Five years ago today, I walked alone into the oldest movie theater in New Orleans. An old man tore my ticket in half, slipped one piece into a little wooden box, handed back the other, and then he said to me, “Enjoy the movie, young man.” What followed was the most magical movie experience of my life. I’ve now watched that same, beautiful film five times, always on January 1st, and every time I’ve cried.
Here’s how I’m trying to build this software business. I’m focusing on tour companies right now. Given my penchant for travel and adventure, I figure I can well relate to those people. The trick is to try talk with as many of them as possible and find out what the common problems are in the industry. Then I sketch out a software solution and try presell it. Presales = proof of market. Only then, once I see them buying in advance, will I go build the thing.
Noticed something about myself: I find it easier to be confident when there are shy people around. Being surrounded by super alpha guys usually causes me to fall back rather than rise up. I’m not proud of this. I’d much rather be the kind of person who steps his game up when the bar is raised, but I don’t seem to do that in social situations. There’s a limiting belief in there somewhere, I’m sure. And it might run, but it can’t hide.
I’m almost a week into this coaching gig, up at six for a call. It’s going pretty good so far. I could definitely have made more money this month devoting the same amount of time to freelance web design, but with that the learning would be lacking. Coaching is all new and different and a little scary. This guy is trusting me to help fulfill his biggest dream. The challenge for me is knowing when to be firm and when to ease up.
2am, still hunched over pushing buttons, and I have to be up early tomorrow. How am I so busy right now? What the hell happened to cutting the fluff and putting 100% of my focus into the software business this month? I tell myself that I’ll have plenty of downtime when I’m stuck aboard the cargo ship for four weeks, but I know that’s not true either. Give me some free time and I will fill that shit right up.
I’ve always liked that definition of luck as the intersection of preparation and opportunity. And if you believe that, you gotta believe that you have a large say in how lucky you are. Because preparation is totally up to you. And opportunities seem to increase in proportion to how many people you’ve formed genuine connections with. Today I didn’t feel especially lucky, but I likely set myself up to be lucky down the line.
Here’s a tip for being more social, one I often have to remind myself of: Acknowledge Everyone. That guy you met at the party last week? Make a point to catch his attention and banter for a bit when you see him at the mall. The girl in the park you recognize but can’t quite place? Say hello anyway and ask where you know her from. The one person in the group you haven’t met yet? “Hi, we haven’t met yet. I’m Niall.”
179 people have signed up to my new Mantalk list, and 52 of them have emailed me. I love reading the different stories, people from all places, races, sexual cases. And they open up, man. Secret embarrassments, private struggles. I try to give as good as I get, sharing as much as I dare, sometimes a little beyond. We’re all so scared of being vulnerable, but we need to be. It’s so important. True strength is that willingness to reveal your weakness.
Proud of myself today. On the interview with Mike, I asked the two questions I was most hesitant to ask. Of course, it all went fine. Later on a Skype call with a tour operator I was resistant to try price anchoring for the first time but made myself push through. “Yes,” the guy told me, “if you can build software that solves that problem, I would be quite happy to pay you $100 a month.” Neo says whoa.
Were you in Kathmandu about eighteen months ago she asks. And I answer yes. Did you visit King’s Way while you were there she asks. And I answer yes. Were you with a tall Nepali guy she asks. And I answer yes. Did you go to a group of people and ask one girl for her number she asks. And I can’t quite remember, but I know the answer is yes, and that she’s the same girl.
Twenty-nine metro stops and a short taxi ride away, there’s a dome atop a hill with a scope pointed at a dark Korean sky. We see Alnitak on the belt and three bright satellites of Neptune. And our own magnified moon, more spectacular than I could ever have imagined. Afterwards we trudge patches of snow along a woodland path, telling tales of rides thumbed and rocks climbed.
I try distracting myself with three bowls of muesli and relentless top tens on YouTube. My ego’s trying to hide, reluctant to contemplate the possibility that I fucked up, that I might as well be seventeen again. Almost had myself convinced that I’d done the mature and respectful thing, honored boundaries unspoken. But the facade came crashing down when we said goodbye an hour ago. Her parting words: “If you had hit on me last night, we probably would have slept together.”
So Niall, how’s it going with that $100,00-in-the-bank-by-the-end-of-2014 goal you set for yourself and had the audacity to announce publicly, hah? It’s not going all that well, thanks for asking. I have less than $5k to my name right now, and very little income to speak of. But I feel fine. I’m putting in work and getting smarter all the time. I may or may not capture that flag by the end of the year, but it won’t be for lack of trying.
Mind buzzing, can’t sleep. I lay in bed for three hours, never got close, finally accepted defeat and booted up the Air. It’s 1:18 as these keys are tapped and I have to be up at six to prep for a coaching call. No worries. I view the restlessness as a trade-off of a mind expanding. Estoy aprendiendo mucho en estos días, rewiring my brain, demolishing limiting beliefs and building better on the rubble. How’s a man supposed to sleep amidst the sounds of cement trucks and wrecking balls?
I did a few experiments in the past where I tried to put on muscle while barely exercising. And I recently watched a guy on YouTube boast how he stays in great shape while working out only 2-3 hours a month. That seems like the dumbest thing in the world to me now. What good is it to look fit without actually being fit? Modern me wants to spend more time working out, so I can bound mountains, swim lakes and slay giants. Not just look good naked.
In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?