Growing up, I was a skinny kid and shorter than pretty much everyone else around me until late puberty. Because of this, and because of my insecurities, I got slightly bullied in middle school.
I know there was not one day going by where not atleast one situation made me blush. And I mean full-blown-crimson-red blush.
During this period, I didn't hang out much with friends, I didn't have many and would spend most of my time playing World of Warcraft alone in my room.
I know that many kids had it way worse than me, so I'm not gonna cry about it, though it did made me suffer more than it had to at the time.
Since I was a kid, I always dreamt of contributing to the world big time.
This all got much better when I entered high school.
I had the luck of meeting the right people. Awesome people I still call my friends.
Funny thing, I now realize it was partly because I got into the "weirdo class". The school's math and physics nerds, all in one place, you know. But being surrounded by other people similar to me made me less hesitant to be myself.
Still, I was looking for ways to fit in. It's just that it was much easier to do in this new environment.
I constructed myself by how I wanted others to perceive me. I wanted to be seen as the "smart guy". And I wanted to be humble about it. I wanted to be "sophisticated" by showcasing my interests in philosophy, whisky and english literature and comedy.
This really manifested itself in my choice to study physics and philosophy in college after spending 8 months traveling and working across New Zealand.
It's crazy for me now to think that during my travels I had so much time to reflect on what to do with my life, and still I came to such a narrow-minded conclusion.
After finishing high school, I never asked myself IF I wanted to go to college. All my thoughts only evolved around the question of WHAT to study.
At the time, it was a no-brainer. Both my parents went to college, my sister was going, and all of my friends from high school went on to study in college.
The first two semesters went by without much further consideration. I was lacking motivation to put the time in and study hard, but that's how it has always been for me. I was good at remembering the essentials by listening to it once, which was why I could get away with it.
During the third semester, I started to work part-time selling wine and spent even less time focusing on my studies. Mainly because I had the idea of pursuing an online poker career. I wanted to make a lot of money playing a game that intrigued me and wanted to donate most of it.
Why? Because I thought it was cool.
I will document every single step of my journey and create a blueprint for engineering a meaningful life.
Even though I thought I finally found something worth pursuing, again the lack of motivation.
I was not getting started. I was making excuses like that I first needed to save up more money from my job to really focus on poker.
I might play a few hours, loose a bit of money and then not try again for a couple of days because I was frustrated. Procrastination.
And most of all, I was scared to face the possibility that I was just not carved out to be a professional poker player.
Funnily enough, that fear turned out to be exactly true. And it was a blessing that it did.
I finally asked myself the right question: If I would really care about helping people and contributing to the world, is this how I would go about it? Half-assedly studying, while half-assedly working and not even half-assedly trying to make this poker thing work?
That's when something clicked for me.
I realized that the expectations of others and the expectations I had about myself and the person I was supposed to be were holding me back.
I assumed I had to make the university thing work, because it was working for everyone else around me. And I assumed making money by playing poker and donating the money was the right thing, because I wanted to do good AND look cool while doing it.
Now, how would a person that actually cared about changing the world go about it?
I don't know.
But I know one thing: That person wouldn't wait and sit on his ass, hoping that doing the same shit over and over and over again would somehow lead to different results. That person would go out there do something. You can always figure out the specifics later.
That person would just start.
I see a world where no one is limited by his own beliefs. I believe a better place for everyone will naturally come out of this.
Now here's what's fascinating: as soon as I finally decided to just start, I immediately knew in what way I would want to change the world.
I realized that the thing holding me back was not a lack of talent. And it wasn't that I needed to get lucky and have this one, brilliant idea. It was the lack of the right mindset. I was lacking belief in myself.
I assumed that it's not possible for me to achieve anything big and meaningful in the first place.
That's why I made it my mission to find out: what is it exactly that makes certain people dream big? But not only that, what makes them actually chase those dreams, whatever they might be? And be persistent and fully dedicated to make them come true?
I know that I have it now, and I feel all the difference this can make.
And as soon as I figure this out by first doing it myself - changing the world that is - I want to make it possible for every person to find his own destiny and reach for the stars, whatever that means to you.