Posts categorized "Money"

Free Work

Charlie Hoehn has come up with a great idea called "free work". This is a radical new approach to start anyone down the path of building the career they want, and the life they want, while doing what they want to do.  

I wish I had thought of this at the start of my career. Instead, I followed the conventional path and wasted years of my life in corporate misery. I finally found the courage to break free, but it just wasn't necessary to wait.  

In his TEDx session, Charlie talks about how frustrating the traditional job search actually is. Searching for a "normal job" is the first step down a path toward creating a life you absolutely do not want. 10 years later, you find yourself in an industry you did not choose, surrounded by people you did not choose to be with, doing a job that does not tap into any of your true interests or talents. This is the conventional path that we are told to accept, but there are other ways.

What I find most interesting about Charlie is how he struggled with, and then ultimately found himself overcome by, his gut-feelings and intuition. His decision seems to have come from a place of feeling backed into a corner. Oftentimes, extraordinary accomplishments come not from our exceptional talents or capabilities, but from panic and desperation. 

Faced with options that makes us feel sick inside, too many of us try to cope. We turn to anti-depressants and we lie to ourselves because we can see no other options. But thee are options. There are endless options in life and infinite solutions to every problem.  Free work is one.  Enjoy the video.

Posted by Mark Manney.

Am I a manic depressive, bi-polar freak?

These past few weeks spent traveling and on the beach have given me time to think (probably too much time to think).  I've made some very difficult, painful discoveries about myself and I think that what I have to say might be interesting to others like me.

Some days I find myself in an absolutely exuberant state of inspiration and brilliance.  On those days, everything works -- relationships, creativity, work, and everything else I engage in.  I am full of energy and, when I let that energy shine into the world, life is beautiful.  I hold onto this version of me as my self-identity.  This is the identity that I attempt to project to the world.  But it isn't the full truth about who I am.

The problem is that I am never able to sustain the inspired state of being beyond a few days.  After some time, I find myself burning-out or maybe just becoming too influenced by the depressing state of things in my life or in the world.  I start worrying about money.  I start to feel the burden of my inability to achieve everything I set out to achieve.  I withdraw from relationships, keeping everything inside.  On my worst days, I go through life with a negative attitude and offer those who love me very little emotionally.  I get depressed.

This is my normal cycle.  The only question is how extreme these extremes can become.  Maybe there's something wrong with me, or maybe this is how any creative, experiential person goes through life.  That is what I'm trying to figure out.  Is this simply normal and inevitable for a person like me?  If so, why do we pretend otherwise?

Is it possible for anyone to maintain an inspired, bliss-filled, exuberant state indefinitely?  I don't think so.  If you allow yourself to enter into a state of feeling fully-alive, it is absolutely inevitable that at some point you will come-down.  That feeling of coming-down, when compared with the feeling of being fully-alive, will always feel like depression.

People like me accept the world not as it is; rather, we see it the way we want to see it.  We try to find beauty where we can, we chase moments of bliss where they can be found, and we take risks to achieve our dreams.  To live freely and openly is to inevitably live somewhat recklessly.  We end up facing more judgment, negative consequences, painful failures, and disappointments than most people.  The natural consequence of bringing a flash of inspiration into the world is that "reality" hits back like a cold shower.

The great ideas we chase are often completely rejected or they fail miserably.  The inspired works of art we create are often criticized or, worse yet, ignored.  The relationships in which we invest our energies often fail to meet our needs in return.  On top of that, we all face financial / economic realities, we get older, people around us pass away...life happens.  And, when life does happen, we feel it more severely than most because oftentimes we are coming-down from a state of being that is really fucking great.  We know how great life can be because we touch it, feel it, experience it all the time.  But nothing lasts forever.  It goes in cycles.

My conclusion: all of this is natural and completely unavoidable.  Nobody who attempts to be or do anything extraordinary can experience life any other way.  To avoid these ups and downs is to live in a way that isn't worth living at all.  

Still, there are things we can do to make it better.  I find that, when I am taking care of my health (eating well on the slow-carb diet, exercising, not drinking too much, and getting enough sleep), then my low-points are not as low.  Also, my wife and daughter bring a great deal of stability and contentedness into my life and keep me sane.  My highs and lows simply aren't as extreme because they are put into the context of this amazing, loving relationship and the responsibilities that come with it.  Finally, I find that it is really important to be a generalist; to pursue many different passions and interests at once.  You can't invest all of your hope, dreams, and expectations into one thing or you could crash in a really big way.

In the end, I don't regret how I live or how I am.  I think back on the overwhelming number of experiences I've had and wouldn't change anything.  My somewhat ridiculously high hopes for the future get me out of bed each day.  That said; I also know that it isn't easy to love me, to live with me, or to understand me.  I don't mean to hurt or disappoint anyone.  This is just how I am and, like all of us, I'm doing the best I can.

Posted by Mark Manney.

The great revolution

The great revolution will come when people simply decide to do exactly what they want to do.

We are told that we are free.  Yet, from the youngest age, we are forced into educational institutions that are designed only to produce obedient behaviors and conformist thinking.  It isn't that we aren't hungry to learn by nature, but true learning isn't something that flows from being locked-up in some institution from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day of our precious, young lives.  This educational system takes away our passions and our individuality in order to prepare us for an adult life that is even worse.  But alternate educational models are emerging.  I will be exploring everything as my daughter starts school in a few years.

When we finally survive our school years, we stare into the abyss of a job market that should terrify anyone.  If young people do find a job, it certainly pays too little.  What today's jobs ask of us is nothing short of everything.  We waste all of our days doing everything but what we would choose to do if we were free.  We work because we are scared.  In return, we are paid just enough (maybe) to find a place to live, buy food, and transportation.  Oh, and then we can try to enjoy some leisure activities with whatever energy we are left with after a work week that leaves us depleted physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  All the while, we worry about debt, health care, our children's education, and so much more.  It would be silly for me to argue any further about how shitty the job market is.  In Europe, in particular, massive numbers of young people are choosing not to work normal jobs because they are refusing to accept it.

For those of us who do accept it, this is how we live.  Days drag on like years while the years somehow fly by.  We desperately find ways to cope with an entire reality that is, by any measure, unacceptable.  We are screaming inside as our hopes and dreams are lost.  When we walk the path we were told to aspire to, we are stripped of all that is good and beautiful as the true potential within each of us fades away and ultimately dies.  This is the path we are directed toward.  This is what the corporate-controlled world wants for us because it is good business for them.  I want you to know that all of it is entirely unnecessary.  There is a different way.

For most of my life, I walked this conventional path as well as anyone.  At age 30, I left it forever.  I won the battle with my inner-voices of fear.  I started doing what I wanted to do.  I want everyone to know that you, yourself, can start a revolution by doing nothing other than by doing what you want to do.  This revolution doesn't happen overnight, but it can happen if you shift your thinking and change the path you're on.

I know that you have interests and you have some sort of skills and talents.  So you have value.  When you find a way to get paid for what you are good at, you will earn a better living than by doing only what you are told to do.  Ultimately, you will end up making more income than you do today by working only a few hours a day.  Anyone can do this.  I highly recommend reading the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.  I began living this way years before the book came out, but his entire approach and philosophy puts all of this into focus.  It will change your life.

As you begin to free-up more time and grow your income, you start to rediscover the person you are.  The goal isn't leisure.  The purpose is not to sit on some beach forever (only until you are bored).  As you discover your freedom, you do more of what excites you.  What do you so badly want to to do or to become?  It will haunt you until you do it...so just get it over with.   Turn your dreams and fantasies into realities.  If you like the reality, hold onto it.  Otherwise move on.  But if you don't experience something you badly want, you will never grow beyond that dream.  Experience is the process of becoming more than you are today.

Why do we keep waiting for a revolution when it is right there within our reach?   We have the power.  We have laptops, we have smart phones, and we have infinite imagination.  While your personal revolution can start tomorrow (as it did for me at age 30), the real break-through will happen when we collectively realize our power to live as we want to.  We don't need to drive to work at some corporation to earn a living.  I have spent the past 10 years inventing a system that will revolutionize the way we live and work.  I am starting the process of raising funding and bringing-in the right partners to build what will become an alternate economy on-line.  Opposite of today's corporate economy, this will be a people economy -- where we are everything we need.  

This system will connect people based what we want.  It is a more efficient form of capitalism whereby we quickly and easily meet all the right people to exchange with and work with just as we also meet all the right people to help us fulfill our hopes, dreams, and fantasies.  I know it will work and I know it is the ultimate purpose of my life to launch this revolution.  

Who am I to attempt this?  I am a musician, writer, entrepreneur, an expert in sales, and so much more.  All of these aspects of my being will continue as I also move in the direction of making this idea a reality.  I want everyone to live as I have over these past years, but even better.  This system will revolutionize the world because, finally, we can be everything we need.  We don't need to fight anyone to win this revolution, we just need to do what we want to do.  Anything worth doing also involves connecting with others.  So we need a better system to connect us with the right people.

So this is my big, revolutionary idea that I will move forward with as fast as possible.  But, in truth, there's no reason to wait for the revolution.  Work hard doing what you are good at (or want to become good at) and find people who will pay you for it.  Do it on your terms.  Work the hours you want to.  Or find a job and work from home (3 hours a day not 9).  Or travel the world and find odd jobs along the way.  There are options.

All of us are free, so why do we continue listening to the echos of teachers, parents, friends, bosses, or the pundits on TV.  Why watch films that steal our imagination by presenting a false picture of normalcy?  Reality is, indeed, what we make of it.  We are free to do what we want with our time, our relationships, our thoughts, our words, our art, and our experiences.  Hard work is necessary and good, but we have to direct that hard work toward something we want.  This is the great revolution.  It will change everything as today's institutions begin crumbling.  

I am surrounded by youth.  In my 4-year-old daughter, I see the potential of life before it gets muted by self-serving institutional agendas.  What if this unique happiness, passion, and desire to learn...what if it could be nurtured and developed properly?  What could she become after the revolution?

  Ella

Also, as I spend time with the guys in my band and many other 20-somethings, I clearly see their value and potential.  Yet I see many young people working in jobs that require none of their best skills or talents.  Worse yet, many young people are choosing a life of dependency or poverty.  It doesn't have to be this way.  

We can believe in ourselves, take our freedom, and with everything we are...just do what we want.  Imagine.

Posted by Mark Manney.

All popular ideas are wrong

Popular ideas are only useful if you want only to be normal.  If you want only to live an average life, conventional wisdom is all you need.  If you want an exceptional life, you need to innovate and think differently.

Back when I graduated from Business School and went to work in the corporate world, I was young enough, foolish enough, and brainwashed enough to live according to all of the popular ideas.  I hated the 9 to 5 but thought it was inevitable.  I watched TV at night.  I had no real hobbies.  As painful and unnatural as it was for me, I tried so hard to fit-in.  I tried to believe what I was told and any deviation of thought or action only went so far as being still appropriate.  I failed on that path.

Somehow radical ideas never leave me alone.  The problem I've always had is that, when an idea makes sense, when it is true, or when it works to achieve a desired result; I would always toss out what was popular in order to embrace what was better.    

 I'm not just talking about political ideas or opinions.  I'm talking about ideas for life.  I know that it is supposed to be cool not to care about money, but I think that's foolish.  Everybody knows that life is hard when you're worried about money.  Furthermore, lack of resources is the most common obstacle that intelligent, brilliant people have in reaching their fullest potential.

I've done Sales for a living for my whole career.  I sell very expensive software solutions to large corporations.  But I don't sell in the way that everybody else sells.  Over the years, I came up with a specific process that allows me to get 10X the result of my colleagues in something like 2 hours per day.  In the early days, I even told my colleagues about it.  But they didn't do it because my approach wasn't normal.  So I just shut up about it and did it my way.  Then, during the other 6 hours of the workday, I would sit in my corporate prison and browse the web.

In 2005 I decided that I could no longer tolerate wasting my days in the cube.  I told my boss I would be working remotely and that, if he didn't agree, we could part ways.  Oh, and by "working remotely" I mean moving from Seattle to Slovakia.  My boss agreed because they needed to continue getting the results I was getting.  Huge life lesson: deliver value to people and they will pay you even as you get what you want out of the situation.

It isn't unusual to dream of traveling the world or living abroad.  To do it, most people teach languages, work in bars or restaurants, and do whatever it takes to scrape by because it is normal to believe that this is the trade-off one must make.  That's one way to do it and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.  But there are others ways.  Other people believe that they have to first have a million dollars in the savings account before they can take such a risk (in other words, they never do it at all).  What I figured out is that all I needed was a modest amount in savings (a year's income) and, more importantly, cash-flow.  

Cash-flow is what made it possible for me to live for a month in Cannes, Barcelona, and Paris.  I've travelled to dozens of European countries, and gone back to the US at least once a year.  More importantly; rather than wasting my time in the cube and in the commute, I've spent 8 years with enough free time to chase my passions.  When I moved to Europe, I had never written a song, had never performed live...actually I wasn't a musician.  What made all of it possible was the unconventional, highly-effective approach I took to my career.

Aside from traveling, writing, and recording and performing music, I've met so many amazing people.  I get to spend each day with my wife, we own a home in Europe, and now we are proud parents of a 3-year-old daughter.

But actually there's nothing special or unique about me.  Anything you want can be done.  But you have to let go of popular ideas.  Popular ideas about health will make you sick.  Popular ideas about nutrition will make you fat.  Popular ideas about marriage will bore you to the point of divorce.  Popular ideas about art will make you boring.  Popular ideas about work will make you a miserable slave.  

Anybody can have or do whatever they want in life.  But you're not going to do it with popular ideas.  There are other ideas -- better ideas that are more effective and more true -- which I want to start to start sharing with you in an honest, open way.   Whenever I find the time, I will get very specific and post ideas that I know will help you.

Posted by Mark Manney.

Interview with Floyd Bartholomew

Click on the gray box below to listen to this episode of the Abscondo podcast:

Abscondo Podcast - 50 - Chasing Dreams interview with Floyd

Floyd is an interesting philosophy student from Utah who has appeared on the podcast before (episode 34).

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or in the new Podcast app

Posted by Mark Manney.

Chasing Dreams: Interview with Carl-Otto Johansson of Orphan Songs

Click on the gray link below to listen to the podcast. 

Abscondo Podcast - 43 - Orphan Songs

"I feel that the world we live in is not necessarily the ideal place."

- Carl-Otto Johansson

Also check out the debut album from Orphan Songs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes

Posted by Mark Manney.

The truth about happiness

There is a little lie that we tell ourselves.  It is a lie that helps us make it through the challenges of each day.  It is a lie that keeps us focused on doing what it takes to get what we want.  We tell ourselves that, if we could only get what we want in life, we would finally be happy and content.  This isn't the full truth.

Nature has given us desire.  Desire is what motivates us, drives us forward, and helps us cope with today's challenges.  Chasing our desire is the process by which we get what we want.  But getting what we want makes us happy only for a time.  What once makes us completely happy soon gets old and dull.   A child's enthusiasm for a slide decreases with each trip up the ladder.  In our teenage years, we might fall in love with a band and play an album again and again.  But, in time, all music becomes too familiar and we lose interest.  In adulthood, we believe that we will be completed when we fall in love with and even marry that special someone.  Yet, as the years go by in even the most ideal relationship, we discover that we need even so much more than this in life to stay happy and content.  The same is true with respect to any material possession, any accomplishment, any amount of money, any level of fame, and any level of success.  This is why a person can have it all and still be unhappy.  A person is unhappy when he or she is not seeking or accomplishing something new!

There are no destinations in life.  Life is a series of stages in which we continue to chase various goals, dreams, and desires.  When we get what we want, we have fun and we are happy.  Sometimes this lasts for an hour, sometimes a day, sometimes a month, sometimes a few years.  But, in time, the positive effects of any destination begins to fade and we catch ourselves dreaming, planning, craving, and reaching for that next thing.

Happiness is to seek, to explore, to dream, to pursue, and to accomplish.  Happiness comes from continued newness.  Yet newness is fleeting, so we must always find new newness!  But of course not all newness is good.  I'm talking about newness that comes from seeking what we want and getting what we want.   And how much of what we seek and what we get is actually what we want?  How much of it comes from our deepest desires and is  guided by our inner voices and how much of it is imposed upon us?  How much of what we seek and what we get is a reflection of our authentic selves?  In truth, you cannot find true happiness by chasing somebody else's dreams, by doing what somebody else expects, or by conforming to what society considers ideal or appropriate.  It has to be what you want!

Living in allignment with our nature is what makes us happy!  Your function in nature is to realize your potential as a unique genetic mutation.  To pursue what you want and get what you want is the process by which your life is fulfilled.  This is happiness.

Why should life be any different?  Nature does not stand still.  It does not leave us alone and does not give us a break because we have achieved something.  Nature brings relentless change and, like any animal, we survive only if we can change with it.  The urge we feel to get what we want is what helps us learn new skills and constantly improve.  Without those urges, that drive, that desire, the processes of evolution would have killed us off long ago.  This is how we're designed. 

Despite what the external forces of conformity will tell you...to live in truth, rightness, and happiness is to live in accordance with your own nature.  What's wrong with this world is not what's wrong with your nature.  Quite the opposite: what's wrong with this world has to do with all of those external forces opposing your nature.  More on that in future posts...

Posted by Mark Manney.

I think I'll start a bank

I think I'll start a bank.  I'll call it the Abscondo Bank.  I'll make you some promises and then I'll gladly accept your deposits (take your money) with a smile.  Then I'll buy a few private jets, maybe a few hotels, of course I'll throw some extravagant parties, and eventually I'll buy a few mansions.  You'll respect me, envy me, and you'll also tell yourself that I'm smart and I must deserve it.  Oh, then I'll also gamble your money away on some really risky investments.  Finally, I'll buy a few politicians because, you know, you have to plan for the future.

One day when the money starts to run out, when my spending gets too far out-of-control, and when my bad investments catch-up with me, then I'll just go to those politicians I bought.  They'll help me out.  After all, nobody wants you to realize how you've been screwed.  If you realize what I'm up to, this whole system will collapse.  Then how will I exploit you?  So, when I start to run into problems, of course the politicians will hand over some of that other money of yours...you know, the money you unquestioningly pay to the government through taxes.  I'll use that money to prop-up my ponzi scheme just a bit longer.  We'll call it a bail-out.  They'll tell you the bail-out is necessary to maintain your way of life...but in truth this is only about maintaining my way of life.

Sounds like a pretty good idea, right?  Does anybody want to give me their money right away?  Or do I need to first rent a nice office space, buy some nice suits, and put out some slick advertisements?  I'm starting to like this idea!

Posted by Mark Manney.

Important statement by Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Congressman Dennis Kucinich speaks the truth about the Federal Reserve and the banking system. 

With yesterday's global Central Bank announcement to print even more dollars from thin air, it is clear that Federal Reserve corruption is one of the core problems for not just Americans, but global citizens around the world.  Those new dollars, once again, will go straight to bankers and dilute the value of the money that any of us have managed to save.

 

Monopoly1

Of course he has absolutely no hope of altering / ending the monopolistic charter of the Federal Reserve.  More likely, he'll be killed in a plane crash for trying.

 

Posted by Mark Manney.