To help me.
To help you.
To help the world.
I deeply believe that by helping myself to achieve the best state of mind and physical fitness I can also help you and thus we can change the world together. Maybe not change it in the full sense of a word, but maybe, just maybe, make it a better place. Not just for us, but for all those who will come after us. Most people think only of themselves and their children, but we need to be different. We need to be better and show them how to do it so that together we can make the world a better place for everyone.
The world can be changed, but in order to do it, we need to change ourselves first. We need to change our mindset, our habits, and our actions. I know it’s not easy changing ourselves, but if we want to make a massive impact, it is necessary.
Change starts with small steps. My journey started the same. And it changed me in an unbelievable way. I was born in 1992, during the war in the small but beautiful country Croatia. Life was hard back then. I haven’t experienced this, but my parents have. Without much money and with a lot of help from my mom’s parents, they struggled out from the war laden poverty. It was a long process, but they did it. They did it for me and my sister.
I was just an average boy. “Have good grades, be a good person, work hard, and you will be happy.”; my mom used to say to me. And I listened. I graduated from college with a master’s degree in Marketing. A diploma that should give me a better life.
I think I’ve changed during all those years while the world around me stayed pretty much the same. Well, don’t get me wrong; the world has changed, but my family worldviews haven’t. And suddenly, I feel like a stranger. While I grew, they stayed the same, and as I began to experience life through travel and books, they performed all those mundane tasks they always did and are likely to do for the rest of their time.
I would say that there have been two major events in my life that have changed my worldview and more importantly; that changed my mind. The first was around 18 when I started training. I was always a skinny kid, good at school, but not in sports. But this never bothered me. I had my desires – books – and the world around me couldn’t take them away from me. One day after reading a book about health, I started thinking about good physical condition, appearance, and life overall.
If we have only one body and one soul, why not develop it to sustain us as much as it can? As a result, I made the decision that day – I started lifting weights. First, it was just classic bodyweight training; squats, push-ups, pull-ups, abs. You know, the one that all people can do at home. But then, over time, as I saw my body change, I needed more.
With money saved from the summer job, I bought my first set of weights. It was a set of dumbbells with a removable weight. 12 kilos. After a few months of training with them, everything started to be easier, and then one day I decided to enroll in a gym.
Thanks to the gym, I changed my body, but more importantly, I changed my mind. I was no longer a skinny boy. I had a feeling that I was becoming a new person. But no matter how my body changed, my mind changed even more. A new improved mindset took over the frightened little boy and made a man out of him. I started eating healthier, training harder, and learning more. I felt I could have everything the world has to offer. Expensive cars, big houses, exotic travels, fancy toys …
I was working during summers and bought all the expensive things I could do. Labeled clothes, shoes, gym supplements, watches, perfumes, etc. My weak spot was electronic gadgets. It was a time when the second generation of the iPhone came out. The famous iPhone 3G. Something spectacular. Something different. I worked my ass to get it. Then I worked even more to buy all kinds of expensive headphones and speakers: Bose, Beats, Bang & Olufsen, Sennheiser, etc. I’ve always loved music, and I thought expensive audio gadgets would make me an audiophile. Oh boy, was I wrong.
Years later and with a ton of electronic gadgets, fancy clothes, and all sorts of knick-knacks, I finally opened my eyes. With help, of course. When you’re blind, it’s hard to see.
It was the third year of college and my roommate Matko and I had big plans for life. Study hard, work harder. There was never enough time to go party or do something fun, as all those college students do. We were different – on the fast track to success. We would compile all the business plans for the companies we want to start, all the ideas of what to do and what to buy afterward. Big house, expensive car, fancy toys. But then one day everything changed.
I didn’t see it at first, but my roommate started to be different – to think different. He found something called minimalism and shared his new insights with me. Living amongst a ton of stuff in our 70 square-meter apartment, the concept of having less sounded ridiculous. “Why would I want to live with less stuff?” After all, all these things give me lots of happiness and joy. Or at least I thought they do.
Months passed, and I lived as before. Buying all the things we are supposed to have, buying my way to happiness. But my roommate didn’t. He never mentioned that I had too many things after our initial conversation about minimalism.
With time, I noticed that his behavior had changed; he was happier; he was freer, and he seemed different. A new person, a changed person. This got me thinking. Why is he so much happier than me? We study at the same college; go to the same places; live similar lives. Both wanting the same; get an amazing job, earn enough money, and then start our own business. Our own creation.
One night I asked Matko: “Can you please tell me what the hell is going on?” “Why are you trashing all the things you’ve worked so hard to get?” Then again, he mentioned minimalism and told me about two suits and tie guys who had everything they are supposed to have and then gave most of it in search of a more meaningful life.
The same night I opened my MacBook and searched for the blog called The Minimalists. I started reading it. I read. And read. And then some more. Time passed in a second and early morning rays peeked out the window and touched my face. I looked outside, stood up, and closed my computer. It was 5 in the morning and I had a gym session at 5:15.
What am I doing? I was supposed to be there at 5:15am and meet with my friend Bruno to start our training before going to lectures. But I couldn’t go. I was shocked by the way I live. I picked up my phone and dialed Bruno’s number. “Hey man, I don’t think I can make it today.” “What happened?”, asked Bruno. I started talking. A few minutes after, he interrupted me and said: “Get your ass to the gym and we can talk during a workout.” I smiled.
30 minutes after we were at the gym, but we didn’t train properly. We were talking. I don’t even remember if we did everything that we were supposed to do. My mind was not present, it was still absorbing every single word of The Minimalists blog. I saw the possibility of a better life. A life where you can be free. Where you don’t need to follow the path of your parents, your friends, or the surrounding society.
The days went by and I read the Minimalists blog in search of simplicity, exploring every single thing about this alternative way of life. Between talking to Matko for hours and doing research on minimalism, I forgot about everything else. My girlfriend thought I was crazy, my family thought I was crazy, and most of my friends thought the same. But I was not. I knew it deep in my heart. I started to change my life.
I hope this story can be a catalyst for you.
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