We are shaped by our experiences. It should come as no surprise that the most successful people on the planet are always seeking out new experiences and new perspectives. I decided to do that for myself. I went out into the world and what I came back with was a wealth of knowledge that has served me well until now.
If I had to narrow them down, I would say these three experiences were vital in shaping my world view.
1Sometimes you are too unproven
Once upon a time I had my own hedge fund and I was looking for capital. I came up against an older hedge fund manager. He considered my strategy and said he loved what he saw. I thought I was in, but then he turned around and said he wouldn’t invest because he considered me too young and unproven.
I left feeling quite annoyed with the man. I believed he was wrong because I had so much confidence in myself. Just a few months later I had what was and still is the biggest loss of my career – $500,000. I would go on to write about my $500,000 loss in a book I made available for free.
It made me realise that, yes, sometimes you are too unproven and you do need to seek out new experiences.
2Burning the candle at both ends will scorch your fingers
As a hedge fund manager, I went where all young hedge fund managers think they should go: New York City. I enjoyed my time in New York and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but the lifestyle soon started to get to me.
Working all day and partying until 3 a.m.. only to start work again a few hours later isn’t sustainable.
I realised this before I blew everything, I had and moved out of New York. It gave me a fresh perspective on work and I could get my work/life balance back into alignment. It’s important to have fun, but you also need to give yourself time to have fun.
3We are spoiled
As a young hedge fund manager, I always looked at the ultra-wealthy and wished I could be them. But going to Laos with the Pencils of Promise charity completely changed my view. Watching children using plastic bottles on their feet as shoes was an image that stuck with me.
We are spoiled. It led me to donating $1 million to this charity and funding the building of over 20 schools, complete with the latest e-readers for the kids.
Sometimes you need to look down as well as up to keep everything in perspective. It was one of the most sobering experiences of my life.
These three lessons taught me the principles of experience, work/life balance, and looking at your life in the grand scheme of things. But how did I learn these lessons? I got out there. And so should you.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.