Martin Georgiev - Charmfinity (FULL TRANSCRIPT)
[00:00:21.14] (Elliot): Welcome to Inspired Edinburgh. Powerful conversations, helping you reconnect with your purpose. I am Elliot Reeves, and my guest today is Martin Georgiev. Martin, you are entrepreneur, rocket scientist, and super connector. I am impressed. You are also founder of Charmfinity, creating the life you want by using proven principles of success and happiness. You've been mentored by Jimmy Naraine and Peter Sage. You're an interviewer, and have multiple courses on motivation on success and the online learning platform Udemy. Martin, it is amazing to have you here. Welcome to the show.
[00:00:57.24] (Martin): Thank you very much for having me man.
(Elliot): You are absolutely welcome. It was great to spend time with you last night, and find out more about you. I loved it.
[00:01:07.21] (Martin): Me to.
(Elliot): So it would be great if we could start I suppose, by finding out a bit more about you, who you really are, the things that I supposed drive you.
[00:01:19.29] (Martin): OK. Alright. Well, here should I start? Where I was born? I was born in Bulgaria in a very small city, and I grew up there. About 10,000 people were living there, and everybody knew each other. My sister went to university, and she studied Chinese. Then she said she's going to go to China to study there, and for me coming from a small town, this was like "Wow". I couldn’t even imagine it. My sister, speaking Chinese? Going abroad. So suddenly my spectrum of possibilities suddenly became bigger. It stretched my mind, and one day I found this blog that was written by a Bulgarian guy, and he was studying aerospace engineering. I just graduated from high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and he was writing about building formula 1 cars, aero planes, rockets, and I though "Wow". I didn’t know that there were people doing that. I didn’t know that there were people who were studying that, and I decided that I wanted to go and study aerospace engineering. I went to the Netherlands to study aerospace engineering, and I did that. Then I realized that it is not really for me. But it was a great experience because I was challenged a lot. I had to study a lot, and get tested about everything in life.
After that I went to work is a strategic consultant. I did an internship in Amsterdam. This was basically the thing that everybody wanted to do after that. If you had a technical background, and you were kind of social like me, people go to do this career after their masters. And I wanted to test it out before doing a 2 year master degree. I wanted to test it out if I liked. And I went there, it was a great career. You get a lot of opportunities to travel, work, and get different skills, but I didn’t really resonate with the environment. So I thought "what next, what next?" And I saw this guy Jimmy Naraine. He was travelling around the world and making video courses. And I though "Wow, there’s people doing that? Traveling fulltime and inspiring other people?" And I thought, this is what I want to do as well. I told you the story, but a Jimmy wallpaper on my computer. Every day when I wake up, I just open it up to remind that there is a different lifestyle that I might want to try. It was a year and a half ago, and since then I've been doing what he's doing.
[00:04:28.10] (Elliot): Yes, that is awesome. So how did you go about getting in touch with Jimmy then? What were the steps that you took to approach him?
[00:04:35.23] (Martin): Yeah, it was interesting because for me, whatever I did in my life... let's say when I was growing up, I was break dancing. I break danced for 10 years. This was kind of like my hobby. I had my break dance crew. I used to travel and we used to do competitions. But there was one guy, and lived in Bulgaria in the capital, and he was the best break-dancer in Bulgaria. When I realized that this guy was the best break-dancer, I wanted to connect with him. Because if you are doing something, I believe that you should go and find the people who are doing it and are good at it. People who have done a lot of mistakes, while learning from them? So, I did that with breakdance, and this guy Bboy Fuego became my mentor. I was waiting for a couple of years, and the 5 years that I was dancing without his supervision, I didn’t progress much. Once I was hanging out with him, he can teach me so much faster, and I progress so much quicker. I thought that I had to do the same thing with Jimmy. Yes, I can try to make online courses, and experiment everything by myself, but it is actually much better if I have a conversation with him, and become friends with him. He can show me everything, how he is doing that. And also all the mistakes that he did.
So this became kind of like my obsession, and I have those obsessions. They come and go. And my obsession was to connect with Jimmy. He had at the time 40,000 students online. So I tried the traditional way just to write him an email. I don’t think he ever saw it. I tried on Facebook, YouTube, everywhere, but no connection. But I thought "No, I just have to keep on being persistent, and show that I am really different than the other 40,000 people". How do you do that? You take action, and those people really respect that because they see "Oh, he’s actually applying what I teach. Because Jimmy is a teacher, and he makes videos where he is teaching people what to do. And I want to show him that I am really listening to what you are saying, and I want to apply that". And I think if you want to be a good student to somebody, this is the first step. Really listen to what they do, and try to apply it. So I think some see this guy Martin, I make videos. I made a couple of courses, and I was commenting on his posts. So he responded on that. Like "Great, we are coming closer. But we still haven’t met each other. We haven’t had a conversation". So I thought "What else can I do?" And this is something that is maybe useful for everybody that is watching this. If you want to have a great mentor, try to find out who they are hanging out with. Because sometimes, their friends and social circle are not going to be so famous and as successful as this particular person. And I got in touch with his friends. I could see on Facebook who his friends were, and I saw they were going to a mastermind trip in Greece. So I wrote them, and I said "Can I come with you guys?" It was a big step out of my comfort zone, because I didn’t know them personally. They didn’t know me as well, and I went to this trip, and they were actually making an online course. So I got in touch with his friends, became in touch with his friends. And then Jimmy sees me hanging out with his friends, and he thinks "Wow, I have to meet this guy Martin." He is doing what I tell, and he meets my friends. So we got into a Whatsapp group, and for the first time I heard a message, like it was audio recorded. And I remember I heard in my ear "Oh, Jimmy Naraine is speaking to me!" So this is how it started. This is the whole story.
[00:08:43.05] (Elliot): That's brilliant. So obviously, Jimmy is a prolific Udemy course instructor. What are some of the things you've learned from him, and how have you applied that to your own courses?
[00:08:55.17] (Martin): Jimmy Naraine is somebody who is super-inspirational. I think the online of the online courses on the platform Udemy, and he has a professional movie crew. They are filming his courses, and long story short we became friends. We travelled. We went partying together, and we lived together for 2 months, and we actually decided to make a course on exactly that topic. Because he told me "Man, I have 40,000 students. He knew that the first one that I meet from these people and actually become friends with". He said we should teach other people how to do that, how to become friends with online mentors. Because, Jimmy is charging $500 for one hour business coaching. And if I wanted business coaching from him, I had to spend millions living 24 hours a day with him. But it is better to become friends with this person, and you can hang out together and discuss. (10 MINUTES). And what I learned, is Jimmy is incredibly good at branding and how he is positioning himself on the internet. If you Google him, you think like "Wow. He is a celebrity. He is a rock star." So I learned that. He is an extremely good salesman. He is very convincing and very persuasive. By hanging out with him I could see "Wow, this is the way he approaches life. He sees everything as a challenge. His mindset is to always challenge yourself." I think by spending more time with him, it kind of rubs off on you.
[00:10:42.25] (Elliot): Yeah. Definitely yeah. I think that ties into the law of conformity. People's lives are direct reflection of the expectations of people, and incidentally Peter Sage is another man that you’ve managed to connect with, which is absolutely amazing. So I think it’s an amazing way of doing it, and not many people that I’ve knew personally have specifically gone out to seek their mentors guidance and friendship in the way you have. I think it is an amazing thing.
[00:11:23.01] (Martin): Yeah, Peter Sage I mean I saw his videos on YouTube, another show London Real. I saw this interview with Peter Sage, and I was like "Wow". Why didn’t I know about this guy before? I mean he was saying that he was talking about consciousness, victim mode and how to get out of it, and how to become an achiever. But then to even transcend that and to live in full. At the time I was watching this interview, I was going through a small burnout, and the things he was talking about really resonated with me. He was an entrepreneur, 30 years of experience, 25 companies. I thought "Wow, I also want to be an entrepreneur. I also want to start businesses. I want to learn from Peter as well how to do that". But again, hanging out with Peter is also very expensive, if you want to do it the paid way. I think he charges about 50,000 pounds a year in order to be in his personal mastermind group. And I didn’t have this money, and Peter he's always teaching "You don’t need money, but you need a better strategy". The best strategy for finding mentors is to really realize "What does this person need?" Not what I can get from him. Of course I can get a lot by learning from him and spending a lot of time around him, but the big difference is most people approach in a "What can I get from Peter?" I realized that it is not really winning like that, because Peter has an even bigger following than Jimmy. I was thinking "How I can contribute value to his life", because in this way, if somebody comes to you and he says "Wow, you're doing a great show. Can I do the editing for you? Can I set up the cameras for you? Can I help you with the branding, website?” Suddenly, this person will become very significant for you. So I saw that Peter is growing his online brand, and I just watched one of his interviews. Just an interview like this. And I was paying attention to where Peter says that he needs something. "Where can you help this successful person?" Because everybody can be helped. And there was a moment where Peter was saying that he was growing his online presence. You've met him as well right? In bulletproof coffee. And they were asking him "How were you going to do that? What’s your plan?" I could see that for a second, Peter was thinking. Most of the answers he has are boom-boom. So I see, maybe there’s room here where I can help him. We talked with Jimmy, and he came up with the great idea that they could create a course together. I was at the right time, at the right moment, with the right person.
[00:14:10.15] (Elliot): That is phenomenal. It really is. It is such a great story. You know as well as that, I've seen you interviewing Tim Han, and I've seen you interview Dawn Watson, who is the woman many people will know from Tony Robbins. So I mean, I think the thing is, watching one of your videos, you say that you’ve not always been a confident person, for a long time you actually really struggled with your confidence. So, how have you actually managed to come out of your shell and overcome the social anxiety that you’ve had in the past?
[00:14:46.04] (Martin): Well this is a great question. People who know me for the last couple of years, they always know me like a very social guy. Confident, can talk to everybody. But I know that it is not always the case. Many people who are maybe shy or not confident, they think that this is the way they’re supposed to be. I was struggling a lot with that when I was growing up, especially as a teenager and in the first years of University. I remember that I would go to a party, or a social gathering, and I would feel very insecure. Shy, and I would have these panic attacks, social anxiety attacks. It's a very inconvenient feeling. The funny thing is that I haven’t been having this for a few years because of a lot of work, and I'll tell you about that. But some of my friends, just like Jimmy, they didn’t believe that because they have never seen me like that. And this summer, it happened again. We were at a party, and it hasn’t happened for years, and I got a panic attack. How it feels is that you feel everybody wants to attack you, or everybody is your enemy. I cannot even talk, and it is a very inconvenient feeling. I used to have this many times. I would happen in social situations. So I said that I have to change that, because not only does it not feel good, but imagine if it happens in work. Or you're doing business and it happens with your clients. You cannot control it.
So first of all, I stopped drinking. I got into this pickup world, and they say if you go out and interact with people, and you stop drinking, basically it makes you forget about your insecurities and stops your brain, but it is still masking the problem. So I stopped drinking, and it didn’t really feel good in the first while, because I was so used to it when I went out to have a drink just to relax. But after a month, I started getting comfortable. I started getting my own confidence. I second thing I did is that I started going out much more. I talked to strangers on the street, in university, in libraries, on the weekends. Especially on the weekends, we will go out and talk to many people. Because in this way, you are training yourself to become more confident in social situations. You are actually present and aware of the nervousness, and you are not running away from it. Even if you are nervous, no problem. Keep on talking. And just like in the gym. You go, and in the beginning you are not very good, but after a couple of months you start feeling like "Wow, I can talk to everybody". And after a couple of years, it becomes a part of your personality. Part of your identity. Then the third thing I did is I started meditation.
[00:18:05.28] (Elliot): Yeah, I was going to ask you about that.
(Martin): And this is the biggest game changer in terms of how I feel, how I interact with other people. With myself. Because with meditation, it has so many benefits. Even one of my courses is just about meditation, because I believe that it is so powerful in terms of self-acceptance, compassion, and in terms of relaxation. Also, for social skills, you should not judge yourself or care so much about how other people think about you. Because the problem with social anxiety is you are thinking "What are other people thinking about me? Am I cool? Do they like me?" You start questioning yourself. And when you meditate, you kind of accept yourself, and you don’t really care. It isn’t so important. You accept yourself in the new interaction, and you think that the other person accepts you as well.
[00:19:19.02] (Elliot): That’s perfect. I really like that. So at a sort of a practical level, what did you meditation practice look like? What did you do? What were you trying to sort of think about? What were you tapping into?
[00:19:30.20] (Martin): Great question, and for me... once I start something and I find it a little bit beneficial, I will go and explore any kind of way to meditate. So I’ve maybe tried hundreds to different techniques. First of all, I had a technical background, so I didn’t know if meditation was very scientific. (20 MINUTES). But I heard this was this device called EM-Wave, and it is a device that you plugin, attach to your ear, and attack to your computer. It measures your heartbeat, and I realized that my heartbeat and your heartbeat is connected to a pattern of breathing. It was actually very interesting, because it was a biofeedback device. You can see, your body, how it reacts to meditation. I started using that, and I realized that the breathing is directly correlated with our nervous system. When we were stressed, we breathe from out chest, and it is very shallow. But when we relax, we breathe from our bellies. So it is reverse engineering. By breathing from your belly, you are telling your body that I am relaxed now. Then the technique goes even further. You concentrate on your heart, so you connect with your heart more. After a month, I could feel my heartbeat. I developed compassion by bringing memories of joy, love, and family and friends. I could see the difference. Just from this basic technique, I could see the difference in my everyday life. For example, something bad will happen. Or something where I will be late for a meeting. I used to stress before. Something happens and you are late. It happens to every one of us. Most people stress, and I used to stress a lot as well. Then for the first time, I was late, and I was still going to the meeting, but I realized that I was stressing about it. It sounds simple, but it’s not like I don’t care. I care about the meeting, but where does stress help?
[00:22:04.22] (Elliot): It doesn’t.
(Martin): So through meditation, I could see those benefits, and I decided "Wow. If I can have these benefits in 2 months, how much deeper can it get?" And I went to this meditation retreat called Vipassana. It is a 10 day meditation retreat, where we meditate for 10 hours a day, in complete silence. You don’t speak to anybody, you don’t look at anybody in the eyes. This goes much deeper. You can explore yourself on a much subtle level, becoming aware of the patterns that you are running, and where they are coming from. Basically, it is for self-awareness and getting to know yourself, and it is a great tool.
[00:22:51.20] (Elliot): Wow that is so powerful. That shit is incredible. I definitely need to try some of that. It is something that I don’t nearly do enough of. I'll definitely need to try it. So, I'd like to talk about your Udemy courses that you've made, because they're incredibly. It looks as though it's kind of scripted, but I don't think it is. I just think it is you talking naturally. So what is your preparation for doing the courses, and how do you avoid slipping up, or making errors and things?
[00:23:32.08] (Martin): That is a great question, and I definitely developed this as a skill, but making online courses, it is a very interesting experience. It is something where you have to realize first "What is the market? What does the market need?" After that, you have to prepare the content, and become like a teacher. You have to bring the students through a journey. The third thing is to deliver it in an engaging way, so people actually watch the lectures and click through the next and the next lectures. Because as a teacher, you just want to make a great user experience. So people are actually entertained, but at the same time, they learn something useful.
For me, I remember I started making videos about 2 years ago. At first, I just started with the phone in my room, because I just like to share. I like to learn stuff and share with people, it is kind of like my passion. And I will make videos with my phone. I remember I was so shy from the camera, I couldn’t look in the camera. I would stumble, I would talk without knowing what I was talking about. And I joined this group. It is actually a Facebook group, if anybody is interested we can put a link in the description. It is called the 365 video challenge. It is for people who want to learn and get good with cameras, and they just post a video every single day. We had different topics, and basically like everything else in life, you do it more and more and more. Suddenly, you know how to do it. First, it is difficult because it is a new skill. But after time, you become unconsciously competent, and you can just keep on talking and talking. So, how we prepare the courses is of course we know the structure of the course. We know the different lectures, and we have bullet points. In the beginning, I would script the whole lecture. I would read it and try to memorize it. Then I would freestyle. Nowadays I just have a couple of bullet points. Because it became a skill, now I can just talk and connect them, and freestyle more. But, in the beginning, I think it is better to prepare.
[00:25:55.20] (Elliot): Yeah, definitely. So it is really interesting, I suppose your journey reflecting back. Because I suppose you started out with being a sort of engineer. A rocket scientist basically, then kind of advancing and relating to the label of being an entrepreneur. So, maybe talk us through that journey, and have you eventually realized that actually an entrepreneur was the thing that you really wanted to do.
[00:26:28.05] (Martin): Hmm, great question. Well, I've been an entrepreneur for about a year right now. So I consider myself a baby entrepreneur, just starting right now. I realized in this 1 year how much I didn’t know. So I am not definitely an expert. I have never built a company making $100,000s or millions. I have never employed. I have just worked with 1 or 2 people helping me, but I never had many employees. So I am not an expert on this topic, however what I know is that I really want to become good at it. This is what I want to do. So when I studying engineering, when you study something like that, you quickly realize if you're going to be the next engineer who is building the next spaceship to go to mars. I realized I am not going to be one of those guys. You have just need to have the genetics for that, or the aptitude or inclination. It didn’t matter how hard I studied. I would always be an average engineer. But I know that with my social skills, because I developed them, I knew that this was my key to success. I just didn’t know how to use it. I realized also after I graduated from my bachelor's, I realized that now is the time to explore and try different things. To see if the business is for me or not. What I want to do with my life.
Many of our young people, I see so many people graduating and they don’t have any idea what they want to do. I don’t want to be in that space. I want to find out as quick as possible, because I find the right direction, then I will know that "I have to find these kinds of people. I have to find these kinds of mentors." But I just need the direction. So I actually started following this guy called Tai Lopez. Now he's a very famous online entrepreneur and he's dominating the social media, but when I found him, he was just starting. And he didn’t have many followers. I was actually one of his first students in one of his programs. It was called the 67 steps. It is basically 67 videos, and one of the first videos he was saying that you have to know yourself. I was like "Wow. I don’t really know myself." He was asking all these questions, like "Where did you grow up around? What kind of people? What was your family doing? What is your background? What is your passions?" And then he was talking about this thing, he calls it the "Eulerian Destiny". Basically, he says that what you are supposed to be doing in your life, and if you are in align with that. I realized at that time, I was not aligned with what I am good at. I was not working for my strengths. There is a great book he recommended, and I don’t remember the name. Knowing oneself...
[00:29:28.03] (Elliot): Is it Peter Drucker?
(Martin): Knowing Oneself. I read this book. It is a very short book, and I realized "Wow. I had been operating from weaknesses!" He says the only way to win, is if you operate from your strengths. He was talking how important it is to analyze yourself. What do you like to do, what other people compliment you on. What people were complementing me on was when I went to a party or a social situation, that I can meet everybody. (30 MINUTES) That I can introduce people, and I remember small things about them. That I always had a great mentor. So I started listening and paying attention.
Now when people come to me, a little bit younger than me, I am 27 right now, maybe people when they are 20-21-22, and they are wondering. This is the advice I give them. Start paying attention to your strengths. What are you good at? And many people don’t know? They're doing something because they think there's going to be a lot of money in that, but if they're not operating from their strengths and their passion, they're going to lose. So for me, in short, I started entrepreneurship by doing. Making those courses I was preparing. Once I started earning money from that, I realized "People are paying money for my course?" I thought I was a nobody. When I tried, I tried as an experiment. I thought this would never sell. Nobody would ever buy my course. I think most people don't try something. But for me, when I saw this first sale, I thought "Wow. If I don’t know anything about this and I do it as an experiment, then I can earn money. What will happen if I dedicate a couple of years from my life, and learn from the best people and improve. Maybe learn even more about my strengths are and developed even more. What can happen then?" I thought that I can maybe engineer my own life. The life of my dreams. Just moving in that direction, and everyday learning something new.
[00:31:45.04] (Elliot): That's brilliant. If what Tai says is absolutely, and I think probably a lot of people aren’t kind of introspective enough. They don’t think about their strengths, and kind of matching that with the things that they are doing. They kind of fall I suppose to accept their situation to what it is. And they don’t have full control of it. It is like they are being driven by their life, rather than them being the driver. So that's some great advice. Excellent. Thank you. So it would be really great at this stage I suppose to kind of peel back Martin a little bit, and really find out about the things that make you tick. I suppose some of your future goals as well, some of what you were talking about there. So where do you see your future? Where do you want to go?
[00:32:35.09] (Martin): That is a great question. And my mentor Peter Sage always says that if you don’t set your own goals, you're going to end up working for somebody else who has done that for himself. So for me now I have 2 mentors. Peter Sage, and Jimmy Naraine. Both of them have online brands. Both of them make videos. They are educating and sharing knowledge. I realized that my strengths are those 2 things. Finding interesting and successful people, and connecting with them. I love also like you to have conversations with them, to get to know them. What makes them tick? That's why I also interviewed Dawn Watson and her team, because they have fascinating stories. So I want to meet more of these people, and I think this is the biggest difference. Most people don’t believe that they can meet famous or successful people. That's why they don’t do it. If I tell you let’s say you can meet Brad Pitt. Most people will think that they cannot do that, because I guess they believe that Brad Pitt is maybe made from something different. So, for me I know that I can meet all those people. It is just a matter of time. I am very curious how they live, how they think, how they believe, and what makes them who they are. So this is one of my drivers.
The other drive that I have is I like to be self-employed, travel, and make projects with amazing people. Like when I worked with Jimmy, and with his crew, it was fascinating. We work with professional people, and you were doing something that you cared about. So I just want to keep on doing that. I want to make projects, whether that be information products or some educational programs in a school somewhere, it doesn’t really matter, as long as I am interested and curious about these topics, and I am working with great people. So this is kind of the direction. Now, what is going to happen, like we talked last night, 2 years ago, you were pretty sure that you were heading that way. Now you are heading in a totally different way. So I think that the direction for now, to know what it is, and what it will bring me, I really don’t know to be honest. I am open, and I am open to learn from everybody, and to correct on the way. So if this the right way, and I find out from the experience or the market whatever that this is not really the right way, I am open to improve, and basically my goal at this moment is to have a life where I am able to travel if I want to travel. Where I do not worry about me, since it is not even an issue. And I am working in projects that I am passionate about. This is my general drivers and direction, but not really specific as you can see. Because everything changes.
[00:35:52.15] (Elliot): That is awesome. It is very much I suppose living in almost a flow state, and just allowing things to pan out as they do, and not stressing about or shape or mold your own future. Just to live it, and just to allow it to unfold.
[00:36:11.26] (Martin): Definitely. I guess the biggest driver for me is freedom, and I don’t mean freedom from responsibilities. But I believe that now with the internet, and the opportunities that we have in the 21st century, the possibility and opportunities out there to create a life of your dreams. I don’t believe that in my parent's lifetime, when they were my age, in a communistic Bulgaria, they could even dream about it. This wasn’t even on the map. But right now, it is in the menu. Does it take a lot of hard work? It does. Is it risky? It is. Is it easy? Not necessarily. But it is definitely on the menu, and I am thinking "Man, I am now in my 20s. I have energy. I should go for that. And if it works, then good. But is there a chance that it wouldn’t? Yes". But, at least I am passionate about and I can put in it my heart and soul, and not put that energy in someone else's project, or somebody else's dream or a corporation. And if it doesn’t work, then maybe I can do that, but for right now, I want to go 100% for that.
[00:37:34.14] (Elliot): Fantastic. It is a really good message, and anyone who is listening, who is sort of a similar age to yourself. It is definitely an approach that will be worthwhile pursing before it is too late. Excellent. So how you define success then? What does that look like to you?
[00:37:53.15] (Martin): Well, that also changes. I think if you ask me what success is when I was 18, I maybe tell you that when I graduate my university, I am successful. When I graduated from university, did I feel successful? Not really. How does it feel right now, in my age and current stage? I feel if I am able to create this kind of lifestyle, where I have the freedom to decide and to choose and not be guided from an external force, but to be able to have this autonomy to decide "Where do I want to live? I want to move to this country. Do I want to work on this project? Yes I want". I have this ability to choose, and also have great people, and by great people I don't mean famous or successful people, but just people that we are having great conversations and great connection, and I feel loved. I want to spend time with my family as well, but also grow and develop. To learn new things and to become better and to share with others, and to help them as well. It is like higher goals, right? First we want to take care of all our needs, but this of course, when you take care of your needs, you want to make something else for other people. Inspire them. You want to share, and you want to give. So I think if I want to lead this kind of life, and I am trying to do it even right now, now to wait until one day, I feel successful.
[00:39:44.22] (Elliot): Cool. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:39:52.05] (Martin): Good question... I remember one advice which really has changed the course of my life, and it was from my first mentor. (40 MINUTES) I told you I was break dancing, and my mentor was really experience, and really good. And he always told me, I used to practice, I used to practice a lot. I used to practice 5-6 days a week, but he told me that I have to go to competitions. And when I go to let’s say I break-dancing party of competition, I have to expose myself and go in this circle. Imagine a group of break-dancers, all of them very good, and me as a beginner. Good inside, go inside, don’t think. And, this attitude of challenging yourself and putting yourself in difficult situations, because nowadays, I don’t think it is really necessary to do that. You can very easily coast. Finish school, go to university, not really speak up or do anything for yourself, but just be quiet and safe, and then go do a normal job, and not really stand out. Fill in the crowd. This applies to everything. When I was break-dancing, I just wanted to be safe. I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t want people to think "Oh, look at this beginner guy". But with this piece of device, what I didn’t understand is that first of all, a lot of people really care. Even if I go there and I suck, they will forget about me. So I realized that a lot of people don’t really care. That the way to really progress and grow, is by challenging yourself in difficult situations. So, right now, to be in front of a camera, or to do this interview. It was a challenge for me. You said you wanted to fly in, and you feel this "Oh. We never met before. Flying in here, you're going to ask me questions. I don't know if I am going to be able to answer or contribute". But it is a challenge. "Let's follow this feeling. Let's take action". So in 2 words, just take action, but it is always more difficult than just saying that, right?
[00:42:19.21] (Elliot): Yeah.
(Martin): But for me, this was the game changer.
(Elliot): That is awesome. I supposed pushing yourself out for your comfort zone and going to where the fear is. Because that is where growth is going to happen. If you just stay within your comfort zone, you are just going to remain the same.
[00:42:38.07] (Martin): And it is our natural inclination. We want to stay the same. We don’t want to change. But if I want this kind of lifestyle or whatever, I will have to change in order to be able...
[00:42:51.02] (Elliot): Excellent, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
[00:42:56.23] (Martin): Wow! That is a great question... I guess I would start a much more ambitious project than what I am doing right now. What I am doing right now, it might sound ambitious for some people, or to me for myself, but I will definitely I want to do to something bigger. So for example, one of my biggest inspirations is Elon Musk. And his goal is not to have an online brand and travel the world. His goal is to make the human species multi-planetary. Or for everybody to drive electric cars. Or to make rockets and send them to different planets. And I am thinking "Wow. This is big thinking". I am still limited in my thinking big capacity compared to him. So, I guess it will be some kind of world project which will really make a big difference on a global scale. But until then, I guess I will just do it step-by-step.
[00:44:18.10] (Elliot): That's brilliant. It's really a good answer. I like that a lot. Excellent. So in terms of spending time around people, who are the types of people that you enjoy spending time with at the moment?
[00:44:31.09] (Martin): Well, one is definitely entrepreneurs, because they're usually taking risks. They're not conforming to the status quo. If they have an idea for a project, they just find a way to make it happen. So these kind of people, because this is the direction I am moving towards, I try to spend time with people who went through a personal transformation. In a sense that maybe they had certain pains and issues, or some kind of traumas, but they overcame that. Like Dawn Watson for example. I have other friends, because I believe that we all have some insecurity or trauma, and if other people can solve that for themselves, I want to learn from them. How did they do that? How did they become complete, and they're not seeking something from the outside world? So I have some friends like that, who many of them may be spiritual. Many of them may be trying things like meditation or some kind of psychedelic medicine, in order to look deeper inside of themselves. So I like these kinds of people, and I have friends like that. I like people who like to do adventures, and cool stuff. They'd be like "Hey, let's go to do this! Let's go to Edinburgh!” I like this kind of diversity, and definitely this will be like that. People who want to do something for themselves, in terms of business or their own projects, self-driven and proactive. People who care about their own feelings and they want to heal themselves, and they're doing that. And then people who are open for new and interesting stuff.
[00:46:29.13] (Elliot): That is great. I'd like to speak a bit about Dawn Watson is, she was on the Tony Robbins program "I am not your guru". And I think that the question she originally asked the audience is "Is there anyone here considering suicide?" She was one of the people who stood up and put her hand up. Her story in short was that she was part of a cult called "Children of God". And she was sexually abused throughout her entire youth. It is such a powerful and moving part in the program, and her story is just incredible. The strength and bravery to overcome it. So what was your conversation with her, and what are some of the things you have learned or taken away from that?
[00:47:23.22] (Martin): Yeah. First of all, the conversation with her was like with another human being. Just like our conversation, Dawn is still a person. However, a very interesting person, because she has been through such excruciating pain and confusion that most of us will never have to go through. She went through that, and she found a way to make sense of this difficulty and dark side of her life, in order to right now be a shining example for others. So, seeing her and talking with her, and realizing how she was basically able to take so much pain that most people will be victims all their life, and they will be blaming the people who made the pain to them "They raped me and did that, and because of that I am like this...", and on the other hand she was able to forgive them. She was able to realize that they were just like me and you, they were human beings and able to make mistakes. Everybody has a good side and a bad side. And this level of forgiveness for me was so astonishing. I personally have people in my life who have done something wrong, not to even any close to this extent, and I still hold a grudge. I am like "I wish this guy didn’t do that. Look what he did to me. How he could do that?!" And I feel bad inside, and in the same way I am talking to her, and she doesn’t anything like that inside of her. Only love. I mean it is almost like talking not to a saint, but to somebody whose level for forgiveness is like nothing I have ever personally met. Seeing that, and there is people like her where it was so moving. I was like "Wow, I should also strive to be more forgiving". So now I am curious on how to do that. And Dawn is just a great person. She is full of love, and so positive. All of that she has been through, it is kind of upbringing.
[00:49:53.14] (Elliot): What do you think is your own purpose in life?
(Martin): My purpose? (50 minutes). My purpose I think is the purpose of everybody else, and that is to find what my gift is. You can call it strength. You can call it uniqueness, and to really live through that. Because I think if we find that, and we use it for the good, we are basically helping ourselves, but also helping the world. And for everybody it is different. That is the beauty of it. I think so many people live a life, and they never ever tap into that, or use it. There are so many great architects who never became an architect. I had a housemate in college, and this guy, how he was drawing was incredible. Like, people who are architects will come to visit, and they will see his drawing, and they will be "Wow". But he never went to study architecture, because his parents told him that it is not a good career. Or he didn’t have the courage to follow it. So finding what you are good at, and then having the courage to follow this route. Because in terms of his case, if he really had the support, or the permission of his parents, or he had the courage to follow what he was passionate. He could make great buildings. And he will feel great, because he is doing that. Also, other people who see the buildings will do the same.
For me, it is the same way. My strength is definitely not mathematics and building rockets. My strength is definitely not analytics and making calculations in the banking world. Whatever. But my strength is basically people, I am a people's person, and inspiring others. I used to do that since I was a kid. In school, if I see somebody who isn’t very motivated, I like to inspire them. Now I am finding real strategies and real tools which help me overcome social anxiety, and different things. I think for example the meditation, it really helped me. I have been meditating for the last 3-4 years, almost every single day, and so many people don’t know anything about meditation. Or they think that meditation is this thing for the monks, or for people in the caves. Indians. And I think meditation is for everybody. I think I can use my personality, to spread this thing that I found is beneficial. So basically, I am doing something I am passionate about, and at the same time, because I am operating from my strengths, I am inspiring others. I think this is going to be changing and evolving, but just like Picasso for example, he started when he was a kid and he did it his whole life. Or he did different paintings and styles, but he found what he was good at, and he just developed it. He became a master. Now I think I found it at age 25, let's say this gift or whatever you call it, and if I keep developing it, it will contribute to me, because I will be in flow, and also other people, because they will be entertained. They will learn something useful. Just trying to keep to this core, and developing further.
[00:53:46.26] (Elliot): So mastery and inspiring others. I like that. That is brilliant. So if you could have a conversation with the 20 year old martin, what would you say to him?
[00:54:01.25] (Martin): 7 years ago, I just arrived to the Netherlands... I will of course sit down and have a conversation with him. I will be very compassionate. Martin at that time was very hard on himself unconsciously. Unconsciously pushing himself so much. I have just to the Netherlands, a foreign country. I was studying aerospace engineering, something really difficult. And there were so many opportunities suddenly. I was learning the Dutch language. I signed up for different courses. Sports. I wanted to do everything, and I was putting so much pressure on myself, because I had never seen these kinds of opportunities. Now, I have everything, and I will try to give my friends advice that he doesn’t have to be so hard on himself. To be a little bit patient, and to tell him that everything is going to be alright. He was scared and he didn’t know what will happen in his life. I would say that everything would happen at the right time, but don't try to force it. Don’t try to push yourself so much. I kind of like that. A very friendly conversation.
[00:55:28.13] (Elliot): That's cool. I like it. If could change anything in the world, what would you change?
[00:55:46.23] (Martin): I guess it would be a small change. What I think is really missing, or at least I miss that, it’s this thing about self-compassion. I never learned about it. I don’t think anybody is teaching that. Kind of like practical psychology, the things that I am curious about, I wish I had studied that in school. I wish there was a course on meditation, introspection. I wish there was something to teach me how I can understand what is driving me, and if I could develop some kind of problem where students find what they're like and what they're good at, and be directed in that direction, and in that same time helping themselves learning what they need. So they can feel complete. So many people feel incomplete, and that is why they are chasing like Peter Sage says "rabbits". They're chasing the next goal, and the next success, the next career, and feeling unfulfilled. So if people can understand more about what's driving them, I guess it will be a way of realizing who you are as a person, knowing yourself. And knowing what you need, giving yourself that. Maybe that will be just a course in the school curriculum, but if people realize that, on a global level, they can become better to themselves and better to others. It will be a small change, but yeah.
[00:57:38.22] (Elliot): That's brilliant. That is such a great answer. Martin, this has been a fantastic interview. I've loved every minute. It has been great getting to know you. I think you've given some fantastic tips and actionable pieces of advice, but I feel as if I have gotten a sense of who the real you is. You are such an awesome person. I genuinely have loved spending time around you. I hope we keep in touch.
[00:58:02.26] (Martin): Of course, and thank you very much for having me here and doing this project, because I think you're going to inspire many people in the years to come. Congratulations on following your passion. Such great pleasure to be the first guest where you are interviewing by yourself, and I can't wait to see all the other interviews you are going to record.
[00:58:23.20] (Elliot): Awesome. Thank you so much Martin.