When the D.A.R.E program came to my High School - a program designed by local communities and police officers to prevent alcohol and drug intoxication - one of the common things they would show us was how hard it is to trust your motor skills when impaired by alcohol. The officers would place a pair of "drunk goggles" on students and ask them to walk in a straight line. The goggles were designed to filer the images coming through them in a way that confused the students' brains, much like alcohol would.
We all would laugh hysterically as student after student tried to walk in a straight line wearing the googles but were unable to, despite their intense focus and effort. When it came to my turn, I was able to walk the entire line straight from beginning to end without much difficulty because I thought about the solution at a different level. My peers and teachers were amazed and thought I was either cheating or had some natural superpower. The officer however, knew exactly what I had done to cheat the system. I just closed my eyes.
The act of closing my eyes removed the stimulus that would have confused my brain and caused the senses I normally relied on to go haywire. What took over was my primal, inner survival instinct that was focused on one thing - keeping me alive.
I hear this all the time - " I feel sad" " I don't feel good." "I am just overworked." or my favorite..." I can't..." Don't like what's going on? Guess what, you have the power to tune it out. Just close your eyes.
If you want to achieve some semblance of higher success in life, your odds at succeeding are slim. People around you will try to cloud your judgment, question your motives, and at every single turn talk you out of your path, worse yet- your emotions will betray you.
Close your eyes, cover your ears and march a long anyways. Let your inner animal unleash and make you follow the path of resistance, become bloodthirsty for success and let every fiber in your body flow with the passion to achieve a higher aim.
Don't fall because you are afraid to close your eyes. Close your eyes because you are afraid to fall.
When you're down and out and life kicks you in the face, you come to realize the depth of the relationships that you've built over your life. Almost in anticipation, you might secretly sit there waiting for those for whom you have sacrificed so much to come for you- to provide you a helping hand and offer that one last catch that you need before you get swallowed by the throughs of life. Just once more.
But they don't come, because no one is going to come, my friends. You are on your own.
In this life, only you have been bestowed with the power to save yourself; to turn your life around; to make something out of the 70 or so short years that we call "life." You must stop waiting if you want to take unrestricted action, and unleash the best that is within you.
Knowing this should set you free; for only when we expect something from others can we face true disappointment; and if only we can be responsible for disappointing ourselves than we've truly achieved, the limitless.
Many new entrepreneurs see themselves are “inventors” or “social justice warriors” rather business guys. Suits? Gross. Cufflinks? What are those? Finance? Boring! Money? Evil!
And you can’t blame them. Our culture has romanticized entrepreneurship as a “noble cause” where someone finds a solution to a problem facing humankind and is immediately rewarded for it with the world’s riches and a Nobel Peace Prize. I see these people all the time around the streets of Cambridge, MA: conflating their business idea contributions to society, social justice, and a patronizing “ I’m-better-than-you-attitude.” Ask them about the business fundamentals of their venture –numbers, margins, cash flow - and they look at you like you’ve just insulted their childhood pet. How dare you ask me about numbers?
Unfortunately, history tells otherwise. An invention alone means nothing. In America today – the modus operandi of the “old economy” still reigns supreme. Successful founders are those who are able to successfully raise funds, have the financial know-how of their industry, and are able to negotiate their way into the back room politics required to finance their company’s growth. In other words, you’d rather have an average product and phenomenal business execution than a phenomenal product and an average plan of business execution.
Ideally, you’d have both.
A study complied by CB Insights compiling post-mortems of 101 startups across all industries, led to the following three reasons for startup failure:
Here’s the kicker: Successful startups are a business. Running a business requires financial acumen, negotiation skills, the grit to see something through, and finding ways to opening doors that are often closed for average people.
By being a good business man or woman, you’ll be able to better provide for your customers: giving them the best products and lowest cost, shipping your products faster so they can get it quicker, and allowing you to retain more earnings so you can hire, expand, and truly serve more people in your community and beyond. This is the part that this millennial generation doesn’t want to embrace - their social justice warrior mentality of defying everything that reeks of capitalism, riches, and the 1% fuels a generation of businesses that ironically don’t get anything done and actually don’t impact anyone.
Sure thing, you can “talk” about your business idea and your product and how it’s going to save humankind, but that’s not going to get you any closer to actually doing that. You must get sh*t done. Business is war, and the way to succeed is to outwit your competition and force your way to make your business as financially sound as possible so you can actually do the things you wanted to do – in scale. Otherwise – you’re just like those politicians you say you despite –“all talk no action.”
So, eye for the prize- if you’re really keen on saving the world – become one of the 122 startups that reach $100M in revenue in America each year, don’t hate on them. If you want to change the system, win. Victors get to re-write history; no one gives a shit about losers.
When I started my first business at 12 years old, everyone tried to talk me out of it. I distinctly remember my middle school teacher saying that it'd be a "horrible investment" of my time because "9 out of 10 businesses failed." I looked it up. She was right. So, I just went ahead and started 10 businesses.
A bit over a decade later, I have started, sold, and acquired over 37 businesses and I am lucky enough that I can work for myself and have employed more than three dozens of talented men and women in the process.
I'll be honest though - I didn't know much when I started, I was completely clueless. I sucked at math and numbers, and for most of my first few years, I didn't have any clue how to read a balance sheet. I also had absolutely no capital, no mentorship, and no one to ask for help.
The funny thing is, that I was totally aware that I didn't know what the hell I was doing, but I just didn't give a shit and did it anyways.
Today, many of my classmates and friends call me to work for one of my businesses or for an internship opportunity. The truth is that many of my classmates were far smarter, sharper, and better suitable to start a business. And if they had done so, I would probably have faced stiff competition and might not have been writing this blog. Because I'd admittedly be outsmarted and they would have made me go out of business.
So what competitive edge did I have? None. I just started, and they didn't. There's this lie that you'll hear over and over again saying that it's almost "impossible" to be successful. I beg to differ. The competition is pretty self-selective. Most of the talented, smartest people didn't and don't even participate. They sit out the game. And you have no chance of winning if you don't play.
If you believe the mainstream media and the intellectual class, they tend to speak about "competitive advantage" as something that's reserved for Harvard MBAs or old people with gray hair who have "experience" or worse- make it about gender or race or some other "privileged" BS. The real competitive advantage is starting. While many can write fancy research papers, debate on market trends, or talk you out of your ideas, they aren't out there doing it. They aren't out there hustling. They aren't out there failing. They aren't out there struggling and falling again and again and again and again until they fail their way to success.
Although I would probably have saved myself a myriad of difficulties, lost friendships and a normal childhood had I listened to my teacher and made the "wise choice" to first "get experience" and then start, I would not be truly happy, because I'd not be doing what I'm doing today.
But I don't blame her and others. They are right. The first few times, it'll be uncomfortable, you'll have to shoot in the dark, you might feel unprepared, and there will be absolutely be times where you'll be lost. But this is exactly what separates the average from the successful. Don't give a shit. You'll figure it out.
To all my fellow readers who are here to leave a legacy, stop over analyzing everything to death.
You'll never know enough, you will feel uneasy and uncomfortable, and you just might fail. But it is only through this process that you actually get closer to your goal.
That sales call you have been putting off? Do it now.
That conversation you wanted to have with your boss about a raise? Stop putting it off, call him now.
That blog you were going to start? Do it now.
That podcast you were going to start? Start it now.
Take it from me, you'll learn more from screwing up in real life than you'll learn from hypothetical situations that someone posted on social media. That's how it goes. The quicker you fail, the quicker you can change to succeed, and the quicker you will succeed. This is how you get better.
This the way of man. Leave the endless planning and thinking to the dreamers. 5-Year plans might be the status quo in Soviet Russia, but we all know how well that actually ended up working out for them.
And if you have any doubts of how far bravado can take you over experience, turn on your TV. You'll see an orange-haired Reality TV star occupy the most powerful position on earth without any relevant experience because he didn't give a shit and went for it. So why wouldn't you?
To win in life is a constant fight, for every part of your existence will fight you. Success requires breaking social conventions, but your body isn’t designed to serve your goals.
Your mind doesn’t give a shit that you want to be the CEO of a Fortune-500 company, or that you want to be a pro athlete, or start a $100M startup. Our bodies are designed to survive and as social animals, breaking social conventions means putting our very existence at risk. For in evolutionary terms, being cut off from social conventions meant living outside the tribe – foregoing a steady flow of food, water, and shelter and likely risking death.
It should come to no surprise that the path of least resistance, the one keeps you within the tribe will flood your body with a slew of positive emotions, emotions so strong, that you’ll often need to be completely delusional to go reject them.
Being a “yes man,” avoiding conflict, not asking questions, refusing to speak up against authority, eating garbage food, sleeping in, procrastinating, consuming mindless fake news, being physically inactive, settling for average people who are most “like you”, playing video games, “blending in,” and the likes flood our bodies with dopamine regardless of the fact that all of these things keep us average; but that’s beside the fact for they keep us “alive.”
Ironically, the activities that flood our bodies with negative emotions – pain, fear, discomfort, anxiety, depression - are the ones that bring us closer to our goals. Studying all night will cause your head to hurt and your eyes to burn, eating bland chicken breast and waking up at 6 AM to hit the stairs will feel painful, starting a new business without industry experience will cause anxiety, going to failure on each set will cause your body to drown in pain-inducing lactic acid, and daring to take a different path than those of your peers will often cause you to be ridiculed and mocked.
But if you want to thrive, you must break free from these slavish emotions and come to terms with the fact that the more anxious, pain-laden, difficult, and uncomfortable something feels – the more likely it will lead you to the royal road of success.
Does taking that step give you anxiety, and cause fear? Go for it.
Does starting that business seem uncomfortable and flood you with fear? Start it.
Does that meal plan make your body feel disgust? Get 'em.
Does your life choice likely cause you to be a social outcast? Consider going for it.
This is the difference between winners and losers. Winners embrace pain and go towards it, knowing that it is a stepping stone for greatness. Losers retreat, and run away from the pain, thinking that the pain is an indicator that their decision is the “wrong one” not realizing that the “feel good” emotions are designed to protect you from failure, but also take you away from success.
Losers will say –“but least I lived.” But what is your life if you are slave to the opinion of others and to rules created by society? Such people died the day they were born. What life they speak of?
Strength & Honor,
A choice bestowed upon most of us more than ever is the one concerning the paths we want to take in life. There are really two - one is to live on one's own terms, and one is to live on terms of others. The former is filled with challenges, risk, and difficulties; the other one is replete with comfort, and easiness. Bullshit aside, the difference is really one between SECURITY and FREEDOM.
The choice, isn't very clear for most. As a matter of fact, choosing a life of security, at the outset "seemingly" seems more free than the one of freedom. Just like most shiny objects in life, this too is a farce. Allow me to explain.
Let's take the example of the life of the rich and famous. There are really two ways to achieve it. One is to buy Lamborghinis, million dollar mansions, and private jets on a loan (bad debt). The other is to work your ass off, pull all-nighters, forgo social events, and being "cool" and obtain actual assets to buy these goods yourself. To no surprise, one way is EASY the other is fucking HARD, and to no surprise - 9.999/10 people are going to choose the former.
The real difference between the two however, is that by going into bad debt, you end up literally working for those who lent you the money. And you know what? The world encourages you to get into bad debt. You can easily get a loan on a house you cannot pay off within 30 years. And look in your mailbox. Is that another pre-approved credit card? It's the third one this week. There are lots of people who 'look rich' but they are in major debt. I ask you, 'Are they free?' They will be working for the bank and car companies to repay the debt with most of the days from their life.
This analogy extends to real life. Most people sacrifice their dreams to only live a life of bad debt. Just like a house of cards, it's never built on a strong foundation.
Let's use the following as a trajectory:
Initially, the man on the Freedom path seems to be a loser, but it is he who wins in the end. For he owes nobody anything. The pain the man on the freedom path feels is initially high, but gets LESS over time, while the pain felt by the man on the security path is minimal at first but accumulates over time, one that he has to pay back with interest during the later years of his life when his body is weak and his mind is fading.
The poor soul either suffers or lies to himself: i.e. "I have done the honorable path." But you did not honor your dream and so committed treason against your Gift.
Perhaps we should remember the analogy of a medicine shot. The shot is initially painful, as was the shock of many of the things you've learned here. Taking action and embracing your dreams, rather than 'securities', is initially hard but it gets easier in the same way the shot is painful but soothes over time. Those who did not take the shot ran into disease later in life. For those that did, each day gets more wonderful and brighter, rather than more melancholy and darker.
Here is another parable. A young man was mad that his current days of life were frustrating and hard. "Rotten Nature!" he raged and shook his fist at the sky. "How unfair you are!" But Nature replied, "Foolish youth! This 'pain' and 'frustration' is merely my discipline. As you know, you cannot take joy in this pain. But know that those who humble themselves to the ways of life will find the discipline cease as you learn my ways and the fruits of life shall become available. Until you learn your lessons, I will continue to deliver discipline."
- Strength & Honor
In 2017, we have become a society of consumers. The first thing most people do is wake up and check their phones - go on Twitter or Facebook and check out the irrelevant things people are doing in their lives, get up to speed with the latest political opinions of people they don't even remember adding to their friend list, and double tap every dog picture on Instagram they don't care about. And continue. Every 1 hour for every hour they are awake, before tucking their phone under their pillow in case they don't miss a "like" from their long-lost crush from High School.
This type of behavior has no place in the arsenal of someone looking to attain peak-productivity. By constantly following others and giving your precious time away to validating the opinion of strangers, you are living the life of others and never giving yourself the opportunity to form your own beliefs and convictions. That is a fatal flaw, hamartia.
Here's news for you: the most successful people in this world are active. This is as true for olympic athletes or founders of successful companies. They don't passively consume information and wait for life to "happen to them." They don't give a shit about the flashing of their iPhones or for that little (1) symbol on another tab of their Chrome browser. They make up their mind what to focus on, and then do it.
What those obsessed with peak-productivity do focus on is execution. And they focus on it more than most people think humanly possible. Chris Sacca wrote a great medium post about Travis Kalanick’s work ethic. In it he says:
"He doesn’t sleep. He doesn’t lose focus. He will even forget to eat. He executes again and again, inspiring those around him to have the same passion for the end game as he does."
This unrelenting desire to be biased towards execution means that time is spent on getting out there and getting sh*t done rather sitting in the confines of your home in front of your smartphone scrolling at success memes or re-reading success guides all day. Stop just reading them. Apply them. That sales call you have been putting off? Do it, now. That conversation you wanted to have with your boss? Stop putting it off, call him now. That blog you were going to start? Do it, now. You should be so obsessed with action that you cannot think about anything else. Get so consumed with action that you forget to check your phone.
Becoming obsessed with execution comes with a steep price. You're more likely to make mistakes, you are more likely to fail sooner, and you're more likely to get rejected. That's good.
Take it from me, you'll learn more from screwing up in real life than you'll learn from hypothetical situations that someone posted on Reddit. That's how it goes. The quicker you fail, the quicker you can change to succeed, and the quicker you will succeed. This is how you get better. This the way of man. Leave the endless planning and thinking to the dreamers. 5-Year plans might be the status quo in Soviet Russia, but we all know how well that actually ended up working out for them.
You must fall to rise. You must break to recreate. A sword must be forged in fire. Be the sword.
To live is to fight, for this world is but a hurricane of challenges all aimed at you. If it ever becomes too much, if you get down on your life, you will look for encouragement externally. But you won't find it.
For everyone puts on the appearance that they want the best for you, that they want you to succeed. But in reality, the thing most people least want is you to succeed.
Most people want you to fail.
So Endure. For the people who gave up on you are fearful to run into you later in your life only to realize that you are successful and they missed out on a great opportunity.
Give substance to that fear.
So Endure. For the people who tried to break you are secretly hoping that they broke you completely so you can never outdo them.
Shatter their hopes.
So Endure. For the people of your past harbor secret desires that you failed and amounted to nothing in life.
Defy these desires.
For nothing can overtake the power of Endurance!
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated failure.
Endurance alone is power ultimate. So endure.
Customers today are smarter than ever before. As a matter of fact, I'd say that many of them are smarter and more informed about products than those selling them. Unfortunately, many businesses haven't gotten the hint and keep treating customers like they did back in the 90's - as naive beings who need to be "saved" by the expertise that businesses hold. If you think that this form of advertising works, ask your 6-year old cousin to watch a few hours of QVC with you and see how he or she will spot bullshit miles away.
My attitude towards my customers is that they and I are on the same team. I spent most of my life buying supplements at GNC or on Amazon. Now that I'm the one selling them, I know the pain points that buyers face. Will it work? Is it worth the money? Is the science accurate? Where is this made? Can I return it if it doesn't work? Who can I ask for advice about the product?
To that effect, instead of acting like the CEO of a company, I am a consumer, just like them. I post on the forums, the label is made made available open, we don't pay for fake reviews, don't do any affiliate marketing, nor any subscription/trial systems that are disguised as scammers to take people's hard-earned money.
Let me put it this way, how would you like it if you were to spend your hard earned money on a product because it has stellar reviews only to find out they were all fake? How would you like it if your credit card kept getting charged even though you didn't sign up for a service? If you would be upset about this, don't do this to your customers. Sure, many big businesses do this, but it doesn't mean you need to do this. It's bullshit.
Treat your customers like you are selling to your family or close friends. Not just because they will appreciate you for it, but because it's the right way to do things.
Many new business owners get so caught up in doing what the bigger corporations are doing and doing what's been done before, that they forget to build their own brands. Think about all the supplement brands out there today - apart from their labels, what really separates them? Same products, same marketing techniques, and often the same ads. If you go on most websites, you'll even see that their articles aren't even written for humans anymore, but for computers - in hope that the keywords make them rank higher for SEO. Being the same as everyone else might feel like a shortcut to success. Sure, fitting in might get you into the database faster, but it's also the easiest way to be one of many, pigeonholed and eventually ignored. What if you do things completely different?
So new that there is no slot for it.
So unpredictable that you can't be ignored.
So important that everyone needs to stop what they're doing and pay attention instead?
At AZOTH we made it a point to be different. Our most developed marketing push hasn't been to get models to take pics with the product or to make a video of a glute workout. Instead, we created the Unsung Heroes Contest and spent all our advertising budget on a small, niche podcast led by two good guys in the industry with a loyal following. That's it. We don't have any sponsored athletes, we don't make any outrageous claims, we don't have glamorous models handing samples at expos, and don't do any training videos. Not because those things aren't right, but because those things don't help us promote our brand. That's the bottom line. Your customer might forget your product, but they won't forget your brand; better yet, it doesn't take a million-dollar budget to create one.
If you're starting out a new business it seems like a daunting task. Your competitors are better funded, have larger clout, a bigger network, and chances are they have better employees and have a whole line of press releases you can't even dream of.
If you see your competitor's meteoric accolades as reason to quit because you can't follow their path, you are doing yourself a disservice. Business is about your customers, not about your competitors. At the end of the day, your customers don't care if you are driving a Rolls Royce or a Toyota or whether your mentor is a Silicon Valley Billionaire or your mom. They care about the product you are selling them and the value you are providing. Value is the greatest equalizer. It's not about what you have, it's about what you can give.
Here's the big takeaway: In life and in business, your lack of resources can be an advantage, forcing you to be more inventive with the little that you have. Sure, you won't be able to do things that your competitors are doing, but neither can they do what you can.
Engrained in us from our days in middle school is this concept that our self-worth should be tied with how many people we sit next to on our lunch table. Even though we stop being 12-year olds, most of us keep buying into this lunch table mentality like it’s the gospel well into adulthood.
Sorry to break it to you, but middle school is over. Life is not a popularity contest, and no one gives a shit about your followers on Twitter, so stop buying into this bullshit.
In real life, the man who is comfortable with himself and confident in his true independence is the one who people want to be associated with the most and share in it. This is because the man who is comfortable with himself and his independence stands as a beacon of strength in a growing society of the emotionally weak.
This is not because social groups are inherently bad, but because man often uses these as crutches during times when falling is the noble thing to do. For man learns from falling down, but if man is constantly given a crutch when he is falling, he will never fall, and as such never have the incentive to improve.
I challenge you – next time, when life throws you in the gutters or you make a horrible decision and are forced to face the consequences, to avoid the “you go girl” taps on the back from your friends who tell you “it was the right thing to do anyways” and to not whip out your iPhone in desperate need for strangers on the internet to validate your shitty behavior. Rather, I challenge you to accept your failure and to stare it coldly in its eyes, and then to take that failure and to use it to forge yourself into an indestructible specimen.
For at the end of days, how you handle failure yourself and what you do with your freedom and the opportunities it provides is the measure of man.
Strength & Honor,
Everything seemed perfect. You were living the life you one day dreamed of. The hole you felt throughout your life was filled with something so deeply filling you couldn't imagine living without it.
Next thing you know, life throws a curveball at you and right before your eyes, everything is taken away. You don't even have a chance to find your balance, and the rug is pulled right under you, making you fall. Fall so deeply that you are convinced that there is no way out of the darkness but continue into complete disintegration of yourself.
Some will offer you fake advice, others will make fun of you. Either way, they are wrong. Failure is normal. It’s what happens to those who stay human. Coming from hitting rock bottom several times in my life, I am here to tell you that to be hurt is a badge of honor.
If you aren’t broken up by life, affected, altered, then it shows you aren’t living life. It shows that you have a soul else you wouldn’t feel the dagger lanced into it right now.
Here's another piece of wisdom: Circumstances don't make a man. They reveal him to himself.
This is integral because being blindsided by failure causes men to take two routes.
The average man will become teary eyed and stay that way. They will retreat to a womb of security and analyze the situation that led to their failure to death. What if I hadn't made that deal? What if I had never agreed to that contract? What if I had treated the situation differently? These men go nowhere. Their misery ends up defining them for their rest of their lives.
But you are not an average man. You are a leader. Misery does not define leaders. Leaders understand that when they are at rock bottom, they've been bestowed with the greatest momentum they'll ever achieve in life.
It's science. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of physics or who has spent time at the playground knows that a slingshot that is tugged back the furthest will hurl any object it is carrying the most forward with the most amount of momentum possible.
Line up a series of slingshots and pull each a bit further than the previous one. Factually, the slingshot that has been pulled back the furthest will force the object it has carrying the furthest. Even better, if you want to go as far as possible, you pull that string right until it's at the breaking point. That's life. The greater the setback, the more the momentum you have to hurl yourself forward, at a rate that you've never thought possible.
Unfortunately, most average men and women fail to see nothing but the present and let that define them. Depressed, anxious, scared, and pain-laden they let the tension of the slingshot cripple them, not understanding that if they just "let go" of the tension, they'd spring forward like a loaded Bugatti cruising 200 mph on a German Autobahn.
Leaders understand that hitting rock bottom bestows them with the greatest gift, namely they get to know themselves. I quoted James Allen above but will do so again: circumstances don't make a man, they reveal him to himself. Who are you? What are your issues? What are your weaknesses? If you've ever struggled to answer this, wait until life fucks you over, and you'll get to know what you're truly made of. I'll keep it real here, you aren't suddenly weak, scared, bad, or anxious because of the circumstance that came upon you. You were all those things, but you just weren't aware of them. But now you are. That is a reason to celebrate. Becoming aware of the truth makes you powerful. Powerful to take action. Powerful to transcend any problems life throws your way.
This is the point where greatness emerges. Where pioneers are made and the stepping stones of the greatest civilizations are put forward. Each brick and each stone put forward is filled with wisdom, strength, courage, and glued together by bloodshed, tears, and sweat that through life's hardness, have the grit of hard-rock cement.
For the greatest impediments to self-development are doubt and fear. Doubt and fear comes from the unknown. When someone hurls insults, we take it to heart because we don't know ourselves and we question the validity of their statements. Once we know what we are and who we are, there can be no doubt and fear, and such the words of other men have no bearing on our reality because we already know it, factually, to be true or false.
So right now. If you are feeling that you've hit rock bottom, I'll tell you this: once you make a complete 180, you'll look back and appreciate that you didn't lose anything but only gained.
For when you lost everything in your life, you found the most precious thing in this life, yourself. And the man who finds himself is a force to be reckoned with, a force powerful to change the very history of humankind; a badge of honor you can take with you to your grave.
See you on the other side my friend.
The world is run, changed, and moved by men with missions. A man with a mission will achieve more in a month than ten men will achieve in their lifetimes put together.
The fact of life is that perhaps 10% of men have clearly defined goals, but only 2-3% of men have a mission. The rest are following along; along for the ride wherever the road may take them even if it is (unbeknownst to them) a shortcut to hell. A man on a mission is a man who has sought out what he wants and is dedicating his existence to its attainment - pure, raw, and completely un-phased.
A man on a mission will not seek solutions to his problems externally, but internally; as he is completely in charge of his destiny. A man on a mission will not be slowed down by financial troubles, or threats, or abuses by his fellow men but he will see those as a natural process of his growth and success. A man on a mission may give such appearances, but will never put anyone on a pedestal but himself - for he knows that who would he be if it weren't for him? Everything this man does, everything he is, flows from this mission; and from this very devotion and love of it. Men on a mission have created civilizations, every invention, and every political institution known to man.
So why shirk away? Why does the 98% find solace in wandering the wilderness when they could etch their name in the books of history? Because it is seemingly easier and more noble to cloak inaction with altruism; however this is a mere illusion. At the end of days, a man on the mission is more capable of inspiring, more capable of giving back, and more capable of building for his fellow man; in ways that a wanderer could merely imagine in his wildest dreams.
The irony is that living a life of risk is far less riskier than living a life with no risk at all. The irony is that living a life that is seemingly difficult is actually far less difficult than living a life that is seemingly easy. For at the end of days all men lie on the death bed alone and what we look back upon is what we accomplished and what mark we left on the world.
A man on a mission inspired, created, and molded part of the world in the image of himself; and as such he has defied mortality and has transcended his death. Whereas the man who refused to take risk, refused to feel pain, refused to dare, left no mark behind and as such, when his body perishes, so does he, in all ways.
One of the most important cornerstones of leadership is setting strict boundaries. If we are unwilling to enforce them, we become subject to the whims of others and lose our authenticity. In business, that's deadly, but far from uncommon. There's a reason why we have so many companies, but yet so few brands and even less brand loyalty. Businesses just follow the latest trends without setting their feet down in what they believe in. See, with AZOTH, just like any other strong business, it's not the product we are selling, but ourselves and our own authentic voice. Lose that and you're as reliable as the next street vendor in Brooklyn - you've got tons of things to sell, but if you're gone no one's gonna give a shit. I refuse to subscribe to that.
When I started AZOTH, there were a couple of things I refused cut corners on:
For one, I wanted the product to be produced start to finish in the United States. Yes, this means even the labeling, the plastic tub, the lid, and every raw material used in the process of manufacturing AZOTH was built in the USA. It's matter of principle - we can't say we're proud to be American and then when the chance comes to put our money where our mouth is we flee to China. That's irony at its finest.
Secondly, I had no interest in skimping on doses. I made it a point that I created a profile with ingredients at dosages that were OPTIMAL and NECESSARY to feel an effect, without even looking at the total price and just sent it off to the manufacturer to make. When the manufacturer quoted me, it was a ridiculously high price point, I looked at the ingredient list and decided I couldn't cut anything. Instead I added a few more ingredients and just said screw it.I wholeheartedly believe that if you do something, you either do it at a 100% or you just don't do it all. What's the point if I add a few sprinkle milligrams of an ingredient if I truly know I am scamming my consumers because it's not going to do anything.
A REAL NOOTROPIC
This is a whole topic in and of itself, but the word Nootropic has been "bastardized" to include frankly everything that has any sort of effect on energy or on the brain, which by default would be practically every supplement out there. Seeing the explosion of this category, supplement companies have latched onto it like the last branch in the jungle. I commonly see products (as a matter of fact almost all of them on the first page of Amazon) calling a blend of Caffeine, a few chinese herbs and Indian roots with horribly low doses (several have a 10% specification of a 100mg total ingredient) "POTENT NOOTROPIC STACK." That's garbage.
When people try AZOTH they say it feels different than any other nootropic they've tried, I tell them that's because they've never tried nootropics. They've tried caffeine pills and underdosed herbs. When I set out to create AZOTH, I wanted to make sure it's actually what it says it is.
R&D OVER MARKETING
When AZOTH was being manufactured, the costs were going to be astronomical. I had made a conscious choice, however, that instead of the typical 90-10 split (marketing/R&D), I would flip it to 90-10 (R&D/Marketing). The thought process behind this was clear. With AZOTH I was on the mission to create a flagship product that works. End of story. If a supplement doesn't work, it's not going to last. Yes, I'd probably still get tons of reviews on Amazon with the right amount of ad buys, but that's not what I was going for. I could give two shits about validation. I care about the product working. Making people more productive. That's the goal. No corners cut. As far as marketing is concerned, I am a staunch believer in the notion of "build and they shall come." The ones who need the loudest megaphones are the ones who have little to show for. I was convinced that with a just a few channels to market the product, I could succeed.