Jeff Steinmann: Hello and welcome to the How To Quit Working show. This is episode number 53. Wow, that means we’ve been doing this for an entire year. I hope you enjoyed the one year anniversary episode last week which was Travis Sherry where he came back and showed us what happens when you pound away on this for a year. A lot of the big gurus out there, they want to show you how to do something in five minutes or something kind of crazy hype, you like that. But what I really love that we showed last week was when you stick with something for a long time and just keep at it and keep at it little by little, what amazing things can happen.
Well, today, we’ve got another amazing guest and it’s Colin Wright. He’s the founder of the blog Exile Lifestyle. He decided that he was going to not only travel the world but really step back and look at totally different ways to look at life and to think about life and to think about the world and just really throwing out all the norms which I think is so awesome about Colin and why this interview is so awesome.
But before we jump into that, I want to read a review that came in on How To Quit Working. Now, this is by Justin Brocach from Canada. He says, “I often find books give me inspiration but lack the content to allow me to follow me through. But not this one. How To Quit Working is a concise step-by-step book for anyone looking to quit their day job and start their own business. I warn anyone who might read this, if you’re serious about changing your life, you might just take action after reading the first chapter.”
Thank you, Justin, for the awesome, awesome review. And if you’d like to pick up a copy of How To Quit Working and figure out how to quit your job, start an amazing life like my guests show you you could do every single week, head over to howtoquitworking.com/book. Again, that’s howtoquitworking.com/book and pick up your copy. Now, when you get there, you’re going to see instructions on how to get $150 worth of bonuses that come along with that book if you order it from that website. So howtoquitworking.com/book. Head on over there and pick up your copy.
But now without further ado, let’s get into our guest interview today. Let’s talk to Colin Wright. Colin, welcome to the show.
Colin Wright: Hey, Jeff. Thanks for having me.
Jeff: Thanks for being here, Colin. You’ve got a pretty interesting philosophy on life. And the folks that listen to this show want nothing to do with any kind of a typical, standard, get up everyday, go to work nine-to-five and delay all of your possibility for enjoying life until retirement. We all think that’s ridiculous. And you’re somebody who’s taken a really, really bold step in that direction.
Now you were traveling around the world and you didn’t even pick where you went. You were actually letting the readers of your blog pick where you live. Tell us a little bit about that and why you decided to do that, and how did that go for you?
Colin: It was kind of a desperate act in a way. It was a little over four years ago. I was running a pretty successful branding studio out in Los Angeles and found myself with one of those strange situations where you’re pursuing a goal for so long and then you reach it or you get just within a hair’s breath away from it. And then you realize, oh man, this is actually a very sad situation because all of the other things that I wanted to do, all of the things that I thought that this type of—the money in the bank and the prestige professionally would get me. It just wasn’t there. And I’d wanted to travel the world for as long as I can remember. I wanted to go out and see things and see things and get first hand experiences and meet people and get kind of an unbiased perspective on things.
And that the more I met people who were doing things that I thought were extensively very impressive and then the types of pursuits that I wanted to pursue as well, that they were kind of just miserable people who are sitting around. They’d never travelled and if they did, they just stayed in a hotel and never learn or saw anything. So, I wanted to change things. I wanted to shake things up and I figured out a way to do that but the reason that I ended up asking people to vote initially was that I basically took four months to think what do I want to do. Changed up my business model and then couldn’t figure out where to go which is a really great problem to have.
Jeff: Lots of rules are being placed.
Colin: Exactly. The reason that I want to travel is to see new things and try new things. So it stands to reason that the places I know about wouldn’t necessarily be the best places for me to go. So I went online and then there was a blog that I had just started at the time and I had a few hundred followers and I said, guys, you probably all know more about the world than I do. So share your wisdom with me, tell me where to go and put up a little form and had people vote. It worked so well that I’ve continued to do it for the past four years.
Jeff: Wow. So you’re still doing that.
Colin: Yeah, yeah. I took a little break for the past six months and a couple of months before that as well to take care of some business, see things, and then to go back to one of the places that I’ve visited before where people voted for me to go which was Iceland to go visit some friends and to get some writing done. I really wanted to experience an Iceland winter, as crazy as that sounds. I wanted zero sunlight. I wanted crazy weather. Because then, I had no excuse. I had to sit in front of my computer and write all day everyday for a handful of months. And it was magnificent.
Jeff: Awesome, awesome. What’s your favorite place that you’ve been to?
Colin: It’s hard to choose a favorite. I usually tell people it’s like trying to choose a favorite ex or something where like, it wouldn’t be fair to directly compare because each of them was remarkable in their own way and has their own little flaws in their own way. I mean, most naturally beautiful place was New Zealand hands down. Just insanely unfairly gorgeous. I love the culture of Iceland. It’s one of those places that I can go and feel very at home and very comfortable and people feel very similarly the way that I feel philosophically.
But the most interesting places were the most difficult places like living in Calcutta or going to Bangkok, those types of places that were radically different from where I’ve grown up. I learned more and therefore it fit very well with what I want to get out of travel. So you could really go either way with it. There hasn’t been a place that I’ve gone yet that I haven’t walked away thinking I need to come back here.
Jeff: Oh, that’s cool. Now, you said something you were seeing. You said that the places that were most radically different from what you were used to were the places that you learned the most. So you learned the most when you are the farthest outside of your comfort zone. Is that fair to say?
Colin: Exactly. Yeah, yeah. Very good education.
Jeff: Yeah. You grew up in Columbia, Missouri which I’m in St. Louis so I’m familiar with Columbia. And I can imagine that’s radically different than Bangkok, for example.
Colin: It’s quite a bit different. Calcutta and Columbia, Missouri. Very little resemblance to each other. And Columbia is a great little town. I mean, I don’t have any regrets with where I grew up but it is fairly isolated being kind of in the center of one of the states that’s in the center of the United States. And it’s just comfortable enough that most people don’t feel the need to really expand outside of that. And more to power to them. There’s no right or wrong way to live, in my opinion.
But for someone who really wanted to see things and to get out and to try things and really push some boundaries, there wasn’t a great infrastructure for that in the Midwest for me. And then honestly, even when I went out to L.A. afterwards, people there tend to believe the opposite. It’s not “This is small and comfortable and we don’t want to deal with the complexity of the outside world.” It’s more like, “We’ve already got everything so we don’t need to go travel. Everything comes to us. So the reality that we have here is reality.” And that’s just as harmful, I think, in a different way.
Jeff: Sure, sure. So you grew up in Columbia, Missouri. What was the general expectation, I mean, among maybe your parents and your peer group and just people around the town? What was the general expectation of how your life would unfold?
Colin: I think most people are probably familiar with the template that I was headed towards, the traditional relationship that you get. You go to school and you get a job and then you have the wife and the kids and the white picket fence and the trampoline and a golden retriever of some sort, I think, is part of the plan. There’s totally nothing wrong with that. That’s what my parents did. They did a pretty good job. That’s what they loved to that they are parents, they are that type of persons. So for them, that’s perfect. But thankfully, they didn’t have any set expectations about what we kids, me and my three siblings were supposed to do. Most of my siblings are kind of taking the traditional route. I decided that wasn’t for me. And thankfully, they’ve been incredibly encouraging and so have most of my friends from that area.
Jeff: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. What made you decide—so I mean, even before you did this whole Exile Lifestyle thing, you decided you were going to leave Columbia, Missouri. You were going to go do something big and big and exciting. What was going through your head at that point when you really said, there’s got to be something different here?
Colin: Just that, actually. There’s got to be something different that I know about. I got a taste when I was in college. I went to school in Springfield, actually, just south of St. Louis in Columbia, like three and a half hours down on the border of Arkansas. And started my first business when I was 19 when I was in school down there. And then started another one and had a couple of failures and had some successes. Had a pretty good experience, actually, with formal education though fully recognizing that most of what I learned was because I had to take a bunch of jobs to pay for my formal education.
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But it was still a nice balance. I’m glad I got the education along with the real world education because it provided different perspectives of the same thing. And walking away from that, having run a couple of businesses and worked my ass off to get that degree and having seen what was possible, I really, really, really wanted to push some boundaries and really to see how I competed not just in the small fishbowl of Springfield but in a much larger pond.
Thankfully, an opportunity came along in L.A. I went and decided to work for someone else for a year so that I could see how a real professional like a business person, ran a business rather than me who is kind of just flying by the seat of my pants. And then after a year, I’ve felt that I’d learned enough and seen enough of what to do and what not to do that I quit my job and started up a studio out there.
And that’s when things really started to take off in a big way and I kind of got pulled into that alternative lifestyle where it’s not the traditional American dream of the wife and two and a half kids and the mini-van. It’s the “get as wealthy as you can” because that’s the judge of who you are, of how successful you are. Be the center of your social circle. Have a lot of wine parties. Be familiar with exotic cheeses. Like, this is the other—the flip side of that lifestyle that’s not at the club three times a week then you’re a failure. That turned out to be just as inessential to my happiness as anything else but it took me a couple of years to learn that.
Jeff: So you went down that route though. You experienced that wealth and the power and the social networking and all the—and I didn’t mean social networking as social media way. I mean it like in a networking socially way, like the old fashioned way. And you knew all your cheeses and wines and all that. So you tried that but it didn’t work for you.
Colin: No. Yeah, and I’m glad that I experienced it because just like anything else, just like having experienced the traditional relationship route, the traditional route of getting a good job and having a family, there’s pieces of it that I still like and still take with me and still use. I’m glad I don’t have a network. As strange as it sounds, sometimes a knowledge of exotic cheeses really helps you out in meeting somebody or adding value to a situation, whatever it might be.
But it’s not the be-all and all. It would be the equivalent of saying, now I’m going clubbing three nights a week, therefore I am a success. Well no, you can do that and you can be a success and have that, be part of it if you really enjoy going clubbing. But to make that an essential aspect of who you are as a character trait, wines and cheeses and clubs are not me. I walked away with some good stuff from that. I walked away knowing what role money plays in my life as well. Knowing that I can be happy or sad whether I have a lot of it or whether I have little of it, depending on what I’m doing with it and recognizing that that, just like any other aspect of that lifestyle is a means to an end, not an end into itself.
Jeff: So you talked a lot about success and kind of the traditional meeting of success. You’re very clear that that’s not what you’re looking for in life but what is success for you?
Colin: For me, I tend to gauge my success not in something that’s very measurable, unfortunately for people who are asking, “So how successful are you now?” But in terms of freedom, in terms of being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it, with whom I want to do with it, from where I want to do it, having every option on the table and every option not necessarily being “I’m going to take my super yacht out to the Mediterranean” because that for me is not an option right now. Though because of the lifestyle that I live, I have friends who have super yachts that I can probably go hang out with them if I wanted to. If not first on my list but it’s nice knowing that I could.
And it’s kind of the same with anything else, just knowing that when opportunities arise, I can take them and knowing that if I get bored with what I’m doing, I can change career trajectories which I’ve done several times in past several years. And risk that. I can take it and it won’t be much of a risk because my means are not very expensive and I have a network that it is very easy to tap into and find the resources that I need. And I’ve put out enough value just passively by creating little assets here and there that I can take these risks and minimize the risks and I’ve got a nice, cushiony landing no matter what happens, whether I fail or succeed.
Jeff: Can you talk a little bit more about what is that cushiony landing that you have?
Colin: A lot of it is people-based. Some of it’s financial and just little bits here and there like doing work that I know will provide consistent, if small sometimes, streams of income over time. Some of those I’ve let lapse because they were creating money but nothing else and philosophically, part of what I allow myself to do now is to only work on things that I know match my morality and match my values which is creating value. So I’m not going to set up something that creates money but nothing else anymore. So some of those, I’ve let lapse but I know I got that kind of thing.
But the people resource is much bigger. And that’s not saying that people are resources to be used or something, but the work that I do also in it, I try to help as many people as possible, as much as possible. And just kind of passively going through life because of the resources that I have and because of the connections that I have and things like that that I can share with people. Generally, folks, if you treat people well, they want to see you succeed. They want to see you make your way through difficult situations and they want to help you try new things.
So at this point, I feel pretty confident that if I decide to become a rodeo clown or like, some big right angle turn towards a different career trajectory, I could probably get a pretty significant audience to come out and watch for no other reason than that I’ve helped them out at some point or they just like the work that I do and they want to see what I’ll do with this. And that’s an incredible feeling. And it’s nothing that I control and it’s not something that—it’s not lording something over somebody. It’s just kind of having people’s goodwill and doing all that you can to keep it because you just generally want to see other people succeed as well.
Jeff: So you’ve got this cushiony landing thing that you’ve got going for you. It’s really a network of people who are there to support you because you’ve been there for them and you’ve helped them.
Colin: Yeah, yeah. It’s funny because it really flips what you’re supposed to do what you’re supposed to do as a business person on its head. As a business person, you’re supposed to wrangle and control assets and make sure that everything is concrete where it needs to be at the right time. I’ve been that type of person. I’ve done that type of business. It didn’t really jive with the way that I like to treat people.
I don’t like to see people as assets. Even if I might describe it like that sometimes to explain to business people why it’s good not to be a jerk, a lot of them still don’t understand it and think that they need to be alpha or something all of the time. It’s like, come on. It’s much better to have people who genuinely want to see you succeed because you’re not an asshole than to have a bunch of people who are afraid of you or feel like they owe you something. None of these people owe me anything.
I mean, if I do something nice for somebody, I do it because I want to see them succeed or they’re fellow human being and therefore I think that they’re worthy of my time and effort. And if they want to treat me the same way back, then that’s great. And if I can do things that does that for a lot of people, then I have a whole lot of kind of goodwill coming my way potentially.
Jeff: So you’re not doing things for people with the intent of getting something in return. You’re just doing them just because you want to and you feel like they’re worthy people.
Colin: Yeah, yeah. And that to me is part of the freedom thing. I like being able to spend my time doing that and I know that you can guess that a certain amount of—you’ll get a certain amount of people who want to help you in return or can help you in return at some point who will even think, maybe I’ll leave a review on this guy’s book which is something that’s helpful for me. But not required. If I’m requiring it of someone, that’s missing the point because that’s creating a trade situation.
What this is, is it’s looking at life as more of like a gift for gift economy where if you expected it, it ruins the magic and it kind of takes away from the fact that you sometimes get more if you don’t ask for something. Just let people do something nice for you because you did something nice for them. And this is something that’s difficult to replicate sometimes because like I said, it’s part of the freedom thing that I’ve kind of had to earn for myself over time. It’s not necessarily possible to just have a job at the supermarket and then decide I’m going to quit and I’m going to live off the goodwill of others. I would not recommend that.
But if you’re able to create something where you do provide value for people, blogging is a great way to do that if you have some valuable information to share. There’s many, many different ways to do it. That’s just been my major vector of it. But if you’re able to create something like that and really create a massive amount of value with a relatively little effort, then you’re in a better position to make that kind of leap.
Jeff: Now, you said two things that are really interesting. You said that at this point in your life, you feel like whatever you want to do, whether that’s hanging out on a yacht or becoming a rodeo clown, you’ve built the infrastructure that will let you do that. You also said that your life is very inexpensive to sustain at this point.
So it’s really interesting to hear someone say both of those things. When we think of having lot of kind of flexibility and freedom of being able to do what we want, we think, we really associate it with having a lot of money and the lifestyle that goes along with that. So, how do you live this life of what is really abundance but apparently do it in a way that doesn’t require a lot of financial resources to sustain?
Colin: It’s amazingly simple, actually. It’s the kind of thing that I tell people and then they just don’t believe it and most people never act on it. If you’re able to take the time, and I say able. Everybody is able. It might take longer for some because you have to scratch out some spare moments to really think hard and dig deep.
But if you figure out what’s actually important to you, then you start to realize that 90 percent of what you spend your time and money on is inessential. And not inessential in the way like, or something is inessential. Like, that might bring happiness to your life and could be justified to something that’s fairly essential to your happiness. But inessential like, I’m going to this club because I feel that it makes me look big. I feel that it makes me look successful or I’m buying this type of clothing because I feel that makes me look successful.
We do a lot of things that make us feel big in the moment or feel good because we’ve just consumed or feel successful, because we need to feel successful because we’re not actually feeling successful according to our own standards. We do a lot of this stuff and everybody does it. The most self-reflective person still falls prey to this a lot if you don’t think specifically about it.
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And for me, it’s just been about kind of over the years pairing down and really assessing every expense and really assessing every decision and really assessing every relationship and how I spend my time and reducing it down to the core of stuff that just makes me happy and stuff that I really, really love and could not go without. And then taking the extra resources and the extra time and the extra energy that would be spent on all these and essential things and reinvesting it in the stuff that just makes me passionately, stupidly happy so that I have more to spend on that. Anybody can do it and you don’t have to be wealthy to do it.
Back in the day, I made a hell of a lot more money than I make now but I am much wealthier now in a lot of ways because I have more of my money to spend on and pour it on stuff and I’m getting more from every dollar.
Jeff: You didn’t just figure out—well, I’m guessing but tell me if this is right or wrong—but you didn’t just figure out over night what it is that makes you passionately, stupidly happy.
Colin: No. It’s been a journey. And honestly, it will continue to be one, I think. I figure if I’m doing it right, I have to continue to assess this because otherwise, I might get stuck in a habit and say, eight years from now or something, I find myself still travelling the same way and I haven’t looked at it for a while. That might not be the thing that I need anymore. Because if I’m doing it right, I’m continuing to grow and not changing and becoming someone else but becoming a better version of myself, somebody who’s—my experiences and such having formed a change in myself. And therefore, it really is kind of an always on thing where you have to stop and reflect and say so, is this what’s right?
And that’s actually why I took some time just recently to—I settled in Missoula, Montana for a few months with some friends of mine and we started a publishing company and then went to Iceland to write for a handful of months because I wanted to make sure as much as anything that the travelling thing was not becoming just a habit that I did just because I didn’t know any better and didn’t want to think about it. I wanted to see the flip side and make sure that I was still doing what made me the most happy.
And thankfully, it did but I also walked away then with more knowledge and a little bit more data so that I could say, well these aspects of nesting and being in a home make me happy and these aspects of travelling make me happy. That’s information that I can use next time I want to change things up.
Jeff: You’re really obsessed with this, aren’t you?
Colin: When you find something that just works so well for you and something that honestly, once you do it once then you can’t not think about it. You can’t not look at a purchase and say, is this a silly purchase? Is this something that I’m doing because it makes me feel like a man or something I’m doing because it actually makes me happy? Am I doing this for other people or for myself essentially?
The more that you do for yourself, the more that you get to that space where you’re more than comfortable. You’re just happy and have a great attitude. When bad things happen, it’s not really too bad because everything’s pretty damn good then you’re able to help more people kind of passively, too, and you become kind of this value generator, I guess, just by virtue of doing what you would be doing anyway. It’s a difficult thing to argue with.
So many people do this like my own—my parents have started to do this in some small way which is always impressive to me when people who are older, like 50 years old or something are able to change something so dramatic about themselves and then view it in such a non-prejudiced light. Not saying this is different from what I’ve always done and therefore I have nothing to learn here, but to say wow, okay, that actually is something interesting. Maybe I should explore this in my own way because obviously, they’re living very different lives than I am and have very different priorities but they’re still benefitting from just being very conscious about what they need and what makes them happy.
Jeff: Well, now, that’s interesting. You said explore it in your own way, right? Your parents still live in Columbia, Missouri, right?
Jeff: Okay. So they’re living a very different life than you are. But they’re still taking these same concepts that you talk about and they’re applying them to their life. And that looks very, very different for them than it does for you. So I think if somebody’s listening, would you say that the way they apply these concepts that you’re talking about would end up looking very different than what your life was like?
Colin: Oh, totally. Yeah. I tell people this all the time: do not go travel the world because you think it looks sexy. It’s something that sounds very sexy. But honestly, it’s very uncomfortable. And you have to really love being uncomfortable and always having your own views and morality challenge than being put in positions where you have to be very nice to people even though you think what they’re doing is atrocious, things like that. It’s an incredibly uncomfortable, sometimes painful disease ridden type of situation. You can’t own much and you’re essentially a homeless person.
I try to tell people all of this stuff but all I see is like, the movie version so I end up seeing a whole lot of these travelers who have kind of paired down and are trying to find their happiness in what is essentially somebody else’s happiness. Travelling the world is a very valuable experience. I think it’s a great thing for everybody to try but if you really are honest with yourself, I think most people are not dumb enough to do what I’m doing. I think most people have something much more fully flashed out or have something else that allows a little bit more flexibility. Because this is kind of an all-encompassing thing. Like you said, this is something that I think about and do all the time.
And most people, I think, will have a more balanced kind of socially acceptable thing that makes them passionately, stupidly happy. And that’s totally cool. You don’t have to be living something that looks like a James Bond lifestyle but in actuality, it’s just you sitting on a lot of very small buses with chickens. You don’t have to be doing that in order to be successful. You could be living the normal life and have the significant other and the kids and the white picket fence and just do it in a very conscious way.
And there’s plenty of people doing that who just… they have no debt and they’re able to take trips when they want and they’re able to have the things that they want but they don’t have anything that they don’t want. And then they’re able to share those values with their significant other and their kids and their neighborhood and arguably, that’s something that can kind of—pulls out to that type of philosophy even faster than somebody who’s blogging and travelling around.
Jeff: Interesting stuff. What if somebody’s listening to this and they say, Colin, this sounds all great.
Colin: A lot of the people who take to this with the most gusto are people who have the benefit and wisdom that comes from living a long, full life, my parents included. They’re people who never thought about this and my dad has always been a company man and my mom’s always worked but also had four kids. It’s that type of traditional value that they grew up with but it also came with a lot of debts and it came with a lot of the burdens of the traditional values and kind of the post-World War II industrial complex lifestyle. Recognizing this and taking a stab at it and seeing the benefit of it and seeing how kind of liberated and stress free that they feel now that they’ve eliminated all of their debt, it’s more than words can possibly do. Just trying it out.
And I think most people will experience that if they give it a shot and taste some of the benefits of it, then they’ll take what they want from it. Just the same that I was saying before, I take what I want from the nesting lifestyle of having kind of a home and habits and a favorite coffee shop and such and I take what I want from the travelling lifestyle. And that’s all anybody can do.
I don’t think that any lifestyle is right for anyone but no matter what age you are—I have high school students and I have 80-year-olds emailing me all the time telling me that they gleam something from me or from somebody else who’s blogging and then they took it and they spun it, made it their own. And now they’re just so happy because they’re able to do whatever gardening or collecting gnomes, statuettes or whatever it is is their passion, they’ve got more time for it now and they’ve got more money to spend on it. And they’re able to take however many years they’ve got left into really spend it the best way possible, to be really effective and efficient with what they’ve got.
Jeff: So people from all over the world email you and they tell you how they’ve taken the things that you’ve talked about in your books and on your blog and they’ve applied them to their life and made their life way, way better. So you’ve created a huge positive impact on those folks’ lives. And by reading your blog and buying your books and supporting you in those ways, leaving reviews in your books, they have enabled you to live the lifestyle that you want to live. It just seems like everything’s just working so well together and in harmony.
Colin: It’s nice, actually. Yeah, and a lot of these philosophy on how to just be good to people and how to deal with people and in the sense where you can actually run a business without screwing people over or looking out for number one or taking kind of the traditional objectivist vision of how we should deal with each other. That’s been informed by the travel as much as anything else.
The travel was enabled by kind of shift in my business practices but then my business practices were drastically and dramatically informed by how people deal with me and how I deal with people overseas. Because the more you travel, the more you realize that we’re all human first and that everything else, all the other lines, we draw on the sand or put there by governments to make us feel different and to kind of keep us sequestered or they’re put there by traditions that don’t really apply anymore.
There are things that we try to define ourselves by that are not really important. The human part is important. And if we all treat each other with that modicum of respect that we’re all owed, things just tend to work much better. Then we seem more in common and less of the differences and I don’t know, race or creed or nationality or all of these other silly things that we put in the way.
And going to these different countries especially the countries that are developing countries like going to Calcutta in India, people are so impoverished. It’s like, 80 percent poverty there. People just living in dirt floors, no running water, no electricity. It’s insane. And I go there and I’m never lacking for people who want nothing in return. They just want to help me out. They want to make sure that I’m safe. They want to make sure that I have a good time. They want to know where I’m from and know all about me and what I believe in and what I do and ask absolutely nothing in return.
It’s inspiring to know that we can trust each other if we just let ourselves. And there’s always going to be that one percentage of people that are just jerks and ruin it for everybody else. But that shouldn’t make us treat everybody else like that one percent. I think by default, it’s best to go on with the idea that we’re not trying to screw each other over. And if you do that and allow yourself to do that and allow others to do that towards you, it just puts you in such a great spot.
Jeff: Awesome advice. And I think one of the bigger mistakes that we make in our society is we do as you said, let that one percent drive our perception about the other 99.
Colin: It’s unfortunate because most people in the world are just like you. They’re not jerks. They don’t want to screw you over. They just want you to walk away from their country having had a good time and having good things to say about them and their culture. But then there’s that one percent. And don’t be that one percent, I think, not in a financial way, 99 percent-one percent but the one percent of people who are trying to rob people or trying to treat people badly or trying to scam them in some way. Don’t be that person and you’ll be in a pretty good spot because then we can all start treating each other like the 99 percent of good people out there.
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Jeff: Awesome, awesome advice. Business and entrepreneurship has been a really key piece of what has allowed you to live the lifestyle that you live and pursue the things that you pursue. What is a piece of advice that you give our listeners about how to approach entrepreneurship as a vehicle for lifestyle?
Colin: Find something that you enjoy. I get the impression this is probably a point you’ve made before but find something you enjoy and you’ll never work again. I work harder than most people that I know but it never feels like work because the stuff that I do these days, it’s stuff I would be doing anyway. A day without writing for me is a day that I have no idea what to do with myself. I get so miserable anytime I try to take a vacation because that means taking a vacation from stuff that I love doing.
So figure out what that is to you. For me, it’s writing. It’s creating things. My background’s in designs so when I get to design things or put things together to create a finish product or communicate in some way, I’m just passionate about it. I’m so happy. And define what that is and the idea of retirements will become silly. It just does not make any sense because that would be the equivalent of saying I will never have fun again. That’s what I’m working toward which just simply does not make sense. And in that way too, you’re willing to work harder because that just means you’re having more fun. But then you don’t have to worry about work, too. It ceases to be something.
We seem to have this idea for some reason and it’s definitely a post industrial revolution type of idea that work is something hard that you do in exchange for money. When ideally, what it should be is something that you do that creates value and exchange for other people’s value and in a lot of cases, that value you’re getting in exchange will be money because good tidings and goodwill do not pay the rent. But being able to create something that makes you happy and something that makes the world a little bit better, that’s amazing.
We live in a time when some of the most brilliant people in the world are focusing on creating the next flappy bird. And that’s great. For some people, that makes them very happy and in some cases, we need entertainment. We need games but you can do something that really both makes you fulfilled but also creates something positive. I think you found a great formula and that’s the balance that I think most people should seek.
The idea of just making money for nothing is in a lot of cases, a kind of a crap shoot. It’s a gamble and some people achieve it but in most cases, they’re kind of a negative type of business. So try to be that positive. Try to do something that really benefits a lot of people. Then you can feel fulfilled about your work rather than seeing it as something that’s draining on your soul.
Jeff: Amazing, amazing advice. Now, if somebody’s out there listening to the show and they’re saying, all right, this sounds great and I’m totally onboard. I’m currently working a soul-sucking nine-to-five job. I want to do this. Colin, what is the first step that I should take?
Colin: The first step is don’t take a step until you know what you want. It’s not what most people want to hear because people, I know from firsthand knowledge, that people who are into entrepreneurship and the idea of setting themselves free and stuff want to act now. They want to take that first step and want to see some movement but you don’t want to take a step or make a mad dash in the wrong direction. That’s what I’ve done. That’s what so many other people that I know have done and it ends up being like this not entirely wasted because you learn from the experience but if I would have been on the right track for the five or so years that I spent going on the wrong track, I would be much further than I am now.
So take the time, figure out who you are, what you want, what you’re good at, what you can contribute, what kind of unique value proposition you bring to the table, what do you know or what’s your background or what is it that you can do that other people can’t do. put all these stuff together and build yourself little formula and it will become much more clear where your torque is better spent. In that way, you’ll have a whole lot less wasted energy on the way.
Jeff: Wow. We had Nick Unsworth on the show just recently. And he said that the secret to his success was two things. It was knowing what he wanted and believing that he could do it.
Colin: There we go. Yeah. It’s totally true. What on earth could stop you if you decide to do something? Like, if this is the most important thing in the world to you, what exactly are you doing with your time and resources that are more important? It boggles me sometimes because people tell me that they really, really, really want to quit their job or really, really, really want to travel or whatever happens to be.
But we’ve all got the same 24 hours and it’s not that anybody else is—everybody has different abilities or different pros and cons but it’s not like these people who are making it happen, myself included, are super human or something. We’re normal people. It is knowing that you can because who on earth could stop you? Nobody’s out there trying to put hurdles in your way.
If you decide you want to do something, spend the time. Become fanatical about it. Do nothing else. Make it your beyond. Work mornings, work nights, work weekends. Do what you have to do to get there because if you’re not, then it kind of shows that it’s not the most important thing in the world to you, reality TV is or whatever it is that you’re spending your time on instead.
Jeff: If it’s that important, take some action, I think is the core of what you’re saying there. Awesome advice. Colin, where can we go to get more information about you and Exile Lifestyle?
Colin: Yeah. I love the blog. It’s exilelifestyle.com. All of my projects are at colin.iocolin.io. That’s where I keep my blogs and my books and stuff. It’s kind of my housing site for all my projects. And then asymmetrical.co is my publishing company that I run with a couple of other guys, Josh and Ryan at the minimalist.
Jeff: Excellent. Well, we’ll link all of that up below the show. Colin, thank you so much for being on the How To Quit Working show. I love your message. And I think if our listeners just really take in what you said and realize that once you’re on the other side of that job mentality and that situation of being stuck in that soul sucking nine-to-five job, looking back, it just looks ridiculous.
Colin: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me. This has been really wonderful. You ask some excellent questions.
Jeff: Excellent. Well, thanks for being here and Colin, let me know how I can help you in the future and I look forward to staying in touch.
Colin: Totally. Yeah, we’ll do.
Jeff: What an amazing show and what awesome advice Colin shared from Exile Lifestyle. Colin really laid it all out for us. I think the most important thing that we have to remember from what Colin told us, of all the great information, what he said at the end is—for me, was the most impactful. He said people like him and anybody else who is going full bore after their dreams and doing exactly what they want. They have the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else has.
So if you’ve got something out there that you want to do, something on your mind, something that you want to do more than anything else, ask yourself, what is stopping you? And the really tough question to ask is, how important is it really? Is it really important? Is it really the most important thing in the world to you or is maybe reality TV more important? Or is the golf game more important? Or is the Xbox or whatever your other pleasures are.
What is really the most important thing? And once you determine that, there is nothing that is going to stop you because you’ve got everything that all of the successful people who do this everyday have and that is 24 hours in a day. It’s the only thing that—it’s the great equalizer. It’s the great equalizer of every single person, every single human being on this planet or in the universe or dimension that we understand, everybody has 24 hours.
Awesome, awesome show. This is one you should go back and listen to again. If you’ve got something that you really want to do and you just haven’t figured out how to get it started yet, go back and listen to this again. Listen to Colin’s wisdom. Awesome, awesome episode.
Anyway, if you want more information about how to create an amazing lifestyle of freedom like Colin and all of my guests do, go to howtoquitworking.com/book. Again, it’s howtoquitworking.com/book and pick up a copy of How To Quit Working. For a limited time, it’s coming with $150 worth of bonuses so don’t forget to pick up your copy. And I will see you next week when we’re going to talk to another amazing lifestyle entrepreneur right here on the How To Quit Working show.
You can get more information about Colin on his website at:
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