Not Your Regular “Happy Holiday” Email Blast

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*This post was first sent to my community members at Israeli Startups NYC

Every year around this time, we sit down to write our new year’s

Some of us hope this year will be “the year we finally take the
leap from our corporate job, and start the startup we’ve been
dreaming of.” Some of us aim to double our startup revenue
and move to the next round of finance, and some hope to
expand our services abroad.

But some, crazy individuals, will go on a journey of a lifetime,
to the other side of the globe,
hoping to build the next billion dollar company.

Exactly two years ago on Christmas eve, I boarded a plane for a
4-month trip starting in Tel-Aviv and ending in New-York City with a clear mission:
to raise $1M seed round from American investors
and building the next big thing in the dating world.

“Tinder who?! I’m talking about changing the world!”

Two years later, the app was never launched, I’m still in
New York, and probably happier than ever!

So instead of sending you another automated “Happy Holiday/New Year”
email blast, I decided to share with you 3 tips that helped me
get to where I am today, in hopes that it may inspire you to kick off
2016 in the best way possible!

1.Life is a journey, not a race!

How many times have we felt like total failures because our
business wasn’t thriving as we’d hoped, or we didn’t make as much
money as our friends (even though we busted our asses around the clock).
Not to mention the fact that all of our friends are married
with kids and we’re still single…

You see, each one of us is going through life in his/her own pace
and rhythm.

Don’t kill yourself to keep up with the Joneses. Enjoy your journey;
see the so-called obstacles in your life as vital lessons for growth
and wisdom and learn to appreciate the small things that come out
of every situation.

Oh, and as for the question you’ve been asking yourself “I’m getting
old, when will it be my time to shine?”

I don’t have the answer for it but always remember Colonel Harland
launched KFC when he was 65. It is never too late!

2. Happiness is within you, there’s no need to look for it elsewhere.

“You think you are unhealthy only when you get depressed beyond
a certain point, but you are unhealthy if you are not bubbling with joy!” – Sadhguru

One of the things I’ve been working on in the past year has been to
be happy regardless of the circumstance, enjoying and appreciating
everything happens in my life and choosing to look at things with a
positive eye, even if some people may see them as “bad” or

Understanding that in every moment in life there are only 3 options
standing in front of you, can turn your life toward a much more
fulfilling journey.

The options are:

  1. Accept it

  2. Change it

  3. Remove yourself from the situation

Any other option you will choose; anger/resentment/bitterness and
so on, will hurt no one but you!

3. All you will ever have is NOW!

Nearly one in five American adults suffer from anxiety disorders,
and with generation Y, this national epidemic is only getting worse.

So why is this so? Why do so many people live in this horrible state,
and instead of enjoying this beautiful life, they live with constant fear and worry?

The simple answer is that most of us are not living in the present
and our mind is always wandering either to the past or future.

Which reminds me of a story of someone asking the Dalai Lama what
surprised him the most about humanity, and so the Dalai Lama

“Man…. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make
money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then
he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

I remember how one time – not long after I came to the US – I had two
weeks left for my rent payment and I was down to my last $200.

A deep anxiety filled my body, head to toes, and it felt like I can’t take it anymore.
“What will I do when the 1st of the month comes and I don’t have the money?”.

Suddenly I felt like the entire universe was collapsing on me
and horrible thoughts filled my mind.
So, I laid in bed and started crying as if someone from my family just died.
It took me two days to shake off these poisoning thoughts and get back on my feet.

So how can we prevent it? How can we prevent experiences like I just described from occurring in the future?

There are 2 simple solutions:  

1. Instead of focusing on potential future realities we imagine

(which by the way, 99% of the time aren’t coming true),
we should be focusing on the present and look at the
reality as we see it with our eyes. Literally!

At first it won’t be easy and you’ll feel like you are constantly fighting
with your mind (that wants to wander to other places), but the mind
is only doing this because it is not used to being under control.

Slowly, with time, you will start seeing how you take more and more
control of your mind and thoughts, and this practice will seem natural
for you as your mind will stop wandering that often.

A great book I recommend on this subject – “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.

2. The second solution is to simply write down what is the worst
(possible) outcome that can come out.

Now look at the things you named and ask yourself “Is this
what I have been so afraid of?”
In most cases, the outcome of the situations we are so afraid
of are not life-threatening and when we put it down on paper
and start grasping the fact that this will be our new reality,
we suddenly realize that the thing we feared the is suddenly not that scary.

A great book I recommend on the subject – “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie.

If you were wondering what happened when the 1st of the month
arrived… I was able to close a deal with a client, get the money for
the rent and everything turned out just fine!

So this is it, this is my humble gift to you for the new year:

  1. Life is a journey, not a race!
  2. Happiness is within you, there’s no need to look for it elsewhere.
  3. All you will ever have is NOW!

I want to wish you a happy and healthy new year, and I will close with a parable by Eckhart Tolle:

“A beggar had been sitting by the side of a road for over thirty
One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled
the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap.
“I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger.
Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?”
“Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I have been
sitting on it for as long as I can remember.”
“Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger.
“No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.”
“Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger.
The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment,
disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.

I am that stranger who has nothing to give you and who is telling
you to look inside. Not inside any box, but somewhere even closer: inside yourself.”

All the best,

Lior Vaknin


For more of my personal stuff you’re welcome to visit my page – Link


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