Agrawal’s adventures in leaving the well-trodden path behind and diving into the risky yet exhilarating unknown are the basis for Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After – a self-help book for would-be entrepreneurs in need of a friendly kick in the pants.
Why should you do cool shit?
We are all born these golden creatures, these golden statues, and we have this authentic self inside of us. Over the course of the years, society and our families and our friends and people just tell us, “You can’t do this, you should do this, you need to do this, you blah, blah, blah, have to do this.” Society says this and all of a sudden the authentic version of yourself is now covered in this grayed piece of cement. Once you start to really ask yourself questions like what makes me truly happy, when am I authentically me? When can I just breathe deeply? Once you start chipping away at that piece of cement and just a little piece of golden shines through, you just want to keep having that happen over and over again. You want to keep discovering yourself.
I thought writing the book in general was just a pretty cathartic experience just because it brought back so many memories. It was just such a beautiful opportunity to really tell the story of someone who graduated from college thinking that they were going to please their parents by being an investment banker and then realizing that was really not the path that they chose for themselves if they were really to look at themselves authentically.
What’s your definition of success? What does happiness mean to you?
I think that’s it. It’s just that can you discover yourself in the process of starting a business and in the process of finding your friends or really thinking critically about what you want in life, like what is your definition of success? What does happiness mean to you? That’s so like woo-woo in a lot of ways, but if you actually truly ask yourself like what is the definition of success and what is yours, that’s a really tough question to answer for a lot of people. I think it … and then also, just the how to get there and working backwards, just the thought of how it starts with friendship. All the friendships that you had, you are as good as the five closest friends you keep, you know that saying.
It’s kind of like wearing a pair of old shoes. You are just used to something; you’re used to, it’s comfortable, and you’re in your comfort zone. To get outside of that is a very scary thought, to get outside and just say, you know what, these friends that I have, as much as they’ve gotten me to this place, right here, right now, I’ve sort of graduated from going to the bars and getting drunk every night.
I’ve graduated from just going and like talking about dumb things and like girls and boys and other people. I’m going to talk about big ideas. I’m going to talk about interesting thought-provoking things that can really move and change the world. If the people I’m surrounding myself with aren’t doing that and that’s how I’m feeling, then it’s about time that I go and find those people who are like-minded.
It’s scary because you could probably not have friends for a while until you really pick people out. I went through a really deep process of going through my friendships and thinking about what they brought to me and not just what they’re giving to me, but just like the feeling I had when I left them, spending time with them.
Evaluate the people you surround yourself
More often than not it was just sort of not like, “I’m going to go and start something! I’m going to create something!” It was just more like, “I’m going to go pass out.” So I think it starts with that. It starts with evaluating the people you surround yourself with and once you do that and you start to eliminate the people that are not adding value to your authentic self, then you’ll leave room and create room for those that do.
It’s kind of like cleaning your house. If it’s cluttered with stuff, you can’t put beautiful new gems in there. It’s just too much stuff in it, so once you clear it out, then you actually have the space to bring things in. It’s no different than friendship; it’s no different than starting a business or finding partnership or creating something within a business. It’s to just eliminate the clutter. That’s the first thing that I did and I think that was one of the biggest discoveries for me it was that … was just that. It’s that if I eliminate things that aren’t really value at my authentic self, then I can create room for new things that are great.
Complement Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After with 10 Commandments of How to Choose Yourself (For Believers and Non Believers). James Altucher instills the energy one needs to set fears aside and get to work, in other words, to Choose Yourself! Never a message can be delivered with a great force if the messenger doesn’t talk by experience and from the heart.