Magical Tulum Beach- Changing Your Universe and Playing Games with Better Odds
I stood silently, toes grasping the white sand beneath my feet, eye gazing at the crisp, white full moon as geometric neon shapes filled the space in the night sky, the clouds providing ambient lighting, reflecting from the moon’s brilliance.
Behind me pulsed the unrelenting beat of all out EDM beach party, the dance floor surrounded by tiered beach bungalow bars on every side, all opening up to the beach with crashing waves just a few yards away.
On this night, one month before I will turn 32 years old, it was time to reflect, to ponder and the better understand just what it is this life is meant for. A micro-dose of clarity and the silence found in the overwhelming base beat that prohibited small talk was the perfect prescription for this moment.
The past 3 months I’d beaten myself down, trying to pound a square peg into a circle, attempting to be what I was not.
After creating an amazing passive income business that provided me with near total freedom, I was not a millionaire, but was able to live a great life, provide well for my family and travel for over 8 weeks of the year in 2017 to places like Cancun, Tulum, Nashville, Puerto Penasco, Denver, Sedona, Seattle and more.
However, after a cocktail party in September and meeting a new friend in my same industry, I made the decision that this life wasn’t enough. I needed the flashy new car and house right now and needed to dive head first into the real estate market once again, selling homes and in essence trading my freedom for a 9 AM to 9 PM job. I should have known better but when your colleagues are raking in commissions this is a tough pill to resist.
Now standing next to the burning man structure next to me on the beach, the party raged into the early morning, my friends and I left around 3 and while the party continued back at our modern mexican mansion, located just steps from the town of Tulum.
I laid in bed, starring at the ceiling, realizing my mistake. Suddenly all of the disappointment in myself, constant stress and inability to enjoy my own life because of the tone of an incoming email on my cell phone had vanished. I had let the shiny objects detract my focus, but it was not too late for a course correction. I still had my passive income business, though it had declined slightly and I knew I could rebuild it quickly and even expand it to new heights within a month or two.
I thought to myself that night why had I nearly jumped ship on a business that had changed my life so profoundly over the past few years, for one I knew well that caused so much stress in my life?
Waking up the next morning, I received a stern email cementing my decision. “We want to see the house today at 4 PM, you need to either show it to us or I will find another Realtor!”.
Why then the previous evening filled with too many cuba libre’s and god knows what else, while standing on a beach at 3 AM did everything seem to make sense?
My Void Must Be Filled
One symptom of moderate success and freedom of time is a massive void of time that an entrepreneur can use either constructively or very destructively.
In earning my freedom by creating my business I created a monster. I valued myself based only on the business I created, it became everything and who I was or if I was happy on a given day, was directly related to how my business seemed to be going at that particular time.
This is a real shitty way to live life, but is all too common among entrepreneurs who have created their own liberating businesses. I had to take a step back and learn just what in the hell I was supposed to do with this freedom. Sure, I could continue to build my business and one day hit the financial goals that I aspired too, but first I needed to take care of myself as a person and create habits and hobbies that would give me a richer, fuller and happier personal existence, one not valued solely on that days’ production on my Macbook.
Walking the Streets
The next morning after the beach party, or should I say early afternoon, I ventured out of our vacation home with my wife on a stroll into town. My mind free of distractions and my cell phone without service, I noticed how life today had a different pace than it had recently. As we wandered through Tulum’s dusty backstreets, I noticed the shocking disparity of wealth, with locals pounding away making repairs to their cinderblock huts topped with thatched roofs, joking amongst themselves and blaring music loudly. As we neared town, we came upon a young woman selling homemade purses she had sewn while her child who could not yet walk crawled down the dirt sidewalk filled with garbage. Suddenly the shiny objects, and Scottsdale lifestyle that had sparked my motivations a few months earlier seemed less important.
The fact that my family could jump on a jet to a tropical location, reserve a mansion for the week and live like the 1% was pretty awesome and I have no doubt enjoyed this newfound freedom of time. However, it was the freedom of experience and time with my loved ones that I coveted, not the mansion, the yacht we rented for the day or the hundreds of dollars we spent on drinks at Pablo Escobar’s beach house which was now a boutique resort. No matter what wealth I could accumulate in the coming years, I realized that the things that truly matter will never be material but in relationships and experiences that become available from freedom of time and location.
Back to Reality
As I sit here a week later writing this, I feel liberated. Understanding that failure is ok and that there may be no exact right answer to my next move. I can build up my businesses and put systems in place to ensure that I run them efficiently and they do not run me.
There is nothing wrong with hard work, struggle and sacrifice in the pursuit of success, but you cannot make this pursuit your sole identity or you risk losing sight of what is most important. My goal for the foreseeable future is to double down on what is working in my business and keep my other pursuits as hobbies, removing the pressure and constant grind of massive expectations of a complete new venture.
More importantly I want to focus on myself, improve my body physically, let my feet hit the ground more often, walk through nature and slow down often enough to see life at a different pace, through a different perspective. I could have been that baby crawling down that dusty street just as easily as you could have and if you are reading this, it is very likely you were much more fortunate. Success is relative, money is material and most importantly time is precious. I will no longer waste it in meaningless worry and self-deprecation and focus on what I can control, where I can thrive and strive to not get distracted by the shiny objects that indenture our time, raise our blood pressure and destroy our happiness.