Money money money mo-ney, Money…
We’re experiencing one of the greatest transfers of wealth in the history of the world. Like Carnegie before him, Bill Gates has spearheaded a revolution to push the capital he’s received through expanding and pioneering the computer revolution, back to the infertile soil of poor 3rd world countries. And more important, their people.
Once you’ve handled the basics of Maslow’s bottom layer, you can take a moment to reflect. And in that moment, you can decide what makes you happy. What fulfills you. What touches your head and heart. What motivates you.
Once you figure out that money is not meaning… but that it can empower meaning. That’s when you experience that “aha” moment. The waking up. When you look up from your desk and realize the work you’ve been doing is suddenly outperforming even your greatest feats of imagination.
Both times I entered the nutrition industry, it was because of radical events leading to my own awakening.
The first time I found myself at a B&B after 7 years of vacationless, obsessive, heads-down work in geeky hardware and consumer technologies. To the point my failing heath finally tipped the scales and sent me off for an extended weekend.
The happy accident? It just so happens that B&B owner was also a world-class physician. With a gentle lean toward natural practices. And in a moment, he looked into my eyes. Held my hand, smiled and said “I think I know what to do.”
And in that, I experienced hope. Hope that my body could maybe once again keep up with my mind. And that my mind could also be healed.
And it did.
Within weeks I went from fatigued and frustrated and hanging on by a thread. To awake, encouraged, dramatically happier… And no fear that “the other shoe is about to drop” (those of you who’ve suffered through anxiety or depression know exactly what I mean by that).
I know it made a difference in my life. And I remember my wife coming to me with a big smile and renewed passion. She rediscovered the old me. And that helped uncover the best of her.
We never know what we can do until we have to make a decision. We can meander through life on autopilot, making enough to feed our needs. Then our wants and desires. But what about feeding our souls?
I don’t mean to get preachy. But I do find, when the opportunity arises to spend time with truly successful people, that within minutes, the conversation heads into “what if” land.
What if we fixed the dirty water issue?
What if we could help the homeless become productive and independent?
What if we made that plastic out of non-toxic corn refuse?
This isn’t small talk.
This is dialogue that stretches the mind.
Why? Because survival isn’t Top of Mind.
(“Ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh, Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive…”)
Now that the car payment is a moot point, maybe we can transport someone else to this promised land. The one of opportunity. Of living beyond Groundhog Day.
One of the greatest gifts given to me was the love of my kids as we collectively experienced the love of my life take her last breath.
As devastating as that moment was to all of us, it was also relief. If you’ve ever experienced someone close to you held captive by disease… especially the disease of addiction… it’s a sorrowful place. There is no respite. It is all consuming. Even the days where it’s not obvious, and things appear normal, there’s always the undercurrent of That Thing. The elephant in the room is still big and smelly and sometimes noisy. You have to step around him to navigate your day. No way around it.
So this is the deal. And this should give you hope:
There are powerful people whos intention is to do better. To make things more livable. To create a space for those who are eking by, living one little error in judgement from the street…
Conspiracy theories aside, I’m encouraged. And here’s the magic: Bill Gates, even with $90+ billion of his own dollars to spend, can’t do it without you and me. He knows that. Melinda reminds him daily.
We get to be the feet on the street. We get to take action and in that, build our own cushion.
Is that fair? Can enterprise and commerce thrive while providing the hopeless with a little Hopenol?
Hell yeah. It’s not a bad thing to leverage your creative talent in the vision of supporting the disadvantaged.
And what if it makes you rich?
Guess what? You cannot escape the cycle. Eventually you will get to the point where one more 6-figure car in the driveway won’t thrill your soul.
But seeing a slightly insane homeless person get the attention they need to turn it all around.
The child who only knows poverty and survival suddenly get an opportunity, the big break, to connect with the one person who can help them thrive.
I get to work in a field I am uniquely unqualified to be in. And as a result, rewrite the rules for how to improve the mind and body. I get to see people who felt they would always be average, perform like the rock stars they are inside. And this feedback loop is one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.
Alex DeGrassi wrote this beautiful song called Turning, Turning back. I want to rewrite it: Giving, Giving back.
Chasity once said “What’s good, is when you have a product that generates forgiveness”. If I could extend that, I’d have to say “What’s good is when you create a product that raises the spirits of everyone it touches”.
We’re on the threshold of a dream, you and I. We have the unique opportunity to… do anything we want. Access to knowledge and capital are a moot point. As my friends Seymour and Amy have proven: A little insight into a problem (like messy, inefficient and ugly device chargers) can be the start of a revolution (one that is funded by me and you just prepaying for their brilliance. And getting just what we need as a result).
The opportunity you and I have to change the world is no longer out of reach. And it begins this very moment.
Here’s the quick outline:
1) Do your magic. Whatever it is that moves you, make sure and do a little of it each day. If not your vocation, make sure it’s at the top of your avocations. And make sure to propel it forward bit by bit. Because it does make a difference. Your hope empowers others.
2) Make sure you regenerate your energy and life force. Whatever moves you: a good cup of Verona. A dancing girl scribbled across the page. A few words of encouragement sent and received. Moving iron plates until that last rep has your muscles shaking.
I’ve learned that energy is not something to take lightly. It’s the difference between existence and existential epiphanies. Without it, you barely survive (ask anyone with mono. Or with any form of energy-draining condition or lifestyle or work. It literally “sucks the life right out of you”.)
So preserve and create energy. It’s life force at its most essential.
3) Get clarity. Many of us have become a bit numb. We repeat the same day each week. We want more, but we’re in this rhythm. And it might not be our own personal, passionate success rhythm. In the end, it’s a fog that keeps the crispness of possibility just out of reach.
So get clear. No matter what your method.
Journaling? Morning Pages (a favorite of mine to knock loose some otherwise hidden potential)? A brisk run? Spinning (yes Nicole, I’m talkin’ to you!). A hike up the canyon. Communing with an Olympic pool (Mr Kirker, this be your domain).
Whatever you do to get clear, do it. I am very fortunate to have a secret weapon that I can take on demand that helps me in this area. As the poster child for ADD/ADHD, I can use a little help. And thanks to a very circuitous route, I ended up smack-dab in the middle of the creation of such a thing. How cool is that?
It can happen to you, too. The more energy you give to developing a clear path to your passion, the more your passion will come visit you. And that creates more energy.
See how that works?
4) Passion. I know, it’s almost overdone at this juncture. But it’s really key. We need fewer zombies, and more illuminated souls. And passion is that source of light.
My own best friend and the mother of my beautiful children died once from a drug overdose. But she died a million deaths in between from a lack of passion toward life and something more (low energy, and painkillers. Now you know why my stump speech). A simple spark is all it takes. It doesn’t even have to be a big deal. Just enough to get you out of bed in the morning.
Sure, there’s more. But these are the essentials.
And, you know, I’ve got some pills and potions to create. Who knows where this could lead…
To your exceptional self.
May your riches make a difference in everything you touch.
P.S. Thank you for being part of this journey I’ve ben fortunate to take. If you would have approached me in September 2008, I would have told you “life might as well be over”. I knew better, but I didn’t feel it at the time.
A lot of people stepped in to keep my kids and I from spinning down the drain. David Aaron McInnis played the part of not just my brother. But he patiently carried the burden of this surrogate family as he allowed us to heal and get our sh*t together as a family. And also played White Rat to more than a few early nootropic stacks. (and I quote: “Yeah mark, this wakes you up. Anything that tastes that bad is bound to wake you up. But wouldn’t I actually BE smarter if I quit drinking this cr*p?”)
There were many more.
And I’ll make sure you get some screen time as I reflect.
Here’s to 2019. And you.