While most of my friends are a bit special, there’s one who stands out even amongst them. Jascha is one of the smartest, most authentic, and non-conformist guys I’ve ever met. And it all starts with his job.
As a psychedelic coach, he helps people connect to their inner and authentic selves using psychedelic drugs such as LSD or psilocybin, the active component in magic mushrooms. While research showed the potential of these substances in recent years and they’ve been legalized in some places for therapeutic use, his work still raises a few eyebrows. Nevertheless, I messaged him a few days ago and told him “you’re doing everything right” — because he is.
He’s living his dream — educating and coaching people, doing retreats and ceremonies, hosting one of the biggest German podcasts and YouTube channels about responsible psychedelic use. When he guides a ceremony, he’s the epitome of being in your element. But that’s just the start.
As he works online, he travels the world together with his girlfriend — and albeit restricted by Corona, they’re having the time of their lives. They wake up close to a beach every day, see the wonders of the world, eat exotic food, and explore different countries and cultures in all their richness.
He does all this being his authentic self. He doesn’t do it for anyone, he doesn’t succumb to social pressure, and he doesn’t act like someone he isn’t — it’s just him, doing his thing. That’s a lot more than most people have going for them.
I’ve picked up many a lesson from accompanying him on his journey. Here are the six rules for being your authentic self and living your own dream instead of someone else’s.
You Can’t Be Yourself If You Don’t Know Yourself
“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.”
— Lao Tzu
Jascha knows himself inside out — his values, dreams and desires, strengths and weaknesses, fears and motivations. It’s where he starts with his clients, too. This thorough understanding of themselves is the basis for their transformation. And it’s the basis for yours, as well.
Knowing and understanding yourself is the first crucial step for making your life better.
You can’t reach your dreams without knowing what they are.
You can’t take the appropriate action without knowing what motivates you.
You can’t overcome obstacles without understanding how your mind works. You can’t be yourself without knowing yourself.
And you don’t know yourself nearly as well as you think.
Most people can’t be authentic and live their dream life because they don’t know themselves and what they want well enough.
I’ve done tons of meditation, journaling, and consciousness work over the last few years and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this:
Your mind, your subconscious, and your inner workings are incredibly complex.
Self-examination is tricky and you’ll have to peel away layer after layer of your personality as you get closer and closer to your authentic self. It’s a never-ending process, so get to work.
Your decisions determine how your life plays out — and the better you understand yourself, the better the decisions you make.
Fear = Direction; Action = Progress; Consistency = Success; and Complaining = Failure
As the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy, so if you want to achieve your dreams, be prepared for a grind.
Jascha is living his dream right now — but getting there wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. He spent countless hours with the nose to the grindstone and in turn passed on lots of free time and fun activities with friends. Here’s what it takes to make your dream come true.
- Take action — done is better than perfect.
Lots of people get stuck in analysis paralysis. They spend so much time planning that they never get to the execution stage. Jascha started with a simple website about microdosing — today, it’s one of the biggest German communities around the safe and responsible use of psychedelics.
Don’t overthink — take action. Most of your questions will clear up along the way.
- Do what you’re afraid of doing.
One of the most decisive moments in Jascha’s steep climb was when he launched his first YouTube video. I remember him saying “I’m scared, but I need to get my face out there.” His worry was understandable — he publicly announced that he had used mostly illegal drugs for years. But through overcoming his fear he gave birth to his successful YouTube channel, the basis for his business.
There’s nothing wrong with being afraid — I’m scared of things, too. But as Tim Ferris said: “What we most fear doing is what we most need to do.”
- When it gets hard, keep going and trust yourself.
In his book The Dip, Seth Godin talks about the long and hard path you have to walk until some efforts finally pay off. Nowhere is this principle as apparent as in building an audience online — but it’s not limited to that. Restructuring your life and developing yourself is no easy feat and it might take months or even years until the fruits of your labor are ready for harvest. Keep going and trust in yourself, even if nobody else does.
One last thing: In all these years that I’ve known him, I’ve rarely seen Jascha complain, although he had plenty of opportunities to do so. But he realized that there’s no point. Ranting feels good but it’s a waste of time and energy and does absolutely nothing to get you closer to your dreams. Accept what is and make the best of it.
No Purpose, No Authenticity — No Authenticity, No Purpose
Seldom have I seen anyone who’s as aligned with his vision as Jascha. It’s almost tangible when he talks about his work and passions. Purpose oozes from his pores.
Your purpose is closely linked to living an authentic life. Following it makes you more authentic and being more authentic helps you find and follow your purpose. If you’ve got both, you can create the exact life you want to live.
Finding your purpose is no easy feat, but there are a few places you can start. Research shows a happy and healthy life comes from contributing to something that goes beyond your own pleasure and satisfaction. So start by asking how you can contribute to the world and make it a better place through your passions, skills, experience, and knowledge.
You don’t have to lead Amnesty international in the war against child labor. You can start as small as educating people about your field of interest, volunteer at an animal shelter, or be passionate about your job and strive to do the best work you can. Whatever you find meaningful.
Network Hard, but Do It the Right Way
“Your network is your net worth.”
Networking events are vastly overrated. You can’t establish a genuine connection with someone if both of you know you’re just talking to get business booming and achieve your selfish goals. Thanks, but you can keep your CV and business card.
Still, knowing the right people can be a great shortcut that will save you time and effort. So how can you build your network without networking?
Jascha’s podcast is fairly new. Apart from myself, he has interviewed Professors, successful entrepreneurs, and Buddhist monks. He’s even made it onto national TV. Yet, I’ve never seen him actually networking. Instead, he applies the only networking advice I’d ever give to someone:
Have a genuine conversation.
Jascha talks to people because he’s genuinely interested in what they have to say. He doesn’t do it to extract every drop of value that he can. He asks questions and listens, so people connect with him.
Don’t “network.” Have a conversation. Be interested focus on building connections. You’re whole behavior and attitude towards people will change. Build your network, but do it the right way.
You Won’t Gain Anything from “Fitting In”
“If you do what everybody does, you get what everybody gets.”
You’re human, and the need to fit in is hardwired into your brain. Being different scares you. But if you want to be your authentic self and live out your dream, you’ll have to face this fear. And once you do, you’ll realize it’s not that bad.
When Jascha left his stable job to travel the world and create content about psychedelics, people thought he was crazy. They asked him to come back and even offered help with whatever evil force was pushing him to such an outrageous act. Little did they know.
When you walk your own path, you’ll face resistance from the people around you. They want you to keep your head down and fit in because that’s what they do. But I’d rather clear my own path through the wildest jungle than walking one that doesn’t lead me where I want to be.
Being different is scary. You’ll feel like an outcast. You’ll question yourself hundreds of times, wondering if you’ve made the right decision. You’ll cut ties with people you’ve known for years because you no longer share the same ideals and values. But every end is a new beginning.
You’ll find a new community. You’ll realize there are millions like you. They’re fed up with living an empty cookie-cutter life and being judged by a superficial society on how many dollars they make, how they dress, or if their world view aligns with mainstream media. You’ll find like-minded people.
Venturing into the world and finding your tribe is an essential part of life. You can only become your authentic self if you’re brave enough to cut ties with what holds you back.
Society wants you to fit in, but what’s the point if that doesn’t make you happy? Brownie points with people who are too scared to follow their dreams and only approve of you if you stay in line? You don’t need them. True friends will stick with you no matter the path you walk.
You’re the Only One Who Can Do It
“If I don’t do something, nothing is going to change.”
— Nathaniel Branden
In his bestselling book The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden says the most crucial breaking point for his clients is when they realize they are responsible for their life. And I couldn’t agree more.
In life, you’ll encounter tons of challenges and obstacles, make myriads of mistakes, and have to face a few fatal failures. Don’t close your eyes — take responsibility instead.
Jascha and I both realized that if we didn’t take the necessary steps to create the life we wanted, nothing would ever happen.
Nobody will ever come to save you. If you want to see change happen, you have to make it happen.
You won’t get a raise by waiting for it. Improve your skills, talk to your boss, build a side-hustle, or look for other opportunities. Take responsibility.
You won’t improve your relationship by waiting for it. Resolve your issues, address conflicts, build connection and intimacy, and invest in the relationship. Take responsibility.
Stop blaming outside forces for your misery — life is unfair, so what? As much as you wish, it won’t change any time soon. And if you don’t make it happen, you’ll never get what you want. So take responsibility for your own life and get to work.
Believe in Yourself No Matter What & Don’t Get Discouraged by People Who Don’t
This is the most cliché advice there is — but that’s because it’s true. You have to believe in yourself even long after others have given up, even if it doesn’t seem rational, even if all odds are stacked against you.
Don’t get upset with people who don’t believe in you. They don’t even believe in their own dreams, so how could they believe in yours?
At one point, it always comes down to the belief and the vision you have. Whether you believe that you can build a better future for your kids, inspire the world through your content, or become a better version of yourself — at one point, this will be the only thing that keeps you going.
You’ll never have 100% certainty that something will work out, despite what life coaches and motivational videos on YouTube tell you. That’s why you have to believe.
I’ll be honest with you. You’ll get close to losing this belief, just like I did. You’ll want to pack it all in, give up, and go back to the ease and comfort of your couch and TV. You’ll face challenges so big that you have no clue how to overcome them. When that happens, reflect on your past.
Look back upon your life and all the challenges you faced. Think of the lowest you’ve ever been, the biggest and insurmountable hurdle you’ve ever faced. If you’ve made it through that, you’ll make it through this. And if this is your lowest point — congratulations, you just set a new record. Take it as a challenge. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Few things scream authenticity and living your dream like becoming a psychedelic coach and traveling the world with your girlfriend. But no matter what your dream looks like, here are the lessons you can learn about achieving it:
- You can’t be yourself if you don’t know yourself (and you don’t know yourself nearly as well as you think)
- Nothing worth having comes easy
- Find and follow your purpose
- Network the right way
- Stop trying to fit in
- Believe in yourself and your dream no matter what
The path ahead of you can look scary and hard, just like it did for me. But thanks to Jascha, I’ve walked it nevertheless — and I’ve never felt so alive.
As Confucius said:
“You have two lives, and the second one begins when you realize you only have one.”
I help men create a vision for their lives, make an impact, and achieve their dreams by being more authentic. Sign up for my free 5-minute newsletter and become part of the Authentic Men Tribe!