I wanted to die.
I was confused, lost and lonely.
I remember driving feeling severely depressed on the Coronado Bridge. It was like a physical pain in my stomach that spread throughout my entire body. My life was in a rut and a knife was in my gut. The pain was horrific and for a split second I thought, “What would happen if I drive off this bridge?”
It was bad. I should’ve checked into a hospital.
I never wanted to experience that feeling again, so I took massive action and started to build the life I wanted inch by inch. If you were to tell me in January 2013 that this is what my life would look like on January 2014, I wouldn’t believe you.
Let me show you.
Early 2013: Post College Life
4:30 am. The alarm goes off. It’s dark and cold. It was no time for any human to start their day. I sit and stare at the wall eating my bland cereal, which promises to lower my cholesterol. I had that going for me. I ate it with honey because I read it’s healthier this way. I’m sipping coffee and no amount of caffeine seems to be able to open up my eyes.
I shower. It’s scalding hot. My skin turns dark red yet I can’t feel it because I’m still dreaming. I towel-dry and approach the mirror. The figurative and literal fog I am in obscures my vision. I create a small patch of clarity, enough to see in the bathroom mirror. I shave and cut myself under the chin a few times but don’t care because it’s just too damn early and I’m not too excited about what the next 12 hours are going to look like.
I’m driving to work listening to The Smart Passive Income with Patt Flyn or sometimes Entrepreneur on Fire with John Dumas, two internet marketing startup Podcasts that I love. I enjoy hearing others’ story of success. Always others.
You see, I am a true Wantrapreneur: someone who wants to become an entrepreneur and reads everything he can get his hands on and talks his mouth off all day. I am actually a professional Wantrapreneur. I could get sponsored; I was so good at following others rather than creating something of my own.
I often think how cool it would be to have my own startup. Yet I think it’s too far out of reach and something that only “lucky” people get to do. I hadn’t factored in the inspiration or motivation I would later receive. The victimhood was a strong sedative. For me, the time was never right. I was waiting until the stars aligned in the sign of a Greek god or something like that.
As I drive closer to my work I notice the big sign on the storefront and begin to cringe at the thought of all the drama I’m about to deal with. Nothing ever goes as planned and the funniest part is that my biggest challenge today isn’t making revenue, converting more guests into happy guests, or building relationships with vendors. It’s getting my employees to show up to work.
You see, I work a job I have no passion for. I exchange my time for a paycheck so that I can buy nice things and look “normal” in society. This sucks. But I must say I love the discount and free coffee with cream.
There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like. ― Nigel Marsh
At my core, I know I’m an entrepreneur, an artist, a hustler. This wasn’t me and it was killing me from the inside out.
Being a professional wantrepreneur led me to TED Talks. I watched all of them, but one video, in particular, changed everything. I came across Scott Dinsmore’s TED Talk, “How to Find and Do Work You Love.”
I listened to this video about 50 times over the next month. And one day on that drive to work I decided this would be the last day I’d have to do this. I listened to it 3 times in the parking lot. I walked in and quit.
And just like that, I ended an entire period of my life. Two words, “I quit,” and my life was forever altered. There was no plan. All I had was a passion and drive to do something. I didn’t care what it was but I wanted to do something that matters and have an impact on people’s lives.
The Origin: 2008-2012
In college I recorded my dating experiences on paper. I was fed up with losing girls I really liked and started to take notes on what worked with women and what didn’t work. In time, I started seeing a lot of results and so did others. People would ask me for advice with their dating problems and I seemed to have the answers. I was dating beautiful girls and helping others become successful too.
Then one day, someone asked if they could buy my “notes” off me for $10. This changed everything and I realized that I had something of value that others wanted. These “notes” would later turn into two e-books I wrote in college called “The Men’s Book of Knowledge” under a pen name Anthony Davis (Anthony being a short-lived nickname in middle school derived from the movie “Idle Hands” with Jessica Alba, and Davis is my real middle name).
I was making about $150 a month from these e-books. I felt that I was on to something. I was following a natural interest and I wanted to impact more people. I had always been interested in building an online business ever since I saw this Simpson’s episode when I was a kid:
Yes, the concept of making money online was planted in my head from the most annoying figure in cartoon history, Ned Flanders – who would’ve thought? Flanders aside, I needed some more support and technical knowledge than just “Hey-Diddley-Ho!”
Enter Knowledge For Men
I put an ad on Craigslist and got a response from a programmer very quickly.
I met a random developer at a Starbucks near San Diego State University and told him I want to have a site called Knowledge For Men.
He said, ”OK, what’s your hosting account?”
I said, “What’s hosting?”
He said, “Do you have the domain?”
I said, ”What’s a domain?” We went online and school began. It’s amazing how much you can learn when you really care about something.
He showed me a hosting account and I checked to see if it was available.
Boom! To my Craigslist-found web developer’s surprise, KnowledgeForMen.com was indeed available.
I would keep this website and write very crappy articles and put Google ads everywhere, have pop-ups coming at you from every direction, and sell sketchy affiliate products on this site. It wasn’t creating the contrast on the horizon I had hoped. I would read Steve Job’s bio by Walter Isaacson and Mark Zuckerberg’s “Accidental Billionaires” and think I was on the same path. However, my website was 90% crap and it was turning into spam. Not the good kind the Hawaiians like.
As a result, Google hates my site and pushes it to oblivion so no one will ever find it. I forgot about the site as I started to focus more on being a full-time wantrepreneur.
I went through a period where I was reading on average two books and listening to two audiobooks a month. I read over 100 business and personal development books over the next two years. I also joined a local mastermind group in San Diego and met my mentor Erin. He would inspire me beyond anything I could have ever read and played a critical role in the early stages of KnowledgeForMen.com and my own personal development. All of these experiences and newfound knowledge were building up and soon about to be released.
The Journey Begins: June 2013
After quitting I immediately came home and put everything I had into my first article. It was everything that I had learned in the last several years. All my experiences just came pouring out of me. The article was titled, “The 13 Lessons to Learn in Your 20s to Discover Yourself”. It was successful beyond anything I could have imagined. In one week I had over 100,000 views. My server crashed – three times.
I used to get 100 views per month so to see this level of growth was incredible. I wasn’t sure if I got “lucky” on that article. I was a bit nervous and didn’t feel that I knew what I was doing quite yet. Some of my peers regarded me as this internet entrepreneur at the time. I went with it.
I wanted to prove that I could write articles of this stature every time, the term is viral articles and I became addicted to them. The art of viral writing was something I studied rigorously like a full-time job. How do things go viral, why do people share things and not others so I started reading all the books from marketing gurus, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuk? I would later go on and write numerous viral articles with some of them getting over 4,500 to 21,000 shares on Facebook.
Over the next 3 months, every article that I wrote and spent weeks writing would go viral. I had proven to myself that I could write articles and drive more traffic than a Fortune 500 company could in one day without spending a dime.
Honestly, I felt that I was meant for this moment. Everything seemed to just flow right out of me. I was holding all of this stuff inside for years and emotional constipation had been killing me. There was no sense of time or thought of hunger when I was writing and I loved every second of it. I would sometimes catch myself writing for 12+ hours straight without eating and just stop writing because it’s probably the “human” thing to do. All the books, seminars, mastermind groups, mentor sessions with Erin all just exploded out of me in an uncontrollable form. Things were just really getting started. So I took my show on the road and wanted to give the keynote I wish I could have experienced when I was in high school.
The Public Speaker: August – October 2013
I quit my job, ditched the comfy paycheck and medical benefits to do something I was passionate about. It makes sense on paper, but to actually make the leap is scary as hell and something very few would ever actually do. I had taken the Wantrepreneur robe off and started to charge the world full force like a Spartan warrior at Thermopylae. I’m working on the beard and abs too.
I had something to share and I wanted to share it. I started with my mother who is a high school teacher so I started speaking at her school in San Diego. From there I went on to speak to over 500 high school and college students in San Diego.
The snowball was gaining momentum. I didn’t want gravity to halt that. I love speaking. It’s something that I feel I was born for. Some people’s worst fear is public speaking and it’s something I love to do and happily did.
It was actually on my bucket list to go back to my school and speak at San Diego State University. I got to do that. (Thank you, Nolan, for the invite)
The 30 Day Challenge to Smash Fear in the Face
Over the summer of 2013, I gave myself a 30-day challenge. Approach 10 girls a day for 30 days, so 300 girls in all. There’s the 300 references again! “THIS IS SPARTA!” I’ve always wanted to yell this and kick someone down a well. Ok, every conversation must last at least 2 minutes and no drugs or alcohol. This experience would transform my life. It wasn’t about getting girls or dates it was about mastering myself, overcoming fear and pushing the boundaries of what I thought was possible in social interactions.
Full article of lessons learned from this experience: The 30 Day Challenge: Drink Less, Party Harder and Unleash the Unstifled Social Genius Within
You see, in this process, I experienced a level of rejection like no other. I remember approaching 10 girls in Carlsbad, CA and getting rejected by all 10 within 1 hour. I walked into my car and screamed at the top of my lungs. It must not have appeared that I was singing to music so a stranger asked to see if I was “OK”. The next day there were another 10, with 10 more rejections. The next day there were more rejections.
The first two weeks were ridiculously brutal, but I found myself in this process. I learned that no matter how hard something is you have to keep going and learn from your mistakes. It doesn’t matter what people think of you, you just simply have to move forward. Failure is a part of life and not everyone is going to like you, no matter how good your intentions are.
The results of this challenge didn’t just lead to more numbers and dates but led to a whole new level of self-discovery and personal development. During this challenge, I found out who I was, what I could take, and how far I could go.
I wanted to further develop this skill so I traveled to Las Vegas and spent 10 days in a full immersion program with some of the world’s leading experts in dating, social dynamics, and self-actualization.
I had a major epiphany: You see, most people live their life like a zombie just stumbling from one place to the next and can’t wait for the weekend to relax and drink booze. They want to numb the pain of everyday living and society. To me, this is death, unconscious living, breeding mediocrity in a world that is full of beauty and opportunity. You have to wake up, snap out of it, and live the life of your dreams.
What do I like to do?
Make your life like a movie, imagine a film crew around you at all times. You need to make this an Oscar award-winning movie, the most exciting and funniest movie ever filmed. Live your life as if millions were watching it every day from around the world. Force yourself to do things beyond the natural limits of society. Be the hero of your movie, push the confines of social interactions, go after what you want, live fully in the present moment, accept that “this is it” and there is no better time or place to be than right now, where you are at this exact moment. Nobody may know this better than the speaker I turned to next.
Unleash the Power Within
I traveled to New York to hang out with my mentor, Erin. I experienced New York, the big city and the culture for the first time. It was so surreal. I loved the city and left knowing that one day I would return.
I went to “Unleash the Power Within,” a Tony Robbins conference. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I walked on fire. Enough said, really. I highly recommend it for anyone thinking about going. Just shut up and go.
“Make your move!”
I walked away from UPW feeling like Hercules, a god, I could fly… It was awesome. I came back to San Diego with more drive than ever before and would start something that would transform Knowledge For Men into something I could never have dreamed of.
Enter the Podcast
My brother Jeremy came up to me in early October 2013 and said, “You know this blog of yours is cool and all but it’s not going to do it.’ You need to do a Podcast.” He hadn’t really given me such strict guidance like this in years. But it was a bold statement and I listened. Within one week I had all the equipment but I had no idea how to get guests, record, edit and submit to iTunes.
I was looking at my bookshelf full of books and was trying to find the perfect book to help me in this situation. I started to see all of the authors’ names. And it all came to me. Interview the authors of all your favorite books. I immediately started sending emails out to the authors of some of my favorite books and within weeks I had the end of October filled up with guests including some of my favorite authors: three-time NY Times Bestselling author, Robert Greene, Hal Elrod, and Mike Michalowitz. It was insane to actually be interviewing people whose books I was reading months earlier. What a trip!
I learned how to do the whole Podcast thing through trial and error, YouTube, and reading everything I could online. It wasn’t easy and I’m still learning as I go on but things have been going pretty well.
- The Podcast went on to become #1 in iTunes New and Noteworthy, in the top 3 categories: Business, Health and Education.
- And was recently ranked #27 podcast of all podcasts in the world above 60 minutes, NBC News and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.
- In December 2013 I was published in over 120 news publications across the country. Here’s one from the International Business Times
- In the first 5 weeks I had over 70,000 downloads.
- I welcomed my first sponsor: Audible.com, an Amazon audio book company. Check out www.kfmbook.com for a free trial with audible and get a free audiobook today!
- Check out the Knowledge For Men Podcast and subscribe on iTunes.
Biggest Lessons Learned
Look, you have to believe in yourself. You have to listen deep down inside to what it is that you really want to do. Everyone will tell you can’t do this or you can’t do that but the bottom line is you have to become who you were born to be. Your friends and family may not understand what it is that you want to do but you have to believe in you 100% or no one else will.
And as cliché as that sounds, it’s simply the only way to push the boundaries of what is possible in your life.
Despite all the hardships you have in your life, you have to keep moving forward and never give up. The past happened and you’re just going to have to live and learn from it all. Don’t be afraid of who you are, you don’t need anyone’s approval, but simply your own to be happy and create the life of your dreams. Fear is only an illusion!
I left a job that paid well and had great benefits to building something that mattered to me. It was never about the money, it was about sharing my creative work with the world and contributing to something greater than myself.
Now, let me ask you something.
If you had to write your obituary today, what would it say?
Think about that. Then whatever it is, live that, be that, do that. Don’t just write it down and say, “Oh this is who I would like to be or how I’d like to be remembered one day.” No, that’s bullshit, you need to become that person and live it every-damn-single-day of your life and never hold back. Be you. The most authentic version of yourself awaits and you’ll be surprised at the people you’ll attract into your life when you do. When you’re living from your core, the world is yours.
You can have anything you want in life if you work really hard at it. Surround yourself with amazing people who inspire you, motivate you and bring out the best in you. The people who make you feel like you’re “high” or drunk when you’re actually sober. And screw the people who bring you down and bring nothing but negative energy into your life. There’s a beautiful world out there waiting for you if you have the courage to pursue your dreams…
2013 was a year of self-discovery, personal growth, and self-actualization. The world seems so much different than when I saw last year. And the exciting thing is this is only beginning.
Who’s with me?
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