/ luxury

Luxury Makes You Weak

Two weeks ago I’m wandering the streets of Bangkok, back in the city for the Dynamite Circle Conference, a meet up entrepreneurial misfits from around the world. Misfits probably isn’t the proper term, but no one here follows the script that’s been set before them.

My plan is to stay in Asia until the end of the month to:

  1. Radically expand my network
  2. Steal ideas from smart people
  3. Learn about things I know nothing about

The opening party is Friday night, poolside at the Conrad Hotel. I am thoroughly enjoying myself and the open bar when I check my email (a constant habit for me). Enclosed is a response from an executive producer at CNN. Abelard Lindsay, the creator of the CILTEP Nootropic Stack, is getting featured in a segment involving smart drugs and Silicon Valley along with Dave Asprey and Tim Ferriss.

I switch from networking mode to defcon-5. I rush to my room, hop on hipchat and strongly implore Stackhouse to call Roy until he picks up. Roy thinks we’re doing a job interview, but really we’re talking to CNN. He says to give him ten minutes to make coffee… I throw something in my hotel room. It’s a big opportunity and we need to be prepared.

The next day Dan says Hi to me like a normal person would and I explain the news. He instantly corrals me over to meet Peter Shankman, who then fires up his email and connects me with some serious PR firepower. Good. I move from the conference to my hotel room where I purchase some Skype credit and proceed to spend 2 hours on the phone with American Airlines rescheduling my flight. Done.

I spend the rest of Saturday internally freaking out about the opportunity and the keynote that I’m scheduled to give the next day. Later that night at the speakers dinner; I’m smoking cigars, drinking whiskey and enjoying an unreal view of Bangkok. High level conversation happening all around me. No one here likes taxes.

Sunday at 2:45 PM I give my keynote. It’s received well. Derek Sivers, is closing the conference and I spoke right before him. In the EDM world, that means I opened for the headliner. Sivers is Tiësto and I am Kaskade. I feel good.

Sivers is using a weird email format to convey his points. I’m lost until the questions begin. I’m not sure what the prompt was, but Sivers says to “Avoid luxury” because once you go there you cannot go back. **Luxury makes you weak. **

Immediately I thought about how I have a difficult time going to a music festival or event where I’m not guest listed, on the press list or VIP. Once you’ve been catered to with the bottles and excess, it’s annoying waiting in the long lines or using one of those nasty festival porta-potties.

The conference closes and it’s out for one last hoorah with the boys before catching a flight out at 8:05 AM.

On no sleep (somewhat intentional) and powered by room service pizza, I make it to the airport on time. The first leg is Bangkok, Thailand -> Narita, Japan and I sleep the whole way.

I land in Narita and notice my next flight is taking off from Haneda Airport. I have no idea where that is, how to get there or why the hell American Airlines would book me a flight from a different airport.

My initial reaction is anger.

I have important things to do… I have places to be… I can’t be bothered by this… Who’s head can I take off?

And in any situation where things don’t go your way anger is the easiest, most natural response.

But then I went back to what Siver’s said…

Luxury makes you weak.

To me luxury means convenience, luxury means comfort. Figuring out how to get to the airport, carrying my luggage, going through customs again, all inconvenient and totally uncomfortable. The universe was putting some obstacles in my way and it wanted a reaction.

At first it won, but I think it got the better end of the deal.

This small situation made me reflect on a lot of other situations in my life and businesses. Where have I gotten comfortable? Where am I taking things for granted? In what areas would more effort equal more results? Have I left myself vulnerable for attack?

And a lot of the mental framework shift went directly to what we’re doing at Natural Stacks. Certain tactical moves have made us successful, but maybe we’re too comfortable with positive results instead of doubling down. We know in some areas we have a lead, but it’s definitely not insurmountable. Now more than ever we need to push forward and keep breaking through.

I’m confident that we will. I’m fortunate enough to have a partner and growing team that all support the same vision.

Comfort is an easy trap to fall into. I don’t think it can be totally avoided, but it’s critical that you acknowledge it exists.

Now is a perfect time to reflect and improve in the areas where you’re too comfortable.


I make money online through websites and business consulting. Everyday I'm challenging myself to learn and do more.

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