Arman Assadi

The Secret to Becoming a Master in the Art of Living

Video Version

Text Version
Total Reading Time: 4 minutes.

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love in his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.
James A. Michener


What Is a Master in the Art of Living?

This quote changed my life. It doesn’t have to change your life, but I think that there’s something we can all learn from this concept. What is a master in the art of living? At the end of the day, that’s what the most of us are looking for. We want to master this process, this journey of what we’re all here to do, right?

We want money. Many of you want fame. Many of you want great relationships. You want a sense of fulfillment.

There are so many drivers we all have, right? But really what we’re looking for is to create a level of mastery.

The reason I love this quote so much is that he ends it with “to leave others to decide whether he is working or playing.” We’re talking about playing for a living. What a beautiful concept, right?

What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

That doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in one field for your entire life. What it does mean is that you have this opportunity to really go deep and become a master at one thing.
An example would be the way a doctor becomes a master of medicine or master of the body or whatever their specialty is. You have that opportunity as a solopreneur to do the same thing. Instead of jumping from idea to idea, opportunity to opportunity, shiny object to a shiny object, why not play for a living? Why not be a master in the art of living?
Why not choose a field or focus in which you can develop mastery?

The reason I think it’s important is simple: if you’re not growing, you’re dying. This is nature at the end of the day, right? Anything that is not blossoming and growing in this world is dying.
So you — as a human being — if your brain is not growing and expanding you’re dying.

Be a Lifelong Learner

And so what you need to be focused on is being a lifelong learning. This idea of education never ends. You never stop learning, you never stop growing, and you need to be committed to that.

You need to get addicted to the idea of learning within your craft because the more expertise you develop, the better you get at what you do, the bigger of a fee you can charge for your products and services. You can be the best when it comes to something, and then you can really blossom in your career and with your craft.

Find a resource that really goes deep that takes someone’s work of five to 10 years and goes deep into this topic. This is the reason why books are so valuable. Think about it. It takes years to write a book for most people. It takes a decade of life experience to even feel you’re ready to write a book for most people.

You’re condensing someone’s life experience into two hundred pages. In one or two sittings, you can absorb all this information and the best of what this person knows.
Let’s say you really want to get into neuroscience and you want to do this without going to school. Why not pick up a great neuroscience book by a great author and dive in. What’s going to happen is, within this book you’re going to be led to other books because you’re going to see who the inspiration and role models are for that person because they’re going to mention them as resources within the book.

It’s like a tree. They’re going to mention people that they’ve learned from and who their mentors are.
That’s going to lead to your second book, and your third book, and your fourth book. We’re going to go down an endless rabbit hole of lifelong education.
And that is exactly what you should do to become a master in the art of living.
Photo credit: Living colours — CC license

This Is What the Latest Science Says About Empathy

Video Version

Text Version
Total Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Being Empathetic is More Than Just Putting Ourselves in Another’s Shoes

There were some really interesting findings recently published in the journal of cognitive enhancement about empathy. Now empathy, of course, is the ability to understand someone else’s world. To feel and understand why they feel the way they feel. To take our feet and put them in their shoes. To put ourselves in their body, in their mind, and understand how they feel — right?
Well, you would assume the way to do that is to just get really good at cultivating the skill of placing ourselves in someone else’s personal situation. To better understand who they are and why they suffer and why they have these shortcomings.
Well, that’s not exactly the case…

Here Are The Results

Something very counter-intuitive happened in this latest study. These 161 participants aged 20 to 55 were put through a process of self-awareness. They were asked to take a look at the various parts of their mind.
Now as you may know we have various parts of our mind like the inner child or the conscious mind, but also the subconscious and the unconscious parts of our mind.
The more these participants were able to unravel and look beyond just the conscious parts of their mind and better understand why they do what they do, who they are, why they develop the habits that they did, the deeper they went into self-awareness and self-knowledge.
The deeper that they went was directly correlated to how much they could empathize with other people’s life situation.

Why is That?

What is empathy, really?
It’s the ability to say if I was that person, if I had that life, if I had those parents, if I went through that situation, all the positive and negative combined together create a person’s life. This results in the decisions and the things that they do in their life.
If we could better understand that, we would realize that we would do the exact same thing if we had that life. If we had those parents, if we had that upbringing we would do the exact same thing.
In a nutshell, that’s empathy.
I think this is a beautiful study and a beautiful understanding because by being able to simply take time to understand ourselves, we can make the world a better place by empathizing and understanding other people — and it’s not that hard to do.
So why not get started? Here’s a great example of how empathy can change your life.

Photo credit: Shoes — CC license

What Made Us Human May Actually Cause Our Extinction

Total Reading Time: 2.5 minutes.

What Makes Us Human?

Is it our capacity to love, to laugh, to cry… to be self-aware? Some would say it’s the fact that we manage to put on clothes every day (and as you know many solopreneurs don’t even do that every day).
Others would say it’s our amazing brain or our ability to speak using the larynx (the voice box).
While all of these are true, we wouldn’t still be here today were it not for our innate desire to connect, collaborate, and be an accepted member of society. This amazing human trait is what allowed a small civilization to evolve into a machine with a population of over 7 billion people in just a few thousand years.
Do you ever notice how groups of friends dress, talk, and think alike?

At some level, we all do this because we’re hardwired to need human connection.
We have spent our entire lives trying to fit in and to live by the boundaries set by society — by ads, our parents, and our schools.
Well meaning people over multiple generations have created this structure — not to manipulate — but to provide a roadmap that reaffirms the system that helps us evolve. But, ultimately, what helped us thrive and flourish may lead to our demise.

But What Got Us Here Won’t Get Us There

The world is evolving at an exponential rate and technology is taking over most of what we do, which leads to fun (or scary, depending on who you’re asking) questions like, are we leading toward an era of transhumanism?
Here’s my current belief: individuality is what will save us. Being just like everyone else will result in stagnation. Do you want to make a real impact? Do you want to be remembered? Or perhaps you simply want to live a better life?
To do this we have to stop being afraid of being different. Identify your individuality. Step into what makes you unique, embrace who you are, and remember to have some fun with it.
Not only will this create a better world for all of us, but it will help you live a more fulfilled lifeOne of the greatest philosophers to ever live, Lao Tzu, once said:

When I let go of who I am, I become who I might be.

Let go. Step onto the ledge of your world of knowledge and gaze into the unknown. Listen to the stillness. Stay there and just listen.
Eventually, you may feel a pull and with that, you’ll have your compass. You don’t need a precise road map, you just need some direction and you simply need to keep moving forward.
More of the path reveals itself with each step you take — and it always starts with one tiny step. Only when you take this first step will the second one show up. This is the beauty of life.
And this is why only the bold get what they want in life. You don’t need to solve hunger, end poverty, or stop a war…
Do you know what the world really needs? For you to become who you really are, and be completely unapologetic about it.

Photo credit: Evolution — CC license

3 Fast Ways to Grow Your Lean Startup with Eric Ries

Video Version

Text Version
Total Reading Time: 4 minutes.
I want to go through three ways to grow your startup. I was first introduced to this idea in the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
Now this isn’t something completely revolutionary, but it’s a fundamental and essential strategy all entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and anyone in business definitely needs to be reminded of.

1. Grow by Selling to Current Customers

The first method that The Lean Startup talks about is known as the sticky engine. The sticky engine is when you take the existing customers that you already have and sell them more. You increase the lifetime value of each individual customer.
The reason I really like the sticky engine is that most people overlook this stage. Most people just think about new ways to attract new customers, but they don’t take care of the customers that they already have.
This is a really easy way to drive more dollars to the bottom line and grow your startup. You can do this by introducing a new feature, by bringing in a new product to sell to the existing customers, or even taking them up the ladder.
You know you have a core offering by upselling them into a higher level luxury level offer because there’s a lot of money sitting on the table often times.

2. Grow Your Startup Organically

Secondly, is the viral engine. The viral engine is really interesting because it’s basically organic. It falls under the umbrella of content marketing.
It involves taking the people that you already have and making them brand ambassadors. It’s making them share your stuff, your content your videos, your products, your software, or your services out in the world for you for free.
You do this by incentivizing them, but you mainly do it by making them super happy so you can combine the sticky engine with the viral engine. At the end of the day, if your customers are happy, they’re going to spread the word for you. Below are examples from Headway Capital to make your customers happy:

All you have to do is give them an incentive and then it takes off like wildfire.
Now the problem with this engine is that you can’t really build a thriving business off of just this alone. You’ll need a more reliable method where you control the knobs and levers. And that is the paid engine.

3. Grow Your Startup with Paid Advertisement

When you really crack the code to the paid engine, you have a real business. Often times we wait years to really crack the code to the paid engine, which is essentially paid advertising to drive new customers to come in. It can take a bit of engineering to crack the code.
You need to spend less (expenses) than what you’re making (revenues) to be profitable, right?
If you can make more money per customer than you spend to acquire that customer, you have a business. You’ve cracked the code. The more you can spend and outspend all of your competitors on marketing and on paid advertising, the more your company can grow.
This is a bit counterintuitive, but it’s actually brilliant because your goal should be to spend as much money as possible to acquire customers.
That means that your revenues are going to continually scale and increase over time.


It’s a very simple formula, but it’s hard to crack. And once you crack it, you have yourself a thriving business. So, in my opinion, focus first on identifying if you can actually apply a paid advertising formula to your business.
Then as a bonus, add in the content marketing — that viral engine. And of course, the low hanging fruit, the thing that you should focus on more than anything is the customers you already have.
Make those people happy. Turn them into raving fans. Make them brand ambassadors. There’s no way your startup will not succeed over time if you can nail all three of these engines.
Photo credit: Grow — CC license

How to Get out of a Funk and Create an Exciting Vision

Total Reading Time: 6 minutes.
Do you ever find yourself stuck in the weeds of inertia?
It might be the fear of failure, the desire for perfection, or something else entirely…but none of us seem to be able to fully avoid that feeling of being locked down by an invisible force at times. 
The amazing thing about human beings is the software we come into this world with. What most people don’t realize is that their mind is programmable.
It cannot be taken beyond its limits (for now), but it can be optimized.
Unfortunately, we don’t come with instruction manuals and have to figure things out for ourselves. We haven’t quite learned how to tap into the power of our full potential.

How Do We Reach Our Full Potential?

You may or you may not know that I’ve been underground working on a new secret venture, called Project Evo, that’s set to revolutionize the way we learn and grow.
Analyzing details and seeing all the steps necessary to create something is one of my innate abilities, it comes naturally to me.
This superpower is the reason I’m able to think strategically and execute with speed, and it has certainly earned me some credibility working alongside some of the biggest names in online business — Tim Sykes, Lewis Howes, Neil Patel, Gerard Adams, not to mention bigger companies like
Now you would think that it takes the same amount of effort to work on your strengths as it does your weaknesses, except it doesn’t…
One of the strange phenomena’s of your brain is that it rewards you with dopamine whenever you enjoy what you’re doing and are slightly challenged (FLOW, one of my all-time favorite books, discusses this in detail). This is why athletes like Lionel Messi can spend hours doing football drills that seem insane to you and I, or why world-champion swimmers can spend half a day in the pool.

It feels really good…there’s a sense of deep enjoyment.
Think of it like creating a character in a video game, will you choose to have balanced stats or will you choose insanely high strength?

It’s so much easier to focus on being great at something, and finding ways to constantly increase and optimize these skills. I don’t worry about being creative, because I know that’s a weakness, so instead I intentionally surround myself with creative visionaries and people with opposite skill sets to balance me out.

Lesson Learned

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned ever since starting the Project Evo journey has been that we are so much more powerful together than we are alone — we all need teammates and partners, and I avoided this for so long. 
So for example, if numbers and details aren’t your strength, then leave that to the accountants. This is just a simple example, but what you need to understand is that it isn’t just the time wasted that hurts, but the cumulative effects of the energy you’re losing.
The key is to focus on the “big domino” — the task/project that will make everything else easier to accomplish. If you’re like me and spend a lot of your time on details, pick your head up throughout the day and do a quick check.  
It’s really just a matter of developing and valuing presence over productivity. If you meditate, you know the feeling. The thoughts flow and your mind chases them. Meditation teaches you to stop and observe the thoughts, rather than identify with the storylines.
The key for me has been to work on delegating these smaller things to the right people, so I’m not working in the business but instead working on it. A small change, but a massive difference.
Here is a sneak peek at my process for creating a vision and plan for making massive goals happen, and how you can use it in your own life:

Step 1: Time Management

The first step is to carve out a few hours to sit down and let your ideas loose, figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Step 2: Brainstorm

Get clear on what you want to accomplish and paint a picture of what you want your future to look and feel like. Make it come alive with a healthy dose of excitement.
If you’re not yelling with excitement by the time you’re done describing your vision, then go back to the drawing board because it’s either:

a) not big enough or

b) not exciting enough.

You need to be so excited that you’re at the edge of your seat. You’re screaming, you’re yelling, you’re laughing, and going through a flurry of emotions.

Step 3: Planning

Now, the key is to use this energy to lay out a plan for execution and defining the easiest ways to make your vision happen.
This stuff — as simple as it looks and sounds — works… so please take it seriously.

So what’s my vision?
Well, here’s a little insight into the inner workings of my mind…

One of Project Evo’s future goals is to have its own secret headquarters, I’m talking like a next level X-Men style compound — something spectacular. 

It’s going to be nestled somewhere in the mountains and open by invite only to our team, partners, clients, families, and people who work with us.
It’s going to be a creative laboratory and think tank for our tribe to bounce ideas, share insights, and get around other elite performers. You’ll be able to ski in the winter, mountain bike in the summer, or just lay on a hammock and talk life and business with other high-level thinkers and entrepreneurs.

We want to hold retreats and gather the greatest minds of the world, so it will be kind of like a TED global event with a little James Bond vibe thrown in the mix. Maybe we’ll even have Deepak Chopra stop in to teach meditation.

Step 4: Think Big

Words are generative. This can either be wishful thinking or it can become a reality. The rest is up to me setting a plan in motion and executing while giving into the flow of life. It’s not a matter of how but a matter of when.

Some people will struggle with this exercise because they prefer to be grounded in the present and work with things that make sense to their logical mind, myself included, so it’s important to get around other creative and visionary thinkers.

My business partner and friend Chad Mureta is this person in my life, and when we brainstorm anything we like to get really wild and push the limits of what’s possible.
Our conversations tend to go something like this:
“What do you think we should reward ourselves with in the future once we’re successful with this company and launch?” Then we go on a rapid-fire brainstorming session of 10 crazy ideas, pick one that we both like, and the rest is history.

I get really excited when I can take an idea and lead a team to bring it to life. That’s one of my crafts in life. That’s what I do best.
What’s yours?

Step 5: Exercise Your Craft

If you’re not exercising your craft in your work, there’s a good chance you feel unfulfilled, disconnected, or apathetic. And if that continues too long it can definitely lead to sadness, anxiety, or even depression (I know this from experience).
If you feel unfulfilled then ask yourself if you’d be okay with sticking to the same pattern and going to your deathbed with this life. Is that okay with you? Great, keep doing your thing. 
Does it make you sick to think of that regret? Great, make a f*cking change today. Even a small change is enough to get momentum in the right direction and ultimately that’s all that matters.
Do not go to the end of your life with your unique genius and talents wasted away, or worse, never even identifying what they are. There’s a reason that you were chosen to be a carrier of your gift, and guess what? When you do bring it out, it’s going to feel magnificent.

You are designed to feel pure enjoyment and bliss when you’re doing the work you’re meant to be doing….
I challenge you to uncover what makes you come alive and relentlessly chase it.
Photo credit: Deepthi Divakaran — CC license

The Key to Identifying Your Vocation and Career Path

Video Version

Text Version
Total Reading Time: 3 minutes
Vocation identification is something that I’m continually working on, and I’ve actually partnered with a couple of cognitive psychologists and data scientists to develop a test that helps people identify their unique craft.
The first email that automatically goes out to people that join my private email list addresses their biggest pain point: What’s something that you’re currently struggling with right now when it comes to finding your career path?
So many people say things to me like…”I don’t even know what my passions are. I don’t know what I care about. I don’t know. I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t have anything that I actually want to pursue my life.”
These are the common objections for a lot of people…and that is what has led me to this model.

The Confluence Model

The Confluence Model is the intersection between your passion, your unique genius, and what the world wants and needs. Before you judge words like passion and genius, because they can sound corny, let me explain…
First of all, when I say passion I’m not talking about the Huffington Post articles that say “just find your passion and you’ll be ok.” That’s an integral aspect of your career no doubt about it. It’s important to have passion and care about what you’re doing, but it’s just one piece.
The second piece is your unique genius. When I say genius to people they sometimes think, “Well, how am I a genius? Only Einstein is a genius, only Steve Jobs is a genius.” And yes, we’re not all the Steve Jobs type, but we each have a unique style.
For example, I’m not a data guy, I’m not an engineer. But if I was doing statistics all day long and I was modeling out different things like that, I would build a new skill.
But I would also immediately be incredibly unfulfilled. It’s one of those things that could only last a certain amount of time. We each have a sweet spot that we have to identify and have an area of our lives where we get into what’s called a flow state. We get into these modes where our prefrontal cortex just turns off and time flies by.

Why Is It So Transient?

It’s very important that you identify what that moment was. What was that task? What was that work I was doing? And then finally, what does the world actually need?
So for entrepreneurs, it could be that they are deeply engaged with their audience.
They have a pulse on them. They know exactly what they need. They know exactly what their deepest fears are, their biggest desires. And if you’re going to work for a company, you better hope that the founders are very clear on that.
You better hope that they understand the marketplace so well, and are so deeply connected to their customers that they know exactly what the next move is before the customer even knows.
And that’s how you know you found a sweet spot…
Photo credit: Careers KeyCC license