I came to Budapest just after I left London to start Man with Purpose. One evening me and my friend Martin went out for dinner to meet some of his friends. It didn’t took long for everyone to start talking and soon our table was buzzing with amazing stories blended with loud laughter. The atmosphere was amazing!

13151981_1013638885356182_4852824192643417043_n

At one point I noticed that my friend Martin was engaged in a deep conversation with one of the guys Alex. Martin was actively listening and just nodding, which made me curious to know what were they discussing. Later that same evening Martin told me the story which Alex was so passionately talking about, after which he shared a video, which made a huge impact on me (you can find the link for the video at the bottom of this blog post).

The key takeaway for me was that the  ” The world is starving for truth, and to be able to share that, you follow these 3 simple truths”

  • Be Real
  • Be Raw
  • Be Relevant

and then it hit me …

What do I want Man with Purpose to be about – first and foremost being authentic – authentic with myself, authentic with what I am doing and authentic with the people who are reading these blog posts or watching the videos.

Rather than trying to write the perfect blog, which sometimes can take days or weeks, I will share some facts and stories – raw, real and (hopefully) relevant to you too.

Often times you see and hear stories about idolised celebrities and CEO’s wearing masks in front of people pretending to be someone they are not.

I am a firm believer that in order to build long term, sustainable relationships with anyone, you have to be authentic. Anything short of that will be exposed or simply won’t last in the long run.

Let me share with you something I learned the hard way … stop being stuck in GOOP – the good Opinion of Other People! A concept I learned from Peter Sage.

Our life is governed by these rules of what we should and shouldn’t be doing. The sad part is, because of these false constrains, most of us rarely do get to be ourselves, which creates even more pressure to maintain this figment persona. I have been there, and it is fucking exhausting.

I am a big believer in being true with yourself. Indeed it is not be the easiest thing to do in the world, but instead of hiding behind our fears or being ashamed of them, lets face those head first!

I thought, what better way to do this, than to be as raw and authentic as I can be.

What I have written below, as much as it pains me to admit, are real facts and real stories about me, most of which I have NEVER shared in public, and quite frankly Im pretty scared to do so.

I do believe that everything worth fighting for, is worth the short term “perceived” discomfort.

So here goes nothing:

23 Facts and Stories about me, I only tell my friends.

1. I am a massive Batman and DC fan

Michael_Keaton_batmanThat’s right, when I was very little, up until the age of 9 I wanted to become Batman when I grew up. I really believed that Batman was a real person living out there … in a magical world. I was so engulfed by the character that one evening I stumbled upon a movie with Michael Keaton (the actor playing Batman at the time) and I was convinced that at some point he will become Batman. I remember persuading my dad with every trick in the book I could think of, to give me the remote so we can stay on the same channel only to see Michael to become Batman … as it turns out he never did, but I still remain a Batman and DC comics fan! I guess some things never change.

 

2. I am horrible with grammar and syntax

My ex girlfriend told me that she couldn’t imagine how I went on to graduate with a 1st class degree from University, with my knowledge of grammar and syntax.

My response: I used to watch a lot of Cartoon Network as a child, and if a sentence “sounded right” I would write it down … not sure if this is the recipe for success, but it’s the one that I still use to this day!

3. I hate when people are wasting their time and potential

I get very frustrated about it! This literally drives me mad, if we do meet, you will often hear me ranting about people I’ve talked to and the lack of drive they have to pursue something meaningful … I used to be the guy with whom you start a conversation about chasing your dreams or what makes you happy, won’t stop talking for literally hours. Over time I have tone that down, but what I came to realise is that if you want something more than the other person does, you never get to convince them to believe a word you are saying. Nevertheless I still rant on occasions if I feel people need to hear it as it is.

4. I am a wreck before I do public speaking

I realized that I love talking to people on stage, but the build up to that isn’t fun at all … I remember one of the first events, I was locked in the toilet, trying to meditate but my mind kept racing with 200km/h! I used to sweat like a sinner in a church whilst trying to regain my composure. Looking in retrospect however, I am glad I went through that because I learned a lot! “Anxiety is the feeling of growth” … that’s what I keep telling myself now when I prepare for a talk and I make sure I rehearse alot.

5. I used to work in a London hotel for 14 hours a day, 7 days a week

After I dropped out of University (in Bulgaria) and  moved to London, I couldn’t find work anywhere because of legislative restrictions the government had put in place for Bulgarians. After I went to every single corner shop in the neighbourhood in an attempt to find work I got rejected every single one. I refuse to give up and so one day I stumbled upon an ad in the local newspaper for “Hospitality Opportunities in London Hotels”. It turned out, this sugar coated opportunity, was actually a pretty intense experience, working for £4.25/hour which isn’t much, but at the time, that was the difference between me having food on the table and sleeping on the streets. I am incredibly grateful for EVERY single day of that experience, because I made friends for life and most probably I wouldn’t be here telling you all of this!

6. I was addicted to playing computer games

starcraft-brood-warI was a die-hard StarCraft fan in my teenage years, I would literally time travel, without realising its been nearly 10 hours since the last time I visited the toilet, had water or food. One day, my father got really upset with me (now I know he was just concerned, but didn’t know how to express it, and I was a really stubborn little fella I have to admit), so he took a huge mallet and left it next to my room, to demonstrate his intentions if I didn’t reduce the time I spent playing (he never got to use the mallet, but I am pretty damn certain, he wasn’t  joking). As to my game addiction, it almost immediately stopped when I left home and went to London.

7. I’m a terrible liar

I suck at this, really! I feel so incongruent and uncomfortable, that even a toddler would spot my attempt to make a “poker face”. The truth is I simply don’t like telling lies, and I can’t help myself.

8. I used to be late. A lot!

I seem to underestimate the time required in order for something to be done and on many occasions I end up being late for an appointment. My friends laugh at me saying that I abide by Bulgarian time (5 minutes in Bulgarian time equating to 15-20 min in the rest of the world) That’s a big sticking point for me! Thankfully for the past few months, I have become much better and I am making progress with my time management skills! (in real time terms, not in Bulgarian terms)!

9. I experience stress a lot

This is a really big one for me! I have a tendency to overthink a situation, which leads me to stress out and experience anxiety BIG TIME! The stress of running a business, or coming to a different country by myself, would really take a toll on me in the past. Recently I started focusing a lot of my energy and conscious awareness to reduce stress through meditation, exercises and surrounding myself with the right peer group and I am getting better at it. To  this day I still experience stress, but I am coming to terms with how I perceive it.

10. My biggest fear is … poverty

That’s another big one …  My biggest fear, come to think of it now. I’m really scared of not having food to eat or sleeping outside. It may sound ludicrous to you, but it something that still haunts me to this day, if you know anything about me, that is I HATE being scared of something. That is the reason why I started the Elon Musk Challenge (living off £2,5/day in London), highly recommended to everyone who wants to deal with this. I also wrote a separate blog post on this topic, so check that out.

11. I do like to sleep

Yes, this one too … if it wasn’t for the accountability I have set up with my mastermind and conditioned myself, I would still be snoring for a good 9 hours a day… and admittedly, sometimes I still do!

12. I’m too idealistic at times

I often fall into day dreaming about how humanity pursues bigger goals, like learning how to use our finite resources in a sustainable way, explore other planets (which we already have started doing) and reduce war around the world. I genuinely believe, that there is good in everyone and that humans are a force for good (I know it sounds like a cliche, because it most certainly is, but I agree with it 100%) rather remain separated by things like language, colour or religion. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about “saving the planet” … the planet will be here long after we are gone … its about us, because ultimately it is ourselves that we are destroying, by not honouring our relationship with Nature.

13. I used to eat a lot of sweet stuff (A lot!)

corny-big-chocolate-banana-24-x-50g

If I see a banana flavoured Corny or a Snickers bar I start sweating bullets trying to resist these little devils. The craving used to be incredibly strong, to the point where I would eat 6 or 7 bars in a day! Luckily I have made a commitment with my friends for €500 not to touch anything sweet, its been more than a month now … so far so good!

14. I am a hardcore fan of MMA & UFC

I am a hardcore MMA fan, whenever I have spare time I follow UFC and watch all the big fights. Another big fear of mine is physical conflict. That is the reason why I started training Thai Box and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to conquer this … I do get my ass kicked all the time, but I am getting over that fear and enjoying every minute of it! 

IMG_5547

15. I am a hopeless romantic

I genuinely believe that when the time comes, I will find my queen and we will have an amazing, loving relationship and ultimately build a family together. I don’t give a F*&^) about what statistics show, how many marriages fail every year, how unlikely is to happen, what other people say … what my parents have been through … I just refuse to believe it, and I feel very strongly about turning this into my reality 😉

16. I am too loyal

In the past I have put my trust in people, mentors and friends, for whom I would go great distances to help or please. Sometimes that would end up with me getting the short end of the stick. I went so far at one point, that I used to sleep 4-5 hours, putting in 14-15 hour work days, which eventually ended up with a pretty brutal mental and physical burnout … without even being paid for 2 whole months! That is how much trust in his guy. After being bitter about the situation for a while, I did a lot of self reflection and at the end I realised that I should take full responsibility for what happened. My decisions and actions took me there, regardless of what was being said, all the signals were there, I just refused to see it.

To this day I keep reminding myself of this simple truth – if you don’t take care of yourself first, no one else will. Big lesson learned there.

17. I’m too focused on others at times

In my attempt to help others, I go beyond what I am capable of doing, often neglecting myself and my own needs. Many of my friends have told me on numerous occasions, that I should be looking after myself much more. I have become better with defining my boundaries and knowing when to say “No”. It’s like when you are boarding a plane and the stewardess instructing you in case of an emergency to put your oxygen mask first. How can you help others, if you don’t help yourself first? 

18. I love to eat, even when I am not hungry

I love to eat delicious food – mouthwatering, rich in flavour, fresh food. The very thought of that opens the hatches and unleashes the saliva river into my mouth. I often eat when I am not hungry, that’s one of the reasons why my friends sometimes call me “the human food dustbin” just because I will “assist” them with their food. I was brought up with the belief that I should never throw food away, and it is something I strongly believe until this day!

13691167_1053658044687599_4990323271375388584_o

My diet has changed a lot since I attended a UPW event with Tony Robbins. All the crap and fast food is pretty much substituted with fresh salads, fish and good meat, but every now and then I do have the occasional cheat day.

19. I feel inadequate when I am in front of a camera

The feeling of what other people would say or think … used to tear me apart. I realised people are way too busy with being the stars in their own movie, than being obsessed with what someone else is doing in their movie. Either way, every time I am about to shoot a video, I try to consciously lean into my fear and think of someone who loves me and won’t judge me. This little technique works wonders!

20. I meditate for 20 minutes every day

And write down 3 things I am grateful for too! Every morning before I jump on my laptop, I meditate for at least 20 minutes, journal what I am grateful for and finish the rest of my morning routine! I use guided meditation or binaural beats, which can be found on YouTube. This significantly reduces the stress and anxiety levels I experience and keeps me grounded throughout the day! I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t discovered meditation. 

21. I took money from my parents, without telling them

I learned the hard way not to take what isn’t mine. I was probably 8 or 9 years old, and I saw an X-Men action figure at the local market, and instantly I got fixated on getting it. At the time, I didn’t have the money so I decided to do something about it, and I did (as the title suggests). I first asked my father about the money and after I had my hopes shot down, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

One evening we were travelling in our family car which at the time was a Trabant (which by the way, my father still owes to this very day, but no longer uses)

Trabant_601_Pav_Nikolov

I remember being covered with his jacket, because it was really cold. What I slowly come to realise was that in the inside pocket, there was quite a lot of cash, which my father always kept with him. I quickly connected the dots “$$$ = action figure!”

My reasoning back then was, “there were a lot of notes in there, 1 more or 1 less wouldn’t make a big difference

As it turned out, I was right, my father never did notice the difference. What I did fail to comprehend was, that I couldn’t really come to a sensible explanation as to how I got this new action figure out of the blue, without having any cash …

An act which I am not proud of, and I paid for. That day I learned an invaluable lesson which I will carry with me until my last day – if you want something, go work for it, but don’t steal.

22. I listen to a new song I discover, over and over again.

When I hear a song that I really like, I get fixated on it, especially if its suitable for the gym. I often listen to songs repeatedly and sometimes people around me even start asking whether or not I will stop. It’s just one of these small quirks of my personality.

23. I dropped out of University in Bulgaria to go to London

I was 19 years old and I had just started my first year of university in Bulgaria studying Hospitality. At that time I was really enjoying every moment of it, as I am sure majority of students do in their first year – in my case, a lot of partying, drinking and not too much studying.

Towards the end of the year, my two best friends left Bulgaria to study abroad, which made me feel lonely and got me thinking whether I really should stay in Bulgaria.

I was stuck. The more I thought about it, the more I began to release, that my current environment and people around me, weren’t supporting what I was aspiring to become. So one evening, I made the decision to quit. I told my parents, and a couple of days later I walked into the University administration office in an attempt to freeze my rights as a student, in case if something went wrong and I could always go back.

The admin person told me that it wasn’t possible to do that, because of some silly policy, so I took that as a good sign from the Universe to “burn my boats”. I bought a one way ticket to London, with little to no English, terrified about what I was going to do with my life, I got on my first flight ever which made me even more anxious … but I never looked back.

This was by far the best decision I have ever made in my life!

Phew … that was painful, but there you have it! I have no clue how you would react to this, but I can tell you one thing, I am really glad I did it!

Why not give it a go yourself? Share something with me in the comments below.

Pav

P.S. Here is the link to the video (starts a bit slow, 14:30min onwards is where you get a lot of golden nuggets!)

2 comments. Leave new

Wow… You’ve inspired me to write my own version of this 🙂 Brilliant post! Lots of things I can relate to in my own journey.

Thanks Ru! That was the purpose of the article to inspire action 🙂 L