Hell yes! I came back to Sacramento this week, to hang out with my parents. I love being back here. Mom makes the best chicken curry, and Dad and I get to eat like kings. I swear, the best spices you’ll ever taste, I don’t know how she does it.
Every Indian will understand what I mean when I talk about how Indian parents are the best negotiators in the world. They are ALWAYS looking for a deal. My dad has been carrying a check with a Los Angeles address in his wallet for 25 years because every time he goes to Disneyland, he gets a discount.
This time, BAM, mom snags us two free Benihana gift certificates. (Get $30 at Benihana’s during your birthday month by clicking here) Hell yes, dinner where the chef does a show, flipping the meat and cooking steaks right in front of you. F’ing DELICIOUS. Man, it’s nice to be home sometimes.
We get seated next to another group of people. We start chatting. They talk about an interest in travel, but haven’t once left the country.
It dawns on us that we have four birthdays at a table of six people. I’m watching the Benihana chef chop the tails off of shrimp. SCREECH the spatula on the skillet, and he flicks his wrist: 6 shrimp tails fly into his pockets and over the brim of his hat.
And I realize, I’m lucky. It’s not everybody gets to live the nomadic lifestyle. Most people never even consider that traveling the world, building an online business, outsourcing—-most people never even see this as an opportunity.
But that’s what irks me. That most people NEVER EVEN CONSIDER that there is an alternate lifestyle, one different to what everyone is used to.In Argentina
What if you could pet a lion? (See above) What if you could have a sandwich named after you? (You can) What if you could make money from the back of an elephant? (You can) What if you could do all of this, while living in exotic locales—-Brazil, Italy, India, Colombia, Argentina, or anywhere really—-and earning more than you spend? (You can)
Goddammit, the fact is most people don’t even see a different lifestyle as possible.
Different… Is… Scary!
In 2008, after my junior year at Stanford, I took two years off and traveled around the world. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I left as a student, not sure what I wanted to do, became a freelance programmer, and in the meantime built a passive income business that let me continue to travel without working.
If I had followed the normal path—-ughhh, it pains me to think about. If I hadn’t decided to do the stupid thing and travel, I know 100% that I would have become a programmer and been working 60 hour weeks in a cubicle in downtown San Francisco. It makes me realize that travel–more broadly, an affinity for new experiences– is the most important factor in achieving a dream lifestyle. People who are afraid of new experiences ONLY FOLLOW THE NORM—and the norm is not where opportunities lie. Instead of fighting against the crowd, go around it—look for opportunities to succeed in unconventional ways.
The problem is NOT that most people are afraid to build their ideal lifestyle. No, the fact, is most haven’t even considered that another lifestyle exists.
I want you to understand that you don’t have to follow the same lifestyle that everyone around you follows. You can do anything. Say it with me. Anything
Reader, I’m talking to you right now. Take 10 seconds and think about this, because my goal right now is to blow your mind. Are you currently living your ideal life? The most perfect, amazing, dream life you’ve ever imagined? If not, are you at least heading towards it? Do you even know what ‘it’—-your ideal, perfect lifestyle—is?
Most likely, you’ve grown up following a plan—not yours, but society’s. You went to middle school, high school, college, your friends started getting jobs so you got a job, because that’s the normal thing to do.
But here’s something you might have missed: there are other possibilities. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. The things you’ve joked about with friends, ‘what if we flew to Mexico tonight and partied? or ‘what if we started an online company and did whatever we want?’ That doesn’t have to be a dream. It can be real.
Have you ever wanted to become a DJ? Learn to speak a foreign language? Samba with beautiful Brazilians and ride a camel throughout India?
Here it is. What I’ve been leading up to. The mission statement for ManeeshSethi.com.
This is my blog’s main goal: I want you to achieve your dream lifestyle.
This isn’t going to happen overnight. Going from a regular college student to traveling the world, to dating the personal secretary of Argentina’s president, being featured on the cover of India’s largest tabloid, creating an online business that was fully outsourced and paid for all my expenses, creating an NGO in India to help children learn to use the computer, becoming a DJ in Berlin in just 90 days, living in the wilderness with no backpack or tent or sleeping bag for 28 days—this didn’t all happen overnight.On the cover of India’s biggest tabloid, Sunday Mid Day
It all started with a little seed. One comment from a friend, where he tipped me off that he had studied abroad without Stanford, and it was cheap plus he got to live with young people rather than old crotchety host mothers.
That small seed grew into a vision. I could experience the world alone, without Stanford, and save money. Just a single conversation with a single random friend changed my life.
And then I booked a ticket to Buenos Aires, and started a small business while traveling in Brazil, and it grew and grew while I continued to travel and live my dreams. And then opportunities led to more opportunities, and so on.
I want to be that spark that propels you to achieve your ideal lifestyle.
Great fires start from small sparks. You can’t achieve your ideal lifestyle without starting small.
So I ask you today to think: What, in your wildest impossible dreams, do you think would the most AWESOME, AMAZING, ideal lifestyle that could possibly exist?
I’m going to get you there.
For the next few Wednesdays, we’re going to focus on finding your ideal lifestyle. Next Wednesday, we’ll talk about identifying the possibilities that exist outside of what you’re used to. We’ll talk about strategies and tactics to determine exactly what you want, and how to get there.
Until then, I want you to think about the invisible societal constraints that hold you down. What if you didn’t follow the lifestyle you’re leading—what if you did something new?
Just remember this quote:
“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” -ALAN KEIGHTLEY