The Best Start to Anything Is Knowing Who You Are and Where You’re Going

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I’ve spent my lifetime trying to figure out life, women, business and myself. Much of it is still a mystery. And it seems the more I learn about a subject, the more I realize how little I know. Some things are easy to figure out, like tic-tac-toe. But that gets boring really quickly. Although, I seem to know very little about women, some about business, a bit about life and I have learned a lot about myself. The more I know about me, the more the other things seem to make some sense.

When I was 16, I was so clueless about everything, yet I thought I was so smart. Every couple of years after that, I looked back at how little I really knew. And it was at that time that I started having seizures. A few years later I learned the cause, as the doctor mis-diagnosed it. The seizures were caused by a brain tumor which was discovered when I was 19. You’d think that would be utterly devastating, but it wasn’t. It was an answer to a question I had, which was “why am I having these weird attacks in my legs.”

You see, not knowing why something important happens is more deadly to me than knowing the truth, which is that I had a brain tumor. Ok, now I know. Now I can deal with it and move forward, instead of wondering what the heck is happening. 

Through that experience I learned something huge about myself. I looked at it as a great thing. My first words after getting the diagnoses was “maybe I’ll get a handicap parking spot now.” That was the optimist in me talking. 

About 10 years ago I discovered that my spine is deformed. I’ve been seeking help for back pain for 20 years. Countless doctors and chiropractors helped ease the pain, but none ever x-rayed my lower back. The three vertebra are special as I call them. Some have holes in them, others are missing the little side wings. It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I tried a naturopath (Dr. Jain at Rejuvena Health) and started yoga, with Angie Fie, that my pain subsided. Before that, the pain was part of my day as it had been since I was 16. 

I see so many people doing stupid things without question. I question the heck out of everything. I question myself, books, the news, doctors, the internet, the world. Does this make sense? Often it doesn’t and it gets filed in my lies, unknown, explore or trash folder. 

I remember when I was four-years-old, I thought to myself, maybe everybody is a robot or alien sent here to study me. Oddly enough I still wonder this. I haven’t had the opportunity to prove my theory. Maybe that sounds nuts to some, but that is how my mind works. Yes it runs differently than most. I can’t tell you how many times a decision was to be made, and everybody went a different direction than I did. My father is quite similar and I thought for the longest time that it was a learned behavior from him. He’s also an entrepreneur and taught me a lot about running a business. 

One of his stories illustrates this thought process well. He was graduating from Arizona State University back in the 60s and the graduation was held at Sun Devil Stadium. After the ceremony, the procedure was to walk all the way around the field to collect their diploma. My dad thought the process was silly and decided to walk straight for the tables, which cut maybe 90 percent of the time off. Soon people began to follow him. Next thing you know the entire graduating class was sprinting behind him to get to the diploma tables first. You see, that is what I am talking about. He questioned something that didn’t make sense and took his own path. Soon the sheep began to follow. That 60 seconds is like the last six years of our business. I helped start a furniture trend and now the rest of the world is sprinting to the table trying to catch up.

For the last 20 plus years, I’ve recognized my thought process was a bit different from the norm. I see and say things that puzzle, infuriate, or intrigue others; and last year I figured out why. I took an online autism test and passed with flying colors. Holy crap, that makes perfect sense now, I am autistic. I am anti-social, way before it became popular with the internet age. I prefer to be alone most of the time. I am quite routine oriented. I do the opposite of what most do. I have these weird quirks with sound, which I can kind of see. It’s really my true gift. I can write songs, orchestral, rock or whatever and play them in my head. Sometimes the music gets stuck on repeat in my brain and I’m forced to listen to it for weeks on end. And often the sound assaults my brain. I have a high IQ, which all of these personality traits are considered telltale signs of Autism. The form of Autism I have is called Aspergers, which is more of a functioning Autistic. (Disclaimer: this was an online test, not a clinical one, but I know like I know this is correct. I don’t need a doctor to confirm.)

Learning this was like discovering a gold mine. I can’t begin to tell you how important it is to know this about myself. It’s like running a race using a map to guide you, however you don’t know where the starting line is. So essentially, without knowing where you start, the map is useless. Once you understand yourself better, your motivation changes.  

My wife Sim is dyslexic. She says the most hilarious things. I probably shouldn’t be laughing since it’s not PC, but hey it’s funny. I call them Simisms. In addition to being dyslexic, english is her third language. She has many problems with colloquialisms, sayings, metaphors, etcetera. She says things like “polish nail”, instead of nail polish. I was reading a book recently, and it quoted a study that showed more than 50 percent of successful entrepreneurs were dyslexic. This group of people think differently, sort of like I do. They see things backwards sometimes which gives them a unique perspective. This explains why Sim runs our company and I take a back seat most of the time. She’s the boss, and I am the court jester. I am here to laugh, say weird things, design crazy stuff, and disappear deep into myself. 

Having this self-knowledge can be profoundly empowering, should you see it as a gift to be used wisely. Some may think of a brain tumor, autism or dyslexia as a handicap. However, it’s all a matter of perspective. So you might ask yourself:

What makes you different and why? 

Why do you do what you do?

What are your passions and why?

What are your triggers?

What big questions do you have about life?

Why, why, why?

Then seek your own answers. Don’t stop until you’re drained or deceased. As finding answers often leads you farther down the rabbit hole. The sheep never asked questions, they just followed the wolf. Don’t be a sheep, don’t be a wolf, be you, whoever that is.