Happy New Year ’12!! :)

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Many people look towards the new year as a new start to their old habits. Nonetheless, I wish you all a very happy, prosperous and healthy New Year! 🙂

It’s become routine really – this new year’s resolution thing, where most vow on certain goals and usually give up on them before the seasonal sales are over. I don’t like starting my year in such a boring, outdated fashion. I take the first week to reflect on everything that’s come to pass during the last year. I analyze all the things that did not work and what I have learned from them, as well as all the good things that I should be grateful for. In the past, I’ve started a few years saying “Thank God that epidemic of the year is over, now I can finally start lucky and happy again :)” and its usually those years that have turned out to be worse than the worst. 😦

I’ve been reading and watching a lot of learning material lately, whether that be on philosophy, good habits, literature or mainstream education. One of the most important things I have learned while watching a documentary called “Compass” is gratitude. (FYI – it took me 3 long weeks to get through this documentary and was quite often tempted to switch to something more interesting) BUT I G.I.Joe‘d through it and am quite happy because they do touch on a lot of topics regarding personal development. By showing gratitude towards things, you not only appreciate the opportunity of having them in your life but you also increase the effort you put into accomplishing a task/goal/objective.

I will not go into details of how pious it makes you feel by being thankful for everything in your life, I will save that for my speech at a retirement home 😛 but do try it! I never thought that these feel good mantras work, maybe not a 100% but it’s better than being hard on yourself. Focussing on the positive aspects of your life helps you derive a vote of confidence that can never be realized by an over-scrutinizing pessimist. So start your day by showing gratitude, work your way with a positive attitude and elevate your success to a higher latitude. haha that’s the cleanest rhyme ever 😛 weeeee

“May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions!” – Joey Adams

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Are you an animal lover? Are you sure?

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“Lots of people talk to animals…. Not very many listen, though…. That’s the problem.” – Benjamin Hoff

How many hours do we spend recreating what we have lost? We go to zoos, museums, and movies to see some of the most wonderful creatures to have roamed our planet. We strain our mind imagining what dinosaurs would have looked like and dig for bones and fossils to create a better more life-like model. Why then do we not focus our efforts on preserving what we already have? and what we might lose very soon! What our children or their children might have to dig up and try to create because they were not fortunate enough to see what an Amur leopard looks like or how Polar bears hunted for seals close to santa’s town.

I will not write a post on how endangered some of the animals are in today’s world because we have been exploiting their habitat or simply hunting them for mere pleasure or fur, you can read about it all here: http://www.allaboutwildlife.com/endangered-species/endangered-species-population-numbers/3596

What I want to talk to you about is what you can do about it. We, as a generation can choose to boycott companies or people who are known to follow these practices. I’m an animal lover and hence do not even consider it a compromise if I have to buy an oil that was not extracted from a whale or choose a coat that’s made of synthetic fur, matter of fact, we have so many choices today that choosing a belt or a scarf that was made from the carcass of a now-dead animal is plain stupid. You not only have to go look for a hideous store that holds heartless designer wear but also have to expend a fortune to buy a product that will only get you frowns and dirty looks. Why do we not spend that money in adopting a homeless animal instead that will not only provide you with soft cuddly fur but also have a heart beating inside it to keep you warm on those cold nights. Or donate a few dollars to WWF or some charity if your lifestyle is very hectic?

I am growing very fond of the “BeVeg.ca” campaign in Toronto’s subways simply because of the utter brilliance of the project in order to spread awareness amongst people. I know a lot of us cannot stop eating meat, we make ourselves believe that without a nice steak of red meat we will not be as strong or as healthy or simply as full. A lot of people hate vegetables and cannot comprehend the idea of surviving simply on greens. Although there is a lot of ignorance attached to that train-of-thought, you can at least choose farmers or companies that provide a relatively more humane method of “meat-delivery”. If you see the way animals are treated in these slaughter-houses, it is nothing short of the most gruesome horror movie you have ever wet yourself watching. Some of my friends argue that it’s nature, and these things happen all the time in the wild. Let me explain nature to you, in their normal habitat – every being has an equal chance of survival and an equal opportunity to fight/run/hide for their life. They are not caged, fed shit their whole life, split from family and cut up on conveyor belts. They fight for life every day in the wild and enjoy the moments they can. The same people who argue about nature to me, are afraid of cockroaches in their washroom and spiders in their bed at night. If you really want to witness nature, why don’t you try chasing a pig or a cow in their natural habitat and try eating it? You will have the full and uncontested right to your meal.

A lot of people always question the reason why I never eat beef. “Is it because you’re Hindu?” Maybe. But that wouldn’t be a reason strong enough to stop me from digging into a whopper or a steak. The reason I choose to not eat beef is because the cow provides us with so many advantages that it does not make sense to kill it for meat. It provides us with milk that can sustain the healthiest of diets, it’s dung is used as manure in fields because it helps in water retention, acts as a fertilizer and neutralizes the chemicals in the soil; when used as a hygienic material in its’ dried, matured form in older times for building huts that kept away insects and other diseases. As an animal that survives simply on grass and provides us with so much, it seems quite simple-minded to use it just as meat.

After encountering the “why love one but eat the other” campaign, I have opted to be a vegetarian. I won’t lie, I’ve tried to go this route before because it seems like the healthiest and happiest choice for me and I have failed. However, I come closer to success with every failure and as long as I can save one or two animals, I will be able to sleep at night with a little more comfort and peace of mind 🙂

“Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.” – Milan KunderaA rare female Amur leopard cub, born 18 November 2007, taking her first steps outside her den at Marwell Zoological park in Hampshire, Britain, 28 February 2008. She was bred as part of a European conservation breeding program, to mother leopard Ascha.  The cub is yet to be named.  EPA/JONATHAN BRADY

Owning the Unknown – Is it possible to start a business without any expertise?

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Tell Me Why?

“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.” – Denis Waitley
 
I have always been very passionate about science. Through my entire school life I’ve focussed on courses like physics, chemistry and biology. I believe the biggest influence in this matter would be my family. My dad being an engineer has always showed us the marvels of designing and creation. My mother has always focussed on the new developments in medicine and life sciences while my brother has been constructing satellites and space ship models ever since I can remember. I remember my first encyclopedia-type book – “Tell Me Why”. I am quite astonished at the limited number who are familiar with that book. It answered questions that would normally frustrate a young mind. Like why is the hare different from the rabbit? Why do we dream? Why do stars twinkle?
 
Being a hyper kid, I would only resort to reading that book when everyone was taking an afternoon nap and I wasn’t allowed to play outdoors cause of the heat or be able to play with my building blocks cause of the noise they I made. But once submerged in that world of answers, I would spend hours learning about a variety of topics and subjects. Why can’t light escape from a black hole? Why did the dinosaurs become extinct? Why is fire hot? I guess you do get the gist of it 😛 I happen to get over-excited reminiscing about the good old things 🙂
 
I am still quite passionate about science and hence would love to start a business that progresses our scientific knowledge base and brings us one step closer to the future. However, after not studying any of the subjects that aroused my interest for a little over 5 years now and not being able to comprehend all the terminology that is inherent in those articles, I wonder if it would be the right business for me personally? Will I be able to understand to the full extent the vision and mission of the company? Will I be respected enough by accomplished scientists and experts in the field for them to oblige to my decisions? Will I be capable of making the best business decision giving my limited exposure to the field?
 
Most of the companies that are being founded successfully these days are headed by renowned experts in that industry or have some sort of competitive advantage. Admittedly, I, very early on had understood that your financial capability should never be considered a constraint for a new venture. I’ve often wondered how an individual can manage and lead a group of brilliant minds to reach a common goal without any subject matter expertise. Resourcefulness, relationship management and leadership may be the effective tools to have in any given scenario but are they enough to sustain your business? Please let me know your thoughts and/or suggestions! 🙂
I always appreciate good advice and if you ever have had a similar thought, what sort of approach have you taken in tackling such a problem? Would you talk to certain motivated individuals in the field you are gearing towards or would you consider already established business models and see where you can improve efficiency?
 
 
“I would rather be surrounded by smart people than have a huge budget. Smart people will get you there faster.” – Ethan Rasiel

Seinfeld: “I was the best man at the wedding. If I’m the best man, why is she marrying him?”

“See, the thing of it is, there’s a lot of ugly people out there walking around but they don’t know they’re ugly because nobody actually tells them.” – Jerry Seinfeld

There is this really cute girl I happen to run into almost every other day. I can’t help but think of what I could possibly say to her to initiate a “hello hello” 😉 We always have this eye contact whenever she’s in the same room and I might be imagining things but I feel like she has passed a smile or two towards yours truly. Although I do want to reciprocate with the same gesture, I am pretty confident that I will look like a complete fool because I have not yet mastered the art of smiling politely at a stranger. I am incapable of smiling at will and usually end up looking like this…

One of my biggest flaws is that I am quite shallow. I’m a sucker for beautiful girls and unintentionally convince myself that a pretty face has a pretty personality behind it. Don’t blame me but Disney, for all the books and movies I have come across in my childhood always emphasized on how beautiful the princess was. I don’t recall one book that involved a romantic affair with the ugly sister who sported a crooked nose… so like my tales I often start my imaginary love accounts with chicas bonitas 😀

I’ve long wondered how beautiful girls perceive the looks they are adored with while passing by. I mean not every guy is as subtle as I am 😛 but it must be quite flattering. Then why do most of these girls deal with so many self-esteem issues? I start taking cellphone pictures of myself whenever I see a decent girl eyeing me twice, and half the times she’s only looking at the clock behind me 😦 Or maybe they pretend to use the same tricks I do when I get caught glancing at a cutie ‘o’ Hehe.

Why is it that people get embarrassed when they are caught admiring someone? I mean no one judges a traveller appreciating the exquisite beauty of the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower. I know it’s different when someone is just creepily eyeing you but what if he is building fables of admiration or love. What if you do like him yourself? At what point is it okay to wink? 😛 lol I guess these things do lead to confusions at times.

For instance, sometimes you are just being nice and friendly to someone and they give you “the look”. funny kids pictures - What Are YOU Looking At? Even though you’ve maintained a tone that could not be possibly be perceived as “flirty” and carefully picked on words that are noted for their gender neutrality during the conversation, some people just refuse to part with their pre-conceived notions of male-female interactions.

In my case I have noted that when I am just nice to people, I get jacked. You know, sometimes you just smile at someone on the bus and offer to help them by holding their stuff while they reach for their fare… and you get the “look”. On the other hand, if I keep a straight face and just have my music blasting… people almost always ask for help?  :S which is annoying cause I love my music!!

Moving on… there is a lot of uncertainty around me right now. The next coming months might be quite a drastic change since I am not sure which part of the world I might be in, what I might be doing and why I might be doing what I am going to be doing. Does that even make sense? I’ve never been too nervous or apprehensive about change because I’ve always been with family. I guess being the youngest one does have its advantages :D… but this time it’s all up to me. You would think that this wouldn’t be on a 24-year-old man’s mind but it is. I always visioned myself being a lot more mature, responsible and independent when I turned 17 or 21 or 25 back in the days of

(8) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Heroes in a half-shell

Turtle power! (8)

But now that I am of age, for sometime if I may add, I just feel the same way I did when I was playing with G.I. Joes and hot wheels. Maybe I have gained a bit more understanding of the world and its ways but living with the same fears and undergoing the same emotions. I remember when I was 11 and my family used to religiously go to the health club where I would play tennis, squash, table-tennis, soccer and SWIM. I loved swimming, I had dog-like stamina and would swim for 6 hours straight on the weekends. On the way home, we would listen to fm 99.7 with our favourite VJ Linda in Kuwait and I would rest my head on the window of my dad’s car. I remember that feeling…

Less than 2 years ago, I was visiting my folks in Dubai and coming back from a late night dinner, my parents detoured through the Atlantis hotel and I remember putting my head on the window in my dad’s SUV. I was 21 or 22 but felt like that 11-year-old boy. Stomach-filled with good food, listening to the radio and just thankful to the force above for that moment while dreamily romancing with all those escaping sights. Yes, I want to be successful, yes I want to be all that I’ve ever dreamed of being… but at the end of it all – I want it with my family in a bigger car with my kids in their grandparents’ lap and a pretty chick to distract me from the road…

I’m not lonely I swear… I have a cat 😛 true story, my closet’s like two stories…

But at times, I feel that we all should have someone to share things with… people in the western hemisphere are so hell-bent on their “independence” that they don’t realize their real problem is that of loneliness. The sort of depression, lack of confidence and negative thinking I encounter in this part of the world is usually due to something missing. They are desperate for being accepted, excruciatingly searching for a fictional figure like a vampire or a kid with the broom to sweep them off their feet and make them fall in love. They might be missing love, home, family or … I don’t know. But people from the east have learnt so much from the west, it’s about time the west starts learning certain things from the east so everyone can meet at one mutually beneficial and harmonious point 🙂 The only time people should be divided is while playing a sport.

“It became very clear to me sitting out there today that every decision I’ve made in my entire life has been wrong. My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat – it’s all been wrong.” – George Costanza

The Invasion of America

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Unity

“Sheer stupidity is the most under-rated art and yet at times the most useful. For it can aggravate the most serene and rational minds” – Saurabh Rustagi

It’s my blog, and I did quote myself – simply because I can :D! I wanted to post about quite a number of things on my mind today but chose this topic simply because it allowed me to use my own quote :P.

America – it’s no longer a nation people look up to, it’s no longer a destination dream for millions, IT IS NO LONGER THE SUPERPOWER of the world. I’m quite disappointed really that I never witnessed this nation in its glory. I had read, heard and seen a lot about it on the television and in the movies – and it was the place to be. Remember watching Home Alone as a kid? Who did not want to live in that beautiful house with all your family during the holiday season with snow blanketing the street in a postcard perfect image. The people who we would see in the movies – so brave, so educated, so opinionated and vocal about their beliefs. They were role models for millions who had never experienced a right to freedom. Whether that be the freedom of speech so you can freely voice your opinion or fight for your right if you’ve been discriminated against. The dream of being able to live a comfortable well-rounded family life in a clean, healthy environment – where there is no overpopulation, no lack of water or electricity, no poverty or abuse. Oh wait – not everything we see through hollywood is true!

I admit that as a child I had not considered for a second that there would be homeless people in America, there would be areas that are not picture perfect and prone to crime, there would be families that can’t afford to feed themselves or educate their young. I did not picture the real America – but from everything that was told by travellers, recent emigrants from back home – it was the place for opportunity, to safely raise a healthy family and to be able to take care of them and spend time with them. But what has changed? Is America really running out of opportunities? That was not a rhetoric question by the way!

America is still the land of opportunities, people in the tech sector for example, “The Silicon Valley bound” are still getting paid a fortune for their skill set. Who are these people? They are immigrants ofcourse. Are they stealing American jobs? No, if you have ever applied for an American work visa, you would clearly know that an immigrant only gets a visa when their hiring company can prove to the American government that no resident of the aforementioned state can do the required job. It wouldn’t make sense for the hiring company to hire someone from abroad and arrange their visa, travel, etc. if they could hire someone 2 miles away, would it? I guess such a common idea is being overlooked by a lot of native residents of the once great nation.

As I hear and witness more accounts of discrimination against immigrants, I can’t do much but fear for the American people. People who have been seeking jobs by staying away from their families, well educated doctors, lawyers and engineers who are working low-paying, round-the-clock jobs that are considered well below their social status and fighting twice as hard for a rightful wage due to cultural and language differences are already undergoing a lot of stress. In addition, being discriminated against and their flaws pointed out to them can be quite alienating. What a few Americans have failed to realize is that these people are just like them, if not more dedicated and hardworking. They love the American culture – a lot of them probably did not have the same opportunity back home, or maybe they married someone from a different culture and would not be accepted back home, or maybe back home was not a safe place to raise a family. They came to America to build a new home, not change yours. They are adopting your ways because they look up to the freedom and equality you have enjoyed. They want to BE Americans, not destroy their new home.

Again, let me clarify because words have a reputation of being misinterpreted. When I say I fear for American people – I mean I fear for who they are becoming. The mentality of the American people is changing drastically. Everyone is being barred into stereotypical brackets and the youth of America are more uneducated and politically unaware than the millions below the poverty line in India and China. The Easterners have no option of reading the news or googling what’s happening around the globe. They don’t have public libraries or guidance counselors or animal tv or discovery channel or an easily available educational facility. They want to learn and seek any opportunity to progress further. But the American youth? Why isn’t anyone worried about their future? Why isn’t America investing in its youth instead of thinking of ways to stop immigrants from succeeding?

You must be wondering what my quote was about? My quote is about the war that America has been fighting. Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, I will not debate whether America should have gone to war with Afghanistan and Iraq, but should they not have considered the financial and social implications of them going to war? Billions are spent for keeping their army away from home and in foreign soil, millions of lives are being lost on both sides and America is going broke. They do not have a proper healthcare for Americans, they do not have a proper educational system for Americans, most Americans cannot afford to attend post-secondary institutions due to their financial obligations – why isn’t America thinking about their real issues even now? I do not read much when it comes to American politics but I do agree with a lot of statements Mr. Ron Paul had made during the few youtube interviews I had seen him in.

I urge Americans to end this movie in a Hollywood scene. Yes, I’m a sucker for happy endings, especially in this case because a sad end could also be quite horrific considering America is a war nation. I think no one would disagree that America needs to focus its efforts and resources into educating Americans and providing them with a better life and more opportunities instead of destroying areas that have already been under dispute for quite a while. Like Come on!

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mohandas Gandhi

Man In the Mirror: Stop staring, start searching…

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What Matters the most is how YOU see yourself.

“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” ― Heath L. Buckmaster, Box of Hair: A Fairy Tale

 What really makes you who you are? Is it the people who brought you into this world and mold you into the best person they can to the best of their abilities? Or is it the culture, education and values that are instilled in you through all the mediums in your life? Or is it, perhaps, the choices you make and the dreams you seek, the questions you ask and the thoughts you choose to act upon, the friends you accept and the role models you look up to?

I have always been curious to the reason why people act a certain way but want to be treated as someone else. Perhaps they do it for the fear of not being accepted for who they are and act in a manner strange to them but, at the same time, want to be treated for what’s within. Maybe they have just not realized who they are yet and are experimenting with different aspects of their life trying to find the lens that fits their vision perfectly? I don’t really know the answer… but what I have realized over the years is that only after seeing a mirage of personalities and reincarnating through different aspects of your life do you get a clear picture of who you want to be, are meant to be and are.

I have often made myself miserable staring at the man in the mirror – I do not know if I should consider myself a fool because I set my dreams too high or if I should consider myself a failure for not achieving them. What I do know, however, is that you can be happy with yourself if you attempt to live your dream every day, with each effort and all your belief. I did not find any motivation till I had developed a clear picture of who I want to see in the mirror, what I expected of him and the only way I could live as him- that I started to make a conscious effort to improve not only myself, but also those around me and the things that matter to me. We often discount our ambitions with lack of effort and insincere prayers; we lose our goals by blaming our losses and embracing the effortless solace of misfortunes. It’s the weak, the non-believers, the faithless incubuses who forfeit what matters most and stare with resentment at the person in the mirror.

It’s never too late to start running and catch the train that’s left the station – you might have to run faster than you ever have, you might have to bear that rib pain a lot more than your 30 minutes treadmill jog and you might sometimes stray away from the train tracks – but if you keep running, you will get where you want to be. Even if you never do catch the train that was supposed to get you there.

So keep searching for the person you want to be, and keep pursuing your dreams, for at the end of it all – you only have one life to achieve all that you have ever dreamt about!

“From my rotting body, flowers will grow, and I will be in them: for eternity” – Unknown

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Hello Hello!

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Welcome

“A smile is the universal welcome.” – Max Eastman

Dear Readers,
I’m quite excited about sharing these thoughts floating in my head with all of you. I’ve been told that a smile is the most contagious of all. I hope that after reading my views on various topics such as religion, politics, economics, humor, and my societal and emotional conduct – you will realize that all rational human beings share the same need for a better world and a universal urge to help those in need. I am an avid reader and animal lover, I hope to travel to the most beautiful places on earth and reshape others that have been stripped of their glory. I am looking to improve myself in all aspect of my life and feel grateful for all those who have been kind enough to lend their support or their motivational words. I hope you all enjoy reading these pages just as much as I will have enjoyed writing them.
 
With love,
Saurabh Rustagi

Aside

A Corporate “slave” or An Entrepreneurial “drone”?

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Don't sleep on your dreams!

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I have always dreamt of being a self-made man, like my father. He has taught me by example to always seek help of oneself instead of relying on others. In such a manner, he has always provided us, his family, with everything we have ever required or wanted. Year after year, I become more in “awe” as I look at my parents tackle whatever life throws at them, and how they manage to overcome all their difficulties and triumphs together. At a very young age, I would question whether I should be a suited corporate “slave” or take a shot at being a t-shirted entrepreneur seeking capital in exchange for his dreams?

As I progress in my career and mature with age, I have realized that rigid definitions hold limited meaning in today’s world. In an ever-evolving market populated with extremely competitive individuals, nobody chooses a “path” for themselves but rather undertake any opportunity that will bring them one step closer to their goal. After analyzing all my options and ambitions, I believe that working for a corporation is the first step a person can take in order to grow and in addition, gain a better understanding of the industry. Please note that this “opinion” is limited to certain industries, for example- if I was in the tech-industry or involved in an online business, where I possess a viable competitive advantage, entrepreneurship would be the recommended direction. However, unless you have a revolutionary product or service like facebook or adclicks developed by Mark Zuckerberg and Gurbaksh Chahal respectively, that require little initial investment and provide quick R.O.I. you better have a rich dad to fall back on.

The reason I would rather work for a corporation are as follows. There is a lot to learn when you come fresh out of school or enter an industry. You might have the drive and passion required to be successful but the odds are always better when you have some tricks up your sleeve and a few contingency plans to break your fall. Although after reading “rich dad, poor dad”, I understand it might be better to go broke before 30 than in my mid-life; it still can get quite depressing having empty pockets while your friends are buying houses and cars. Another reason I encourage people to go work for someone else is because of a steady income, whether you want to use the money to enhance your credentials, start a family or help your old folks – money is always better in your own hand. By being in the industry that you want to start your venture in – has its own benefits, you learn about why companies follow certain processes and methodologies, what cyclic or unprecedented changes they need to prepare for, who do they hire and why; and most of all, how do they stay competitive and ahead of the competition. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you will only have luck to rely on and it’s better to rely on yourself than a lady, I assure you! 😛 just playing!

As an entrepreneur, you are looking at days that extend into nights and nights at work where you see the break of day. It only makes sense to work that hard with a steady job in hand. Atleast in this way, you are earning your bread and butter and will research thoroughly about your intended business and have the right benchmarks in place whenever you do decide to go for the ride. Opportunity cost here would also give you the required confidence to take the plunge, for unless you believed in your product/service a 100% and most importantly, believed in yourself a 110%, it would be extremely hard for you to leave the comforts attached with your job. Hence, if you did decide to take up the gamble, you will have the belief and heart required to stay and fight for your dream.

Lastly, while working a 9-5 and researching on your choice of business, you will engage other motivated individuals in topics of interest and can fabricate valuable networks. I had read that any successful business requires a very knowledgeable accountant, a sharp lawyer, a family doctor, a trusted manager and a supportive family. The only question that remains is how soon will you be able to build your business so that it generates an income higher than your day job so you can quit and retire comfortably?

“There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning and yearning.” – Christopher Morley