Rice and Fish Heads

Rice and Fish Heads post image

A lot of people I know seem to be barely keeping up with life.

I suppose there is a lot going on! I’m sensing a lot of breathlessness out there, but I don’t see a strong correlation between the busy busy busy and those who are building interesting projects, lifestyles, and businesses.

There is a reason for that. Having that busy feeling requires standards that are outside of your own.

You can’t be late meditating on a beach.

You can’t be behind schedule on a walk, listening to your favorite podcast.

You can’t be wrong about what you want.

It only occurred to me 4 years ago that it was possible for me to be an entrepreneur. When I realized I could do something in the world that wasn’t handed to me or “delivered” by some mysterious process I didn’t yet understand, my life got a lot slower.

I’m not sure it works this way for other people, but the opportunity to do something interesting with my time was a far greater luxury than almost anything else I could imagine.

Those standards I had previously let plague my days are going away. I excitedly exclaim to my friends when I discover that some moral overlay, some big ugly “YOU SHOULD DO THIS DAN!” in my brain floats away.

An example– I’ve always known I’m a nomad. I don’t know why, and I can’t yet explain it. I just like to move around a lot. Here’s the f-ed up part: I never accepted this about myself. Talk about lame. Such a simple and wonderful pleasure to enjoy and I’m busy trying to figure out how to justify it to the world.

Well, I just got over that last week. :)

I’m not saying things aren’t crazy. Our business is selling a lot of products. We’ve got a bunch of employees. A few plane tickets in the bag, and a month full of meetings.

I’m not looking to hang on the beach. I want to push it. But I’m not anxious like I used to be. I’m not worried about it all going away.

I think the reason is I’ve got a very basic set of needs. A very simple foundation. Everything above and beyond this is an incredible gift.

What inspired me to quit my job was that I realized I didn’t need anything it gave me. What I “needed” was simply:

  • $500-1000 bucks a month,
  • a backpack of stuff,
  • a laptop,
  • and the ability to keep moving around.

My luxury item is my desire to keep our team together. It would be a real tragedy to me to have to throw in the towel on our business. That said, I’m sure I could just turn around and score a job with one of them ;)

It makes sense to figure out what you really need.

The shorter the list, the better.

My favorite way to put it is from a friend who is an entrepreneur with a big stack on money in his bank account. He couldn’t be more adamant about how little it’s about the money. It’s about freedom, having a good time, and doing cool stuff.

“If it all falls apart” he says, “no problem for me…. I don’t mind eating rice and fish heads.”

Want to see something like this in action? Check out Vekat’s excellent: “Where the Wild Thoughts Are.”

Have a great weekend,



@TropicalMBA <—- I like to tweet a lot.



Published on 03.03.11
  • Glad to see you’ve embraced you nomadicism (that a word??). That said, when you break things down into what you REALLY need, like you pointed out, its very little. Or at least it is for those of us in this lifestyle. Ridding yourself of the fear that this could all go away is essential to actually being able to enjoy the lifestyle. You don’t work out of fear for losing it all, we work our asses off because we enjoy it. There’s a big distinction…

  • Dan,

    I like the fact that you boiled things down to a few simple needs. I realized this exact same thing, and I would say I really only need around $1200 per month (depending on location) and a few other needs and that’s it. It really brings freedom a lot closer when you look at it that way.

  • Dan

    Agreed. I think @anythingian lives on 1200 in San Diego! but he’s an extreme non-spender BMW’s in his eyes.

  • Dan

    Word to that. There are so many things that people say they “can’t give up” that I don’t find compelling, but many of those people aren’t super interested in having tons of free time in front of their laptop, so, to each his own. :)

  • I’m down with rice, but you’ll have to convince me on the fish head piece. ;)

  • Dan

    Totally cool. More fish heads for me! :)

  • One of the best titles I ever heard. Maybe it’s just the Philippines in my blood.
    Great Post. Helps me focus my thinking while I build my new business and try to manage my new found freedom.

    Yes, it does boil down to what is really important to you.

    Love your podcast btw……

  • Dan

    Hey Randall thanks for that. ‘rice and fish heads’ always cracks me up, it’s def a straight-up Filipino reference. thanks about the podcast, Ian and I are actually brainstorming an episode right now :)

  • Oh man I am so missing rice and fish head!

    Trying to figure out how to justify it to the world is exactly what I have been struggling with. For me it was not fear that held me back or delayed me living life on my terms, but this questioning of myself and why I would want to live such a different lifestyle to those around me. It was hard to justify something that nobody even understood. But like you, I realised I simply don’t have to justify it ;)

    Keep “pushing” it brother ;)

  • Dan

    I’m really impressed by that John and what you are up to. I’m finally getting comfortable with this kind of off the market thinking across the board, and in fact going to the extreme of championing these off the wall ideas… I think 9 times out of 10, they are the best ones. And hey…. the alternatives aren’t going anywhere. Looking forward to hanging out….

  • I think there is a very strong correlation between successful people and those people being comfortable with themselves and knowing exactly who they are. So here is to success! (whatever that even means?)

    Nothing to be impressed about yet mate, get back to me in a year ;)

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