Advice To My Younger Self On My Birthday

Advice to my younger self on my birthday

Saturday was my 45th birthday. What a ride it’s been.

Here’s the short version:

I joined the Marines the day after I graduated high school…

After leaving the Marines I mowed lawns for a landscaping company…

Sold ADT security systems door-to-door…

Peddled siding and windows for a disreputable remodeling company…

Was a Sheriff’s Deputy…

Spend 5 years in Iraq and Afghanistan as a soldier for hire….

Became a successful currency trader…

Built a multi-million dollar business teaching people how I did it…

Created the largest libertarian podcast on earth…

Got married, got divorced, lost my company and all my money…

Started over, rebuilt my brand and business…

Met the love of my life…and the rest has yet to be written.

What an adventure.

When you’re a young man with ambition it can feel like you’re always behind.

It doesn’t matter if you’re doing better than 90% of your peers – the 10% that have more money, status or respect than you are the ones you focus on.

I grew up poor. Money was always a consideration, even for the little things. As a kid I can remember finishing a school recital and as a ‘special treat’ getting to go to the gas station for a soda.

I remember how excited I would get when my mom turned to my dad and asked,

“So what do you think honey? Do you think that performance deserved a coke?”

“Please dad! Pleeeeease!” my brother and I would shout from the back of our beat-up Chrysler station wagon.

Then we would wait. Even though we knew the answer, it still wasn’t real until he said the words.

“Let’s do it.”

My brother and would scream into the roof of the wagon, “YEAAHHHHHH!!!”

Those were good days.

But as a young man I didn’t see them that way. I thought it was shameful to be so poor that you couldn’t provide a decent night out for your family.

I promised myself that I would never live that way. That my kids would never “suffer” the way I did.

They would have the best of everything. The best house, the best schools, the best dam life of anyone they knew.

I used them to mask my insecurities as ambition. I had to be the best at everything. And the way I measured success was the size of my life.

As a Marine, I had to be in the most elite unit. I wanted to be feared and idolized.

When I started my business I had to be the most well-known and respected currency trader on earth.

When I launched my podcast it had to be “The #1 Libertarian Show in the world”.

But most importantly – when people looked at my life – it had to be better than theirs.

Bigger house, nicer car, better marriage.

So I bought an 8,000-square-foot home on 3 acres. Right smack-dab in the middle of the city.

I drove a beautiful AMG Mercedes. My wife had a top-of-the-line Suburban to take our kids to private school.

My offices were in a newly remodeled, 6,000-square-foot building when all we needed was 2,000.

I thought money and status were the recipe for a great life. But no matter how big I got, my fulfillment in life never changed.

Today I don’t have any of those things.

I drive a normal car. A Ford Focus.

I live in a beautiful home but it’s nothing fancy.

My office is a spare room in the house. I have no employees and I make a fraction of what I did during the years I was fighting for the respect of people who didn’t matter.

Yet I’ve never been more fulfilled than I was this Saturday, sitting on my balcony, staring into a living room packed full of my favorite people, who were all there to celebrate with me on the day my life started, 45 years ago.

As I look back over my life I have few regrets. But if I could talk to my younger self there are a few pieces of advice I’d give him.

1. You will never find peace or fulfillment chasing the approval of others. Your self-worth will never be measured alongside your bank account. You’ll never be able to outwork your demons or your insecurities. So stop trying.

Find something you love to do and figure out a way to do it every day. Surround yourself with people you love and admire. People who lift you up and make you want to be the best version of yourself.

2. Recognize that time is a non-renewable resource. You never get your time back. But money is renewable. So money should be seen as a tool to buy time not stuff.

3. The three most valuable things you have are your time, attention and network. Treat each accordingly.

4. Ecclesiastes 3 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” So when you’re doing something, give it your full attention.

Don’t let your mind wander. Permit yourself to be present in that moment. The people closest to you deserve 100% of you. Don’t shortchange them by letting your mind and body be in different places.

5. Be careful what advice you take. The person most capable of providing you a full and fulfilled life is you. So listen to your heart. Follow that gentle pull of your soul, guiding you along life’s path.

6. Recognize that your life is a series of chapters and there are things you can do in this chapter that you will never be able to do again.

So be bold. Take chances. Don’t wait to do the things you’ve always dreamed of. Live a life worth writing about.

Most importantly, make it a story you’d love to read.


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