Entrepreneurship, success, and happiness: lessons learned, and an invitation

I am going to be traveling a lot in the next 6 weeks – to the Integral Theory Conference in Oakland, then a week with Mike Jay in Las Vegas (see below), and then Burning Man – and reporting on all these events – so I am leading off with a long piece on entrepreneurship, happiness and success, followed by an offer / invitation.  You can skip the narcissistic ramblings and head directly to the invitation below, if you want, which is a pretty good one. 

The ups and the downs of being an entrepreneur

I got a mixed response to the Entrepreneur test piece, with people asking me “is this really you”?  Well, in many respects, sadly, it has been.  I am actually not a natural entrepreneur, yet I have spent a large chunk of my life  looking for some way to support myself that would also feed my happiness and allow me to do the things that have been most important and vital to me (my adventures in relationship and community and “experiments in consciousness”).  I became an entrepreneur by default – I couldn’t think of any other career that would give me the freedom that I needed.  When I met Rebekah, after a lifetime of seeking in both the relational and business arenas, I became happy for perhaps the first time in my life, because I had found a path to sustained sexual intimacy with a person of the female persuasion (don’t laugh – it’s actually not an easy thing). 

With this triumph, and flush with excitement, I then created or participated in 4 different businesses over the next 6 years – all of which failed, and two of them spectacularly so (the first web business and Trellis).  My current business, WordPress Academy, is the first one that is successful.  Maybe because it’s more related to an area of desire (or intrinsic motivation), for me: WordPress Academy is a type of conversation for transformation, which is the thing for which I live. 

And yet I continue to struggle with this – either sacrificing happiness in the pursuit of success, or, as of lately, sacrificing success in the pursuit of happiness.  This, I have come to learn, is very common.

On this topic, I just recently re-read Gurdjieff’s Meetings with remarkable men, that relates extraordinary events in Gurdjieff’s life that happened 100 years ago but which are extremely relevant to my condition.  For the first half of his life, Gurdjieff conducted extensive travels and meetings throughout Asia with a group he called the “seekers of truth”.  He was also a very astute businessman and trader, and he supported himself throughout this period by a series of business ventures and schemes which included (in a moment of desperation) snaring live sparrows, clipping them and painting them, and selling them in the market as “American canaries”.  Laying aside the ethics of some of these activities, the story was extremely inspirational to me, first because it legitimized my own struggle to support myself financially as a “seeker of truth”, but also because it reminded me that it is possible to be a spiritual person and smart and resourceful too.  In other words, that the pursuit of enlightenment and the pursuit of business are not inherently contradictory.  Another great guru and teacher of mine, Swami Rudrananda, ran a very a successful art import business his whole life, and firmly believed that a spiritual teacher ought to have an independent means of support.  He would sit in his Manhattan storefront and teach his students in between visits from customers. 

Enter Mike Jay and Flawless Living Design System (FLDS)

The basic idea of FLDS is that happiness is natural – happiness comes from following our desires and intrinsic motivation, where we can exist in a state of flow while creating those things that we value – whereas success, for most people, is not.  I define “success” as the ability to provide what we need in life while following the path of our happiness.  Unlike happiness, success comes from executing the success requirements of our business or profession, which may or may not be inborn, and which may or may not be part of our intrinsic motivation.  This is why it’s so hard and why so many of us are under great tension around this.  The situation is actually made worse by all the self-help gurus (Tony Robbins, Steven Covey, etc.) because they teach systems that work well if you work them, but that only 1% to 5% of us will actually apply – thus funding a billion dollar training industry that does nothing, and leaving many of us struggling our whole lives trying to mold and adapt ourselves to some standard that just doesn’t fit with who we are, and then wonder what is wrong with us.

The fascinating thing (to me anyway) is that I have been discovering many of the ideas of FLDS on my own, through my own life and research; but Mike Jay has actually made an entire developmental system out of this, that he calls a “memetic operating system” (or values-based program), that is backed by a ton of psychological research and theory, along with his work with thousands of coaching clients over the last 20 years; and what’s more that there is a business community being created around this, a movement really, of people committed to exploring their happiness while expanding success – of people committed to living more inter-dependently and with greater passion and contribution.  Because the solution, of course, to our inability to do the things that are required for success, is first to accept our limitations, and then to ally with other people who can do those things naturally that we cannot. 

I invite you to come experience FLDS with me in Las Vegas on August 20-23

I invite you to experience the first (beta) Flawless Living seminar in Las Vegas from Friday August 20 at 6pm, to Monday August 23 at noon.  The first FLDS seminar – and probably all of them – is going to be free, except for an administrative fee for various assessments (that are key to the discovery process that happens during the seminar).  During the first two days, we will each create a blueprint for success, unique to us, using Mike’s inquiry methods.  On the third day, there will be an offer to buy-in to the business network, at guaranteed rates of return or money-back – it’s truly an unusual and extraordinary offer.

If you can’t come to Vegas in August, there is another in Philadelphia in late November.

Much love,

Marc

PS: here is the brochure I designed for this event – first-draft, but not bad IMHO, especially considering it’s my first brochure, what do you think?

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