I am alive. I am fit. I am healthy. I am in a good state of mind. I am 30. I have love. I have faith. I have a purpose. I am 30.
To make this birthday memorable – I ran 100 KM. I ran for 13 hours, from sunrise to sunset. A celebration of youth. A celebration of health.
I set a goal that scared me. Anxiety was holding me by my arms. It felt like a numbness from my fingers up to the elbows.
Because I can. Because I never did it before. To change the trajectory of my life, whatever it takes. I want to change. I want to become someone different. Someone I could enjoy living with. I want to move into a new world.
The first 50 km were relatively easy. Minor pains and indigestion. Everything beyond that – was uncharted territory for me. The pain grew. Pain killers did not make a difference. I was hurting.
The most challenging part of the run was the hill. Elevation gain of 1,200 m (3,937 ft) in 10 km. It took me three hours to climb that hill. And that’s after having run 60 km. The last hour of the climb went with no food or water. It was very challenging.
Meeting my friend at the top gave me an extra strength to continue. Cailan brought water and gels. Hallelujah. I came back to life.
I was about 30 km away from the finish when I separated from my friend and went down the trail. The plan was for him to drive downhill and ride his bike back up to meet me in about an hour. It didn’t go as planned and we met only 4 hours later. I got lost in the woods.
At the 90 km mark, I realized that taking the trail was a mistake. It led me nowhere. My phone was almost dead with about 5% battery left. It was getting dark and cold. I had left about two sips of water and two gels.
I attempted to call my friend but couldn’t reach him – no service on his end. I texted him my GPS coordinates and went off the trail, looking for a road. I was very tired. My lips dried out. No water. I was preparing to spend the night in the woods.
A long story short I found my way out. I was very happy to step back on the pavement. I made it! I was upbeat and cheerful. I was singing songs and laughing. What a day it was!
Piece by piece I build self-respect. I ran 100 km from Vernon to Penticton. I got lost in the forest and found my way out. I did many hard things in life, which thought me this: I CAN DO ANYTHING THAT I PUT MY MIND TO. I now truly believe that. Self-confidence is acquired and it is not something that you can be born with. I’ve built mine by doing the things that scared me. Repeatedly overcoming hard things build self-esteem and shows you that you are capable of more than you previously thought.
I continue setting goals for myself. I attempt difficult tasks. I am not often successful, but it doesn’t matter. I have balls to try. I burn out and fail. I cry and have depressive episodes. But I always come back smiling. That’s who I am.
I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do and what not to do. I don’t need anyone to decide for me which goals are too risky. I don’t need anyone to hold my hand and tell me that everything’s going to be alright. I overcame the illusion that there is someone who can make my life better. I know in my bones that no amount of money or medals will improve the quality of my existence. I can’t control anything. All I can do is my best. Things will happen, just the way they always do.
I have faith that makes me stronger. I am building someone who can do incredible things. With God’s help, I can be anyone and I can do anything. There is a plan for me and everyone else. All I am asking for is a chance. The opportunity. Everyone deserves at least one chance to become great. Everything I do now is a preparation for the opportunity ahead. It is bigger than me. And when the opportunity reveals itself – I will be ready. I will be at the peak of my capabilities. I will execute my part perfectly.
The sport requires consistency. The job requires consistency. Mastery in any field requires consistency. It is super hard to train consistently while travelling. All the training has to be done at home, wherever it is.
A nomadic lifestyle requires a lot of logistics and planning. It takes up your mental energy. You can’t expect yourself to work at your best, while constantly moving around.
2. The One Thing
SOS – shiny object syndrome. There is an epidemic of ADHD in the World. People grab what’s shiny and run with it. Until they drop it… Then they move to the next and next and next. They leave a trail of unfinished work behind them. I don’t want to be that. I am tired of chasing my tail. I am tired of searching.
I want to find that ONE THING that I can be exceptionally good at. I want to specialize in one thing and be known for it. I want to find out what is it that I can do better than anyone else. Period. I want my work to be in the top 10 in the World. I want to find my jam. I want to create. I want to flow. Find my Zone and stay there until I drop dead. I put my ego aside and ask the Universe: What is it that I can be exceptionally good at? I don’t need what’s trendy. I don’t care if it’s sexy or not. I just want to know – Is there is something that I can do exceptionally well? Am I capable of creating something beautiful? I want to know. I surrender to God to show me. I promise to accept my gift for what it is. I promise not to judge the gift that I was given. I did not create myself, so who am I to judge? Whatever gave me life – WHY? With all my heart, I want you to give me the task. The task that only me and a couple of other men and women can do.
Maybe I just want to feel special. Yes, I do. It sounds like I go through an identity crisis. Show me the way. Give me a sign or a hint of something that will lead me to my calling. I will try from happiness when I find my door. I promise not to brag. I promise not to take for granted your gifts. I promise not to turn away from those in need. What do you want me to do?
3. Am I climbing the wrong mountain?
Whenever I set myself a goal – I go all out. I am a black or white person.
Training has become a full-time job for me. I stopped enjoying it. Wait. Pause. Reset. Why do you still do it if you don’t enjoy it? Is someone holding a gun to your head? Why did you decide on triathlon? What if there is something different that you should be doing? What if this is just a preparation for what’s coming?
I want to become world-class. But is it really what you want? Alex is more than a physical body. I am an intellectual person. I like to think. I like to work with my brain. Becoming World-class in triathlon will require a lot of sacrifices. I can not give my 100% self to mental work AND physical. Something will have to give. I’ve been gifted a sharp mind. Am I willing to put my mind to the side and focus all my energy on training? No. I know myself. If I don’t learn, if I don’t load my mind with challenging tasks – I destroy myself. No matter how good my training is, I will still have the need to let my mind work. What if my sport is mental and not physical? What if I’ve been climbing the wrong mountain? No-no, I will not drop the sport. Perhaps I need to reduce the intensity. Maybe I need to shift my focus a bit and be okay with not being a professional athlete. Still train. Still exercise, but know that your game is a mental game. Physical exercise and sport are not the end stop. Sport is here to support me, but not to consume me.
If I didn’t kill myself in training and racing, maybe I could stay fit for life. Maybe I won’t stand on the podium in my thirties, but I will enjoy every race and stay active in my seventies and eighties. I need to prioritize health over results. I need to do it for pure enjoyment and not the medal that means nothing. Save your body. Love your body. You are in a mental game, not the physical. Find ways to challenge your mind the way you challenge your body. Use the sport to support your mental game, not harm it.
They say: “Son, come back. You traveled enough. You’ve seen the world. It’s time to think about creating a family. We are waiting for you… come back home.” They said: “You cannot make all the money in the world. Come back home. With your brains, you will be well set here.” They think I am here because of money and the quality of life. They said: “You are lonely there. You need family and friends. Come home, Alex. Your home is here.” I tried not to cry. I was afraid to hear the question: “Are you happy there?”. I won’t lie, and I wouldn’t know what to say. To be true to myself – I don’t know if I am…
I’ve been more than seven years away from home. I missed so many birthdays. I missed all my family holidays. I missed the point at which my parent’s hair started turning white. I missed the point when my cousins grew up taller than me. I was absent from their lives for too long. They know me only from pictures. We are strangers. I sacrificed my family and friends. What for? Why do I continue paying this price if I can’t even say that I am happy? What am I doing with my life?
It’s not about money.
With all my heart, I want to find out why I was born. I want to find a purpose for this body. I did not create myself. Neither did my parents. Something put me in this World. It gave me a healthy body. It gave me eyes to see and senses to feel. It gave me the gift of language to communicate and express myself. My parents called me Oleksandr. Why Oleksandr? This is nothing but a label, just like Dodge or Chevrolet. I am a different person for many people. I am known as Oleksandr, Olek, Alex or Sasha. I am neither. Who am I? I’ve had this question for as long as I can remember myself. I am sick of it.
I was lucky enough to get a great education. Because of pure luck and enormous effort, I was able to get out of my home. I don’t know why. I refuse to believe that things just happen, with no reason. I can’t. Nothing in the world happens without a reason. So, why was I gifted health, brains and all the opportunities up to my disposal?
I learned today that 250 Native American kids were killed in a local school just fifty something years ago. They were killed just because they were different. I cannot even comprehend the scope of this tragedy. It happened only a few decades ago… I could’ve been one of them. Why not me? Why am I here? Well fed, nicely dressed, with access to all the pleasures of this world. It’s a burden to be a white male in the country of opportunities. I cannot blame anyone or anything for not finding an application for myself. They said: “Sasha, the time is flying. Come home. Buy a house in Kiev. Find a job. Create a family.” What if they are right? What if I am just a dreamer? What am I doing with my life…? Why did I even decide that I am in control of my life? Maybe things do happen for no reason… Maybe life is not what I made myself believe in. I am fooling myself. Playing my own mind games. Why do I need to find the purpose for myself? I might spend my whole life searching and end up alone and useless. Maybe they are right.
These thoughts never stop. They can turn any sunny day into a nightmare. They exhaust me. Why do I have them? What’s the purpose? Maybe I am just a negative person. Chemical imbalance in my brain? What if I take antidepressants, will it make things better? Better… What is better? Seeing unicorns every day? No, I don’t want that.
Why am I here? What am I doing with my life? Is it even my life? I don’t hope to get the answer, just to make it through this low point. Tomorrow, I will wake up and everything will be back to “normal”. I will be cheerful and optimistic. The sun will shine and I will smile.
Whenever you feel depressed, it is very important to remind yourself that if you don’t like something, you can change it. Listen, you are not a victim of life! … unless you decide to be.
YOU HAVE TIME
YOU HAVE OPTIONS
You are young and healthy. You HAVE TIME! This is your most valuable resource and you have plenty of it. As humans, our main task in life is to learn. If you are not failing and making mistakes – you are not learning. Listen, you are in the stage of life, where you need to fail as many times as you can – TO LEARN. If you learn – you grow. The only rule is that you can make the same mistake only once. If you repeat the same mistake over and over – you are not learning.
Move to a new city
Move to a new country. How cool would it be to spend the next winter in Marbella, Spain or in Mexico, or on Carribean? All need to do is to figure out how to make $5k /month while working remotely online.
Take on some very hard physical challenge:
Train and runn 100 km
Swim across the local lake
If things don’t go as planned – it’s all right. There is nothing horribly wrong about it and you are not a failure. Keep pushing, you are doing great. As long as you learn – you fulfill your mission in life. If you want to learn faster – make more mistakes. Try more new things! Dude, your life is so short.
You fell asleep and don’t see your power. You are the God! You have the power to materialize everything you want and create the life full of experiences. Listen to me: You really can! It’s up to you to take my words to the heart or disregard them, as some woo-woo stuff. It might be woo-woo, but I prefer to call it magic. I am a shaman and I do magic. Haha and I laugh when things start appearing and my life aligns in the most unprecedented way. I am laughing and dancing.
Get out of your head. Imagine you are at the hospital – near death. Imagine you died – as vivid as you can. Now open your eyes and realize that today’s day is a gift. Look at yourself as already dead and accept every day on this Earth as a truly invaluable gift. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Life is a dangerous game and no one will get out alive. It is so easy to fall into depression and burn down. Our health is so fragile, but we don’t appreciate it. I certainly don’t, until something hurts.
Everyone is going through some sh*t. The World didn’t come crashing down at you. Eyes on the prize. What do you want? And envision it as vividly as you can! Lit up the fire inside. You are on your own my friend.
It’s been about two years since I’ve heard about ayahuasca for the first time. I made a friend in Vancouver. His name is Valtteri. He owns and runs the sauna business. We met in late cold October, at the beach. He invited me over to his sauna. Instantly we found a common language. Deep conversation with him and two other friends of his. Very interesting and spiritual people – my tribe.
Valtteri shared that he had some challenges running his business, so I offered help. I consulted him over the course of several weeks. I gave him my perspective, offered solutions and just helped to clear his mind. I connected him with my digital marketing person.
During that conversation in the sauna, he mentioned his psychedelic experience with ayahuasca. That caught my attention and I asked if he could put me in touch with the people who run those ceremonies. This is not something that you could easily find on Google. Ideally is to be referred by someone you trust. Typically such circles are closed to the general public and very private. The only way for new people to join is only by referrals. I’ve got mine.
If you are not familiar with Ayahuasca, there is a great documentary called “The Jungle Prescription” with Mr. Gabo Matte. I suggest you start there.
I was getting exponentially nervous the closer it was getting to the ceremony. The night before, I had a bad dream with my mom in it. I couldn’t hide my anxiousness so that people could tell. My friend Cailan said that I looked tense.
The “D-day” has come. On my drive to the place, I wasn’t listening to the podcast or audiobooks as I always do. I couldn’t focus. I was scrolling through my playlist, hitting the next button over and over. I was trying to relax, searching for the right tune to play.
I was nervous but my body was relaxed. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. My muscles were relaxed and the shoulders soft. I was tired of resisting the tension. I did not want to be in control anymore. I didn’t want to fight my feelings.
Halfway I made a stop in Vernon. To catch some air and regroup, I went for a walk. I could not resist the smell of fresh pastry coming from the bakery. Trying to comfort myself, I got a bunch of junk. Sugar for my brain. Of course… back to my addiction… This is how I cope with stress… I felt guilty afterwards.
To cut a long story short – the ceremony took palce at the farm, in the middle of nowhere.
20 people: 6 women. and 14 men.
I parked my truck and went upstairs to the porch. Two guys and a girl were having a conversation while smoking cigarettes. “Is this it?”, I asked. “Yes, you are at the right place”, one of them answered.
Shawn – the shaman, ran the show. He had two helpers, who helped during the ceremony and even cooked for him.
People inside seemed nervous.
The ceremony took place in the large room, on the back of the two-story building. The room was covered in mats that people set up on the floor in the circle. Very close to one another – half a meter or so.
We all gathered together. The ceremony had started and one of Shawn’s helpers came up to me. She said that I should come to the center and talk to the shaman. “Is this your first time? Do you have any addictions or problems that you come with?” Face to face. Eyes to eyes. I was ashamed to admit that I didn’t have anything in particular. No drug addictions or anything like that. That made me feel out of place, like a tourist. He shook my hand and said that he was happy to have me there. I went back and sat on my mat.
I was the only person who’s never done it before. I was also the youngest one in the room. Other folks were about 35 years old and up. All kinds of people – very diverse public. Different by age and looks. My neighbor on the right – Jessica gave me her flashlight. She put the red duck tape over the beam, so it’s not so bright in the dark. She said that I’ll need it. My neighbor on the left – the old man named Ed, said that this is the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself. He said that this is a life-changing experience. Certainly, it was.
The air in the room was very heavy. Candles were burning… and people were smoking cigarettes. I was very nervous. My throat got dry and my stomach was boiling. “I hope I won’t shit myself”, I thought to myself.
The lights went off. Shawn sat in the center of the room with a little candle. He had two white bottles and a little transparent shot glass beside him. He opened the bottles and whispered something into each. Clockwise, people would come up to him and he would pour the black sticky liquid into the glass.
My turn had come, so I came up and sat in front of the candle. Shawn filled the shot and looked at me with a slight, barely noticeable wink. I lift the shot in front of the candle to see the colour. Pitch black. I swallowed my dose and went back.
The “medicine” was inside of me.
3 AM – Six Hours Later
Exhausted, but I can’t sleep. I need to write this down.
I have to document at least something because I am afraid to forget.
So I had a shot of that black sticky liquid. With no facial expression, I swallowed it quietly. Very specific taste… I remember the look on Shane’s face – curious, with a barely noticeable sneaky smile. The aftertaste was as of a wine leaf. I sat back on my mat and observed other people.
One by one, clockwise – a human shadow whould walk up to the candle and tilt the head with the shot of “medicine”. The “12-hour mark-person” took the poison and disappeared into the darkness. Shawn blew on the candle sharply – the light went off… The room got endlessly dark and silent. It was so quiet that I could almost hear my elevated heartbeat. Silence.
We sat motionless for about 10-20 minutes. I transitioned from a cross-legged position to a laying. I felt tired… “You paid so much money and now you are going to sleep?”, I thought to myself. Whatever! I was too tired… “Ayahuasca will wake me up if it really works”, was my rational. I laid on my side and slowly fell asleep, but only a half-way.
Hearing someone puke pricked my ears. Then, another person… “It must be starting”, I thought to myself.
Shawn sparked the lighter to lit up his tube. Inhaled several times. The red light disappeared… More people started puking, then silence. He then lit up the lighter and inhaled several times more. The light dissapeared into the darkness. Silence…
I was completely sober, observing from the sidelines.
“I wonder when will it hit me if ever. I don’t even feel like puking yet. Maybe I had too little?” Watching other people drink, it seemed like Shawn poured a bit less for others. I was sitting right at the angle, where I could see the shot glass, about five meters away. Why did he give me almost a full shot? Other people had half – at most. A few drank even less – only a quarter.
Shawn stood up and went clockwise around the room.He came up to the each person and exhaled the smoke down on every “patient”. Once he complete the circle, he went back to his spot and began singing… “What language is it? Sounded like chanting. Very melodic and pleasant to the ear. I laid flat on my back and enjoyed listening to his voice.
My airways opened wide and I began breathing deeper. Tears had bursted from my eyes. I didn’t notice them until they rolled down to my cheeks, all the way to the ears. I thought that was very odd because I didn’t feel high and my mind was clear. However I felt that something in my body was changing.
“Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!”, I whisper…
“What a beautiful singing!” I could listen to him all night long – “Please don’t stop”.
Abstract shapes and figures started popping up in front of my eyes. Eyes? They were closed. In front of my mind? Can I look around? I didn’t want to move, because I was afraid to scare away this … I didn’t want to ruin the moment. I didn’t want to mess up the beautiful visuals. Things got more intense and my eyes began pumping out the tears. This was it. No doubts, ayahuasca was working on me.
I would open then close my eyes several times, just to see if that would change anything. Amazing! The visuals didn’t change at all. I didn’t see it with my eyes – but with my mind. I flipped onto my stomach. My body felt so strong! I forgot the fatigue I’ve had a moment ago – “I have to move! I can’t…” In the beginning, they said: no talking, no walking and no touching anyone. So I laid face down on my stomach while flexing my leg muscles, just to get some energy out. I could hear my joints pop – that strong my muscles were. “Holy shit this is intense!”. I got slightly concerned about losing control.
“Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!”, I heard myself whisper. I felt so happy. “Is it all for me? For free? How did I deserve it? Yes, you deserve and this show, this genius performance is all for you.” I pulled the blanket over my head and started giggling like a maniac. I felt like a little child who found a large bag of chocolate candies. “This is my treasure and this is all mine.” The feelings were so beautiful and profound that I cried with happiness. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. “I am so grateful! I am blessed. Pure happiness!”. The feelings were so powerful that it’s hard to describe. “Enjoy! Catch the moment because it won’t last forever. It is too good to last too long. This is an illegal amount of happiness and it’s all mine. I don’t have to share. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. Nobody sees me – I am safe under my blanket.
Beautiful! This is UNBELIEVABLE!”
3:45 am – I am so tired… falling asleep. I need to keep writing, otherwise, I’ll forget everything.
Beautiful! This is UNBELIEVABLE!”
THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO ME THATIOWASKA HAVEN’T DONE
The little kid in me was playing. What if I hold my breath? Holly shit – all the visuals freeze. Inhale and everything gets back to motion. What if I slightly change my body’s position? What if I move?
That works too! I now see different things. I am an engineer of my experiences. I am the scientist. I need to document this! Where is my notebook? No, it’s too dark.
What is I record my voice on my phone? I wish, but I can’t talk. The only thing that I can do right now is try to remember as much as I could. This is unbelievable… I don’t know how else to describe this. I don’t know how to comprehend what I experience.
I have never felt this way before. Not to this extent. Unbelievable. So grateful.
Wait, was it on me? Someone is watching me? I must be too high and attract the attention. Freeze, don’t move. Try to seem normal. I pause for a moment and I don’t even breathe.
I open my eyes to see if the light is still on. It’s not. Huuuuh… False alarm. For a moment I felt like a criminal who was almost caught.
Shawn’s voice is amazing. What a great singer he is! Several other humming voices come and go into the song, also beautiful and clear. What a labour this is! Must be hard to sign all night long. I don’t know how he does it, but please don’t stop.
Things change. Everything seems to speed up. The new sound pops up in the room. It sounds like someone’s having sex. I’ve heard before that people are being taken advantage of during such ceremonies. Is someone being raped? Am I being a part of it? What if something horrible is happening right now?
I don’t feel my body.
I don’t control myself. Am I having sex?
I am not sure…
The feeling of bliss changed with horror. I am not in control of myself. I am vulnerable. People can take advantage of me right now. I need to obtain back the control. This is not funny anymore. What do I do? I don’t feel my body. I don’t feel the floor.
!I need something to fixate on. I need an anchor to reality. I try to listen to the singing, but it only puts me deeper into whatever I am in. I lose the sense of time and space. How do I stop this?
Water! I need to drink some water. There is my water bottle somewhere. It’s hard to move, but I extend my right arm over my head and poke behind the pillow in search for metal flask. Found it, not what? You should flip over on your back and sit down – seemed as something impossible to do. I continued laying face down, hoping that things will get better. They didn’t. I got scared. The intensity of the experience was so strong that it seemed that I will lose my mind. I could not process it all – it was too fucking much. Too much! I want to scream for help, but I can’t. There is seem to be no end to this and I am on my own. I can not do this. I can’t! I want everything to stop!
This is it…
I am going crazy. I will never be the same again. This is irreversible. I begin praying. God, please, please, please…. If I make it through this… If I don’t lose my mind… I promise to go home right after this. Let me go! Make it stop. I was desperate. Well…. this might be it. I kept asking: What’s the message? What do you try to teach me? Stop!
I didn’t stop looking for a way. Is there is something constant in this experience? Is there is something that does not change? Yes – the breath. Watch your breath.
I sat up straight, crossed my legs and put my arms on my knees. In a typical meditation pose I tried to focus on the movement of my chest. Up and down. Inhale, exhale. Ok, this helps a bit. I felt proud of myself for finding strength in myself to endure whatever was happening around. I am the warrior. I can make it through!
Watch the breath
Craziness did not stop, but now I had something to rely on – my breath.
I felt proud of myself. I found a strength inside of me. I did not ask for help, but figured things on my own. I am standing (sitting) here – facing the experience and enduring the overwhelm. I lose my shit now and then, but I always come back to my breath.
I am the warrior!
I am strong!
I am strong on my own.
I can do this. This night will end. Endure!
A sense of pride filled my heart.
6:46 AM – I am still awake
Hey, did you hear that? Someone scratched into the window. Am I imagining these? No – again. What’s that? Some wild animal from the outside? We’re in the middle of nowhere, so that’s possible. I turn on the flashlight and see two flashing eyes looking at me.
My heart is drumming the beat as I come up closer – that’s a dog… He definitely wants to get in. Should I open the door? No, ignore. I need to sleep…
DAY 2 – I open my eyes
It’s bright and quiet. I look at my watch – 10 AM. Only ten in the morning?! I’ve slept for three hours. Excruciating headache. I get up and hold my head – it’s about the explode. No one is in the room, except for me. I hear people talk in the kitchen – they are having breakfast.
I should resume writing, while the memory lasts. Where have I left off? On the hard part… Yeah – it was hard.
So many times I promised myself that if I make it out without losing my mind – I will pack my bags and leave. Enough! “The second its over – I am out!”, I promised myself last night. Why am I still here? Why am I hesitant to leave? I don’t care about the money… Curiosity keeps me hostage.
I remember that last night I’ve been yawning a lot. Apparently, that’s a common thing for people to do under “medicine”. Shaman Shawn told me that this is how the body releases fatigue. I also remember shaking a lot, like a dog. On the outside, it probably looked like epileptic seizures. I was shaking my head like a wet dog after the bath. This is what Blake does all the time. I read somewhere that by doing so dogs “shake off the stress”.
The second day was a very long day. Bright and sunny. I spent a few hours laying on the couch, on the porch. Beautiful scenery from that porch. We spoke with one another for hours… These were the only people who could ever comprehend what I went through. We spent the entire day talking. Very open and genuine conversations. I didn’t shy away from sharing some very personal things. No one seemed to judge. What is a unique group of people! They each came from all over the country. One guy flew in from Peru.
The sun was going down and felt the anxiety creeping on me… Everyone looked nervous. I was nervous too. It still wasn’t too late to leave. “Abort the mission – I am not ready”. I slept for three hours in the past 14 hours and I was too exhausted beyond the limit… Curiosity made me stay. “Ok, I’ll do it again. I am afraid, but I will do it. This is why I am here. Isn’t it?” This guy kept staring at me. He was one of the shaman “helpers”. They all seem a bit suspicious. Relax, that’s all in your head. You can not go into the second ceremony not trusting the people you are with. If you do – it will eat you alive.
Wait, don’t leave
I STAYED the SECOND NIGHT
As the sun was setting down, anxiety crept in. I spent the entire day deciding on whether stay or leave. Do I need this? I was convinced that I can cause damage to my brain. I can hurt myself.
It was already dark outside when I made a decision to stay. I made a commitment to do it again. This was the last time, after which I gave myself the permission to leave without guilt.
I can do it! I am not weak.
Once again, at twenty-one o’clock, we gathered in the same room.
Everyone in the circle seemed nervous – waiting for the start. Shaman welcomed everyone and gave a speech. He whispered into the two white bottles, then folded a white napkin and put it on the floor. The shot glass landed right on top of it. The lights went off. Only the candlelight. The first person came up and flipped the black shot. Three more people until my turn. Not gonna lie – I was afraid. I could feel the fear in my legs and arms.
“Your gut is trying to tell you not to do it, but you don’t listen. You are getting yourself in big trouble. There is no way out. You made the decision to stay. Stop this monologue!”
I stood up, came in the middle of the room and went down on my knees. Someone told me that day that the more you drink ayahuasca, the worse it tastes. I flipped the glass. Disgusting!
After the last person had the shot, Shaman put down the candlelight. Just as the night before – the opening of the ceremony was a very special – magical moment. The room got pitch dark and quiet. Silence. Everyone waited. It takes somewhere about twenty to thirty minutes for ayahuasca to kick in. After this time, people start to feel the effects.
I hear the sound of liquid hitting the bottom of the plastic bucket.
For more than an hour, I laid there staring into the darkness. One after another people started puking, however, I did not feel anything. I felt relieved and I thought: “Maybe it won’t get me this time. I didn’t puke the first time, so maybe my body developed immunity to it.”
Shaman Shawn began singing and the entire room lit up. HOLLY SHIT! It hit me like a brick wall. The entire ceiling of the room got covered in bright blue LED web of lights. It was incredibly beautiful. I was hoping that it will stay that way for the rest of the night. I was hoping that this night, it will be more enjoyable. Quick and fun. How wrong I was…
Ed – the owner of the farm, was laying on his back to the left of me. Not sure, but I would say that he was around 65-70 years old. He has been doing psychedelics most of his life. He was the Gandalf from “Lord of the Rings” in the world of psychedelics.
Ed began puking… Harder and harder. Almost crying, he squeezed out: “I need help”. I got worried about him. It was clear that he was struggling. One of the helpers came up and tried to comfort him by saying that everything is all right. This helped for a bit. A few minutes later he yelled: “Oh my God…. Oh my God…. Oh my God….”, then the vomit came out gazing through his mouth. Ayahuasca hit him so hard that he couldn’t move and I heard him choking on his own vomit. “Thank you… thank you… thank you… oh my God”, he kept repeating and vomiting on his own face.
I was still doing all right, but hearing what Ed was going through, made me scared. I imagined the worst-case scenario: We all end up with a dead body and I am a part of it. I saw cop cars surrounding the farm… Blue-red, blue-red, blue-red. A hard knock on the entrance door. We’re all in trouble. “I need help” – Ed whispered again. I tried to turn towards him, but I realized that I can’t move my body. Holly shit, I am in trouble.
Visual. The most complex abstract shapes and patterns were moving in the front of my… mind. It didn’t matter if I kept my eyes open or closed – things were crazy. I could not close my eyes and stop seeing as if the visual signal was going straight to my brain, bypassing the eyes. It felt as drinking through the fire hose. To say it was too much is a very strong understatement.
“Please, be gentle with me this time”
Someone told me that I can talk to Ayahuasca, so I did.
“If shit hits the fan – I will try talking to it. I will retreat to my breath. Focusing on my breath grounded me last night. Yes, the breath is what gave me the strength to endure the beating of the plant. Perhaps I could also use it in my day-to-day life.“
If it helped me endure the Ayahuasca experience – it can help me go through so many trivial things. Whenever things get tough – follow the breath. Deep inhale through the nose into the back of the lugs – pause – slowly exhale. Watch your chest expand. Your bodily sensations is your anchor to reality. Whatever happens – watch your breath. This is the only thing you have. If you get lost – it will bring you back to this world. At least I hoped so…
The first ceremony has taught me that creation is good. I mean – creating something, building. It doesn’t matter how it looks. Last night I was creating something and the process of it gave me an enormous amount of joy. I am usually very critical of myself, however, I realized that night that the act of creating is beautiful on its own. It doesn’t matter how ugly you think your drawing is – it is beautiful by default because you created something out of nothing. Talking is the act of creation. Tell someone that she is beautiful and you’ve created a wave of positive emotions inside of that person. As easily as positive, you can also create negative feelings. By writing this – I create. It doesn’t matter how many orthographical mistakes I made – it’s beautiful just because it never existed before and I gave it birth. Good or bad – is just someone else’s opinions. That’s it -just opinions. Even your own judgement of your work is only the opinion. Every creation is beautiful by default.
The logical question to ask is: If everything’s great by default, why improve? Great question.
All my body’s senses were extremely sharp last night. I could hear and smell so much better. I remember that clicking sound that was coming out from the right side of the room. What was that? The noise was consistent and I haven’t heard it before the medicine kicked in. It was bothering me.
Later I discovered that it was sparkling water. About 5 meters away from me was a bottle of sparkling water. The clicking noise was the sound of the water bubbles popping on the surface.
I could hear every little squick in that large house.
I remember only the fraction of the second night. Things went too crazy too fast.
The emotional knob switch was flipped to the max, then ripped off entirely. Tears splashed out my eyes. It was too much to take. My head was about to burst like an air balloon. The more Shaman sang the more intense my experience got.
“Please stop singing”, I would’ve said if I could talk. “I need help. Something’s wrong. This is too much. I can’t take it.”, went through my mind. “I need to ask for help. This is too much. I can’t handle it….”. I would’ve had asked for help if I could, but my entire body was paralyzed.
I felt really cold. My body temperature had dropped. “Just keep breathing”, I thought to myself. “Wait, am I still breathing? I am not sure.” I could not feel my body. I could not feel my chest expand. “I am really cold…” My heart rate must be really low. I am dying. “This is it… and I can’t even ask for help.” An animal fear went through my body like electroshock. “You are dying! For real!” Hearing other people scream and puke made things worse.
“We all got poisoned. Something went wrong. I got overdosed. Well, that’s what you deserve for not listening to your guts. You are going to die on the floor of some farm in the middle of nowhere.”
“Keep breathing. Just keep breathing!” I caught my breath for a second.
“There is no way that you get out of this without some sort of permanent damage to your brain and body. This is too strong.” I needed help, but it was unreachable. I couldn’t feel my body and I didn’t even know if I was laying, sitting or freaking flying. I didn’t know if I was on my back or laying with my face down. I was 100% sure that I was going to shit myself and lay there helpless. I was legitimately scared. I was not going to die from ayahuasca that night, I was certainly dying from shame the next morning. Shame for shitting myself.
There are paralyzed people who could not even move their eyeballs?. That was me and I was confident that it was permanent. I was certain that I did some serious damage to my body and that will become my life from then on. “I need to drink water”. I remembered that during my college years I got seriously stunned and drinking water helped, so I thought this would stop things. I could not move. This was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I began praying to God… It didn’t help, but it won me a few minutes of time. It distracted me from my thoughts about death for a bit.
It was hell. A never-ending nightmare.
You have probably seen those ancient drawings of hell, where everyone’s burning and crying. This was something similar. People all around were crying on loud… Sounds of excruciating pain were coming out of every corner of the room. Someone was giggling like a crazy maniac. I think it was Ed. Others were vomiting like crazy. Those were not human voices. Those were animal sounds. Shaman kept singing and things were moving.
Absolute insanity and there was no end to this!
I could not close my eyes and stop seeing crazy things. I could not close my ears and stop hearing. I tried. I lost any concept of time and that night had no end. I was ready to do anything to stop this. “Keep breathing… just don’t stop breathing…” That night I was fighting for my life. It might sound crazy, but I really was.
Several times that night I was convinced that my heart stopped beating. I died again and again. It was horrible. It was absolutely the worst experience I have ever had in my life. It was absolutely the hardest thing that I’ve ever done in my life.
I could not believe that I even paid money for it. What an idiot! I totally lost it… There are no English, Russian or Ukrainian words to describe things that I’ve seen and experienced that night.
Somehow, I managed to sit up and had a few gulps of water. “Don’t drink too much”, I thought to myself.
Sharp pain raised in my chest. “Small gulps. Don’t drink too much too fast.” I then went on my fourth and stood up. My head was about to crack in halves from pain. I navigated through the darkroom into the washroom. The colour of my urine shocked me. It was black. Because the lights were dim, I wasn’t sure if I was peeing blood. No matter, dark yellow, black or red – I realized that I was severely dehydrated. The only person who was able to help me – was myself. “You need to eat something and hydrate.” I went to the kitchen and started searching for salt. I found the apple – the most delicious fruit I’ve ever eaten. I poured the salt on it and kept biting. A gulp of water… Then stomach cramps. I went pacing in circles around the kitchen. It was five or six in the morning – nine hours since I’ve drunk the poison. “When is it going to end?” This nightmare had no end. “It shouldn’t last this long. Something must be terribly wrong.” No matter what I did – things were not getting better.
I went to lay on the couch in the living room. I could still hear horrible noises coming out from the large bedroom, but at least, it was quieter here. I put my head down and tried to deepen my breath. Neither – asking Ayahuasca to be gentle, breathing deeply or praying helped. Later in the day, Shaman told me that in past, people were using ayahuasca to “prepare themselves for death”. This was how I would’ve felt if I were dying.
I wish I remembered at least a quarter of the things I experienced on that trip.
Pictures of my father started popping into my mind. I got worried about him… In my mind, his wife sent me a message that… he was dead. This was too much. “C’mon Sasha. This is too much. You are getting paranoid.” I tried to get myself out of this thinking loop, but the horrible thoughts kept coming back. I started thinking – what if?…
Ayahuasca kept me in its claws for about nineteen hours, until three in the afternoon of the next day. Nineteen hours of hell. It took me that long to return my body’s basic functions like walking and talking. Even then, I was nowhere near to my 100% self, but at least it was manageable. It was too much and too hard. It was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done in my life and I would never suggest ayahuasca to anyone. The literature says that it is the strongest psychoactive compound on Earth for a reason. Holly shit, I could not believe that I made it alive… Forever grateful.
I caught Shawn in the kitchen and I said that I wanted to talk.
– I am not sure if I want to drink it tonight. I don’t think that my nervous system can handle it.
– Not even a little? he asked.
– I don’t think so…
– That’s all right. You know, for the first several ceremonies I drank only once. It was enough for me. I was stoned for hours.
– Yeah, I think I’ll pass tonight.
– If you ever change your mind – you can always have just a little bit. Shaman said…
People were encouraging me to stay and have the last shot. They said that typically the third night is the best night. It’s like a culmination. A happy end where everyone gets enlightened and happy.
“F*ck that! I don’t believe you guys. I almost died last night and I am still not feeling 100% alive. I promised to myself and to every God up there that if I make it out alive – I will run away from this farm as fast as I can the second I can drive. There is no way I do it again. Enough is enough.”
I decided I’ll stick around for a few hours until I feel better, so I can drive. I was walking around like a zombie, thinking about what happened last night. I wasn’t very talkative, just listening. I laid on the couch the entire day, listening and observing other people. I didn’t move at all. Oh man… that headache was excruciating.
Later in the evening, when the sun went down, I went to sit in my truck. “I need to go out for a spin to clear my head.” I started the engine and went driving to Vernon – about thirty minutes drive. Driving on the farm road was okay, however, the second I made the right turn on the highway, I realized that I was nowhere near the safe condition to operate that three-ton monster. I kept driving (idiot).
I was probably going below the speed limit because I saw a bunch of headlights line up behind my truck. “What if one of them is a cop car? What if they pull me over? I am clearly stoned – that’s a DUI.” I got paranoid, however, still, I word not turn around. (double idiot).
I got to Vernon and went to the pharmacy. A bottle of Diet Coke and electrolyte drink. Then went to Safeway and got some cherries. All the way back to the evil farm I drove with my windows down (-20 Celsius). The logic behind it was to get my body cold so I clear up my mind faster. I ate all my snacks by the time the farm lights appeared in front of me. All the way back I was singing my “restaurant song” (Alysa, you know it). Singing helped me stay focused on the road and keep the truck inside the line.
One hour before the final ceremony starts again… As the night before – anxiety. I decided to stay simply because I did not feel safe driving back home. “I will stay and observe. No more ayahuasca for me! Enough.” I didn’t even want to think about that damn poison.
The ceremony began and I ended up on the same spot – on the floor of that large room, on my mat. I turned to the left and quietly told Ed that he shouldn’t wait on me to drink. I said that I won’t drink. He nodded.
Everyone had their shots and the room went dark and silent. While laying there I realized that I did not feel that I was missing out on something. I didn’t feel like a loser: “Haha scared of ayahuasca”. None of that. Moreover, I wasn’t sure that it won’t get me. “What if Shaman starts singing and it comes back on me?” Sounds crazy, but it shows how scared I was of it. I wasn’t kidding what I said that I thought I was dying.
People started puking and Shaman singing. Noises got ugly and loud. They seemed to be so close to me, so I got worried that my neighbors would puke on me. I stood up and went on my couch in the other room. I pulled my blanked over my head and passed out. It was strange because I didn’t feel tired, but felt asleep immediately.
6:30 AM – It’s OVER
Something’s in my mouth… Systems check – that’s the pillow.
I lay facedown motionless. My eyeballs were the only things that I could move. I opened my eyes and just laid there. I didn’t look at anything – just stared into my pillow. Funny picture.
I had the craziest dreams that night. I could not remember exactly what I’ve seen, but I remember waking up and thinking to myself: “What the hell just happened?”.
Everyone else was still dead asleep, so I used the privilege to get into the shower. What a blessing!!!
I wanted to feel clean – inside out. I didn’t want to lie. Not that I did, but I wanted to live without illusions. Impossible… I thought that I wanted things to be simple.
“My mind is so complex. It is extraordinarily difficult and twisted in all kinds of ways. It can truly be a prison – the worst prison on Earth. A pitch dark mezzanine with no way out. It can cause so much suffering. But it can also be a Heaven…”
I felt such a RELIEF that morning. It all was over and I was okay. Unimaginable! Honest to God, I did not think I would make it through alive. But I did.
I had my coffee. Then another one. Then one more… while writing this.
My new buddy came out of the room. He owns the Chevrolet dealership in Vancouver and has his own plane. I don’t remember his name, but we had a very deep conversation the night before. He was the first after me to wake up.
He stood an inch away from my face, grabbed me by the shoulders and looked straight into my eyes. Bright blue eyes. They seemed like two flashlights in the dark. He stared for about a minute.
– You ok, brother?
– Yes. I am.
– I have to leave, but please do me a favour. Tell everyone: “Thank you. I love you and God bless…” Thank you. I love you. God bless. Remember?
– Yes, I will…
– …and stop thinking so much! Don’t overthink. I will see you… whenever that time comes.
– Drive safe
What a freaking experience! I wish I remember at least half of the things that happened to me over the course of three nights. I wish my vocabulary is wide enough to better express my thoughts and feelings. But why? No matter what I say, you won’t live it through. You won’t feel what I felt. This is my life and only my experience. I will still publish it because I believe that my experience can bring value to people. Maybe someone is wondering if it worth the money. Maybe someone simply wants to know other people’s opinions.
I will end this long story by saying that
I already said it hundred times, but I’ll say again that this was the hardest thing that I ever did in my twenty-nine years of life.
I believe that it can be harmful to your mind and health. (only my opinion) If you ever get the opportunity and decide to take the shot – only under the supervision! Only under the supervision of a reputable Shaman! Don’t be an idiot – this thing is no joke. I warned you.
I am grateful for my body. I learned that I can rely on it. It has its own intelligence. It won’t die so easily. It wants to live. I have a lot of respect for it. What a great gift to have – a healthy body.
I saw the self-doubt. That ugly-looking sucker has a shape and even a face. He helped me a lot, but we can not co-live together.
This is the hardest thing I ever did in my life. How hard is it to die?
Holly smokes this truck is huge! When stoned, singing helps stay focused.
Things change. No matter how much it sucks today, it won’t suck forever. The worse it gets, the better it will be once it’s over. The universe will equalize everything. It’s against the law of nature to suck forever. You feel bad, but then everything is fine again. Things suck today, but tomorrow evening is ok. It can not suck forever.
I now look at death differently. I believe that I know what it feels like to die.
These are not all the insights. It will take a while to unpack everything and make sense of it, but I am not in a hurry.
Mercedes GT. What a beautiful car! Costs about CAD$120K. I often see it fly around town, and think to myself – it won’t make you happy…
I am an extremely adaptive creature. Like a cockroach – will survive even after the nuclear war. I went through some good and bad times, always arriving in one piece. There is a pattern. Whenever something happens, at first it is a shock. Good or bad – it’s a stress. If fact there are no good or bad things in life, it’s all just a perception. However, that’s a whole another story. So the shock… Something that we perceive as good can be even more shocking than that bad thing. Few days later, you open your eyes and you tell yourself: Actually, it is not that bad. After few more weeks, you might even look back at your initial reaction and laugh. What a big of deal you made out of it! Your circumstances didn’t change, but your perception did. What happened? You adapted.
This makes me feel invincible! If you are in a great distress. If you go through some really rough times. If you feel that you can not endure anymore… At some point, your mind will take over and it will start adapting. You underestimate your body. It’s main purpose in life is to keep you alive. It is your angel guardian. Your brain is so creative at keeping you functional that if it’s essential to survival, it could even create an alter ego. Your mind will make you believe in bizarre things, to smooth the emotional ups and downs. Everything in the World strives for equilibrium and your body is not an exception.
So why did I start with the car?
You can not be overly excited all the time as well as you can not experience the opposite feelings forever. Your body will strive to bring your emotional state back to balance. That Mercedes will make you excited only for so long… then it will become just another car. The large house on the lake will make you very very happy… only for so long. A new relationship will be exciting and lovely for a period of time… After a short period of time, things will go back to the basis. The Universe will equalize everything and everyone. Your mind will stabilize your emotional state and bring you to your basis. Don’t be naive and hope that once you acquire or achieve something – the life will get rosy. It might, but only for so long, until you get used to it.
What to strive for? I don’t know… Of course, having a better car or a boat, or a house … will make me happy. But for how long? That’s not permanent, so I don’t feed the illusions about that. Regardless of my circumstances – I will always come back to myself. I can pretend to be the biggest baboon on the tree, driving the best cars, dating the prettiest girls, but it’s a circle that will always bring me back to base – myself.
What if I sacrificed twenty or thirty years chasing something, just to get it and immediately realize that I am not much happier than I was before? That is an ultimate failure. What if I worked five years for that Mercedes, just to buy it and understand that I missed something. Another story if I got it for free, or with a minimum amount of work. Then, I would treat it the way it should be treated – just as another car and nothing more. Want to take it for a ride? Sure! Here is the key.
My role in my business is shifting. Or to be correct – “our business”. In five days it will be five months, since I’ve been working on Deep Work Studios. I developed something that was just an idea into a well communicated concept with architectural drawings, virtual model, renders and countless published articles. Also, I acquired something very valuable – the Deep Work Team. I used to be solo, not anymore. If there was a task to do, it was a no brainer – I was the one to do it. No one to count on.
No more am I alone. I have a team of people working on making the Deep Work Studios a reality. Very intelligent and experienced folks, who dedicate their time and energy to the project. I communicated with them my vision, showed what I’ve done and they got inspired. They believe in what I’ve started and wanted to become a part of it. I am not alone.
During the meetings, all eyes are on me: What’s next Oleksandr? What’s the plan? I need to have a plan. I need to show my people where we are right now, where we going and most importantly WHY. Not just a blah-blah, but a solid direction with milestones to accomplish. They need to believe in what they do. This is a new hat to wear… My people believe in me and the business. They see the potential and I feel obligated to make my vision a reality – to prove myself. I got the opportunity to prove myself in action.
Having a team allows me to leverage certain tasks. Now, on top of the plan and milestones, I need to figure out what needs to be done and who is going to do it. I am responsible for setting clear goals. I need to assign the job, based on skills and strengths. It’s not enough to say: You – do it! The person has to be capable of delivering the result. I have to find the right words to motivate and explain why it is important. I still do a lot of things myself, but I feel that it’s time to change my mindset. I am stuck in the “operator” mentality, where I do everything myself. Wrong. You can’t build anything great on your own.
We need to track the progress. I need to create the project management system for our team. This is new… Working on my own, I didn’t have to worry about that. Sticky notes and To-Do lists would do just fine. Not anymore.
Having three people is not enough. We need a construction partner. Safety and security specialists. Marketing people. Layers and consultants… I am now responsible for bringing people in. My job is to fill the skill gaps on our racing rowing boat with capable people. I have to assemble the team. I need to scout for the right folks and recruit them by communicating our vision – to inspire. A lot harder to do, when you don’t have a salary to pay. That’s new.
I need to open new doors for my people. Finding stakeholders. Strategic partnerships. Relationship formations… Our company needs alliances, otherwise we won’t move far. Alliances are a key part of what a leader does. Alliances provide a network of trusted sources. We can not work in vacuum. Who is responsible for that? That’s on me. I have to go up there and knock on doors. Once I open a new door, my people can go in.
My job is to keep everyone on the same page. Stay clear on the vision. Whenever someone feels discouraged – find the right words to bring the person back up. When a lady on my team confessed that she’s feeling overwhelmed, I truly felt for her. I thought that sauna gift card would help her relax. It helps me… I’ve been burned out many, many times. I’ve been depressed and mentally destroyed many, many times. My job as a leader is to care for my folks. They are my most valuable asset.
My job is to create the environment, where my people can shine. I genuinely want them to be recognized as people behind a great business – an internationally known venture. I want them to come to me at some point and say that meeting me and joining the company was the best thing that ever happened to them. I want to take my team on an amazing business adventure.
You see someone driving a very expensive car or spending the vacation at ultra exotic destination. It might seem as they have it all, with minimum effort. It’s unfair! No matter your admit it or not, the feeling of being envious would be a normal human reaction. I want what he has. That’s OK to feel this way, but realize this….
Things always change. It cannot be rosy and shiny all the time as well as it cannot suck forever. Those people who’ve got something you want or admire, they didn’t have it all the time. The brighter they shine, the bigger the price they paid. Everybody pays the price for his or her successes. Let me repeat: every one whom you see as a successful men or women, had paid or will pay the price for their success. The universe cannot keep giving, and giving, and giving. At some point it will send you the invoice. The universe will equalize everything and everyone.
So the next time you see somebody having what you desire, don’t be envy. You don’t know how much it cost them. The bigger the success, the bigger the sacrifice. Don’t be envious, but rather be happy for that person. If you can, help him celebrate. Instead of being envious, be truly happy that things worked out for that person. You don’t know how hard the guy had worked for it. You don’t know how many times he had to step over himself. Sometimes people go through horrible things – that’s their price for the “overnight success” that you see. There is a non-monetary cost associated with every Lamborghini you see on the street.
Let the person enjoy the success. He might be living the best time of his life right now. Be empathetic and remember that everything comes at the cost. The universe will equalize everyone.
As for me, I would rather pay it forward. I would rather put my energy and work first, and enjoy the harvest of my work later. I prefer to workout first, and eat after.
Happiness is quiet and it doesn’t need a showcase. When you are truly happy, you want to be as quiet as possible. If I ever disappear and you never hear from me, don’t worry. I have found the source of pure happiness and I kept it all to myself. I became a whole. I am at peace and I am still. I ran away from everyone just to fully enjoy this precious gift of life. I don’t want to speak about it. I don’t want to tell everyone how great I feel. You guys deal with your bullshit on your own. I am happy in my corner. What a scumbag!!! Haha. Yes yes, bye bye…
Ever since I left my full-time job at UBER I met hundreds of people. Over the past ten months, I’ve had more human interaction than I did over the past few years. And I am not excruciating. Why so?
My ideas are what had opened up the doors for me. My ideas had changed my lifestyle. Every business I attempted had introduced me to a new set of people. Those new people had introduced me to their friends. Those friends thought I had to meet their other friends and so on… My ideas are what was at the beginning of every new connection.
Ever since I went on my own, one of the biggest discoveries I made was a discovery of other people. I opened up. Not that I was all inside myself, but now I am so much more approachable and friendly. I learned to ask for help. I would share my vision and tell others about my plans. People would often get excited and spread the word to other folks they know. Along the way, I would encounter different challenges and meet different people, each of whom will play a specific role on my journey. Everyone brings a message. Pay attention. Some will stick with me for a while. Others will get dropped in a few days. Nevertheless, every person I met had brought me a message or a lesson.
While working at the corporation, I was always surrounded by the same people. Despite the large size of the company, 90% of the time I was surrounded by the same faces. Now and then, I would make new connections, however most of the time those people already heard about me.
My reputation went ahead of me, I suppose. The point I try to make here is that the World of entrepreneurship is so much bigger in regards to the people you meet and interact with. At this point, I am worried that if I have to go working for an employer, I will feel trapped. I run too fast. The corporate job will hold me back.
It is impossible to become an accomplished entrepreneur without good people’s skills. It is impossible to build something great if you come with a mentality that everyone is here to hurt you or steal from you. You will have a very hard time as a businessman if you are not genuinely interested in other people. An employee? Maybe. But not an entrepreneur. You can be sitting in your side of the office, rarely talking to others, be socially awkward – and that’s fine, as long as you do your job well. However, if you try to build some kind of a business – social skills are a must! Therefore I strongly believe that people’s skill is one of the most important ones to cultivate. The way you talk, handle yourself and interact with others, is a determinant success factor of your project and you as an entrepreneur.
You can not build anything great if you hate other people. They will feel it. People feel the energy. People naturally being attracted to those who radiate love and energy. If you are coming from a bad place and with dark intentions, people will feel it. So, before embarking on an entrepreneurial journey – check yourself. How easy for you to get connected with others? How easy for you to communicate your thoughts and ideas? How easy for you to make friends and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships? This is very important.
I remember the time in Phoenix, Arizona… I just graduated, broke up with my girlfriend and was about to get kicked out of the country. At that point in my life, I was miserable.
I remember going to “Low Key Piano Bar” on Mill Ave. I loved that bar for its live performances and the kind of people that came. I remember getting drunk and walking back home feeling sorry for myself. I was completely immersed in my problems. Despite the efforts, I could not find a job. I did not want to return back to the shithole that I came from and there was no way for me to stay in the US. I had no one to help. It was a dark, dark time in my life.
However, I did find a job. It gave me the opportunity to stay in the country. I made very good money and I truly enjoyed it. Everything worked out better than I could’ve expected. Question: Would have everything happen the way it did if I wasn’t killing myself over it? What if I took all the same actions, continued applying and banging on different doors, but while being cheerful and easy-going? Did I have to be so serious about it? Were my tears a necessary requirement to make it through? I am not sure… What if things happen the way they are, regardless of us crying our ass off or not? I wish I could test that…
Looking back, I regret taking things so close to the heart. I regret worrying so much. That nerves cost me a lot of years of my life. Moreover, I could’ve already killed myself. I am glad I didn’t, otherwise I would not get to enjoy what was ahead.
Why are we afraid to smile and laugh when things go south? Do you think that crying and beating yourself down will help? It might… or not. I am not sure. At what point in life did we start associate challenges with feeling down? Are we afraid of being judged for not grieving for the people who passed away? What if no one was watching – would you still feel bad for yourself? For the most part, you make yourself feel bad because you get something for that. Do you know what that is?
We do it because we are looking for attention – this is all that it is. If there was no one to watch us suffer, we would stand back up and continue walking as nothing happened. If we had no one around to tell our stories to – we won’t hold on to the feelings that make us so… Anger or sadness will raise and pass like everything in life. We would just move on… Don’t you think so?
Alright, back to the subject. The point I want to make is that I don’t think that suffering and worrying actually helps. However, it steals the precious time which we could spend differently otherwise. I could’ve truly enjoyed that time in Arizona, but I chose not to. I could’ve found joy in every single day while in Texas. I regret the time spent in pity and worrying. Translating this lesson to today’s life… what if everything will work out in a way that I can not even imagine regardless of I worry or not? How stupid would be to get all you want, but beat yourself to the ground along the way just to realize that it wasn’t necessary? Haha! What an idiot! What your worries worth?
I don’t think that suffering and worrying will help you achieve anything. What if instead, I kept putting the work in and believing that things will work out? What if I remained cheerful and calm along the way, no matter how many months or years it took? What if I smiled and laughed, despite the circumstances? What if life beats me down, but I stand straight, look in the eyes and smile? C’mon is it all you’ve got?! What if I made myself believe that everything will be awesome, despite other’s people opinions? What is the worst thing that could happen if I adopted such a frame of life?
In the end, even if nothing worked out – at least I had fun. Even if I spent my entire life living in my own illusions – I enjoyed my life.
Did I learn this lesson or just wasted more time writing and thinking about it?