Looking back, which experiences, jobs and personality traits do you think have really helped you? I developed a love for bodybuilding when I was 14, and it has been one of my great passions until today. Upon reflection, I believe that my early experiences and learning in the gym enabled me to succeed later in life as an entrepreneur. For example, through bodybuilding I learned the virtues of hard work and discipline – quickly observing that if I didn’t put in the work, I wouldn’t make any progress. I had to develop internal discipline to spend hours at the gym each week, forcing myself beyond what I had done the previous week. I also learned how powerful goal setting was when lifting weights and, that if I focused on a singular goal and diverted all my efforts towards it, my progress would accelerate. And lastly, and most importantly, bodybuilding increased my confidence and provided me with a sense of personal empowerment. Through hard work and discipline I saw tremendous results in my body, and realised that if I put that same hard work and discipline into other areas of my life (such as starting a business), I would also see results. In hindsight, that gave me the confidence to become an entrepreneur.
What was the best thing about writing this book? Ever since I became an entrepreneur (at the age of 18), I’ve been extremely interested in the subject of success, as I wanted to do everything possible to maximise my chances of succeeding in business. So I started researching the subject, collecting studies and interesting facts, and after more than 20 years, I had quite a collection of information on the subject. Writing ‘Life in Half a Second’ enabled me to get all this information sorted into a cohesive book and structured approached that a reader could apply in their life, and it allowed me to re-live some of the really memorable moments in my life when I learned a lesson in success or made some other profound discovery. Hence, getting all my research into book form and infusing it with deeply personal stories was an intoxicating combination and I relished the time I spent writing it.
What was the most interesting fact that you discovered when writing this book? In all the research I conducted on the subject of success, the most interesting fact I unearthed was that “what you believe to be real, is more important than what is real”. What this means is that if somebody believes they won’t succeed – even if they have an advantage over others – then chances are they’ll fail simply because their efforts are half-hearted and because failure is consistent with their internal belief. On the other hand, if somebody believes that they’ll succeed – even if they have a disadvantage over others – then chances are they’ll persevere and succeed, simply because their efforts are absolute, they are more likely to continue through setbacks and discouragements, and less likely to give up. Hence, our internal beliefs are paramount to what we end up achieving in life, and are actually more important than the realities of our situation (advantages or disadvantages).
What is the best feedback you have received from this book? I get emails from readers on a daily basis, but the most powerful and rewarding feedback is from those people that the book has helped to overcome hardship and provide optimism for the future. Some of the strategies that people have gone through are heart-wrenching, like loss of loved ones, and to think that something you’ve created has played a helping hand in their lives is really humbling.
What do your bookshelves at home look like – where are they and how do you arrange your books? My personal bookcase is a combination of numerous books on subjects that I’m deeply interested in, such as writing, film making, bodybuilding, business, entrepreneurship, ancient civilisations, wine, among others. In addition to those non-fiction books, I am a lover of classics and have a collection of Jack London (my favourite author), Alexandre Dumas, Mika Waltari, Rafael Sabatini and so on.
Please describe in detail your ideal bookshop. My ideal bookshop is very large, with a deep and wide selection of books on various subjects – so you can do a deep dive into the subjects that interest you, rather than looking through the few books that all bookstores have on each subjects. A comfortable chair is also a must!
What are your favourite products? I’ve always had a passion for exotic cars, and greatly enjoy everything to do with them (at some point in my life, I am sure I’ll own an exotic car dealership).
What do you choose to do in your spare time? The thing I enjoy most in life is spending time with my family, and when I’m not working that’s what I’m usually doing. Outside of that, I still lift weight or run on a daily basis, and greatly enjoy travelling and seeing new places.
What is something that most people might be surprised to know about you? I’m a huge fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger!
What are you working on next? Since selling my last company in 2012, I’ve spent more than 2 years away from business writing ‘Life in Half a Second’ and speaking at events, and have recently started another company, Complexica, which will be my primary focus for the foreseeable future.
Read my review of ‘Life in Half a Second’ here.