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The impact of not knowing yourself

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AdrianL

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jul 27, 2014
24
26
25
Romania
I’m going to start off with a highlight of a thought that came to me a couple of days ago:

One of the main parts of doing good business implies helping others. If I don’t know myself well enough, to be able to help myself, and have no clue of how to get to know myself better, how can I expect to succeed in helping others ?

My activity has been close to none for some time on this forum, partially because I felt like I have nothing of value to provide, and wouldn’t want to waste my time, as well as the time of others, talking about theories with no actual experience or matter of fact.

While a lot of the content posted here has provided great value and motivation towards bettering myself and others, now, after reaching some of my personal milestones, I thought I’d share some insight into my journey which hopefully might help others.

For a better glimpse of where I’m coming from, I’ll go into a short bio-history: Since my early childhood, I’ve been curious about a lot of things, but in particular, computer related things. Started playing video games from the age of 2-3, to installing my own Windows at around 8, to modifying the hex of apps at around 12 and programming in C++ at 15.

At around 16, while following Web Hosting forums, I noticed a trend in free web hosting offering which got me curious if I could do the same. Reality was, it wasn’t even that hard. Just got some free apps working together and bam, made my first few hundred $$$ without any business knowledge.

While I didn’t think of the business side of things too much, and moved on to other endeavours at that time, I have wondered quite a few times how much I could have scaled that at that time if only I didn’t focus as much on what I wanted and more on what others wanted.

In any case, as time moved on, I got into a few freelancing jobs which paid quite well (especially considering I’m from Central Europe). Then came college and with it my first job as an employee.

While the pay wasn’t great, I consider the knowledge and experience of having a job quite invaluable. It got me first-hand experience in how a small business is run, how the people inside that business interact with each other, what each of them consider valuable, and also on.

After 2 years of that, and countless hours spent in traffic, I’ve decided to move on and find a better way to earn my living. That’s when I came back to freelancing.

Considering some of my life dreams revolve around the idea of space travel, or building a technological center which would help mankind surpass some of it’s limitations, I figured that the ordinary path will most likely not get me even remotely close to any of my dreams. But first thing’s first…

My first big roadblock: I had a lot of tech and engineering knowledge, but little knowledge in sales, marketing, human interaction, social skills, business perspective, and so on…

That is around the time I found out about The Fastlane Millionaire.

That’s when I started a lot more on focusing on improving my self. I’ve started reading quite a few books on Self Improvement, Psychology, Social Skills, Sales, Diet, even got into reading about stoicism.
Some books that come to mind: How to Win Friend and Influence People, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The 4 Hour Work Week, Predictably Irrational, Thinking Fast and Slow, Sell or be Sold, The Bulletproof Diet.

Ofcourse, reading books is just the first step. I’ve started paying more attention to how I act when talking to other people, what I’m focusing on, what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling, and while in the last 2 years I’ve made significant improvement, there’s still a long road ahead.

As a testament to progress, I’ve raised my income by more than 5x in the past 2 years, I’ve gotten healthier and can now focus most of the day on whatever it is that needs my focus, and I can now connect more easily with people around me.

This might seem all dandy but considering I’m more of an introvert, connecting with fellow people isn’t necessarily something I see as easy or even enjoyable at times. I was used to over-thinking and even imagining how the whole dialog would play out and afterwards being reluctant of even trying, something that would also haunt my professional endeavours.

Health was also an issue, having back pain from sitting too much in front of a monitor, having stomach ache from eating too many shitty foods, and most of the time feeling brainless and being unable to focus.

So I started tackling each one in order:
  • Back pain ? Got a height adjustable desk and switched to working only while standing. I sit only when taking breaks to eat, read, or anything else, but working is always done while sitting.

  • Stomach ache ? Stopped eating anything fried, removed sugar for the most part from my diet, stopped eating bread, stopped drinking soda, and so on. The result ? Feeling a lot better and no more stomach ache. Previous to this, I took medicine 3 or 4 times and noticed that they only work for a month, while being taken, but the pain would always come back without changing diet.

  • Brain fog ? This was the hardest to tackle, since diet as well as lack of exercise as well as lack of sleep all had an impact. So only after taking care of the previous problems did I manage to take care of this one.

This directly impacted the way I make decisions.

Raising my income has also been a challenging road. After quitting my job, first thing I tried to do is build a few products in the hope of starting my own business. While I did make quite a few prototypes, they have not moved beyond that due to broken mindset, lack of resources, and improper planning, and probably even fear of failure.

I got side-tracked several times either by binge-watching tv series or playing video games. I don’t think there’s something wrong with the occasional tv series episode or a game to take the steam off but playing 10 hours a day is definitely not going to help me become better, or get to where I want to. Even if I dream of getting into e-sports one day, attempting that while struggling to survive isn’t fun.

Going through these problems has helped me to learn discipline.

I don’t think I’ve been through a F*ck This Event yet to be able to reach that level of motivation and dedication, but I’ve started knowing myself better and thus I’m trying to challenge myself to reach my goals (since I’ve always liked a good challenge). I’m directly and indirectly manipulating myself to stop slacking and do the work.

So I went on and learned: how to find clients, how to talk to clients, how to understand the business side of things and what clients value and want, how to be more organized, how to improve my services…

I’ve also run into the occasional bad client but each of these encounters brought invaluable knowledge. I learned to distinguish bad clients from good clients, learned how I prefer to do business and what to look for, learned what I don’t want to do, and so on.

One noticeable improvement made while working on my own compared to being an employee is that I now focus more on what brings results as opposed to what I was given to do. Sure, I can just go ahead and play with that new interesting thing that just came out and looks cool, but does that help my client ? Does it provide him with real benefit ? Or does it just entertain me for a short while and prevent him from actually providing his customers or employees real benefits ?

Fast forward to today.

I still need to learn about myself… I still don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life. While I haven’t reached the limit of time to money conversion, I’m aware of the scaling problem, so I now have to get outside my comfort zone and start working with other people if I ever want to reach any of my dreams. Building anything which would impact the masses is hard if not impossible to do alone.

Sure, the prototype of a lot of products or services available to day were started by one or two people, but when they impact millions, it’s highly unlikely there’s just one man handling the whole process. And this is something in particular which is imprisoning me since I’ve grown more as a lone-wolf type of guy.

So, this is my next roadblock.

Apart from raising my income more and giving back to the community, I’m not even sure which path I want to take next. Should I start a business ? Should I go into consulting ? Should I build a product ? Is there a market for that ? What would help the most people ?

Or my favourite:

What would help me raise the manpower, resources and knowledge to be able to propel mankind into space travel ?

This brings me to another roadblock: focusing too much on what I want to do and trying to calculate so many details that I forget about the present and stop thinking about what I could do now.

We all know setting huge or impossible goals is not a good way to get it done, and it’s best to break it down into smaller pieces and start small.

So, next thing on my list: learning to delegate, getting over my fear of failure, and just getting more shit down but in a smart way.

I’ve even started outsourcing my food requirements since buying food myself would cost me much more in time. Healthier food, more time, and all it took was observing myself and how I use my time.

I hope this insight is helpful to someone else who might be going through similar things. My only advice is: get to know yourself better. Know what you want, monitor yourself to see if what you do aligns with what you want. Check to see if you’re not doing things that get you to what you want out of fear, and if so, think about the worst case scenario and just stop thinking and start doing.

If there are any questions, feel free to ask!
 

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AdrianL

AdrianL

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jul 27, 2014
24
26
25
Romania
Do you have a TLDR summary?
Hehe, good point!

TLDR: Start with knowing yourself first. Learn who you are, what you're good at, what you're bad at, what you like, what you dislike, what motivates you, what makes you want to be a better version of yourself, what you dream of... Otherwise, you might end up chasing your tail, going down paths that don't help you achieve anything you want and ultimately wasting your time without any improvement to yourself, or to the ones around you.
 

Ninjakid

Platinum Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jun 23, 2014
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This was actually a pretty cool introduction. I can relate to some of what you said: being skilled technically but not being a naturally social and leaning towards introversion.

Give yourself some props though, you have some valuable skills and you've already been able to use those skills to earn money without being an employee.

It sounds to me like you're the type who thinks and analyzes things to death. The problem with this is you can often spend more time thinking about various possibilities than actually accomplishing anything. The only way I was able to overcome this was by setting achievable goals for myself, and making myself do them. Even if I changed my mind, at least I accomplished something.

What do you feel you can do right now? Can you build a simple app and sell it on Google Play or App Store?

I disagree that you have to know yourself to take any action. I believe you should understand what's important to you, but accomplishment often means forgetting yourself and focusing on the task at hand, not on yourself.
 
OP
OP
AdrianL

AdrianL

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jul 27, 2014
24
26
25
Romania
It sounds to me like you're the type who thinks and analyzes things to death. The problem with this is you can often spend more time thinking about various possibilities than actually accomplishing anything. The only way I was able to overcome this was by setting achievable goals for myself, and making myself do them. Even if I changed my mind, at least I accomplished something.
That's very spot on. I really appreciate the advice!

I'm still working on developing the discipline needed to always do what I set out for myself to do. But the progress has been incredibly noticeable along the way.

What do you feel you can do right now? Can you build a simple app and sell it on Google Play or App Store?

I disagree that you have to know yourself to take any action. I believe you should understand what's important to you, but accomplishment often means forgetting yourself and focusing on the task at hand, not on yourself.
The main reason the idea of knowing yourself popped into my mind in the first place is the fact that I constantly go from 'How do I save the world from itself ?' to 'How can I get financially independent to be able to focus on what really matters afterwards ?' to 'How could we, as a species, evolve further and get to discover the wonders of the universe ?' to 'I wonder what actual problem I can solve right now ?'

Put in some hair-splitting analysis and I'm just staring into the abyss having no clue how I could significantly help anyone.

I mean, yeah, sure, I'm helping my clients to the best of my abilities. I'm sure I could do more, just haven't figured out the next step yet.

I've made Android apps before, nothing I considered worth selling though. Even have an extended mobile game idea which I consider might be successful. Made a prototype a 2-3 years ago but my focus was on the wrong things back then and my skills were a bit lacking as well so I put it on hold at that time.

In the end, I'll probably just have to put some tape on my inner voice's mouth and just go down different paths to find out where they lead.
 

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