Embracing Balance for Growth

When I returned to Bulgaria from Thailand, I made a huge mistake- I neglected a big area of my life and sacrificed it in hopes of making progress in other areas of life.

My life in Thailand was much more balanced than it was when returning to Bulgaria.

In Thailand I would hardly work past 5PM, it was my rule to go out, hangout, date, have fun, whatever. I would also hangout with friends quite a bit in the weekend.

I made good progress on my business and dating / social life. Things were good- though I was curious to go back to Bulgaria.

When I returned to Bulgaria, I started to work longer and harder. My business goals are ambitious and I want to bring them to fruition.

In doing so I sacrificed a huge area of my life- dating. I stopped making it such a priority, and thought “I don’t need girls” and started working longer and harder. I neglected taking care of that aspect of life.

For example, I would work so long and hard until I burnt out, by which point I had no energy to figure out who to date or what to do.

This was okay for a month, but then it all started to snap after a while.

A week before last Thursday (9 days ago) something happened. I couldn’t work. It just wasn’t working. I decided to take a day to relax.

At the end of the day, my friend announced he was having a birthday party THAT day. He would pay for everyone’s meals, alcohol, everything so of course I couldn’t deny this. Not to mention I was working too hard- it was the perfect release.

We partied into the night, smoked, drank, and ate. It was a great celebration. I slept in on Friday.

On Friday I had many obligations to take care of, and work got kind of pushed aside. I was also having problems with a laptop, so work was already getting slightly delayed.

Somehow this problem compounded over the weekend, and the last week was one of my least productive weeks ever.

Only now am I realizing that I was slightly a workaholic, as observed by a previous post I wrote about trying to optimize my energy and focus ability as best as possible.

I neglected one huge aspect of focus and hard work- the other side of the coin!

I was treating myself like a soldier, trying to work so hard and keep pushing pushing pushing but I wasn’t allowing myself to release. It was a lonely way to live.

Many of my friends back here in Bulgaria weren’t productive for my growth either. Many are still trapped in their same problems and habits. I really could only care and want to be around my best friends back here- I realized that having such a big social network here wasn’t so useful.

Recently I started going to events, parties, and stuff like that as I was also inspired by a new friend which I made via a mutual friend. It’s been incredible.

It made me realize that again I was missing balance- like in Thailand. I was burning out on work, spinning my wheels but not really going anywhere!

The thing which I didn’t realize when I wrote that previous blog post was that you really do have to acknowledge the yin/yang of life.

Many of the most successful people in the world (think Charles Darwin, for example) would only work 5 hours per day. The rest of the time they spent enjoying their life, going on walks, doing whatever they want.

In my case I was neglecting my social and dating needs in order to charge forward on work. You can only do this for so long!

Now that I’ve started dating again and going out with girls, my mental health has improved tenfold (probably by an even greater factor).

I’m just so much more relaxed, confident, and happy. I don’t feel so stressed and in a need to find a home base NOW.

In fact, the relaxation has allowed me to achieve so much more! I’ve fixed my broken laptop, cleaned/organize my apartment, upgraded my style, met all kinds of cool people, and more.

It’s even allowed me to relax on the whole “home base” thingy. Before I was writing so intensely and so worried about “where should I live.”

Should it be Thailand? Bulgaria? USA? Somewhere else? Once again I am relaxed, and okay with the flow. In fact, I’m even okay if I have to travel again.

I’m starting to believe in myself again. My “vibe” is raising.

The problem back here in Bulgaria (which was simply “hidden” in Thailand) was that I didn’t believe in myself. For some reason I stopped believing that I could easily attract girls and social situations, and I made things harder on myself.

What I’m discovering is that things are… the same. In a way. It’s just as easy to go on dates here as it was in Thailand, it’s just that the method you go about it is different.

For example in Bangkok tinder is super easy for white guys with blue eyes like myself. That doesn’t mean here in Sofia dating is harder- it’s just that the methods are different. Instead of using Tinder to meet girls you can simply go to an event, and it’s surprisingly quite easy.

And because I’ve been relaxing and trying to enjoy things a bit more, I’ve been meeting girls/people in unexpected places. I met one girl at one of my most favorite hangout places.

She was pretty, we looked at each other, somehow we had an instant connection, started talking, then decided that we should go out. Perhaps it was even easier than in Thailand.

Here’s what I’m learning: where you go doesn’t matter so much, it’s more-so about what you’re doing wherever you are.

If you move abroad and then decide to suddenly start living authentically and dating whereas in your previous place you were not, then of course you will love the new place and not enjoy the previous!

The opposite is true as well- you won’t like any place in which you restrict yourself, consciously or unconsciously, because what you really need is not so much a place but a way of living.

What I’ve really learned since returning to Bulgaria is the key importance of balance, and especially socializing. It’s not hard to meet anyone, but you have to put in the work to find some events on Facebook or whatever and then start saying “hello” to people.

It’s actually really easy! The hardest part is the 5 minutes it takes to find the events and figure out the directions to the event. Once you have that figured out, it all becomes really simple.

Why do we complicate things so much in our mind? I work with Facebook Ads, and I see that many if not all clients are completely complicating the matter.

But the same is true of our personal and social lives. Dating is made to be so complicated when it is in fact so simple. Same for living.

The key thing I’ve learned here is balance. Work hard, sure. Make sure you get your solid 4 hours of focus work per day done. But then enjoy life because you aren’t alive to work, you’re working so that you can enjoy the best life possible- right?

I suppose everyone falls on a different range here. Some people work too hard, some people not hard enough. Or sometimes you may lack in every area.

Make sure that you’re working hard 4-6 hours per day, but then make sure that you’re “playing hard” and having a great social/dating life for the rest of the day. Or pursuing hobbies or passions or whatever it is you want to do.

What do you need to improve on? The rest of the post will be more journal-style focusing on me but you’ll learn a few things if you continue to read.

Personal Growth from This

I’ve just rediscovered this side of myself. It’s causing me to believe in myself more.

You see when I first started “traveling the world,” I kind of- kind of– had this figured out.

I was all about the “4 hour work week,” so I made sure to focus hard for my work but then go out and have fun. When I had just started traveling I had gone through half a year of really hard work to get my business going, and then I was going through a period in which I was more-so prioritizing socializing and whatnot.

Whenever I landed in a new city, I made sure to set up social events and things to do. I really prioritized meeting people.

In Montreal I said “yes” to everything, and joined a self-improvement group. This brought me many friends which I met and could hangout with. In London I stayed in a hostel and met a friend that lived there.

In Belgium I met an awesome girl I met in Montreal. In Budapest & Sofia I joined the same self-improvement group, but for the local cities.

Something changed in me sometime in Bulgaria that first time around. I got into a relationship and became so attached to that. I ignored many of the HUGE red flags in her. And to be fair she did the same also.

When my visa finally expired and I had to leave for Cyprus, I wasn’t so motivated to meet people and take care of myself. I just wanted her, which wasn’t healthy.

It led to me staying with her despite MASSIVE boundaries being crossed, that involve life or death. Cheating would’ve been preferred to what happened. If I could go back and do it all over, I would’ve broken up immediately while I was in Cyprus. It would’ve saved me a ton of hassle, and her as well.

That’s when a downward spiral started for me. You see, the problem is not that she crossed the boundary. People can do whatever they want. It’s up to you to withhold your own boundaries and take care of yourself.

In a guided meditation with a new awesome friend yesterday, I realized at least 90% of the pain I feel isn’t even from her. It’s the fact that I stayed 4 months longer in that relationship and gave so much when it was a no-brainer to walk away. Even after we broke up I chased her sometimes- why?

The reason for this was due to personal issues. Perhaps not feeling worthy of love, or something like that. I’m still meditating and going deeper and deeper into the feelings, learning what it is, and healing.

What I just wrote may sound like a complete 180 from the topic of balance, but it is through balance that I started to have these epiphanies. I met people, girls, and new friends that helped me understand this.

I realized that A LOT of my unhappiness in the past year was not caused by her or even travel, but from the simple fact that I was not taking care of myself and finding balance.

I had always been too focused on meeting girls, OR partying, OR doing business, OR health, OR something. The key word is here “or,” not “and.”

Anytime I lacked something, I would sacrifice everything I had to attain that thing. Then I would lack the thing which I sacrificed to obtain that other thing.

When you sacrifice something to attain something else, you attain that thing much faster than if you had not sacrificed that original thing.

For example, if you’re in a (happy, let’s say) relationship and you start working 12 hours a day your partner will likely not be fulfilled. They will feel neglected and the relationship will dissolve because you’re not investing time into them.

Well one day you’ll have all kinds of financial abundance, but at what cost? You lost a relationship. Then you’d have to go find a new relationship which is just a waste of time because you already had something successful!

The same is true, inversed. You shouldn’t sacrifice your business and health to go pick up girls 8 hours a day. Which I’ve done, by the way.

Self-Belief and Happiness in Balance

What I’m discovering by finding this balance in my life and taking care of my needs is that I’m believing in myself A LOT more. I feel significantly more authentic and “okay” with everything.

If you dive deep on ONE thing, you can go fast on that thing. But if you live a diverse and rich life, then you can go far in everything. Do you follow?

In the short-term you can tackle your wealth, your health, or your dating, or whatever, and you can make a ton of progress, but it’s a lot more wise to tackle these things in such a way that it is sustainable long-term because then you’ll make true, long-term progress.

For example, I hustled a ton in the past couple months, but with hardly any productivity in the past week (I’d say I had at most 3-5 hours focused work, and even that is high) I undid a lot of the progress I made.

Had I just worked a little less, I could’ve handled my social life, and then I’d probably still be at the same place as I am now except with some balance between dating, socializing, parties, AND business. Instead I fucked up a lot of the sales progress I made in this past week. Luckily my new client has been understanding, but that may not be true of the next deal I close.

Back on track:

I’m believing in myself a ton more, in every which way possible. I realized another key just now:

When you focus on one area obsessively, it’s kind of like saying you don’t believe that you can achieve it. Instead of chasing it from passion and joy, you’re chasing your goal from a neediness which screams “I need this now,” or “I don’t believe I can have this so I’m going to suffer and sacrifice in my best attempt to get it!”

And usually, it works. You do get it. You do succeed. And thus begins the never-ending cycle of lack of fulfillment because you believe that in order to succeed you have to sacrifice, and so you constantly sacrifice other happy points in your life to get other happy points- the net positive remains the same!

I’m finding that I believe in myself a ton more now in every area of life because I learned that “yes, I CAN have it all. I just have to put equal weight on every area of my life.”

I also discovered that my self-belief & confidence with women went down slightly when working like a workaholic. Suddenly it became a special, new event to go on a date, rather than a way of living.

Now that I’ve had the past week filled with dates, I’m relaxed- I’m calm. It’s okay, everything is alright.

Relaxation & Implications for My Home Base

And in taking care of myself, I find myself more relaxed. As you would, also.

With new (amazing) friends, pretty girls I have the opportunity to meet, and a better daily flow I simply feel more relaxed and fulfilled on a day to day basis. I woke up today feeling “chill” if you will. I’ve got things to do, but it’s okay- one step at a time, you know?

My “mission” for the past week was to NOT think about my “home base” or where I should live, as this had been a source of anxiety for me. I was so focused on the “place where I can feel like I belong,” that I neglected that I could find my people HERE AND NOW.

While I still don’t know with certainty where I’d like my temporary home base of a year to be, I’m totally okay with that now. It’s alright.

In fact, I previously alluded to the fact that I might be totally okay remaining a digital nomad for a little longer.

I’m not sure how true that is, but in this moment, more socially fulfilled, I am okay with the prospect of it and also okay with wherever my “home base” ends up being.

There really is pros/cons everywhere, so I’m deciding to slowly experience places and then live somewhere. Anyways, it probably won’t be forever anyways, so minus well go with the flow.

By taking care of my social needs and living in a more balanced way, I am finding that I am more naturally fulfilled, and actually excited with life itself.

It’s EPIC to live in Bulgaria, USA, or Thailand, or anywhere for now. The desire to have a primary home base is still there, but it’s less of a need and more of just that- a desire that will be fulfilled with time.

Ultimately living more balanced allows you to be okay with the journey because you’re meeting your immediate needs immediately, and then tackling a long game as well.

Sacrificing anything- for example health, wealth, or your social life, leads to short-term massive progress but really fucks you up and prevents you from going above and beyond.

I’m noticing for myself this more balanced method of living gives me more inspiration, relaxation, and “okay-ness” with the flow of life. The problems that are long-term are less urgent and I’ll be okay either way. I’ll be okay in any home base, as long as I live like this, anywhere.

-Michael