32 Things Sofia Loves About Me

Yesterday it was my 32nd birthday and Sofia gave me the most amazing gift – she gave me a box of 32 of my favourite chocolates and next to each chocolate she wrote a reason why she loves me. #awww 😉

As you all know, it really is hard to get this kind of honesty, feedback and this kind of compliment from another person even after spending 7 years and nearly every day with each other. I had always hoped that she knew and understood me then to give me this gift and to share all those 32 things she loves about me (some of which I don’t even realise I know about me and some which I never knew others noticed) really made me feel incredibly blessed to have such a person in my life.

Such a gift also serves as a wonderful reminder than your actions in life matter, the people close to you matter and there is nothing more important than adding value and happiness to this world.

It is so easy to forget all these things, which is why I decided to post all 32 things Sofia loves about me on here – to serve as a daily reminder to myself and others not to forget about all those important wonderful small things in life – those things which really matter in the end.

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32 Things Sofia Loves About Me … written by Sofia 😉

  1. … that there is always time to just “be” with you.
  2. … how you like to do crazy things just to see if it’s possible.
  3. … that you’re unafraid of showing weakness.
  4. … your love for life.
  5. … that you – just like me, prefer to collect memories and moments over things.
  6. … how sexy you look in a suit.
  7. … your positivity.
  8. … how you can be serious and funny at the same time.
  9. … that you are one big paradox to everyone else.
  10. … how much you believe in me.
  11. … that life is never boring with you.
  12. … your long arms that wrap around me.
  13. … how you love being “the handyman”.
  14. … that you either give all or nothing.
  15. … your asian accent when you see something cute.
  16. … your ability to stay strong no matter what.
  17. … your wise motivational words.
  18. … your dream of buying a lambo dressed like a hobo.
  19. … your light blub shower ideas.
  20. … the many ways you make me feel.
  21. … that you always compete with yourself.
  22. … your faith that everything will work out.
  23. … how you can’t keep an exciting secret from me.
  24. … your morning cuddles.
  25. … your passion to help others.
  26. … your mindset of figuring things out as you go.
  27. … your spontaneity.
  28. … your new beard obsession.
  29. … your skill to hack anything.
  30. … how you love to admire your long legs when sitting.
  31. … your schizophrenic taste in music.
  32. … how you will eat this chocolate box in 5 mins.

And now the chocolate box is empty :p Thanks you once again Sofia for the incredible birthday, it really means so much to me to have something like this in my life!

Now Life Gets Serious.

Today we picked up the keys to our new apartment in Gothenburg, we have been here for the last 8 months, but were just renting places from airBnB month by month and always living out of our backpacks – however now our life is about to get real serious. :p

Last week Sofia and I signed the contract on a first-hand contract for a great apartment right in the centre of town so we now have to stay here for at least the next few years – for most people this is awesome news, but for us it freaks us the fuck out! We have to buy real furniture and everything :S :p

After traveling for the last 5+ years, and always living day to day from a suitcase, this adjustment to a “real life” has taken us so much longer than expected – our company now needs to be located in Sweden for the vegan snackboxes we send out each month and based on the amazing growth in the last 8 months this is a place we have to stay – we are super excited and are looking forward to having a permanent place to really REALLY focus on doing what we love #VEGMAT 😉

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Learning To Live Again – After 9 Years Of Travel Fu#cked Everything Up

I feel like travel ruined everything … it took my life, it spun it around and left me hanging – dangling over a cliff of uncertainty with a hollow feeling of dread, confusion and a … SO NOW WHAT?!

It wasn’t meant to be this way, it wasn’t meant to feel this way – it was meant to be uplifting – it was meant to be inspiring – it was meant to be the greatest thing a person could do – to travel far and distant lands, explore the depth of unique cultures and come back a hero with a new view on the world, ready to inspire and challenge the slaves of the system to stand up and fly …

But where is the welcome parade … where is the curiosity … where are the questions, where is … ?

Every best friend has moved on, every personal connection point broken, every aspect of my current life a gigantic circle struggling to fit into the square of societies expectations.

They all said: I was blessed, I was lucky, I was doing what they wished they could … but then where are they all now? It seems like they’re all locked up behind closed doors of conditioned bullshit afraid to let me in – what are they afraid of? the truth?

This feeling within scares, yet intrigues me, and of course I know it’s not their fault – I made this choice, I chose to leave and explore the world leaving everything behind – so for that I have to step up, take responsibility, and start again.

Travel is an high octane, turbo-charged experience, so imagine taking that experience and stretching it out over 9 years without stopping for a breath?

Yes I haven’t been “home” in over 9 years – the world became my home, it became my playground, it became my life, it became my EVERYTHING for 9 years – but then what do you think happens when you take that experience away from someone – do you expect them to carry on as though nothing changed? now we start to understand that feeling within.

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While I am still not home, I have decided to settle down to try and make a new home in Sweden. I didn’t expect it would be like this – I didn’t expect it to be this empty – but thinking about it – how else could I expect it to feel?

The last time I was settled down was 9 years ago … and then I was a mental fucked little kid with no idea in the world – my reference experience for this situation is non-existent apart from using 9 year old conditioning, which is what I am feeling creeping up inside.

I have noticed so many old shitty thought patterns showing up again, ones which I thought were long gone, but are now been brought to the surface, teasing and tempting me to play – no thanks!

Traveling the world has taught me everything, yet it feels like nothing at the same time – I know I have to take one step at a time, peel back the layers of confusion and search for the answers to my current situation – a situation, I didn’t expect would end up feeling like this.

I know everything starts from within – my feeling, my thoughts, my life, my view on the world but that doesn’t make it any easier for me to wake up and go to sleep knowing that each day will look and be the same as the day before.

Basically, travel made me a stimulation junkie – a new city here, a new meal there, new friends here, a new country around the corner – poke, poke, poke – always distracting me from me – giving me everything while at the same time nothing at all.

Don’t get me wrong – I love loVE LOVE travel – travel helped me become everything I am today, and I LOVE the person I have become – still working from my bed, still free, still waking up next to the girl of my dreams, but that doesn’t mean this adjustment should be easy – that doesn’t mean that I am not allowed to feeling this way right?

I know this is part of the process, part of Life – taking my travel square and remoulding it into the circle of a settled life … well a new version of that settled life 😉

“Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff And It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson (Book Quotes)

Oops – slightly late with my April book update 😛 but don’t worry I finished it on time 😉 just been a little busy with a new project!

The book for April was called: “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff And It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson – this book was absolutely AMAZING, really simple concepts and a very easy read.

It reminded me of many of the things the same author talked about in the first self-help book I ever read way back in 2003 – that book was the one thing which made me realise for the first time that I could actually do something about the shitting parts of my life – what I was wasn’t what I always had to be.

Here are my key takeaways from this book – the list below could have easily been 50+ but these connected with me the most in my current situation.

1) This “other way” of living involves replacing old habits of “reaction” with new habits of perspective.

2) Change the things that can be changed, accept those that cannot, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

3) The need for perfection and the desire for inner tranquility conflict with each other.

4) The sooner you catch yourself in the act of building your mental snowball, the easier it is to stop.

5) One of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself is, “Do I want to be “right” – or do I want to be happy?” Many times, the two are mutually exclusive!

6) The way to be happy is to let go, and reach out. Let other people be right. This doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. Everything will be fine.

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7) When you see how similar we all are, you begin to see the innocence in all of us. In other words, even though we often mess up, most of us are doing the best that we now how with the circumstances that surround us.

8) The fact that we can’t see the beauty in something doesn’t suggest that it’s not there. Rather, it suggests that we are not looking carefully enough or with a broad enough perspective to see it.

9) Something wonderful begins to happen with the simple realisation that life, like a car, is driven from the inside out, not the other way around.

10) The truth is, we see in life what we want to see.

11) The truth is, in order to experience a feeling, you must first have a thought that produces that feeling.

12) Circumstances don’t make a person, they reveal him or her.

13) It is felt that when life is too easy, there are fewer opportunities for genuine growth.

14) True happiness comes not when we get rid of all our problems, but when we change our relationship to them.

 

Back in Sweden – 3 Month Update (Jan-March 2014)

After leaving Sweden in October last year – we traveled down to Berlin to give the city one more chance as a place to base our company – 1 month later we had left again and traveled to Copenhagen to test the same thing – we were not impressed with Copenhagen so by the new year and only 2 months after we had left – we were back in Sweden. :p

After leaving the travel industry nearly 1 year ago – we have struggled to accept the fact that we don’t need to travel full-time for work anymore and that we are able to run our company from anywhere including Sofia’s hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden.

For us Gothenburg isn’t the best location for our “perfect life”, but it’s better than many other places we have tried so we decided that it’s better to stay in one place and focus 100% on building our projects than to be always on the move – searching for that perfect location takes focus away from us adding real value to others – so here we are :)

We found a nice little apartment right in the center of town, joined a gym and started getting up at 5am 5 days a week to work out – we have kept that routine for the last 3 months, and I am especially proud of Sofia who has never gone to the gym before! I have also kept my weight down to around 73kg – after losing 14kg in 3 months last year I was curious if I could keep it steady.

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We are still not used to staying in one place for more than a few weeks, so after a few weeks we “subconsciously” started a habit of exploring new cafes and areas around town. Looking back this was obviously in an attempt for us to “get that fix” which we used to get from travelling and exploring new places … how long will it take for this urge to go away!?!

We have also started a bunch of new projects – one of which is VEGMAT.se – which simply means “Vegetarian Food” in Swedish – the site has been live for 2 months now, and on the site we launched a “Vegansk Snackbox” where we send out new vegan snacks to Swedish customers every month. We are also getting ready to launch a 60-page vego magazine called VEGMAT which will offer 6 issues a year in Sweden.

We have had so much interest in this new project – website traffic is increasing like crazy and we are getting to the point where we will not be able to hand-pack every snackbox each month. We are thinking in a few months we will have to find a storage facility and maybe even hire some staff to help us pack the boxes – pretty exciting and a tad scary.

Running this vegan subscription box means that we can’t just leave and move to a new country anymore, I think part of the reason we created this project was to force ourselves to stay in one place and make our company work.

Even though we know this, and are coming to terms with the fact we are not travellers anymore, we still can’t help but to plan up-coming trips – often we find ourselves thinking things like: “if we send all the snacks out on the 8th, we will have 2-3 weeks until we need to be back … shall we? … ” … when does it stop!?! :p

The biggest lesson and realisation for us from the last 3 months has been that traveling like we used to is something we will never do again so we may as well get over it and focus 100% on what we know is best for us today – create a real life, build a company and add more and more value to the world.

Here are my main goals for the next 3 months in Sweden.

– VM – triple the subscription base of our monthly Vegansk Snackbox.
– VM – launch the first issue of our VEGMAT magazine in digital format.
– MSH – 5 top $ keywords #1 in search results – 100K monthly.
– VF – 5 top $ keywords #1 in search results – 10K monthly.
– create a weekly meet-up and meet more like-minded people.
– continue my monthly book reading challenge.
– make more time to write more personal updates on this blog.

Screw It, Let’s Do It! – Richard Branson (Book Quotes)

Just finished this months book (March) – I have been doing this challenge for 4 months so far and still really struggle to get into the “mood” of reading – I really have to force myself to pick up the book each time and start reading.

This has nothing to do with the books themselves, more to do with the fact that I feel like I have more important things to do with my day – however every time I start reading I really enjoy the content and learn so much.

This month’s book was Screw It, Let’s Do It! – by Richard Branson and was a really inspiring read – he shares many little titbits of wisdom mixed with interesting stories about how he became who he is today.

Here are 10 of the best lessons I took away from the book:

1 – The beginning is the most important part of any work.

2 – There are no rules to follow in business. I just work hard and, as I always have done, believe I can do it. Most of all, though, I try to have fun.

3 – Fun is at the core of the way I do business. It has been the key to it all from the start.

4 – Have a positive outlook on life and just get on with it. Work hard and earn your pay.

5 – Be bold but don’t gamble.

6 – Be glad when you win. Don’t have regrets when you lose. Never look back. You can’t change the past. I try to learn from it.

7 – Money is for making things happen.

8 – Respect is about how to treat people. not just those you want to impress.

9 – The one thing that helps you capture the moment is to have no regrets. Regrets weigh you down. They hold you back in the past when you should move on.

10 – Never just try to make money. Long-term success will never come it profit is the only aim.

Which quote above is your fav.? any recommendations for books I should read next month?

Growth Hacker Marketing – Ryan Holiday (Book Review)

I just finished this months (February) book: “Growth Hacker Marketing” by Ryan Holiday – the book was very practical, and shared lots of useful advice in regards to growth hacking your new company – I took away many new great ideas which I have already started to implement into VeggieFocus, MySkiHoliday & VEGMAT.se and have been getting some results.

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Here are 10 of the best takeaways I got from the book:

– A growth hacker doesn’t see marketing as something one does, bur rather as something one builds into the product itself.

– Product Market Fit is a feeling backed with data and information – companies need to “do whatever is required” to get to product/market fit.

– Growth hacking really is a mind-set rather than a tool kit, And if you leave this book with one thing it should be that mind-set.

– Forget the conventional wisdom that says if a company lacks growth, it should invest more in sales and marketing, Instead it should invest in refining and improving the service itself until users are so happy that they can’t stop using the service (and their friends come along with them).

– The reality is that your product is probably broken in at least one way. And we must avail ourselves of the data and other information that tells us where those problems are.

– If you want to go viral, it must be baked into your product. There must be a reason to share it and the means to do so.

– Virality at its core is asking someone spend their social capital recommending or linking or posting about you for free – make it seem like it isn’t a favor. Make it the kind of thing that is worth spreading.

– The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60/70 percent, while to a new prospect it’s just 5-20 percent.

– You’re better off rolling out new features that get more out of your customer base, that turn potential users into active users, than going out and pounding the pavement for more potentials.

– Growth hacking fundamentally reduces the costs of being wrong, giving us freedom to experiment and try new things.

Which takeaway above connects best with you? share below and check out the book here.

The Confidence Gap by Dr Russ Harris (Book Review)

I just finished this month’s book: “The Confidence Gap” by Dr. Russ Harris – which I found to be a really interesting and life-changing book.

The book started off slightly cheesy, and the intro nearly put me off (felt very self-helpy and tacky) but as soon as I got into Chapter 1 and started actively working on the tasks, I honestly felt a difference within and couldn’t put the book down.

I didn’t expect to learn much from this book, I just thought it might be an interesting read for this monthly reading challenge – but it ended up been one of the best books I have ever read in regards to learning how to tap into your inner “core” confidence and how to get the most out of each moment.

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I really learnt so much from every chapter – this is a highly recommended read for anyone wanting to get to that next level in their life – even if they think they are already there 😉

Below are the 10 main rules outlined in the book, & if you’re interested you can buy the book here.

Rule 1: The Actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later.

Rule 2: Genuine confidence is not the absence of fear; it is a transformed relationship with fear.

Rule 3: ‘Negative’ thoughts are normal. Don’t fight them; defuse them.

Rule 4: Self-acceptance trumps self-esteem.

Rule 5: Hold your values light; but pursue them vigorously.

Rule 6: True success is living by your values.

Rule 7: Don’t obsess on the outcome; get passionate about the process.

Rule 8: Don’t fight your fear; allow it, befriend it and channel it.

Rule 9: Failure hurts – but if we are willing to learn, it’s a wonderful teacher.

Rule 10: The key to peak performance is total engagement in the task.

Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out by Marc Ecko (Book Quotes)

My new book challenge is off to a great start – today I finished “Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out” by Marc Ecko.

I plan on posting a short blog about each new book I read for the next 12 months as a way for me to gather my thoughts and highlight the most important concepts and quotes I take away from each book.

“Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out” by Marc Ecko was a really interesting and honest book about one man’s mission to build a unique brand and company.

The book gave me a deep insight into how Marc started his company from nothing, found his passion, built his brand, and how he dealt with all the unexpected struggles he went through to build a successful multi-million dollar company.

Below I will share my top 15 quotes from the book – read on, enjoy and share if inspired!

#1: “How people see you, feel you, understand you, and make assumptions about you when you are not in the room are pieces of your personal brand, and this is true whether you’re the president of the United States, a priest, or a plumber.”

#2: “People can take your job. No one can take away the brand you’ve created and your ability to create again. Let them smash what you’ve been saving, let them burn what you’ve built – when you can create, the power is yours, not theirs.”

#3: “Building a brand is like creating your own personal religion. You need to be willing to fight for it, defend it, die for it. It involves being something of a zealot.” 

#4: “What’s your unfair advantage? You have to ask that. Otherwise you’re just in the business of selling cogs.”

#5: “Great brands are nothing more than streams of connected promises that always deliver.”

#6: “In a nutshell: this is how you deal with failure. It’s not whether – or how often – you get knocked down, It’s whether – and how often – you get up.”

#7: “It [your personal brand] only comes from the inside out. The way that you become “cool” is by building your own personal brand, and by building it authentically. You must create the evidence through your actions to earn the currency of cool.”

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#8: “Failure is the necessary hangover of success.”

#9: “Failure. You need it. You learn from it. And it is inevitable. Essential, really. And any business mogul who tells you differently is full of shit.”

#10: “In any business, at the most basic level you’re making stuff. But more important that what you make – whether it’s a product or a service, physical or digital – is how that stuff makes people feel. Authentic brands seek to render an EMOTIONAL IMPACT.”

#11: “Artists don’t make stuff. They set out to make an EMOTIONAL IMPACT, and the best brands do the same thing.”

#12: “It’s important for you – for all of us – to be accountable to our own measures for success, not just the arbitrary rubrics of others. We live in a world that measures wealth by numbers, and schools that measure learning by standardised test scores. Who’s testing the testers? Who’s measuring the measurers?.”

#13: “I’ve learned to set my own bar. And instead of relying on the gatekeepers’ formula for success in building authentic brands, I decided to create my own.”

#14: “It’s those quiet, often mundane moments in batting practise – swing and miss, swing and miss, rinse and repeat – that are the moments when you will create your personal brand.”

#15: “We want to organise our life in rational, logical, quantitative way. How much you have versus them. Him versus her. But humans are not rational. We are emotional creatures, and just like there is no straight line in nature – or in your body – it’s impossible to imagine your life in such an organised fashion.”

We are, after all, just one big work in progress …

So which quote was your favourite?

My 5 Best & Worst of 2013

Well 2013 is coming to an end, so I thought it would be fun to go back and share my 5 best and 5 worst personal events from the last 12 months – take account of what happened, where I ended up and how I can improve my life for 2014 – read on …

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Best of 2013.

1 – MONEY – Sofia and I sold a few of our websites near the start of this year, which gave us the ability to focus 100% of our time on our 2 new projects – this took us from uncertainty to certainty of the near future and gave us a massive boost to create and launch VF & MSH as fast as we did a few months later.

2 – EXERCISE – I hate hate HATE running, but in April, I decided to buy a pair of bare-foot running shoes and see if I could run at least 2km every day for a month – I managed to keep this up for over 7 months x 5 days every week – and even inspired Sofia to buy a pair as well and join me every morning for a run.

3 – HEALTH – on my 31st birthday (September) – I decided I would set myself a challenge and try to get back down to the weight I was when I was 18 – in 3 months I managed to lose 10kg (84-74kg) as of today:

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I thank the Fitbit Flex app for the daily motivation and for keeping me on track with the exact details … without this it would have been very easy to get distracted and stop the challenge within a few days.

4 – BUSINESS – with the boost of our financial situation this year we were able to focus on and launch both VeggieFocus & MySkiHoliday – truly an exciting and fun experience – a massive thanks to Hussain for working with us and helping us develop such awesome websites.

5 – TRAVEL – we finally admitted that full-time travel isn’t something we can do anymore and we decided to settle down for most of the year in Sweden – we didn’t even take ONE flight in 2013 :S … such a strange feeling – but I know deep down that this is needed for us to finally step up and focus on what we really want to build.

Worst of 2013.

1 – MUSIC – my decision to start creating electronic music as a hobby is taking longer than expected – the main issue I have is when there is any spare time, I can normally find at least 10 more important tasks which need to be done.

The goal for the start of 2014 is to post at least 1 original song publicly and to make more time each week to work on the technical side of music production – maybe I should also share my progress on this blog …

You can listen to a preview of an original song I am working on:

Also, here is a remix I finished last week:

2 – SELF-HELP – I didn’t spend as much time each day working on myself as I had wished – this came mainly down to the general distractions of living an online lifestyle and not been able to switch off as easily.

We still do our daily Tolle and Dyer, but I have noticed an underlying feeling and awareness that I am not working 100% on every part of my life … I will need to take more account of this in 2014 and will use this blog to share those thoughts and struggles.

3 – READING – this year I planned on reading 1 new book each month and failed completely at this task :S I think I will start blogging about each book I read and telling everyone which book I will be reading next month so it becomes something which is expected – any books you think I should read?

4 – FINDING HOME – We still have not found that perfect place to live, but this year we decided to spend half of the year in Sweden and so far it seems like the best place for us – we are not 100% happy with the choice, but given that it is Sofia’s home and she speaks the language, it is currently the best place in Europe for us in terms of work and running SEVAmedia.

5 … I must admit I find it hard to list any more “worst” personal events from this year, and even with the 4 above, I know that I have learnt so many lessons from each of them so I am not really able to believe that they are “bad” events – just not exactly how I hoped they would be in 2013 – but everything which happens in life gives us a change to learn and grow right?

So with this list out in the open, I plan to make some changes in 2014 – I will keep going the things which have worked for me, and work more on those events which I know I should focus more on.

So here are my 5 main action steps for 2014:

  1. Read 1 new book a month: AIM: write about my thoughts of each book on this blog, and sure to share next months book, so there are no excuses! :S
  2. Give myself at least 1 hour everyday to work on my music production, no matter what day it is or how busy I am – I love creating music more than most things, and really need to focus on this if I want it to turn into something amazing.
  3. Keep my weight consistent between 73-75kg and focus on toning up my core – join a gym and continue running every morning.
  4. Biz goals by june: VF: 500,000 monthly visits. MSH: 5 bookings a day. EKO: 500 subs.
  5. Find an apartment which we can rent out long-term (1st hand contract) and build a base for our life – without the distractions of traveling and looking for external happiness.

What are some of your best and worst events of 2013? share below in the comments or get inspired to write your own article! :)