Freedom, Abundance and Opportunity

If there is one mantra I have been applying for a long time, it’s the following one: “we live in a world of freedom, abundance and unlimited opportunity”. I love this mantra for various reasons. Every time I repeat these words, I feel a strange sort of excitement running through my veins; I feel gratitude towards the present, excitement about the future and an overwhelming call for action to grasp whatever the world has to offer us. The most satisfying part of this mantra is the realization that we actually can utilize the freedom we have, grasp the opportunities around us and create a life of abundance in whatever form we’re looking for. I decided to give it a try and start living according to this mantra.

Three years ago, I arrived in a hot, humid hostel in the center of Sao Paulo. I was intending to stay in Brazil for 6 months and the only thing I knew was the new life that was waiting for me the months afterwards. It was that moment, that I realized I could build an entire new life, from nothing but the stuff in my suitcase and some money on my bank account. For years I have been fantasizing about this theory, which told me that whatever would happen, I could always pack my bag, fly to the other side of the world and create something out of nothing.

This highly optimistic theory, I call it the suitcase theory, is based on two elements:

  1. Limit your material desires to whatever fits in your suitcase. Everything else will be redundant once you pack your bags.
  2. Have some financial reserves to survive a few months without income. When it comes to minimalism, Cash is King.

The theory is based on one important premise, and it took me a long time and many different experiences to realize it, we have much less to lose than we actually think.

Once you start truly drilling down WHY you’re doing what you’re doing, you might conclude that you’re making big sacrifices in life for reasons that are actually completely meaningless to you. You might conclude that you’re putting a lot of hours in a job, to buy stuff and distraction you don’t need, in order to impress people you don’t care about. You might conclude that your actions are actually driven by fear of rejection instead of a healthy ambition to pursue a meaningful life. Once you realize that, you also realize that you’re free to do whatever you want.

I’ll use my freedom to start with the most exciting project I have ever worked on, become a traveling businessman. I try to travel the world by working for entrepreneurs, start-ups and other companies. By doing so, I aim to finance my travels, learn about local business opportunities and get inspired for future business opportunities. I try to limit the scope of my activities to three major, global business trends:

  1. Emerging markets — We’re moving from a unipolar world, with the West at its epicenter, to a multipolar world of interlinked hubs. Emerging markets are taking a bigger share of the pie, resulting in a growing middle class and increasing urbanization.
  2. Sustainability — Economic growth, population growth and changing consumption patterns will put more and more pressure on resources as food, water and energy. Our environment will be under pressure as a result of our thirst for these resources.
  3. Exponential technologies — Computer chip technology is developing at an exponential rate, following Moore’s Law. The possibilities that this increased computing power will provide us are infinite. The exciting fields of Internet-of-Things, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, Synthetic Biology and Robotics will revolutionize our economies and societies.

These three topics will be the exciting frontiers of an increasingly dynamic global economy for the coming decades. We’ll see billions of people rising out of poverty and being connected to the global economy. We’ll experience the challenge of meeting the needs of these billions in terms of food, water and energy. And we’ll see unprecedented technological advances that will help us tackle the challenges of the future. It’s in these three areas, I believe, where the biggest opportunities of the future will be.

If there has ever been a moment that I have been simultaneously truly excited but also stressed about what the future will bring me, that moment is now. The life of a traveling businessman, I imagined, is exciting, adventurous and full of opportunity. Now, few days after my last working day and few weeks before my last paycheck, I realize that the life of a traveling businessman will also be challenging, uncertain and full of risks. I guess that was the whole point of starting this adventure, experiencing life in all its forms. Whatever course my journey will take, it will have been worth it. I used my freedom to do what I love and I chased the opportunities that I saw in search of an abundant and meaningful life. How can that ever be wrong?