious weaknesses are easiest to mitigate because I know that they exist. The long-term, macro patterns are extremely difficult to realize without a high degree of awareness.

Observing Long-Term Patterns of Existence

Your “pattern of existence” is basically the yin/yang of your life spread out over a period of time.

One example of this is the entrepreneur who hustles really hard when times are tough, then blows away his earnings when times are good. His “peak” and “low point” are unconsciously defined. When at the low point he hustles and shapes up, and when nearing the peak he becomes lazy and loses it all.

As I wrote it’s extremely hard to observe this. Some patterns may become obvious with some reflection after reading this, but I guarantee that you will be reflecting back on this post (if you truly indulge in it) months later as now you will be consciously aware that this exists.

I’ve recently become more and more aware of my long-term patterns of existence. That is, the deceptive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors I have that feel so relevant in the moment but end up being quite destructive in the long run.

That’s because in the moment they are helpful. But long-term they end up trapping me into a cycle which I’ve been on for years.

One of my Long-Term Destructive Pendulums

One long-term destructive pattern I’ve had is a period of “immersion” in one subject in which I neglect other areas of my life in order to fulfill a singular task. Instead of balancing multiple areas of life, I find myself jumping too deeply into one.

The best example of this is my business immersion upon returning to Bulgaria. I decided that I just wanted to focus on business, and became obsessed with making progress. I neglected other areas of my life to work all day.

But slowly an explosion started to come… When what I was doing didn’t produce results, I snapped and spent 3ish weeks not being productive at all. In fact, it was embarrassing just how unproductive I was in those 3 weeks, especially when compared to my previous month of intense progress.

Suddenly my social needs started screaming, and I began to date, hangout, party, and do what I needed to in order to get my social needs were met. In the past couple weeks I’ve had dozens upon dozens of new Facebook contacts added, and created some pretty awesome group parties and group dinners and other group-related events!

But this was not sustainable either. My period of immersion into this area of my life neglects business, so I know obviously that I must get back on the productivity train. I need to deliver results for my clients and I need to get new clients for long-term sustainability in my career.

This has been a pattern for quite some time. In fact, it’s a bit of a blow to the ego to realize just how unconscious I was of this. Let’s go back into my life and observe this:

  1. When I first moved to Phoenix from Omaha (mid 2016), I went through a 6-month period of social immersion. I didn’t work much.
  2. Then I went through a period of business immersion in which I severely lacked a social life but ended up launching my business (first 6 months of 2017).
  3. Then I shot back into a period of social life & dating when I moved to Montreal (last 6 months of 2017)
  4. Then I got a girlfriend, and ended up focusing a lot on health and improving my health (first 6 months of 2018)
  5. But then my business nearly collapsed, so I re-immersed myself in business, and ended up breaking up with her as I realized it was not a healthy relationship (last 6 months of 2018).

These are extremely rough estimates and of course there are yin/yang drops in between, but even over a 6 month period I can see how I go through different boom-bust cycles.

These cycles have become shorter and shorter recently, but are still there nonetheless. There are also other cycles.

Dissolving the Pendulum of Existence

Consciousness is the starting point when it comes to dissolving any egoic pattern, especially the unconscious ones. That doesn’t make it easy though- you have to consciously go against what you’re feeling in the moment for the sake of balance, but not so much against what you’re feeling such so that the pendulum inverts.

In my case I’m trying to introduce some balance in my life, which I’ve written about previously. I need to find a way to balance social life and business as these are the two big areas of my life now that my health is consistently great no matter what happens in this boom-bust cycle.

This means working less and socializing less such so that both areas of life can be handled at once. I actually did a great job of this while I was living in Thailand earlier this year, as I would work hard throughout the day but never work past 5PM / 17h- that time was reserved for social gatherings and/or dating.

I think that when I finally get a home base (hopefully by later this year) I will be able to implement more of this balance in my life too. Constantly traveling to new places presses the “reset” button on the social life progress made, whereas when you live in one place and have regular friends it’s a lot easier then to work until 5PM then be DONE because people want to hangout with you anyways.

What are your Patterns?

As I’m learning in life, improvement is really not about maximizing your strengths- it’s about handling your weaknesses because those are the things which fuck you up. Goliath was taken out by David through one tiny weakness, all of his strengths mattered not when compared to David.

The first step is observation and awareness. The answers become more clear when you observe… Without observation, you don’t even realize that you have a problem!

Now that I know one of my biggest long-term destructive patterns of existence, the solution can come up. Instead of me writing stories about my struggles or endlessly searching on Google for solutions to my problem, I can relax and let the answers arise from within, as the problem comes from within…

-Michael Keller

Thinking Bigger & Lifestyle Design

The great problem of thought is that it is often limited by that which is real and can be seen, felt, heard, or previously thought.

Take a moment, breathe, and listen to your thoughts to the next 30 seconds. I can bet with extremely high accuracy that your thoughts are not original; you had these same thoughts yesterday, and the day before, and the day even before that.

The way we perceive and organize are lives are often determined by our thoughts- and our thoughts are often created by other people or our environment, rather than truly unique and beneficial thoughts.

When you get into a certain “vibe,” you begin to experience a certain reality. The more you experience this reality and think about it, the more “solidified” and real to you it becomes- thus further perpetuating the reality.

Only now do I truly understand this. Me explaining it from the perspective of an “average person” would not make such a statement believable, so let me show you how it is become true for me and the implications of it.

The goal of this post is both for me and you to understand the limitations of thought & experience, and to find ways together to transcend our limited thinking so that we can create a better life we really want to live.

My Vibe, My Reality – The Absurdity of My Life From Outside Perspective

Earlier this year I relaxed in one of the top coffee shops in the entire world in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The coffee was some of the best I have ever tasted in my entire life. It was constantly packed and expensive for Thai standards.

I sat with my new friend from Finland. We shared stories from around the world, experiences in Thailand, and talked about relationships.

He had met an American woman, and they had near-instantly fallen in love. They video chatted from separate continents then decided to give it a go. So they flew across the world to travel together, and had been together passionately ever since.

We complained about some of the difficulties of our lives. Finding AirBNBs. Dealing with visas & currency exchanges. Finding WiFi to work from.

It dawned on both of us the absurdity of our conversation- it was good that we didn’t talk too loud, as the other patrons might have been offended as is often the case with those who complain about “first world problems.” And let’s be real, our problems are 0th world problems because we’re already in the top 1% of the first world.

You see, me and my Finnish friend, and his American girlfriend, we aren’t normal people. You already know why I’m “different.”

We are digital nomads. We work remotely while exploring the world. We live in cheaper countries to live bigger and save more, but also work on our online ventures passionately so that we can adventure to expensive countries as well.

Digital nomads do not typically have a “home base.” It’s quite normal for us to leave suitcases worth of belongings in different locations in the world.

At that day in the cafe, I had one suitcase worth of belongings with a friend in Sofia, another bag worth of clothes at a Bulgarian friend’s village, and the rest of my stuff in my parent’s home in the USA. “My stuff” was spread across three continents, and it wasn’t a big deal.

In the beginning of being a digital nomad, things were exciting and shocking. It felt like I had found the secret to life (as does every digital nomad). Suddenly you have the ability to be anywhere in the entire world, you can work from anywhere, you can work anytime, you can essentially create your life.

It is the epitome of the 4 hour work week. While the both of us were not quite financially successful, we had the ability to live a life freer than the majority of the world.

And there we sat, in one of the top cafes in the entire world, in Thailand, COMPLAINING!!!

The Self-Perpetuating Absurd Echo Chamber

I am often reminded when I speak to others about “what I do” of just how “lucky” or gifted I am to have this life. Actually, it isn’t that hard, but it is so different than most people can’t believe that it can actually be easy!

In the first year of this lifestyle, the difference in vibe and experience was so different that it was quite apparent to me how amazing it was to be able to live that life.

Throughout the second year, I had habituated to this way of life. It is certainly better for me than a 9-5 job or University path, but it is just a way of life filled with its own set of problems as well.

This life also doesn’t make me immune to normal people problems, such as relationship troubles. In fact it can amplify them- I spent a lot of my second year in pain over a relationship which ended.

Now here’s the point: me and my Finnish friend, and the rest of us “digital nomads,” live in such a vibe to where this is SO NORMAL that we often can’t even realize just how lucky or gifted we are!

It can seem absurd to most everyone else to complain about our problems, especially because on the outside a lot of the solutions seems to simple.

In the “digital nomad vibe,” it is hard to settle down because you are always craving more. You want a relationship but you also want to adventure and explore. You always want more experiences, and because you’ve had so many experiences it becomes harder to settle because you’ll always be acutely aware of the lack of any one place you are.

But in the “normal person vibe” the solution is simple: pick a damn city and settle there! Stop moving around. Build a life somewhere!

I am a digital nomad in this moment. And the longer that I spend in this vibe, the more solidified the identity becomes and thus the reality. After 2+ years of this, it’s become a way of living. It is normal to me, and I’ve disconnected from “normal ways of living” so much so that I can hardly fathom it, or relate to it entirely.

The “Vibe Blinders” & Conflicts Thereof

When you are on a certain “vibe,” you become blind to other realities. It becomes so normal for you to live and experience life in a certain way that you forget that there are other ways in which you can live. You get trapped to the very thing you jumped into.

This is why I gave the example of my life & my Finnish friend’s life. We are digital nomads and as absurd as it sounds have complained about problems that many people would love to have.

Living a life completely free to travel anywhere in the entire world has become so normal to us that we have disconnected from what it is like to have a 9-5 job somewhere like most people. Or to be struggling in other ways.

This is where the problem of a “vibe” comes in: you become “blind” to anything else BUT your vibe!

The digital nomad relates easiest to other digital nomads. We seem to find each other and “get” each other so much. This just reinforces our own reality.

Even if I am not around other digital nomads, the reality is still self-perpetuating. I can’t understand intimately the lives of my friends in Sofia, Bulgaria or anywhere. It’s simply out of my reality. It’s normal for me to be in airports, dealing with SIM cards and accommodation problems, and all these other things. It’s just my life.

Herein lies the problem with “vibes.” You develop “vibe blinders” and this creates conflicts because your problems also become self-perpetuating.

It was Einstein that said “we can’t solve a problem on the same level that created them.” But all too often everyone is trying to do just that!

Most people don’t believe that the digital nomad life or ANY other life is possible for that matter.

They are trapped in the vibe of the masses, which is to go to University, get a job, and then work and then retire. Not that it’s an inherently bad path, but it may not be ideal for an individual and there may be other lifestyle design for that person to do!

I recently met a beautiful girl- I’d love for her to be a part of my life. I hope that good things will come of it. She wants to travel and experience the world as I do. And to be honest if she can do it, then I may give up settling in a home base for a while and we would travel for a while.

But the problem is that this vibe is so far off from her current vibe that her “vibe blinders” prevent her from realizing just how easily possible it is.

It’s simple: get a remote job, travel. That’s it. I can teach anyone how to do it and within 3 months be location independent (assuming they also take massive action on what I say).

Let me restate this cleary: to ME in THIS VIBE, it’s EASY to work remotely while traveling. But she is in another vibe, and is blind to the fact that it is extremely easy and possible!

This is true of any skill or path which you want to take in life. I’m discovering more and more that things are really easy in life, especially if you pay someone to coach you or guide you.

You can learn how to be sociable, get girls (or guys for you ladies), create parties, travel, grow a business, whatever you want. The only problem is that your current vibe is in conflict with this and so you don’t believe it’s easily possible, and thus you don’t take action to create this reality.

I hope I explained clearly the absurdity of vibe blinders by using my own situation as an example.

To most people being a digital nomad and location-independent is absurd and completely out of their reality, and so when I show you just how “normal” it has become for me (and others) it should really outline the importance of recognizing vibe-blinders and what vibe you are currently in.

Restrictions in Thinking: Echo Chambers

When you are at a certain vibe, your thinking and reality become distorted in a way that perpetuates that reality.

You may be more fit for a certain type of life but you don’t even realize what is possible. You have been born into a certain life, had certain influences, and this created your thinking which sets the path of your life.

A lot of our thoughts in life is very non-original. It is provided by others and the situation we are born into.

“I am American and you are XYZ,” the proud American shouts, without realizing that humans are basically the same everywhere. And so does the Bulgarian, the Thai, the French- everyone shouts their country proudly as if it’s the only thing in the world, or as if there is some superiority to it when in fact there is nothing superior at all.

When you are in any vibe, this vibe often creates an echo chamber. I’ve switched vibes in different areas of life and this has become quite apparent to me now.

The digital nomad lives in such a way where they do not have a permanent home. They are struggling in certain ways. They are thriving in others. There are inherent problems and upsides, but it all becomes an echo chamber.

The same is true of the “beaten path” of University, 9-5, then retirement. When you follow that path, surround yourself with others on that path, and live that path then it becomes reinforced and you enter an “echo chamber.”

This is where the danger comes in: these echo chambers prevent you from switching to new, creative methods of thinking and being. You think in a certain way. You act in a certain way.

But is this productive to fixing your problems and creating the life you want?

Creative, Original Thought- Do We Have It?

It’s probable that creative, original thought is a rarity. I know for myself that the vast majority of my thoughts, as much as I’d like to proudly proclaim them as my own, are not from me.

My beliefs and experiences in location-independence and travel and business and all that are the direct result of the books and YouTube videos I watched. I simply picked up other people’s vibes and thought processes and started creating the same reality for myself.

Perhaps just 1% of thought is original. Or even less. Or slightly more. It’s hard to say, but it’s safe to say that most thought comes from others, your environment, and your biological drives (I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m horny).

This is why most people follow the same path, and the hierarchy of life is shaped like a pyramid.

Most people don’t realize that they can consciously choose their influences, and so they just follow what everyone else is doing. They think that is “right” because everyone around them is doing it, so it becomes a self-perpetuating reality.

I’m sure that creative, original thought exists. Just way less than we imagine. It seems to come as an epiphany from silence, intense working out, or meditation in nature. Or when we “let go” from a problem.

The vast majority of other thoughts we can all agree on are not original. You have them day in and day out.

This is why books like “think and grow [you know this word, but I can’t type it because this Email might not deliver then thanks to Google’s spam detection]” exist.

The whole point of that book is to start thinking a certain way so that you can attract things to you in order to become more successful. It’s about taking conscious control of your thought patterns!

Unknown Unknowns

Now here is the problem of this whole vibe thing. When you have “vibe blinders” on, which we all do, your thoughts gets caught in an echo chamber and your reality becomes self-perpetuating.

This means that there are “unknown unknowns” outside of the loop you’re stuck in, and these things could help you meet unmet desires, achieve your dreams, and live the life you truly desire!

But how do you find these things? By definition “unknown unknowns” are difficult to discover.

For example, you may know that you don’t know how to cook. That’s an “known unknown,” meaning that you are certain that you know that you don’t know this.

Many people- myself included- have ways of thinking and opportunities that we don’t know, but we don’t even know that we don’t know them.

The problem then becomes that our life gets set by “initial conditions.” You are born into a certain reality. Then you embrace that vibe, as you don’t know anything else exists. Then you live a life based on this vibe.

Your life becomes dictated by the situations in which you were born into, things which you had no control over. Is that a life you want to live?

In the Hunt for Creative, Original Thought, Vibe, and Solutions

It was recently through a friend that I had an epiphany. I’ve recently been wanting to find more of a “home base” and start to relax instead of constantly traveling in the digital nomad life.

But the past week has actually been really awesome in Sofia, Bulgaria- and I’m kind of feeling inspired to travel again. The problem was that I wasn’t taking care of my social or dating needs.

It was an unknown unknown. I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t know what it was or how to solve it. This unknown unknown was causing a lot of pain in my life and the home base may not have fixed the problem.

Suddenly I’m feeling more self-confident, self-reliant, and happier. I feel like I can take on the world and go anywhere and be anything. Perhaps I could go back to Thailand, I think- or hell, I’ll be okay in USA also if I choose to live there.

An even greater epiphany which I had (as provided by a friend) was “fuck it why not have a home in all three locations?”

USA is awesome, Bulgaria is awesome, Thailand is awesome. Why choose? Why not just grow the business then have a home in each country and be completely free to choose?

Boom. Mind blown.

I was SO stuck on the “digital nomad vibe” or the “one home” vibe that it never occured to me that I could have multiple homes, or at the very least have a home in one place and then get a very fine AirBNB in another place.

The math behind it isn’t absurd either! The cost of getting a home base in Las Vegas or the Phoenix area would be roughly an extra $1,000 per month, perhaps a little less maybe a little more.

That’s just one extra client that I would have to close, and then suddenly I could have an awesome “main apartment” but my quality of life wouldn’t change at all if I wanted to travel to Bulgaria or Thailand.

The math is simple- close one more client. Easy. That can be done within 3 months. But why didn’t it occur to me earlier? Why was it so turbulent?

Well as I wrote earlier, it is the “vibe blinders” that prevented me from realizing that I could easily have multiple homes around the world, and have the best of all worlds.

Another thing which I realized was this: I love Sofia, Bulgaria for living but I’m also curious to live in the USA. Flights one-way from Vegas OR Phoenix to Frankfurt are quite cheap (less than $300 USD I think), and then one way from Frankfurt to Sofia is extremely cheap (like $50 or something).

I could easily have a home in both Sofia AND the USA, and switch between the two rather easily. Then take occasional 1-2 month vacations in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Another epiphany that I’m having is that I could have multiple non-serious relationships around the world (ie. in Sofia, USA, and Thailand). And this way my dating life never suffers. Or I could meet a special girl that also would be motivated to live this life of freedom and adventure, and then BAM the need gets met anywhere.

The original motivations for having a home base have other solutions. My problem was that I could only think in terms of previous vibes that I had experienced.

Those two main vibes are: live in one city and create a life there, OR digital nomad life.

It is an entirely new vibe to have 2 home bases, or a traveling girlfriend, or multiple open relationships that fulfill my needs anywhere I go.

I think it would still be wise for me to have one main home base for other reasons, but as you can see by this writing I have discovered new solutions to a problem which I did not previously know.

The problem of a consistent dating life that the home base was intended to solve can be solved via other methods. The problem was “vibe blinders” preventing me from seeing it.

It is in the digital nomad vibe to struggle with dating because you always have to move due to visa regulations. I’m only allowed to stay in Bulgaria for max 3 months per 6 month period, for example.

Thinking Bigger & Lifestyle Design

The truth is that there are MANY solutions to our problems, but we are blind to the vast majority of them due to our vibe blinders. We exist on a certain vibe, but this same vibe does not solve the problems that exist on that vibe.

The way we think bigger is by making new connections, being open to new ways of thinking, and actively trying to reflect upon and discover solutions (ie. via dreams, meditation, journalling, reflection).

It is so key that we discover unique solutions to our problems otherwise “initial conditions” (that is, the life we were born into) will take over and we will never realize live an authentic life where all of our needs are met.

I am reconnecting recently with the idea of “Lifestyle Design.” That is, the idea that you can design your life exactly as you want.

One of the keys then becomes to define your life as it is now, and then define it exactly how you would like it to be. You can’t find solutions if you don’t know the problem. But once you know the problem, you can start to discover solutions.

Remember to try to search out new vibes though, and new solutions. For example, a more consistent dating life is something I would desire, and having a singular home that I live in is one way to solve that problem, but there are multiple ways to solve the problem.

I am discovering these other solutions by meeting others in different vibes, consciously reflecting, and taking care of myself the best I can (when you’re happy you become more creative).

We live in a Universe filled with infinite potential. We have foundations that we need to break.

There are creative solutions to problems, but first we need to define the problems and the desired outcomes. Only then can solutions come- but be open to new thoughts, both from yourself and from others.

Beware getting too entrenched in a certain vibe or way of thinking because then you may become limited. For example, becoming a “digital nomad” has become a normal vibe for me and it comes with its own set of problems. These problems can’t easily be solved on the same vibe.


There are many more vibes and realities than we can imagine! Living free is about trying to consciously design your life rather than letting initial conditions dictate it, as most people do.

When all else fails, think bigger. In my case this means considering that I could have “multiple homes,” or at the very least have one main home base but still be able to travel from there.

When you think bigger and consciously design your life, you start to already entered a mental state called “abundance.” You don’t solve your problems from scarcity and limited thinking. You realize there are many solutions and nothing is really that big of a deal after all.

Now, what will you create? What will you do? How will you live. Pick the path consciously because believe it or not, you have the power to create your life exactly as you want.

-Michael

Repeating Childhood Trauma

Is it true that we really repeat our childhood traumas over and over throughout our adult lives?

For the past year, I have recently become to believe this is true, both in my observations of my parents but more importantly myself.

This post will be focused mainly on myself but you can easily apply the reflections to your own life.

Healing it is something I’m not entirely sure how to do, but I am certain that it is possible. It’s just a matter of navigating said path and transforming yourself into a person that is free of the trauma.

The childhood trauma could be anything. In extreme cases people that have extremely abusive parents tend to have extremely abusive partners that also treat them the same.

The theory is that patterns we have learned and experienced in childhood become patterns that we unconsciously get drawn to in our adult lives because we are attracted to what is familiar.

The Destined To Be Lost: The Cause

Growing up I suffered from a sense of “not belonging” quite often. I felt like an outsider.

I’m not exactly where this came from. Perhaps being the first born makes you feel like this especially when my parents had to be busy with something. Maybe it was unconscious energy passed down from generation to generation.

Or it could even just be “bad luck.” I remember one girl saying I was “weird” when I was about 4 years old, and that stuck with me for quite some time. I always felt a bit “weird.”

In reflection I don’t think I was that different (if at all) but more so the problem was the bad luck in who I was initially surrounded with. We are all dealt cards early on in life, and never are these cards fair!

Growing up in my childhood became more difficult with a series of moves that were made.

In the 6 years of schooling before middle school, I went to four different high schools. One switch was due to a move of homes, but the other two were simply due to the ridiculousness of Omaha’s changing development.

Each time I made friends in one school, I was destined to lose them and say goodbye. Sure I had some stable neighborhood friends (thank goodness), but never did I have a group (as a child) for long in school.

I went to Katherine, Rower, Reeder, and Reagan Elementary schools. The first two I spent one year, and then two years in Reeder and two in Reagan. I believe it was even worse it happened like this because I was younger for Katherine/Rower schools, so the transition was more difficult to deal with.

By the time I was in middle school I felt like an outsider and associated myself with those. I spent too much time alone. I was angry and in grief often. I felt frustrated. I felt disconnected and alone.

Worse yet I had unconsciously embraced the identity of being “different” and “weird.” The bullies like vultures smelled this and used me as their punching bag.

On one occasion at least 20 kids created an elaborate plan to trap me and attack me. I tried to leave school on one hallway where 5 kids blocked. Then I tried another where another 5 blocked it. So there was only one exit to go down- where 10 kids waited outside and they all got me.

No wonder that in America we have a shooting problem with such cruelty. Little kid me was angry and it weren’t for video games and athletics, I would’ve lost my mind (let’s be real, I was already losing my mind and filled with violent, deadly RAGE).

If it weren’t for inspiring YouTubers I started to watch that promised me a better future, I likely would have crossed over to the dark side because I would’ve believed that all there is to reality is that.

In High School I improved but only by a short margin. I felt like an outsider and felt broken by this point.

When I finally got a girlfriend, we had to break up because I was moving to Phoenix.

Did this set the stage for my adult life?

Reflecting on the Past 3 Years

It’s scary to see the similarities between my childhood and the past few years. Don’t get me wrong it’s 100x better (no, tens of thousands of times better) but there’s one recurring theme:

The Outsider. The Traveler.

I’ve often felt like an outsider in many countries, and disconnected from my own country. I’ve struggled to find a place that felt like home, except when in love with my ex.

Perhaps it’s not the place anyways, but the people you are with?

Regardless, I’ve been addicted to travel and it felt like I lost a bit of control over it in 2018. Even now it feels hard to get a grip sometimes.

I know logically that I need a “home base,” but now I’m at a point where I’ve traveled so much that it’s super difficult to imagine staying in one place for even 6 months straight nonetheless a year or years!

Only recently have I considered that to solve this problem I must go inward- instead of going outward. The problem isn’t outside me. It’s inside me. I unconsciously choose all of this.

Every time I start to adjust to a place, it seems I have to go because my visa expires. Or something happens. Or I already have bought a flight.

When I finally felt some peace in Bulgaria in mid 2018, my visa “expired” and I had to get going. That was the longest I ever spent in one place (about 6-7 months) in the past 2.5-ish years.

That moment felt cruel because I had a girlfriend… But we were both young and each other’s firsts, we had no maturity or capability to handle the problems that were tossed our way.

Was it a surprise that we broke up? I could hate her for her faults and myself for my faults, but as I reflect on it more and more I feel compassion for both her and me and us as it were.

Every relationship has problems but fighting visas and money and immigration all at the same time dulls every strong flame. At least in a dramatic argument there is passion and fire and make up sex. But there is no such passion with paperwork and long distance suffering.

Alas, it is so. I am in many ways held bondage by this past identity so unconscious that it took me years to realize it.

I am unconsciously sabotaging my own happiness by traveling, but now I’ve dug myself in so deep that settling and building a home and building a real life seem so far out of reach!

Should it be in Sofia, where I have the most friends and life is walkable and good? Or should it be somewhere where people speak English, and that’s better for my hobbies and business?

In any case, I must break the “outsider” and “traveler” identity. Already in Thailand I let go of the former, and told people I LIVE in Thailand and that I’m MOVING to Sofia. I LIVE in Sofia now, and NOT TRAVEL through it.

The outsider is harder to break, for it has deeper roots, and is the core issue which led me to aimlessly wander in the first place.

Breaking the Circle of Suffering

Through reflection and awareness, already I can feel the patterns of the past dissolving. You can only get more of what you have by doing what you’ve always done, so I intend to take different action to get better results.

At first, my goal was to have a home base by March or so of 2020- but as I feel a detached neuroticism taking over me again, as it did in December of 2018, it becomes ever more apparent that I locate this place to call home “ASAP.”

Unconscious Pain, Re-Manifested Repeatedly

The way that I realized this is I spoke with another long-term traveler digital nomad friend- we met in Bulgaria, traveled to different continents, then met again in Southeast Asia.

What I realized was this: we both likely suffered CPTSD as children, and were repeating it in our travels!

PTSD as you know is a singular traumatic event (ie. getting robbed and beaten) that causes significant emotional distress.

CPTSD (or complex PTSD) is repeated, subtle to mid level trauma (or high) over a period of years.

For example, getting bullied in middle school severely and constantly switching schools and losing friends was not as traumatic as war to me, but a state of little periods of stress that kept re-manifesting over and over.

Every day going to school felt like war. I identified as a soldier in a way, never certain whether I’d enjoy a day of peace or this way the day I got pushed around.

This type of stress creates a state of depersonalization, derealization, and feeling of detachment as the consistent stress begins to wear on you. You get accustomed to the constant pain, it becomes the norm but in it becoming the norm you lose yourself to detachment.

Me and my friend both realized that we were entering states of detachment again- when you know you’re gonna be leaving a place, what’s the point in connecting with people?

In the beginning I had no such problem. I connected easily in Montreal, Budapest, Belgium, London, and Sofia. But after I left Sofia that first time (likely because of a strong relationship attachment) it all began to feel meaningless.

I was leaving Cyprus, so what was the point of connecting with anyone there? Instead of engaging with life, I detached from life. Of course if you’re somewhere and you’ll leave there is still a point to engaging with the people there, but the problem is the sense of detachment prevents you from doing exactly what you need to do to be happy.

Travel has likely re-induced a subtle state of CPTSD to me and my friend over and over.

Where will you work? How will you meet girls? How will you make friends? When will you say goodbye? Where to eat? Where to workout? How to get around the city? Jet lag? Client calls? Visas? Immigration?

Me and my good friend are highly adjusted to states of constant stress. In some ways this makes us powerful. Drop me randomly in any city in the world and I’ll find a way to get by (well maybe not North Korea or ISIS-held areas please).

The Key is in Perpetuation…

But the problem becomes that the ENERGY wants to PERPETUATE itself! When you are happy you want to share that energy. And when angry, you wish others to be angry too!

So we’d adjust to stress better than most, but the problem is that we find ways to perpetuate it at the same time.

The problem would be that if you dropped me in a random country I’d probably unconsciously decide to go explore all the countries around it in an unsustainable fashion such so that this CPTSD energy keeps living on within.

We wouldn’t relax when we have a girlfriend, job, and stable life in the new city. We would claw for more.

Releasing and Transforming

This is why I’ve been believing in a lot of transformational stuff recently. The fact is that “I” am not capable of achieving “XYZ” because “I” am not someone who HAS “XYZ.”

You have to become exactly that which you want to receive- transformation must take place in order for change to happen, otherwise you will perpetuate the past.

I can’t say with certainty how to release the shackles of the past, but via meditation, conscious action, and reflection, I feel that it is possible.

Ultimately it also takes place in the present moment. I am choosing to feel belonged, and choosing to enjoy each moment as best as I can. What other choice is there?

Finally in each pain there is a positive.

In becoming an outsider, I thought independently and realized that success was incredibly easy to achieve. Most people are chained by the shackles of others. I am chained by a shackle nonetheless, but at least I got to live an epic past 2 years.

Ultimately no shackle is worth holding onto, it is against the essence of true freedom!

So I intend to release my shackles, break the cycle, and redesign my life and fulfillment as I see fit instead of letting the past run me.

And you can do this, too 😉

Thanks,

-Michael