After I understood that I ain’t gonna be a great singer, painter or a model, I decided to work on something I’m good at and which I can actually perfect. Marrying a rich husband as the way for a living also didn’t turn me on so I had to start planning on how to create my own riches and try to reach internal happiness and satisfaction.
Lorenz’s Butterfly Effect told us once that the minor and almost sub-conscious actions in everyday life can be seen to have gross and widespread effects upon the future. What once seemed to me to be a spontaneous decision to take, had an incremental impact on my life.
When I was 19, I decided to take a gap year after completing my 1st year of BSc International Business at University of Poznan and leave Poland to continue my educational journey in London – it wasn’t caused by some difficulties related to the Polish economy, money or anything like that. I’ve been attending 2nd best economic university in Poland (1st was in Warsaw and I didn’t want to be 9 Polish-train hours away from my home town.)
I knew it wouldn’t be difficult for me to find a well-paid job if I stayed. Instead, I wanted something different, but what was that? I couldn’t know yet.
I left deceptive security and comfort zone for the unknown. And looking back today I know I’ve made the right choice.
It didn’t make much sense at first. After I arrived to London, I had to start from scratch. Before, I’ve never worked physically in my life. Now, in order not to be too big parasite for my mom, I had to serve cocktails and food in the bars to pay for my life and crazy rent fees. I hated it badly. I don’t think I’ve learned anything from there, apart that I was more and more motivated to reach higher. Luckily I taught myself Photoshop when I was 16 years old to create a The Sims Online fan page, so soon I started doing graphic design for the owner of the bar I used to work. Instead of pouring beers and whiskeys (which I was shit at) I was designing flyers and posters as an extra. I decided to open a brand identity design ltd company where I created logos, business cards etc. I got clients mainly in networking events and WoM but my heart wasn’t in graphic design.
I still wasn’t making a fortune and needed a security (a.ka day job), but I already got the taste of the mastership. I wasn’t doing graphic design for long because I realized I can’t and do not want a scalable job. I didn’t want to be a money prostitute but rather to reach a J.K Rowling phenomenon.
I knew my strengths. I just needed to find the result to the equation of where I would fit in.
Adventure ∩ Technology ∩ Scalability ∩ Extrovert ∩ My Own Rules ∩ People Smarter Than Me ∩ Disruption ∩ Kaizen
This is how Evoque concept was born – a collaboration platform for PR & Media. In short, think of it as a LinkedIn for PR. In reality, it’s a platform, where sources can directly find influential contacts without the need of a middleman (PR agency).
What could be better than having your part in making newsmakers and journalists lives better? Evoque’s aim is to reduce spam that Media pros are getting each day and empower people who ARE the real NEWS (e.g. Think start-up owners who are on to something big but don’t have money for costly PR agencies).
What could be better than creating an awesome company and surrounding yourself with people smarter than you, different than you, who could teach you a lot, also about yourself?
The reason why I’m not yet in Forbes 30 under 30 is entirely my fault (but that’s completely different story).
Change reluctant hoi polloi
You are reading (and can understand) this so consider yourself lucky – you have basic needs like shelter, education and food covered. You have the luxury of being able to focus on self-growth. If you feel like your life lacks progress or you are stuck with the wrong people – that’s entirely your fault. Unlike the Matrix, we are in charge of projecting our reality. I stay away from people who blame bad luck or ‘adverse circumstances’ for shit happening in their lives. As long as you let others decide about your life – you will be exactly this – An average Joe Blow.
Most people are change reluctant. I can see it all around me – within my work colleagues, friends or family. People seem to opt for mediocrity, driving away from “no pain, no gain” mentality for the sake of the ‘safety net’. We wrongly take things and people for granted and then wake up when it’s already too late. If you are not moving forward you’re moving backward – kind of thing.
Wishy-washy thinking is not enough.
Lost of books have been written about the law of attraction (or karma if you like to call it that way). Starting from Think and Grow Rich to sounding like a quasi-sect persuasive bible – the worldwide bestseller – The Secret. And while I don’t believe that you can find a parking spot just by imagining it while you wait on the spot but rather bribing somebody to let you park first, our imagination is an incredible driving power.
So instead of being a doormat, we should take the role of the Architect like in the Inception movie – understand what we don’t want and what we crave for (however stupid/silly it may be) and lay out the foundations. The change won’t happen in an instant and progress may not be visible for a loooooong, loong time (Look at me, I’m trying to build my start-up for over 2 years) but as long as I’m persistent and learn from my mistakes – I know I will get THERE eventually.
Killing me softly
Mateusz Grzesiak published yesterday on his facebook page (Most articles are available only in Polish but Google does pretty well with translating our language):
“There’s an ugly-sounding saying that it is better to be a peasant in the city than the king in the countryside. Yet, not everyone does it. Sometimes we prefer to keep an eye on our little worlds in which we can be admired, we have some money, a sense of security and guarantee of the repeatable successes. We know these worlds, we know how to move around, and even if they are cramped, even if we feel bored and totally burned out, we stuck in them anyway. Ipso facto, we commit something that is the largest of the possible errors of life, which shuts for us many opportunity doors. We are wasting our potential – we commit a spiritual suicide. ”
Leaving your comfort zone may sounds like a cliche, but it is the only working formula for the better life. I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t take any risks and I would play it safe instead. If I listened to some of my family members and/or social pressure – I would be married by now to the first-available “good” guy in Poland, maybe planning a child, or maybe already having one. Maybe I would be living in a nice big house outside the city centre. Maybe I would have a nice ‘secure’ job and I would try pretending to have a Barbie-alike arranged, perfect life.
But I didn’t want that. I don’t want a spiritual suicide. Mediocrity scares me to death. Maybe I will never get to where I want to be – but I will know that at least I tried.
Connecting the dots. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Once something, which seemed a completely unreasonable decision – taking calligraphy course, made Steve Jobs to develop Macs as we know them. It may sound obvious now, but back then, in pre-Apple area, nobody, even Steve would know the outcome of it.
So listen to that voice in the back of your head that tells you if you’re on the right track or not. Most of us don’t hear a voice inside our heads driving us to change. Many of us fight that feeling deliberately and this is why so many people are drowning in malaise. We’ve simply decided that we’re going to work in finance or be a doctor because that’s what our parents or social pressure told us we should do. When we consciously or unconsciously make that decision, we snuff out that little voice in our head. From then on, most of us put it on automatic pilot to the catastrophic outcome.
That’s why I’ve been always fighting against the mainstream, whenever I felt uncomfortable. I make for a very bad employee, I rebel, whenever someone tries to impose stupid rules on me. But I needed these day jobs. It told me what I will NOT do to my team members, when I have my own company.
I am entirely grateful for my mom for letting me make my own choices and never forbidding what I wanted to do (I know I was driving her mad most of the times :). She has been strong enough to mute voices of the opposition coming from the family and miserable people who find comfort in seeing other people not leaning in too much. Passing from the generation to the generation, they got suck into vicious circle of toxic love affairs and career choices. Living dead conformist marionettes.
No thanks. I will have it my way.