Do what you want, where you want, and earn a living.
After much contemplation, a man comes to his wife to ask her about something he badly wants.
Man: "Honey, can I ask you about something?"
Wife: "Sure, what is it dear?"
Man: "Well, would it be OK with you if I...."
Wife: "Absolutely not, I forbid you! I'm so insulted that you would even want to do this. How can you even ask me if this is OK? Respect me!"
Man: "Sorry, you're right. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."
Life goes on, but that thing he so badly wanted did not magically disappear because it has been forbidden. The man knows who he is and knows what he wants. His feelings cannot be changed. So, after some time, the man comes back to his wife and tries this conversation again.
Man: "Honey, I know how you feel about this, but I have decided that I don't care what you think...I want you to know that it means a lot to me and I'm gonna do this anyway!"
Wife: "What? You inconsiderate, selfish bastard. Now you're not even asking me how I feel? You don't care about my feelings at all! You completely take me for granted!"
Man: "Sorry, you're right. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Forget about what I said. I'll try to be more sensitive."
After a few days of arguments, life goes on again. Still, that thing he so badly wanted only intensifies. He loves his wife dearly and wants her to be happy, so he decides to hide it from his wife. He creates never-ending web of lies to cover everything up.
Deception causes a great deal of distance between the couple. For some time, our couple goes on with the routines of life, but they have stopped sharing their feelings, stopped communicating, and have stopped feeling as close to each other has they once had. This goes on until, one day, the wife discovers the deception. Her reaction is something like this:
Wife: "Not only are you a selfish, inconsiderate bastard who does whatever you want, you are also a liar. How can you lie to the person in the world who is closest to you? I told you that what you did is clearly not OK with me, and yet you completely disrespected me. I don't think you even love me anymore. Maybe we should get a divorce."
How might have this story gone differently if the initial conversation would have gone as follows?
Man: "Honey, can I ask you about something?"
Wife: "Sure, what is it dear?"
Man: "Well, would it be OK with you if I...."
Wife: "Wow, OK. That's a bit of a shock to me. To be honest, you should know that it bothers me. We should talk about it so that I better understand it. I respect you and I will never forbid you from anything at all. Our relationship is based on honesty, trust, sensitivity and open communication. I know you love me and I will try to understand this from your perspective. If this is something you really want, let's figure out a way."
Man: "Wow, I feel so close to you and love you so much. It is incredible how we can talk about anything. It means so much to me that you respect who I am, that you respect my needs. You know that I will always be honest with you, I will always respect your feelings in everything I do, and this goes both ways. I will never forbid you from anything either."
Nobody has the right to forbid another person from anything. Only by forbidding nothing can you expect the honesty and sensitivity you deserve. If you love someone, respect their own needs and decisions.
Life may be short, but it is too long to commit to somebody who isn't perfect for you. If you are with somebody, then obviously you are attracted to each other and you enjoy each other's company. But you're probably also asking yourself whether your current partner is "the one". How can you know for sure?
No relationship is perfect, but none of us should settle for something that doesn't come at least close. So what would a perfect relationship look like? Here are my 10 rules of the perfect relationship:
As many people who exist on this planet, that's how many variations there are to sexual desires and tastes. There is no normal. So, if you love and accept someone fully (see rule 5), then nothing is out-of-bounds. When two people get together, the sex life they create is something that is completely unique to these two genetic mutations clashing together in their primal, irrational passions. If you aren't compatible sexually, get ready for a lot of pain and misery. Unfulfilled sexual desires lead to cheating (at worst) or feelings of resentment and withdrawal from the relationship (at best).
Sex is a really big deal for most of us. While it is impossible to meet someone with exactly the same sexual desires and tastes, you do need to be with a person who gets you, accepts you, and embraces your sexuality (and vice versa). Let each other play and explore. As Dan Savage says, be GGG (good in bed, game for anything, and giving). With this foundation, you might figure it out. Without this foundation, you'll feel stuck and frustrated. Create a space where both of you can be totally honest about sex (yes, even the craziest, most absurd thoughts and ideas). Go for it...together. If you can give your partner everything, you'll never lose that person. So why draw lines in the sand when it is so much more fun to play in the sand?
This is the measure of any relationship (not just sexual or romantic). If a relationship doesn't encourage individual growth, then it runs against nature and it is harmful. The point of our lives is to become the best we can be as individuals. If you aren't growing, you're stuck. When you're stuck, you're wasting your life. Go forward together. Get rid of any friction that is only caused by selfishness, controlling behavior, or jealousy.
If you apply the other 9 rules, this one happens automatically. This is a rule only because it should be a litmus test. Are you happy?
No swearing. No yelling. No accusations. No bossing each other around. No scolding. No ridicule about anything. Treat your partner like you did on the first date (or first chat?)...you know, back when you were trying to seduce each other.
There is no need to negotiate anything if you offer each other everything. Anything less than unconditional love and acceptance is something less than love. If you don't love every single thing about the person, then why exactly do you claim to love the person? Can you love half of a person, or does love require the love of a whole person? Do you love only your imaginary idea of the person, or the real person? Love is unconditional.
If it is expressed, then obviously your partner feels that it was important enough to say. If you get angry and cannot accept what your partner is telling you, then you are rejecting your partner. How can you ask each other to spend each day together for the rest of your lives if you are willing to fundamentally reject each other? Conversation has to be safe. Action requires consent, but any thought that can possibly be expressed by the person you love is a thought that you need to accept and even embrace.
The most direct path toward getting what you want, even when your partner forbids it (which should basically never happen) is to cheat. I don't need to explain how cheating destroys everything. The biggest problem with deception is your own feeling of isolation. You will experience that thing you want, and then you will suffer excruciating loneliness.
If you get caught deceiving, you will break everything. Without basic trust, what do you have? Even if you manage to get away with a deception, you will isolate yourself because you can't talk about what you are going through with the closest person in the world to you. So if you feel strongly enough about something that you are considering deception or cheating, then you need to take a risk and talk with your partner. If this ends the relationship, then it is for the best.
If you have created an emotional foundation with the previous 7 rules, now you need to think of each other not just as friends and lovers, but as business partners. Sharing a life together is a business relationship on top of everything else. So deal with financial realities together. Grow your bank account and wealth as you grow your love.
Time spent with your partner should be the experience of freedom. While the rest of the world may not understand you, others may ask of you what you're not prepared to give, they may punish you for being who you are, and may tell you that you are unreasonable...your partner is that one place you go to be free. Don't set rules because you "can't deal" with something. If you "can't deal", then you can't be in a relationship. So communicate. Learn to accept. Take pleasure in your partner's happiness. If you allow your partner to be free, you are allowing your partner the chance to be everything he or she was meant to be and was meant to experience. Watching your partner experience freedom is the same thing as watching your love and attraction grow.
Anyone who is against either of you is against both of you. Fuck 'em. Take each other's side no matter what.
If there are any rules that you think I left out, please post a comment!
Money is critical, but so is freedom. What about the need to feel important? Of course you also want to feel secure and stable. Earning a living requires a choice between two radically different paths; both of which come with very different benefits and drawbacks. The fundamental choice is between employment or entrepreneurship.
Of course the most common path is to work for someone. To be employed is to give away your productive time for the promise of security and perhaps some amount of prestige or status. The problem is that anything achieved through employment is transitory. Nothing can be riskier than relying solely on one employer for all of your income. What may once feel stable can disappear in an instant with little or no reason at all. When your employment contract has ended, you are left in a state of panic as you face monthly expenses based on on your former income.
As for status or importance, whatever sense of status you may have felt within a job is stripped from you as easily as your livelihood when the devastating decision is made to let you go. To the outside world, you're only as good as your current position. The tragedy of employment is that we dedicate our lives to a career only to find ourselves scrambling to hold onto it. But it should be said that, while the job lasts, at least you can rely on a paycheck and you can believe that life is good. For most people, this is enough.
For most of my career, I've earned a living as an employee. But for these past two years, I have relied entirely on my sales agency to earn a living. During this time as an entrepreneur, I have come to understand that running your own business brings as many challenges as it does benefits.
Let me explain the pros and cons of entrepreneurship:
Pro: You are free to do what you want with your time. It is an amazing feeling to have the option of mountain-biking on a Monday morning without any risk of consequence.
Con: You can only enjoy your freedom if you are able to manage the business properly and avoid stress and worry. Some months, you may not generate enough income to pay your expenses. Other months, everything is great. I do my best to manage this stress by diving into my "other world" (playing guitar, writing, mountain-biking, going to the gym, taking walks, etc.). I've also found that meditating every day helps me avoid the peaks and valleys. But I do sometimes lose sleep at night from worry.
Pro: Unlimited earning potential. This is really what it is all about.
Con: You have to invest not just hard work, but also capital. Owning your own business means becoming an investor. How much money do you put in with the expectation of making how much in return? How safe is the investment? What are the risks? Is the business model sound? Are the customers satisfied? With unlimited earnings potential comes a need to risk money, time, and energy (see previous point about stress and worry).
Pro: Not having to answer to a boss. Answering to a boss means playing politics. In a job, so often we do what we are asked to even when we know it isn't the best way to complete the task. Our goal is perception and self-preservation. I have found this to be a really unhealthy distortion. Living this way runs against my nature; which is to solve problems in the best possible way and work in the most efficient / productive way.
Con: Business owners have to answer to customers. While we don't fear losing a customer the same way an employee fears losing a job, the fear is still real and it is multiplied across your entire customer base.
Ultimately, running your own business is a difficult path even if you succeed! It isn't for everyone. Running a successful business is a chance to live the dream of wealth and freedom. But it is also a lonely path filled with stress, worry and at least as many failures as successes. Some days, having a job looks like a far better option!
Today I am among 100,000 people at the cosmetic industry trade show called Cosmoprof Worldwide in Bologna, Italy. We walk endless miles with aching feet, stopping only to shout politely at each other to negotiate over the roaring sound of spectacle. We’ve come to this place to profit from the business of making a woman beautiful. But what is it that makes a woman beautiful?
I’m sitting on a dirty floor in my expensive suite. On my lap is a notebook and in my hands is a pencil. I close my eyes to feel my nerves pulsate in an uncomfortable way. Music thumps behind me as hundreds pass me by. Strangers from around the world sit near me, eat pizza, and talk in languages I do not understand. We lean our backs against an advertisement. Already 3 people have taken photos of us, though I’m not exactly sure whether they are curious about us or the sign behind us. My emotions are numb but my mind seems clear for a moment. So quite inappropriately, I write.
Why have we come here? What are we trying to decipher on this signage and in these slogans? What do we hope to discover in these algae creams, perfumes, gels, fake nails, and mud treatments? What are we suffering to sell? What are our customers suffering to buy and laboring to use? We want to be beautiful! We want a better life! We believe we will find it in a product when, in truth, it can only be found in each other. When we think back on our lives, we must have learned that true beauty and genuine happiness can only come from each other.
A woman might spend her fortune and squander her time seeking beauty; yet none of it matters if she is not alive inside, if she is incapable of smiling, or if she is unwilling to listen or care. Beyond this, a woman is most beautiful when she is in love. A woman’s natural beauty effortlessly shines when she is open to love, seeking love, experiencing love, and giving her love to another. When I look at a woman, I perceive something beyond the surface. I know that her beauty cannot be purchased and does not come from her beauty rituals. The truest beauty can only come to her through the love of another person.
100,000 people share this crowded place; yet we have never felt lonelier. We have never been further away from filling that void inside of us. No product will ever provide us with what we are truly seeking. Whatever it is that we are missing; it can only actually be given by another person. If we are going to find true happiness, we need a people economy. The product economy isn’t going to work. Time to go to my next meeting.
Mark Manney, CEO and Founder
I’m Mark Manney, founder of Infobeing.com. Infobeing is creating the People Economy to set you free from your job. I’m also the guy who, 10 years ago, escaped corporate office life in Seattle to travel the world, start a virtual sales agency, and make music with the band Abscondo.
After earning my BS and MBA from the University of Colorado, I spent 6 mostly miserable years in Seattle selling enterprise...
Full profile »
How is your team changing the game within your industry sector?
It is tempting to say that there is no industry sector for what we’re doing, but in fairness we might compare Infobeing.com to social media like Facebook, Ello, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. These sites offer a Web 2.0 experience that is becoming obsolete for a few reasons.
Social media contributes to information overload by providing a massive amount of irrelevant information. This makes us feel physically ill. Information overload is becoming a real problem. Infobeing.com is different because it is designed so that users spend minimum time on the site and maximum time living, doing, and becoming.
Another problem with today’s social media is that there is no real mechanism to meet new people in order to easily form mutually-beneficial relationships. These sites are designed primarily for staying in touch with existing friends or, occasionally, meeting someone new in a random way. Infobeing is designed for the purpose of helping you meet the new people you need to know in order to move your life forward.
Social media leads to stagnation and inaction. It is passive. Infobeing uses the potential of the network world to create a People economy where everyone is doing what they want, what they are good at, just as they live in freedom and maximize their earning potential. This isn’t happening on Facebook.
What are some of the biggest impediments to innovation in your organization or industry sector?
Today people remain stuck in a “corporate economy” paradigm. Our most important economic relationships are with brands, corporations, and companies. The vast majority of our purchase of goods and services are with organizations.
My view is radically different. I’ve spent the past 10 years traveling the world and living mostly in Eastern Europe. Things are done a bit differently here. Relationships between people are valued most. If you need something fixed, need to hire someone for an odd job, or need some help…people look to other people. There is a massive person-to-person economy that is based on cash transactions or even “favors for favors”.
The Infobeing People Economy replicates this in the online world. We provide a new option for people to form relationships and conduct transactions for goods and services with each other. This is a radically different paradigm where we begin to trust each other and work together based on mutual wants, needs, and skills.
How has innovation become engrained in your organization's culture, and how is it being optimized?
As Founder and CEO of Infobeing, Innovation isn’t a conscious focus of mine. I don’t set out to innovate. I simply do what I think makes most sense, with essentially no regard for what anybody else is doing. This is one of the benefits of living abroad, away from conventional wisdom, for so many years.
Beyond this, I think innovation is allowed to thrive, and will continue to thrive at Infobeing, because our goal is not only to maximize profit. We are founding Infobeing as Public Benefit Corporation. We will be auditing our performance against a charter that includes 5 requirements for serving the public good. We’ll remain completely ad-free, we will improve the overall happiness of our users, we will help our users achieve greater freedom, we will strengthen the local community through direct-democracy, and we will aim to do no harm to the planet.
What technologies, business models, and trends will drive the biggest changes in your industry over the next two years?
I don’t care about changing an industry. I care about changing lives. People have access to amazing technology, but they don’t know how to use it to live in a better way. Infobeing is concerned with improving your quality of life in both the online and off-line world by making it easy for you to meet all of the people you need to know.
Can you share a specific innovation strategy you’ve recently encountered which you find compelling?
Follow your intuition. Meditate. Listen to your inner-voice first and let it drown-out any voices of conventional wisdom. The purpose of your life is to bring your unique perspective to the world. Failure to innovate is failure to believe in yourself and act on those beliefs.
Outside of the venture capital community, today’s best and most radical ideas are getting shrugged off. Intellectual breakthroughs and creative pursuits, no matter how brilliant, are drowning in a sea of information overload and big data. Yet there is this one exception; the startup. This is why, as a creative intellectual and an artist, I am foremost a startup founder.
Not long-ago, rock bands were still being funded by labels because new music still excited us. Now new technology excites us and it is the startup that gets funded. The best startup has the power to change the world. If this potential to change the world is precisely what brings the big financial returns, then let’s think even bigger!
Web 2.0 happened 10 years ago and it’s time for another significant shift. I can point to an example of what’s coming next because I’m building it. The next phase of our online evolution goes beyond social media. Now begins the era of the alternate economy. It is entirely possible to create a virtual economy, featuring a virtual currency and even an element of direct-democracy, on a global scale and with minimal funding.
Consider the failures of today’s economic system. Most of us remain stuck in an outdated employment model. A job is one way to earn a living, but jobs come at a great cost to your personal freedom, time, and energy. There’s nothing inevitable about earning a living through a series of monogamous commitments to one company at a time. Jobs limit your potential for personal growth and only tap into a fraction of your capabilities. We can do better!
The social networking potential of the online world offers you that chance to create something better. Why not create a system that allows you to form mutually-beneficial relationships with new people? With a systematic way to meet and work with others based on mutual wants and needs, you can grow, gain experience, and ultimately earn more income just as you live in freedom. This concept can be the core of an alternate economy and we can call it the People Economy. While today’s Corporate Economy is structured around the relationships people have with companies, the People Economy emphasizes dynamic economic relationships between people with compatible wants and needs.
In this new People Economy I am proposing, users will be connected to all the right people. We can also plug-in a virtual currency to facilitate economic transactions in this virtual economy. Would a currency that is directly tied to the needs, wants, talents and skills of every participant in the economy not have the potential to strengthen against real-world currencies? A currency backing a better economy is simply a better currency!
Alternate Economies are about creating integrated, holistic systems to improve the way we live and work. As we listen to so many people complaining about or protesting governments and corporations; do we not recognize a market demand? Do we not see this deep dissatisfaction as a market opportunity to offer them what they want? What these frustrated people of the world (our customer base) are really asking for is nothing other than a better life! Our competition (corporate and government institutions) are too self-serving to accommodate their needs. We, on the other hand, can!
Today’s entrepreneurs have yet to understand that we are the ones responsible for creating a better world. No other group is willing or able. Each day we continue to tinker with million dollar ideas, we miss the trillion dollar idea that will improve the lives of billions.
Investors, too, have failed to comprehend the scale of this opportunity. The startup community has become rigid, overly-confident, and too dependent upon conventional wisdom. This has led to a failure to see the forest for the trees. Let’s go somewhere new. Let us create a new forest!
The entrepreneur and the investor may soon come to understand that we (and we alone) have the power to transform the world. No amount of success or influence is greater than in founding and enabling an entire economy. To build an alternate economy is to seize the opportunity of a generation.
Reprinted at bpinetwork.org
To tap into your intuition is to find that perfect balance between thinking and feeling, and then to allow it to carry you.
To allow your intuition to carry you is to stop doing, saying, and thinking what you do not believe and do not feel.
To stop doing, saying, and thinking what you do not believe and do not feel is to make room for nature to guide you.
To make room for nature to guide you is to become all that nature has intended for you.
So, the purpose of your intuition is to allow you to become all that nature has intended for you.
Does anyone feel the way I do about social media? It seems there is something fundamentally and obviously wrong with all of today's social media sites. Ello, the anti-advertising, stripped-down new "alternative to Facebook", is unfortunately no exception. I will go through the 3 fundamental problems in great detail. I will then describe an entirely new, different, and better type of social media site.
I should have fallen in love with Ello. I really wanted to. I despise all forms of advertising, so Ello's charter as a Public Benefit Corporation inspired me to the extent that I am founding my venture with a similar anti-advertising charter. But as I was saying, I don't love Ello because it doesn't solve the 3 fundamental problems of today's social media sites.
Ello, Facebook, Tumblr, Myspace, and all of the rest of the social media sites are fundamentally flawed. They no longer serve any useful function, and are obsolete, for the following specific reasons:
When I logged-on to Ello, I had to start with nothing and nobody. I immediately realized the enormous amount of work ahead of me. Obviously I would need to make some friends, otherwise nobody would care about what I have to say. So then I tried really hard to force myself to care about what other people were posting. I browsed around and did some searches. The truth is, a lot of the content I saw was pretty good. These are clearly smart, talented people who are embracing their passions. The problem is, their passions aren't my passions and I don't really care about these random strangers enough to pay them proper attention. It occurred to me that these same, random strangers weren't likely to care about my posts either (regardless of how brilliant and worthwhile I believe my thoughts to be!).
Now that the Web 2.0 novelty is ancient history, I no longer have the time or energy to care about meeting someone who I will never know in real life, who I will never work with, and with whom I will never create anything. What I want isn't the same thing as what those people want. My life has no connection to theirs and we are essentially not compatible. How is it going to help either of us to know each other? Why would I want to see the paintings of a random Italian artist? Why would I want to listen to the music of an unknown band who's music is in a genre I don't like? Why would I want to read someone's thoughts on a new gadget, when I simply don't care about new gadgets at this very moment? After a short time on Ello, I felt as though I didn't belong and, worse yet, I started to get physically sickened from the endless stream of irrelevant content. It wasn't as bad as advertising, but I felt the same way I do on Facebook.
So what instincts or needs drove me to Ello to begin with? Here's what I do care about: 1) raising capital for my start-up, 2) finding an appreciative audience for my music, and 3) finding an audience for my blog. Those are the things that give my life meaning and purpose, outside of my family and real-world friends. I know that I need to meet new people, which should presumably be the point of social networking websites, right?
Unfortunately, Ello doesn't help me. Instead, in order to look "popular", I'm supposed to pretend to care about a lot of people who I don't feel anything for. Then they can, in turn, pretend to care about me. We can pretend that we both have an audience but, in truth, we don't have a real audience. Even if we did, we don't actually feel anything about each other or care. Using today's social media sites is like trying to scratch an itch and being left with an even greater itch. It is a cycle in which we are left tired, empty, and frustrated while we make no progress in our lives.
Today's social media, including Ello, is really only useful if your intention is to stay in contact and keep up-to-date about happenings in the lives of your real-world friends. Outside of that, there is no systematic, usable mechanism to connect us to the people who we should know who we currently do not know.
We all have a limited amount of time on this planet and energy in our days. How shall we use it? Here are some pretty good ideas:
We aren't doing any of these things on social media websites. Instead, we channel our time and energy into a black hole that gives us little in return. Sure, we may stay more updated on what's going on in our friend's lives, but even that is done in a way that is disconnected from the true value of those relationships.
Above: random cats, bracelets, art, and irrelevant stuff that gives me a headache on Ello
So, after a short time on Ello, I signed off (far more exhausted than I was when I signed on after having accomplished nothing at all). I started thinking about the whole concept of social networking. What kinds of people do I actually need to meet to do the things I actually want to do?
Interest 1: I want to raise funding for my start-up so we can launch the People Economy.
Who do I need to meet? angel investors, wealthy individuals who have an interest in the social good, people who are involved in the venture capital community.
I need a social networking site that connects me only to those people while skipping right past the brilliant Italian artists, other musicians, as well as the other entrepreneurs. Likewise, those investors need to meet me because this idea is brilliant, we will change the world, and they will make a fortune. They want to meet me but, today, they have no way of finding me. Instead, we all have to resort to a lot of email spam, social media games, blogging tricks, and other gimmicks if we hope to meet the right people. The whole system is inefficient and we can do better.
Interest 2: I want to reach an audience for my band's music.
Who do I need to meet: music bloggers, album reviewers, music podcast producers, concert bookers, etc.
Likewise, these people need a simple, elegant way to skim through all of the new albums coming out in a particular genre and region, for example. We need a way to connect to each other while avoiding the headaches.
Interest 3: All of that other stuff I wrote about doing stuff that improves our lives and excites us.
Who I need to meet: people who want the same things and are willing to meet new people and do something about it.
What we need is a way to connect two people based on their compatible wants -- a way to meet the right people! That connection should then be tied directly to an action. In just seconds, we should be able to get in touch with all of the people we need to meet to move our real lives forward and to make our lives better. We should be willing to work with these people, meet these people, and establish mutually-beneficial real-world relationships. We need to network with people only when doing so excites us...only when doing so is compatible with what we actually want!
The good news is that there actually is a way to meet new people, work together, meet, and carry on with our lives in just the way I'm describing. Unfortunately, Ello isn't it.