Originally published for my exclusive Monthly Email List.
(Where’s this picture taken? Write me an email with your guess (country, place) and if you’re right I’ll send you a postcard! Lots of people guessed last month!)
I made it! I’m a #100-Country man – as crazy as it is, and I really appreciate that you and hundreds of others have been reading and cheering me on the way.
The “100-Country Day” was a bit anti-climatic – at least at the beginning. India, especially, for the first time, is quite of a culture shock – especially when you take local trains, go about in rickshaws, etc.
I only really stepped back, relaxed and enjoyed once I got to Agra, something like at 10pm, after a full day of touring around. I went to the hotel’s rooftop bar with my girlfriend and, with the Taj Mahal on the background, had a drink and celebrated.
I’m now back in Copenhagen, and this month I want to share:
– 2 Key Lessons / Mindsets to Achieve Big Goals
– My Top 10 World Places to Visit
– Next Destinations / Updates
2 Key Lessons / Mindsets to Achieve Big Goals
I’d a lot of people resonating and inspired by my email last month, so, in that line, I want to touch on two points which, I believe, have been key for me to go from broke and unemployed in Argentina to my current “success”:
1- Prioritize Your Context
“You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with”. Thus, do whatever it takes for those five people to be high-caliber – ideally smarter, harder working and more accomplished than you are. In effect:
– Get an ambitious and inspiring partner (boyfriend, wife, etc.)
– Work with people sharper and more experienced than you are.
– Join activities or clubs where the best people hang out.
If you want to supercharge your progress, context is everything. This is key, as, in many cases, your context is something that’s in your control – you can shape it. You might not have your super network yet, but if you prioritize it, you could have it relatively quickly.
Context is why I picked my current job. I’ve ambitious, sharp and incredibly skilled colleagues. Everyone has lived or worked in two or three countries. Everyone’s ultra-smart. But, as I told you last month, I turned down three other jobs offering me a ton more money (but a less inspiring context) – many other people would’ve made the opposite choice.
There’s also a feedback loop in context. Let me share with you a quick story:
– When I was 18 or 19, my friend Alvaro went on his own to Europe for around six months – inspiring me and showing me it was possible for a young Argentinean to survive alone in places such as Belgium and Poland (!).
– I did my own Eurotrip a few years after, meeting dozens of young cool people in hostels, bars, couchsurfing, etc. While in Europe, my new friends explained me about university exchanges and inspired me to get one.
– I pushed on and managed to get an exchange, staying in Vienna for six months or so – again, meeting dozens of amazing people, many doing their Masters, and one telling me how I could go and do one myself and for free in Copenhagen.
– I applied for the Copenhagen Business School, got in, and realized that the 10% coolest guys got student jobs (part-time, along their studies) in big, cool companies – highlighting one company in particular.
– I followed the top people, and joined that company myself, and in there joining a young talent network, mostly with ambitious A-Level people – and all, it seemed, had been studying for three months in Harvard as well.
– Inspired by them, I did my own three months in Harvard in 2013, and, once there, meet again hundreds of ambitious people….
There’s always someone doing better – find that person, and learn from him or her. Then keep going.
2- Have a ‘Super Power’ / Unique Angle
If you want smart, powerful and accomplished people to hang out with you, you need to offer something they’re interested about. I don’t recall who said this, but the quote goes along these lines: “Absolutely everyone, even the richest of the rich, needs or wants something, and if you can offer that, you’ll instantly stand out.”
It might be that the person doesn’t need something him or herself, but perhaps his or her’s spouse or, even better, his or her kids do. Help someone’s kids, and you earn some hero-points.
Two simple ways you could help with are a) knowledge, and/or b) network. Here are a couple of my examples:
a) Knowledge. I’m a High Performance-freak – I’ve written a book about it, and I’ve helped dozens of people to set and accomplish big goals and get more done in less time. Even in 2016, many of the recipes I’ve used and wrote about are not universally-know, and have helped and inspired from my bosses, to friends, and more.
b) Network. I’ve a strong knowledge and network in both the startup ecosystem and the high-level corporate world, and have often helped bridge people between both.
Action – Think which a) specific knowledge, and b) which part/angle of your network can help or be interesting to other people. If you’re not sure, feel free to reply to this email and I can give you some feedback on it.
Bonus – Have an Interesting Story
I’m the been to 100 countries-guy who reads the 2000-year old classics I’ve good anecdotes most people find interesting and, adding to that, while I still have to meet someone powerful who cares about the size of Hasdrubal’s army at the Metaurus, the day I do, I know we’ll hit it off :).
My Top 10 World Places to Visit
I’ve been asked multiple times about which are my favorite places, so here’s a quick list. – I’ll turn this into a detailed blog post in the future.
1- Vienna. I love Vienna – it’s beautiful, classy, comfortable and has a ton to see. It’s, hands down, 100 countries later, my one favorite city the world over.
2- Copenhagen. I don’t know (yet) of a more comfortable place to live than Copenhagen – perfect size, cycle everywhere, beautiful parks, beautiful people, cozy, and much more. I would rank it over Vienna if the winter weren’t some dark six months long.
3- London and Paris. Paris is, to me, hands down, the world’s most beautiful city, and London is and feels imperial – it’s to no doubt that they’re always top tourist attractions.
4- Italy. Italy has it all – from ancient history (Rome), medieval greatness (Florence), landscapes (Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, etc.) to one-of-a-kind places (Venice, Pisa) and I could keep going. I’ve been tens of times to Italy and there’s always more to see.
5- Historical Greece. Not the Parthenon (overrated), but the islands and the Eastern Roman/Byzantine core, my highlights being Santorini (tourist-infested, but absolutely beautiful) and a walk from the Theodosian walls to the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (Istanbul, now Turkey).
Rest of the World:
6- The Levant. There’s so much history, so much to see – from Jerusalem, to Petra and beyond, I absolutely loved it. I look forward to the day I can go to Lebanon and Syria and complete the round.
7- Cities of the Great Silk Road. Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and the small trading cities from Iran to the Tien Shan. It’s a fascinating area with few Western tourists and with a lot to offer.
8- Japan. Japan it’s a one of-a-kind – a fascinating, magical place. I’m absolutely fascinated by Japanese culture and can’t recommend the place enough.
9- The African Savannah. I had a week-long-ish safari through the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and other parks in modern-day Tanzania and absolutely loved it. If you’ve the means, it’s a must-do.
10- Buenos Aires to Cusco. I love Buenos Aires (my hometown, too), and the overland trip to Cusco has many of the world’s natural highlights – colored lakes, spectacular salt flats, treks through the jungle and mountains to ancient Inca ruins.
(Honorable Mentions: the Caucasus, United States, Brazil, Angkor area in Cambodia…)
I’ve been to over half of the world, but I haven’t been to Iran, Iraq, Ethiopia, most of Spain, China proper, and many other places which, once I go, I’m sure I’ll rank highly as well.
Travel Plans & Updates
I’ve been put since I got back from India, and, naturally, I feel it’s time to do some globe-trotting, and with Ryanair in town it’s hard not to pull the trigger – in June, I plan to visit Italy at least once, and by the end of the month hit Tallinn in Estonia as well.
Then, I’m about to book tickets for the Trans Siberian train for late July – planning to Moscow to Beijing with stops at least in Yekateninsburg (Ural Mountains), Irkutsk (Lake Baikal) and Mongolia. I’ve been dreaming of taking the train since high school (!), and I think in 2016 the stars are finally aligned for me to take the epic ride.
If you’ve been to Baikal or Mongolia (or the train, why not!) let me know, I would love to hear about your experiences!
Odds & Ends
– According to The Best Travelled I’m the #1 most-traveled Argentinean and #3 most-traveled world over under 30. (I’m sure that in real life there are probably quite a few more, but hey – that’s cool, right?)
– I read and absolutely loved The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire by Edward Luttwak. When I grow up, I want to be as badass and cultured as Luttwak is – it took him 25 years (!) to write this book, so I guess I’ve some time to catch up.
– Last month’s photo was Shinji Inari in Kyoto, Japan – awesome place! Clue for this month – the picture is of an important church.
Last, if you’ve received this email from a friend or read it online, click here and you’ll be able to sign up (for free) to receive the next one.