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If you listened to my last podcast you know I arranged for an informal get together at a local cafe in my neighbourhood called The Three Monkeys (someone sooo should build an official Three Monkeys website!) with some of my entrepreneur friends. I organised this meet-up so my business-owner-entrepreneur friends could all meet each other. Sure it was part business networking but in my mind the best benefit from an event like this is the chance to chat to people working in a similar manner. The business-owner-entrepreneur life path is quite different and finding similar people is not easy. I was glad to bring together a few of my mates to just chill out and talk shop.
The night was long and we covered quite a few interesting topics that I may address in a podcast later, and by the end of the night my mind was buzzing with business. Unfortunately the buzzing carried on well into the next morning and I woke up way too early for my liking and could not get back to sleep. I just couldn’t switch the business thoughts off. I gave up trying to sleep and picked up my copy of Tuesdays with Morrie which I was halfway through reading for the second time. I finished the remainder of the book by 9 AM and all thoughts of business were gone. It was a cleansing experience.
Forgive me if I get schmaltzy but there is a message in this book that every business person, in fact every human being, must take note of. Tuesdays with Morrie is THE SADDEST book I have ever read. I’m not afraid to admit that I cried reading this book, both times I read it and not once, multiple times at different passages in the book. It’s a sad story about a sad event but without this context the message would not be as powerful as it is. What makes it even more impactful is that it’s true, Morrie really lived and died as the events of the book detail.
Tuesdays with Morrie is the real life tale of Morrie Schwartz during his final days succumbing to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Mitch Albom (the author), Morrie’s one time student from earlier university days meets with Morrie on Tuesdays and they discuss many aspects of life. Morrie has a unique perspective on life and what it is to be human and through this book his final thesis is presented. Morrie’s thesis is a guide to what is important in life and if you ever need a slap in the face reminder to bring you back down to earth, this is the book to read.
This book is up there in my
I’m not alone in my opinion. A whopping 1804 reader reviews were left on Amazon.com for Tuesdays with Morrie. Here is a sample:
This book has had more impact on my life than anything else I’ve ever read, by far. It’s a reminder to appreciate the simple, little things in life. It’s a reminder that when you’re dead, the things you’ve accumulated and the things you’ve done will disappear. What will remain is the ways that you’ve affected or touched other people.
Call me sentimental, but I like a little schmaltz in my life now and then. I recommend you read this book.
After finishing the book this morning I felt sad and reflective but as usual, life goes on and there were emails to reply to and jobs to process. I didn’t feel too much like doing much business for the rest of the day so once the necessities were out of the way I spent the remaining time away from the computer. This gave me more time to contemplate my life and in particular what I am doing with my businesses. (That is certainly a perk of running your own business – when you are not in the mood to work, you don’t.)
I have a feeling that a lot of people reading my blog are highly motivated to succeed. I consider myself to be that way too. At one point today I stopped and asked myself when I would allow myself to be content with my achievements. I feel as if I am constantly chasing more, and half the time I’m not even sure what that more is. More sales? A bigger business, more money so I can buy more things? But when would it stop. I pictured Yaro down the road, hopefully with greater success and wealth, but would this desire for more still exist? When does it stop? Looking at the wealthiest people in the world it seems like it never stops, but that could be because we idolise and promote those that are rich and powerful and are striving to be even more rich and more powerful.
I’m sure there are many comfortable happy people out there that found contentment in their current situation. I’ve read the books, studied the philosophies – to be happy you simply choose to be happy. It doesn’t come from breaking the $100,000 a year sales target. Most business successes are momentary highs. A quick rush often inversely related to the depression of the bad times when sales are lagging or times are tough. Up and down, constantly chasing more. That doesn’t seem right, it’s misguided, self defeating and breeds unfullfillment.
I’ve talked in the past about business, creating and running business, as a creative process. I went as far as comparing it the arts, like music or painting or drawing. What separates business from these activities is the capitalist mindset. While not being true 100% of the time, most business are built to turn a profit. Artists don’t paint to make money, they do it because it’s their passion. True they must earn a living to survive in society, and their passion hopefully will also provide funds, but if you took away the monetary element they would still paint or draw or compose.
I realise a lot of you out there might be building a business to make a difference to society, to improve human life, and that is honourable. But I ask you, if your business does not turn a profit, does it continue to exist? Will you strive just as passionately if there wasn’t some sort of monetary windfall?
My passion is business. Today I asked myself, what if I took away the capitalist aspect, the money element…would I still be interested in business? It is a hard question to answer. Profits and revenue are so closely linked to business because they are the main evaluation tools. The fuel that flames business passion is often the resultant monetary success. Even in not-for-profits, the impact made is often measured in dollars, so it’s near impossible to remove this aspect from business.
I used to get depressed when I went down this anti-materialistic driven lifestyle thought process because I was stuck. I enjoyed business but because it was so closely tied in to materialistic goals I couldn’t make it work philosophically, I didn’t know what to do. Lately though I’ve realised more and more it’s not wrong to want run business and make money and I know that running business, or at least being creative AND making profit as a result, is acceptable, but your goals and aspirations must be passion based, not money based.
I run a successful business. It’s at the point now that I used to be so worried that I would never make it to. I’m financially independent. I am not “rich” by any traditional monetary valuations but I am making a living running my own business. As I was told recently, this is no little achievement, many people would love to be where I am now, making a living on their own terms. The thing is I could do a lot more to hopefully make a lot more and everything in today’s society is telling me to chase the more as hard as I can. Every article I read tells me how to “create more profits” and “improve results and make more money”. The battle for more seems to never end.
As a result of all these thoughts and reading Tuesdays with Morrie again I’ve re-adjusted my motivations. What’s important to me now is indulging in the aspects of business that I love, regardless of whether that is the path to maximise my return. Some may call me stupid for not actively chasing opportunities as hard as I could. I may look back and curse my choices because I did not end up being the next young millionaire. I have a feeling that first million dollars might end up making me want another million and then another, and I’m tired of chasing unfulfilling dreams. I’d prefer to be happy today.