Knowing Yourself (and, some exciting news)

Some much-needed rays of sun on my road trip.

Despite a decent night’s sleep and an IV bag of iced coffee, I found myself feeling awful today as I sat down to try to get some work done. My mind was foggy and I simply had no energy to get myself going.

For the past day or so, I’d been craving particularly bad food and at the moment, a cheesesteak, sour cream and onion chips, and a gallon of Arizona iced tea was sounding pretty good. Against my better judgement, I left the office in search of some food.

As I stomped through the streets of downtown Chicago in search of satiation (I know…I’m supposed to be in Buenos Aires, but more on that later), some road construction forced me to take a detour past the river. I walked out from the shadow of the buildings and the sun hit me – and the feeling was almost indescribable. As my body began to drink up the rays, it hit me that I had barely seen the sunlight in nearly three weeks.

Rewind a bit.

Winter was coming to Buenos Aires and I had started to think about my next move. I had been living in Argentina for six months – I’d made some incredible friends and had some experiences I would never forget – but I was beginning to get antsy.

Both my auto parts business and my kettlebell business are booming (the latter thanks to a good friend who came onboard a couple months back). I’ve gotten some interest from venture capitalists and private equity firms on the auto parts business, and there are some major distribution contracts on the horizon that I can’t yet talk about. And as I looked at the opportunities that laid ahead, I realized that I had been yearning to shift my life back into high gear again.

Buenos Aires has a party scene second to none and it tends to be a place that people go to escape the rush of business rather than charge towards it. I decided that my six month vacation had come to an end and I was ready to move myself into some surroundings more conducive to my goals over the next six months.

The goals for the rest of the year are as follows:

  • Launch new, improved site for Tekbell
  • Finalize several contracts for the auto parts company
  • Convert to a strict, organic Paleo diet (more on that here, and blog posts soon to follow)
  • Write a book (very excited about this one)

Ultimately, I decided that the best place for me to get these things accomplished is Boulder, Colorado, and so I’ll be living there for the rest of the year. There are a lot of reasons, but I can boil them down to just two:

  • Great reputation as a hotspot for entrepreneurs. Interacting with other likeminded people is a great way to stimulate productivity and creativity.
  • Healthy lifestyle. Organic and healthy living is easy to do with great access to quality ingredients and an active, outdoor lifestyle.

After I made the decision to move to Boulder, I packed up my apartment and caught a flight to New Jersey (where I grew up). I had a storage unit full of stuff which I cleared out (either donated, threw out, or shipped to Boulder) and then I took off on a cross country road trip.

Which brings us back to today, where I was working in a shared workspace in Chicago with my brother. Between the move from Buenos Aires, a week of rain in New Jersey, and a few days in my car, I had been without sun for the past three weeks. My body was craving it.

It was an important reminder to me that although your body is an incredible instrument, it often sends you signals in the worst possible way.ย My body needed sunlight but my mind sent signals to my stomach craving a cheesesteak, which is probably the same neural pathway that makes you call your ex when you’re drunk and really just need Gatorade.

Know your instrument. Anticipating your body’s needs helps maintain energy and focus, and it also keeps you from making poor decisions. Proper sleep, nutrition, and spending time outdoors will help stave off cravings that contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle.

The same philosophy carries over to your mind. Your mind needs a nourishing environment with the right kind of stimuli in order to provide the conditions necessary for success and happiness.ย If you want to lose weight, it’s probably a better idea to live next to a farmers’ market than next to a pizza place. The same goes for friends, relationships, and your job.

You need to be conscious of when it’s time to move on. While Argentina was the right place for me to be for the six months prior, Boulder’s lifestyle is more conducive for the goals that I want to accomplish in the second half of this year.

Set your surroundings to make success natural. Happiness is a series of deliberate choices in the right direction.

Look me up if you’re in Boulder!

Un abrazo fuerte,

Zack