The secret of the few simple things you need to do to be successful in life (The 18th birthday present I gave to my son)

My dearest Emilio,

Nearly 10 years ago I wrote a letter to you on behalf of Father Christmas. Today you are 18.  It feels like yesterday when I first picked you up on my shoulder and carried you like a “saco de patatas” up the stairs as we played.  I gave you my all and I did what I thought was best for you, just like my parents did for me.

In trying to do my best, we played, travelled, did home work together and read many books, amongst which I most enjoyed Mr Stilton where we got to see how fun reading can be.   In trying to help you become a respectful and responsible man, on some occasions I have also shouted at you, possibly belittled you, I tried different strategies and in the process I even most possibly hurt your feelings in more than one way.

Forgive me if I have hurt you, for it has been through an act of duty, responsibility and wanting the best for you. I understand what is best for me is not the best for you and I read book after book in order to find the right method to deal with the many situations that we encountered as a family.  I tried. I tried my best and I tried more. That’s all I can say. And I know that in trying, just as much as my father has hurt me unintentionally in many ways, I have hurt you.  However I know that my father has nothing other than love for his children and I have given you nothing other than my love even if I have ended up hearting you at times. I believe time is a healer and I hope in time you will come to forgive me for all I hurt you. 

In my life I have had many parents, from France to Spain to UK, I lived with surrogate parents whose teachings at the time did not seem the best but only now do I appreciate and feel ashamed of how I reacted towards their unconditional love.

Today, I would like to share with you one secret, and it is not even a secret but a fact. A fact that my father practiced and was unable to share with me.  My father came from a poor family.  At the age of 10 he had to start helping his father with cleaning offices, At 16 he went on to get a job as a fridge repairman and at 18 he was in charge of the production line.  By the time he was 21 he was the manager for the Service unit of General Steel which was the first fridge manufacturer in Iran.

6 years later, when he was just 27 he was offered a 5% share as a bonus to setup and run the Hitachi TV manufacturing unit in Iran.  Finally at the age of 30 just about the same time that my sister was born he thanked all of those who helped him along in his path, left his highly paid job and decided to setup on his own and follow his own dream. 

His key to success was “Have no fear”, “Love yourself” and “Respect everything and everyone along your path for you never know when your paths will cross again”.

As kids, we were spoiled, but we were taught discipline, respect and love. As your step father, I tried to teach you the three most important things I had learnt as a child. Respect, Discipline and Love.

His success was a combination of  SELF LOVE, DISCIPLINE, NO FEAR and STAYING TRUE TO HIS HEART. All you need to do to be successful is LOVE YOURSELF, HAVE NO FEAR and BE TRUE TO YOUR HEART.  

And allow me to just clarify one word.  SUCCESS.   Success is not acquiring wealth, wealth is a by-product that comes from your relentless efforts of following your heart.  Don’t make money your primary objective; rather make your heart your primary objective. Don’t follow money and let money follow you.  When you follow your heart, there is no resistance, there is no time, there is no tomorrow. All there is, is NOW.   And what is another word for NOW:  “THE PRESENT”.   The Present is “The gift” of your day and every morning life provides you with that beautiful gift, the present.

Today, you have the time to follow your heart, fly high and achieve all your dreams.  I admire your fearlessness and by all means your acting as if you have it all. It is part of the secret of success.  Act as if you have it all and then you will feel needless.  Play without fear and dream beyond Bitcoin, the moon and the Mars for Bitcoin is other people’s dream and your future is beyond the dreams of those who dreamt yesterday.

And while you are dreaming remember that this is your dream, remember that this is your book and your life.  Do not get distracted by the life and dream of other people for that is not your path.  Your dream will come from the bottom of your heart and when you know what it is, there won’t be a mountain high enough that you won’t be able to move and cross.

Most people find me crazy for they call Urbytus a dead rat, yet Urbytus is what feeds us, Urbytus is what feeds my soul and gives me energy to create, invent, program and speak.  Urbytus has been my journey through which I have become a mentor and advisors to those starting their dreams today. The journey has had its ups and downs. Like a roller coaster, the ups sometimes take time and the ride down, is exciting, exhilarating and sometimes short lived. 

If I had to look back on my 50 years (of which 40 I can remember), I would say all I have ever wished for, the universe has delivered.  Material and immaterial and above all you, mami and Claudia.

The secret is simple: Be true to your heart, dream and visualize what you want and then find the first step towards that goal. And then repeat.  Just remember, never to give up hope or faith along your path.  It is your journey on this planet, it is your life in heaven and “The present” is your gift, today, tomorrow and forever.

Enjoy your life and aim for the highest for I have no doubt in how far you can fly.

With much love

Dada

THE ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY. learning from the courage of those who dare to conduct risky business

Unfortunately, many of us are brought up with risk aversion. With a constant reminder from our parents, don’t do this and don’t do that.  While out of love, the downside is that we grow up avoiding risk, fearing the consequences and tomorrow.

You can always look at any situation as good or bad, risky or exciting, dangerous or adventurous.  Your cup is always half empty or half full and you can always win big or lose it all.  Here is a story that I have just read in Financial Times (25/26 July 2021) Obituary section on a Steelworker turned pioneering stockpicker. Yang Huaiding was a warehouse attendant in an ailing Shanghai steel factory earning just over a hundred dollars per month.  In 1988 he poured his efforts into scanning local newspapers at the local library and discovered that the treasury bonds had different prices in different cities.  He managed to scrape together all his savings, took an overnight train to another city (Hefei, in the province of Anhui) to buy all the bonds he could, and returned the same day to sell them in his city earning a profit of about $125 (equivalent to a monthly wage). 

A simple daring act and just a few hundred dollars went on to prove his hypothesis that earned him millions in the years that followed.   Not only that, Yang was brave and courageous enough to walk into the tax office a year after he started his bond purchasing. In 1989 he walked into the Tax office and declared his business making sure he comes out clean and without breaking any rules or evading taxes.

He contributed his courage to a story dating back to his childhood about a man who dared to eat a crab after he found his village invaded by these creatures which no one had seen before. The man was courageous enough to approach, catch, kill, cook and eat one crab, and in the process discovering a most delicious and nourishing source of food.  “Learn from the courage of those who dare to eat crab and conduct risky personal investments” was one of the slogans that Yang had printed on his business cards. If you want to succeed, sometimes you need to dare, you need to take the risk that no one is willing to take, be daring, be courageous.   If Yang did it, you can do it.

Staying in The Flow: The entrepreneurial journey

In the past couple of years, I have made one big change in my life and that’s to make sure I stay in the flow. As entrepreneurs, we have been told that we need to work hard, all god-given hours, and bend reality.  All that’s true but it becomes a lot easier when you stay in the flow.  Startup success is not guaranteed by the number of hours you work, rather by how you use those hours to achieve your goal and that means living in the flow.

It has taken me some time in understanding what it means to be in the flow.  Many people think that they need to work hard, endless hours, weekends, and none stop.  I did that for the best part of 23 years.  I worked many weekends, I worked through my holidays, I might as well have had the mobile implanted in my head to save my hands from holding it. I proudly and always would announce that I am a workaholic and that nothing would stand in my way of getting what I wanted.

 I succeeded in getting everything I wanted but along the way, I lost many other opportunities of having fun, enjoying life, and realizing that there is a much easier way to get all the above, everything you want, and much more.   

That method is nothing more than tapping into and staying in the flow.  To understand this, you have to understand that we all go in different directions. To be in the flow doesn’t mean that you have to do what others are doing and how they are doing. Salmon is in the flow, but Salmon is in its own flow, and it flows against the current.  To be in the flow is to follow your direction and your flow and in order to do that, you need to tap into something deeper.  BUT how do you tap into that something deeper?  Sounds esoteric!. 

 Allow me just a few minutes.  If you’ve read so far, you will now agree that to be in the flow doesn’t mean that you have to be doing what everybody else is doing.   It also doesn’t mean that you should stop working towards your goal.  To be in the flow for Salmon means swimming harder than most other fish against the current, upstream, risking their lives on the way, and ending up exhausted and dying after laying their eggs. 

 Being in the flow for me has meant following my heart and doing what I love against all odds.  While a few years ago, I was struggling with my startup #Urbytus, I set up many events big and small.  I created The Presidents Club, we held annual conferences, quarterly meetings, forums, and so on.  I tried my hardest to get more clients, publicity. It was hard work and it worked and before the pandemic hit in March 2020, I was set to start more events.  We all know what happened next.  I was stopped dead in my track. For months I was unsure of how to get this back on track and I was struggling to find a safe method for recreating our forums and get-togethers in small numbers.   Until one day a long-term client of Urbytus sent an email with a bunch of questions.

 

I had two options, simply answer the email, like I answer all the support emails, or invite him to lunch, thank him for all these years of business and answer his questions in the process. Lunch with The Presidents Club, was born because of the pandemic and so far it has meant, I have learnt much more about some of my clients, I have addressed more of their concerns, we have discussed in detail and at ease the future of the product and what it needs to be in their view.

 

 

To be in the flow, meant letting go of old ideas and allowing the present to PRESENT me with new opportunities and possibilities. To be in the flow has been my way of life for the past 3 years, where I have been a startup mentor, teacher, and advisor. All of these opportunities have helped me along my path, life, and this beautiful journey on earth.  Being in the flow means doing your best and keeping your dreams live as your vision and using every opportunity that life throws at you on your path even if that means swimming against the current :-).  Love you all.

Embracing change, The only way to move forward

Change is possibly one of the most difficult things we face in life.  Changing schools, partners, jobs, countries, lifestyle, mobile, etc, etc, the list is never-ending.  Every time we have to try something new, food, place, or way of doing something there is something in our mind telling us “Wait, why change, everything is working as it is. Why bother? What are you going to gain and why put yourself to all that trouble and maybe be disappointed, fail or not achieve anything at all?”

Problem is that in order to avoid change and the discomfort that may accompany it we try to look for any possible excuse.  However every time we try new food, place, job, country … we find that it was not half as bad as we thought, it was not half as difficult as we thought and in most cases, we find that the benefits have far outweighed all the reasons we came up with in order to avoid the change.

A few months ago, I started a course of change with my new health coach “Mounira Nassef”, Founder of Every Day Healthier.   During this time we tackled many things.  Mounira found me of her hardest students to deal with as I was stubborn and resisted every change.  Drinking tea is part of the Iranian culture, yet I was experiencing issues with waking up at 2 or 3 am in the morning and feeling wide awake.  I was part of the 5 AM club, but if I woke up at 2 or 3 am that was the end of me by 4 pm.  

During our two months of training, Mona patiently helped me stop drinking after 2 pm. She held me to adopt other new habits and find ways of sticking to them.

Change is hard. It took me a few weeks before I agreed and accepted to change, to give up tea, to give a habit, which I felt was part of my culture, but it was nothing other than a habit.  Change is difficult at times, once I stopped drinking tea my body totally lost its rhythm. Initially, I got a week or two of good sleep and suddenly I was awake the whole night, and slowly and, over time my full sleeping pattern has changed. I no longer wake up at 2 am or 5 am. I currently wake up around 6 am, allowing my body to recover and find its new natural rhythm and hoping that I can recover my 5 am routine. 

Embracing change is not easy, it is not immediate, it is not always what you want but it is the only way forward. I am still going through the change and my body may need time to adjust further to this new change but in the process, I have adopted other new habits such as journaling and different types of mindfulness practices, love, self-care, and much more.

A big thank you to Mona, from Every Day Healthier. 

The entrepreneurial journey. The last mile

So many times I see entrepreneurs leave good projects, their dreams, and passion.  The entrepreneurial journey is never a straight line. The glorified image of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and the rest are only part of a journey that has had equally as many downs than ups as other startups.  Your journey is no different than any other journey, it will have highs and lows.

Last Saturday at 9:30 I was out with a crowd of about 50 other walkers/runners for a 32KM run. As they all started a leisurely stroll, I stayed back as I usually do and started a very slow jog and slowly passing them.  The first part was downhill and soon what should have been an easy jog ended up being painful.  My knee locked up more or less at KM 3 before we had even reached the bottom of the valley.  I took notice of the pain and slowed down to adjust but it was too late.  I had already pulled a tendon or a ligament.  I could have turned around, but I decided to carry on. I tried running slowly, but it was too painful, so I walked. What would have normally taken me 3 hours max took me about 6 hours. I had to stop several times on route to sit and massage my knee so it would relax.  The sun was blaring down, it was hot and I had not put any suncream on my arms.  Not only was I in pain, but sometime around 13:00 I felt the sun burning through me.  There were four fast runners in front of me, they had long disappeared. Another runner whom I also run with was suffering from back pain, we walked together for about 1km and he also had to abandon me. For the rest of the journey from Km 18 to 32, I was pretty much on my own. 

I could have sat and called for help, I could have given up, however, I had one objective to finish.  I wanted to prove to myself that even if it is painful I can push the pain barrier. I meditated, blanked my mind and I listen to Pink Floyd and Dire Straights. I rehearsed the many motivational speeches I give to keep me focused.  It felt like a never-ending journey, but with every step, I knew that I am one step closer to the finish. With every step I knew that I am putting in the effort towards reaching my goal. In the end, I made it 16.24. I arrived at the finish line.

The last mile? Are you willing to go as far as it takes? Many times I see entrepreneurs give up too early. Whether it is a jog, marathon, or work, it is all the same. It all depends on how dedicated you are and how focused you are on your goal. If you keep your mind focused and remind yourself that with every step, you are one step closer to the finish, that’s all it takes.

The Entrepreneurial Journey. What it means to persevere and pivot

The Entrepreneurial Journey.  Starting again

One of my favourite quotes from Steve Jobs where he quotes  “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.

Ali Parandeh Zandpour

Two weeks ago as I was chairing the Division Toastmaster contest for the English language speeches and I was inspired not just by the speeches and speakers who year after year compete for the World Championship of public speaking. Every year a new speech and sometimes taking a break in between.  I have been on this journey and I plan to continue, not just to win but to compete is the only way to push yourself up and out of your comfort zone.  Each year you have to start from scratch, all the way from your club to area, division, district, semi-finals and finally the world championship.  Each time competing against better and more accomplished speakers.

Perseverance on a path towards a goal is possibly one that I would rate amongst the highest and most important in any entrepreneurship or self-development journey.  Perseverance does not mean that you should blindly keep moving on a path, rather it is moving with knowledge and flexibility to adapt to the path, by learning from the mistakes on route and being able to apply what you learn in order to continue.

We all want to climb to the top, so many times we hit a cliff or a brick wall and so many times I see people giving up. Sitting there aimlessly or just going back and never trying again.  Perseverance is about being able to keep that vision of your goal, and letting that goal pull you on a new path, again and again. Call it pivoting, call it trying again, or perseverance. In the end it all boils down to your drive and passion for reaching your goal and not giving up on the path that at times is arduous, debilitating and even defeating.

The only one who can stop you from achieving your dreams is you. Sit, rest, get up and start again.  Love you all.