I’m not gonna lie…I’m going through a quarter life crisis right now. And it sucks because things are going SOOO well. Hustle Con sold out and made me $50,000, last week’s 6 Things I Learned From Not Drinking For a Year post had 40,000 visitors in just a few days, and I’m healthy.
But I’m still lost. That’s why I’m finding my inner hippie and am currently traveling cross country on my motorcycle.
Before I left, my good buddy Alex from WP Curve gave my some GREAT advice: drive slow.
In this week’s post I asked Alex (one of 7 people whose advice I actually follow) to write down the advice he gave me so y’all can get yo wisdom on.
My name is Alex McClafferty and I met Southern Sam at his Bootstrap Live event.
I like Sam. We chat about life and business at strange hours on Facebook Messenger and Google Chat. To the outsider, it seems like a stereotypical San Francisco bromance. I’m cool with that.
Before I reveal a recent chat session, let’s get some irony out of the way.
Irony #1 – I have an MBA and I’m guest posting on Sam’s Anti MBA blog.
Irony #2 – I’m quoting lyrics from a Kanye West song in the subject line of this blog post. Yes, I’m a white boy in my late 20’s. I figure if Ben Horowitz can do it, then I can too.
Sam and I were gossiping like high school girls on Thursday night. Sam was preparing for his first cross country motorbike tour.
Interestingly, I have another friend, Adam, who is completing a cross-country bicycle ride of self-discovery. Traveling across America is a great way to deal with a quarter life crisis, if you keep just one rule in mind.
Here’s an excerpt from our chat.
Alex McClafferty – Hey when do you leave?
Sam Parr – tomorrow
Alex McClafferty – My advice
Sam Parr – spread my seed?
Alex McClafferty - Drive slow homie
Sam Parr – interesting, why?
Alex McClafferty – No rush. You’re going to get there when you get there. Enjoy the journey and take your time
Sam Parr – that’s great advice, shockingly
Alex McClafferty – We’re programmed to rush through everything. But with something like this, savor every minute.
The advice I gave Sam is the exact advice I’ve given to dozens of people over the past few years.
Sam is young, motivated and smart. He will be successful, no matter which path he follows. The existential ‘what should I do next in life…?’ question is something everyone needs to deal with. The only thing that makes Sam different is he’s sharing his story in the hope it will help you.
So, why should Sam drive slow? More importantly, why should you drive slow too?
Rushing to find the answer to a complex question is ill advised. Frantically scrambling around leaves you with more questions than when you started. There are no set paths in life and I don’t know anyone who’s really got it ‘figured out’.
Accept that it will take some time to get to where you’re going. I’ve learned this the hard way, read on to see what I’ve learned.
You won’t get to 85 years old racing through life at 85 miles per hour
Midway through my first year of entrepreneurship, I realized that time is more valuable than money. Limited cash flow is frustrating, but once I started earning reasonable money, my time became more important to me. Today, I’m ruthless about where I spend both time and money. I avoid unnecessary meetings, boring tasks and (nearly) anything that someone else can do on my behalf. This frees me up to work on relationships and writing. I consider the long term and think about the bigger picture.
One of the long term, big pictures involves sitting on a porch with a group of my closest friends. We’re huddled around, laughing and joking. We’ll share ‘remember when’ stories. I see Sam sitting on that porch with me.
Today, I’m prioritizing relationships with friends that will join me on my porch when I’m 85. Every week, I chat to a few of my closest friends in Australia. There is no valid excuse for letting a great friendship wither and die.
Back to the advice for Sam – self-preservation is important. If Sam races through this adventure, he’ll risk his health and wellbeing. Riding a motorcycle is risky and even though Sam is a mostly level-headed guy, he’s going to open up the throttle and take his bike to redline. The second time around, I hope my advice will ring out and he won’t be so tempted to blast down the highway. I lost one of my best friends in tragic circumstances and I don’t want it to happen again.
Do you have a good friend that you’ve ‘lost touch’ with? Send them a message and tell them you miss them. Do it right now.
The destination rewards you, the journey schools you
Here are some journeys from my life that have taught me important lessons.
Journey 1 – Moving to a new country
I had waited 11 months for a US Visa, which was only supposed to take 6 months to process. There was a big problem – if I didn’t get my Visa ASAP, I was at risk of missing my own wedding. In my mind, there were two options:
Best case scenario – Brittany and I would throw a very expensive party – I couldn’t legally get married, so I would attend the ceremony and fly back to Australia to wait for the paperwork to arrive, which could take another 4 months. We had already lived apart for 5 months and it was terrible.
Worst case scenario – I would be rejected by Homeland Security at LAX for trying to enter the country without the correct Visa and be banned from the country for 4 years. This was a small risk, but still a possibility.
I hoped for the best case scenario and braced myself for the worst. I rationalized my decision to avoid the fight with the US Government, because I figured that if we drew attention to my Visa case, they might delay it. Brittany didn’t accept this. She drew up her own scenario – I liked it a lot more.
Brittany’s scenario – The US Government prioritizes my Visa, we get married on the date we had set and life happily ever after.
This wasn’t a dream – she went to work and started to write letters. She petitioned the State Senator. She petitioned the US Consulate.
She refused to accept that we could not be together and legally married on the date we had set. We had friends and family flying in from all over the world to attend. Thousands upon thousands of dollars had been spent. She convinced me that it was going to happen. No one was going to stand in the way of us starting our life together in the USA. You know what?
Here’s what I learned:
If you want something bad enough, you can get it – Brittany forever changed how I viewed reality. Before this event, I would make excuses. Now, I take action and make sure I’ve given myself every chance possible to achieve what I want. If she could pull this off, then I can do anything. You can too.
A great friend challenges you – If you ask your friends for feedback and they always say ‘yeah, that’s fine’ then you’re not going to improve as a person. Surround yourself with people that challenge your opinion and if you can, marry one of them. Sam heeds my advice because I’m real with him, all the time. Be honest with your friends and they will thank you for it.
Journey 2 – Running a half marathon
We’ve settled into our new San Francisco home. Running a half marathon seemed like a nice way to celebrate.
When I crossed the finish line, I was temporarily blinded by the sweat and sunscreen that had been leaking into my eyes for 13 miles. My legs were sore. I had a pounding headache. Every single moment leading up to the finish line was fun, but strangely, crossing the finish line was the worst part of the entire experience.
Here’s what I learned:
You need a plan to succeed – I drew out a running schedule and ticked it off every single day. There was no hiding from my schedule – I had to follow the plan. Even when I sprained my ankle a week out, I made up most of the remaining distance by walking it. I knew that the hard work I had put in early would mean I would be fine on race day.
You can write your own plan for anything you want to achieve. Right now, I’m writing 2,000 words a day. Put your plan on paper and you will surprise yourself.
You can achieve more than you think – Brittany had never run further than 10km. The week before the race, she ran the half marathon distance in 1 hour and 50 minutes. For non-runners, that’s a very respectable time. I told you, she is absolutely freakin’ amazing!
Sam has launched, built and sold a company. He’s made $50,000 over the course of a few months. The reason he can do this is because he blocks out negative self-talk and gets to work. Try it for just one day.
Set achievable goals – My target was to run the distance in 1:50. Owing to the sprained ankle, I missed the target and finished in 2:12. I didn’t do the extra work to achieve the goals and this demotivated me.
Set goals that are attainable. I am confident I would have got there in 2:00 and then, I could be more aggressive for the next race. Don’t try and make 10 sales in your first week of starting up, instead, shoot for one.
Patience paves the way for gratitude
If you’re reading this post, you should be happy. You have access to the internet. You’ve probably got a roof over your head, food in your belly and friends and/or family who love you. You should be grateful for this – because it’s a gift.
Too often in life, we complain about trivial things.
Last week, I was waiting in line to grab some lunch and the lady in front of me was holding up the line. She wasn’t doing this on purpose, she had never been to Chipotle and was having a hard time deciding what to choose. Three different salsas, right? That’s called the paradox of choice.
Jokes aside, once she made it to the counter to pay for her meal, she started to apologize profusely to me. For a split second, I entertained the idea of being a wise guy and responding with a snide remark. I was running late because of her. Instead, I said:
No worries at all. Take your time. Enjoy your lunch and have a nice day.
The lady smiled and thanked me. It was easier than complaining and felt good, too.
What will you learn on your journey?
The real learnings come from going through the process. For Sam’s adventure, it will be when his bike breaks down or he’s out of cell range and stuck in the desert. Maybe he’ll have to camp out or see a UFO flying through the air. I know that he’ll come out of the other side of his journey with dozens of ideas and an even bigger smile on his face.
To conclude, driving slow means thinking long term, learning from the process and sharing your gratitude with the world. If you’re dealing with a quarter life crisis, my advice is to read blog posts like this, talk to your friends and family and let them know how you feel.
You’re not alone – we’re all in this together!