1st of January 2017.
I woke up and I had a smile as if I had the greatest night ever last night. It was me and a good friend of mine, and we went to a techno party. Good music, lot of jagermeisters, cigarettes, new acquaintances, 12 hours of non stop hard core partying…
But, that smile felt forced. It was not a smile that my body wanted to make.
“Why do I have a forced smile on my face?”
And then I realized.
I realized I have found the answer to the question that I have been looking for the last 3 years.
It was something that I have been telling myself all the time during the last three years but never realized it fully until now.
Something very simple:
I have been looking for attention from everywhere else but within, in order to be happy and fulfilled.
And by doing that I put myself on hold and not do
- What I want to do
- What I love to do
- With whomever I want to do it
- Whenever I want to do
It took me three years of conscious experimenting to realize it. Why three years?
Because exactly three years ago I had an event that awoke me and triggered this experimentation.
A simple panic attack. Shortly after, followed by a series of “less panicky conscious experiments”:
- I broke up with my girlfriend
- I quit drinking and smoking for 9 months (after 15 years of doing just that, weekends by weekend)
- I wrote a personal “business plan” containing what I wanted to do, my purpose, goals, values principles, a strategy containing techniques to execute my goals and reach my vision.
- I quit my job in order to create something mine from the very beginning, and that to be something my spirit and soul want to do.
- I started looking for my soul mate.
- I started to explore spirituality.
My life issues compared to most of the world?
The panic attack: May 2014.
Just a regular night, watching a movie and eating a post workout dinner. I was having 6 boiled eggs, 250 gr. rice, and 3 chicken breasts. I was hoping to get GAINZ and shredded for the summer so that I would show off.
There is a saying here in Macedonia “Every cooking pot has it’s own lid. Do not put lids on pots that do not belong to” – and I was doing exactly that.
Then the panic attack hit.
I felt this warmth climbing up from my feet towards my body and head – it was like my blood was trying to get out of my body, or at least it seemed so because my skin turned red and felt so hot.
And the next thing I remember, I was having a roller coaster of emotions going through me. Spikes of low and high energy. Anger, love, hate… I felt like those casino slot machines lever being yanked and awaiting for the result. I got scared and went in the living room where my dad was sitting, and just stood there.
“Whats up?” He asked.
“Nothing…” now when I look at that moment i am just baffled by my response: I WAS HAVING A FUCKING ATTACK AND ALL I CAN SAY IS NOTHING?
Luckily, he asked if I am sure and I just told him somethings up i dunno what, we gotta go to the hospital NOW.
The doctors could not tell me what was going on.
“Where do you feel the sensation? “
“I…I don’t know. Here” and I show towards my whole body.
She gave me some kind of B vitamins which I took and did not work. Could not sleep for the whole night.
The following weeks were a frikking nightmare.
What if I die? What the fuck did happen? Why me? I kept asking myself these questions. I thought that every moment I was going to die.
When I was laying in bed and was about to close my eyes…”BOOM!!! You gonna die bitch” and I get up, turn on the lights and stare at the wall like a little bitch until I collapse from exhaustion. It did not stop there though – the dreams I had were nothing short of horror movies from which I kept waking up.
Now I realize that this panic attack was my subconscious telling me – wake up dude and learn your lesson.
But I could not awaken yet and deal with those death infested experiences because I focused all my conscious efforts to deal with a relationship going nowhere.
That leads me to the first point: the breakup.
She wanted something I could not give to her and we kept sinking from argument into argument into argument.
The way I deal with stressful situations is by eating A LOT of food. For three months I ate like a pig. the pinnacle happened during my holiday in Greece
I ate three gyros pitas per day for the whole 7 days. Do not get me wrong, I ENJOYED EVERY BITE.
The pain that I was going through eh?
Came back from the holiday, took this picture:
Fell asleep, looked at it the next day and realized – you fucking PIG. You would rather eat than face the reality you are in? Shortly after we both ended the relationship.
How did the breakup felt?
It felt like chains the size of the world just dropped from me and now i had the regained the ability to start my journey and find out what the hell is going on with me.
Although I was “free”, the freedom did not seem fulfilling. That was so, because I was looking for freedom from outside. I was not looking at the right place and i did not realize it yet.
So what should I do next?
Be honest to other people for the first time in my life.
- Told my parents what i wanted to do with my life and where and how. Told them, while being fully aware, how much i love them and how much i am grateful for everything they have done.
- Told the same thing to my sister.
- Visited the resting places of three of my closest people and cried the shit out of myself. Told them my regrets, guilts and how much i miss them and how much they taught me in my life, and that i am eternally grateful for everything.
- Talked to my closest cousins and friends and let them know everything that i have lied to them one way or the other (although the lies were lies to protect my ego and has nothing to do with them) how much i respect them and that they can count on me every time they need me.
- Told my boss, a sharp and beautiful woman what i wanted to do (although she knew before i even said it) and that it was not the current job i was in.
I thought honesty was going to be the one thing that made me feel happy. It did not. Because I was still seeking for the attention of other people through honesty and it did not feel fulfilling at the end. (Thankfully, the nightmares were gone. I started sleeping like a fucking baby).
What else can I do?
I decided to stop drinking and smoking. This was very strange in the beginning.
I grew up in a society where we started smoking and drinking as a way to have fun and and look cool. Every weekend since. This habit was so deeply ingrained within us that when I told people i did not drink, the immediate responses were:
- How will you have fun when you go out?
- Are you sick?
- Hahah sure. Here have a beer.
In reality i had the same questions. What will I do when I go out?
And then I went out. It was the same as being drunk only now:
- I could clearly and coherently talk
- Remember the night completely
- Save money
- No hangover. I had the next day to do whatever I wanted without being encumbered by booze.
- Health. My metabolism skyrocketed. Six pack, energy levels through the roof.
And I continued this lifestyle until I started drinking and smoking again for two months. Why?
Remember the saying about lids and cooking pots? I quit drinking and smoking for the wrong reasons. I was not doing it for myself. I was doing it to attract the attention of others. And you can only go so far when you see that there are no result and nobody cares.
Which brings me to the third point.
My personal business plan.
I called it the story of the bbdirector. “What does bb mean?” People asked me.
In the beginning I had no idea what it meant, but I realized that it can mean many things. Beer belly, beautiful babes, beer and burgers, beach body, beautiful books, baba…
It can mean all of the things I have never had in my life, or had in my life, or just will have in the future – hell even my current boss/friend/colleague is called Bobby.
The business plan is a proper plan for life and contains strategies to tackling life and all aspects with knowledge from books, knowledge from authors, speakers and what not that will help me attain the goals I set out in the plan. I even went that far to visualize how I would like my late 20ties, early 30ties and late 30ties to look. In horrifying detail.
But, I did not really accomplish any of these goals.
Why? The same fucking reason i started smoking and drinking again. I created this plan to attract the attention of others. And when I did attract it and saw that no one cares what was the point of going further?
Did I mention that I was enlightened? And that I was so convinced that the universe will reward me for my honesty, that I did not really need to anything. Those goals would achieve themselves.
My thoughts would manifest them without me doing anything.
What an idiot.
This brings me to the next point.
Quitting my job to follow my own thing.
Keep in mind all of the 6 things are happening simultaneously.
I first got introduced to the startup scene in 2014 when a friend of mine went through an accelerator program and afterwards told me about it. I immediately knew I wanted to delve into this startup ecosystem and do something, but did not know what – I had no idea. Somehow I managed to join his team (they were two guys, both of them good friends of mine) and we went from there.
His project was the first attempt of me trying to do something new and exciting. During the one year in which this endeavor lasted, I learned most of the theory (and some practice) needed to run a startup. Unfortunately, the project stopped and my excitement was put to a halt. And I got pissed off. I needed something new. So I started brainstorming; Most of the ideas were utter crap except for one.
It was a 5 second money making game – where people could play against each other in 5 second games and win money. Pitched it to people and friends, got a small team going and started creating the game. We pivoted once, and became an online commerce startup that enabled people to get new premium products for just 1$ – an idea that could have disrupted e commerce from the bottom up.
I knew this thing was the one I needed to do and go all in. I told my boss that I wanted to focus on this project and that I would be not working for the agency anymore.
Some asked me, why would you go man? You have a great career there, you are an account manager at the biggest and most successful ad agency on the Balkans. The project you have is not even market tested yet! It does not matter, I told them, because it will be great and I need to fully focus my energies if I want for this to succeed. It looked as if this project will be fucking insane.
But it wasn’t.
A string of less fortunate events happened right at the time when I told my boss I am quitting my job, that crushed this project at that time.
What events? Most teammates found new jobs and quit the project. And I was left alone.
What did I learn? When it comes to survival, people will first put themselves regardless of what you do for them.
Fuck it. So, no project, “betrayed”, a debt on my credit card, no job. And it was all my fault.
“You are responsible for your own failures and nobody else”. I acknowledged this but I still did not learn from it.
Which leads me to the next point.
I wanted to find my soul mate. It was that simple. But it was that difficult. Because I could not get the attention of women. Why? Women are masters at reading if you are real or not.
How can they be into someone that seeks attention from outside to make himself feel happy and fulfilled?
Truth be told I had a lot of missed opportunities with women.
Why missed? Mostly because I felt that these women were just not “right” for me.
“She looks good but… i don’t know about her character. I feel as if she hasn’t got a good one. Ah well move on to the next one.” My reaction to this kind of thinking now?
I worked so hard to get their attention, that I built up this illusion that only a perfect woman will satisfy me right now.
I idealized and objectified women – none was good enough for me and every single one had something that dismissed her as being a great girl for me.
And I still did not learn.
Which TA DA brings me to the last point:
The spiritual aspect.
I searched, read publications and books on self growth and psychology, listened to scholars such as Alan Watts in order to find out the answer to the same question that I asked myself every time during these three years:
What am I not learning?
Why can’t I achieve the goals I wrote? Why did my projects fail? Why can’t I find my “soul mate”?
Throughout my search, one thing always popped up:
Be yourself. And it kept popping up until that morning on the first of January 2017, when I realized what it meant.
To be happy and fulfilled, I needed to focus my attention on me, not on others, so that I can be myself, do what I want to do, what I like to do, what is good for me physically, mentally and spiritually, with whom I want and when I want. Only this way I will have a genuine smile that my body, soul, spirit and mind will fully support.
Because if I
- spend my whole attention on growing and evolving myself physically, spiritually and mentally,
- accept myself as I am,
- respect myself,
- feel good because of what I do, and what i do is what I love to do,
then nothing else matters. Then, and only then, will by DEFAULT people respect you and like you – and this is how it should really be even though it will not matter.
So what is the first step? The step towards having the real smile?
First step was a reality check.
I did a retrospective on where I am, what have I done so far, and what is missing.
Then I wrote down some very important questions:
- When I wake up on the first of January 2018,
- What would my body want to smile about?
- What would my soul want to smile about?
- What would my heart want to smile about?
- What would my spirit want to smile about?
- How would I want the day to look like?
- Where would I want to wake up?
- With whom?
- In what physical and mental state?
- Career wise?
- Social circle?
- Knowledge wise?
Next, I wrote down an exact script of how I would like that day to pan out (it’s at the end of this post).
Fourth, a proper challenge. You know how they say, to solve the problem, become the problem?
If my ego needs attention to survive, then make it work for the attention.
So I started packing this script in an envelope, sealed it and gave it to my sister so that she reads it to me on the 1st of January 2018.
But then I thought, I am dealing with a very big ego. Inflated, full of unreal expectations and needs, filthy, lonely, attention seeking ego. It thrives on attention from outside.
So what would be a better way to put the ego to the test and see how much of it was real? A way to see if it can take some quality whoop ass?
Publish it on my blog. You want attention Mr Ego? Here you go. Let’s see if you can handle it for real.
Now that i have laid out the foundation, what is the second step?
Just do it. First ask myself the following questions:
- Will this make me happy?
- Is this something i want and need to do?
- Is this a good thing to do?
- What will I learn from this?
And do it. That is it.
I open my eyes. I feel my mouth move in such a way that I have not felt it ever before.
“So that is how it feels to smile for real” – I turn to the left and see through the window that it is snowing. Just below the falling snow, I notice this blonde beauty laying beside me and sleeping. Her back is uncovered and I can see her tattoo intertwining with the long blonde hair. I take a quick peek underneath the sheets.
“Damn. Nice booty.” I give her a kiss on the cheek, stand up, leave her to sleep and go to the living room. I open my Mac and see that the Vhub Slack channel is bustling with wishes for great new year. It was a great year. We managed to grow to nearly 100 employees in just under a year.
“Anything is possible with a team like that”. And I open my bank account.
“Nearly 3k earnings per month from sales and the 500 from the blog.” Not bad dude. And all it took was being you. Now lets take that blonde Snowwhite somewhere nice. Where should we go?
I do the booking and do my regular 90 minutes cardio + strength training. Take a shower and head to the kitchen. Open up the fridge and I notice the beer sitting there.
“365 days without a single drop of alcohol or cigarettes. Why not go for some more eh?” I then take some eggs, bacon, butter and toast, make the breakfast and head to the bedroom with it. But I almost forgot – need to check my blog.
- One post per day, each day of the year. Check.
- Schedule the regular posts about:
- sales, pitching and presentation
- self growth
- Send out a happy new year to the 10k blog followers, 2k insta/tweeter followers. Check
Check. Now I get in the bedroom and lay besides Snowwhite.
“Morning beautiful.” I whisper in her ear. Then, the same smile I had, appears on her face.
During my search, I got a present from my grandmother. It was this stress ball:
Now, I turned it upside down: