5 Inspiring Lessons I Learned from Mads Singers

I was nervous. A cheerful young lady told me to wait a couple of minutes. She explained that her boss was at the other side of the building, finishing some business.

I walked towards the wall fronting the entrance, and accidentally, saw some wacky photos displayed. A friendly environment, I knew it.

Mads Singers

Not the picture I saw on the wall. Photo taken from madssingers.com

Mads entered the office, smiled, and shook my hand, “How are you doing man?” I was speechless. I followed him to a small room. We sat and smiled for a moment. “So, tell me something about you. What do you do?” He broke the silence.

1. Drop Your Ego, Stay Grounded

A few minutes before the meeting, I reminded myself to stay true and of course, never mess up (Yes, I’m good at messing up). The reminders:

  • Don’t be nervous
  • Be genuine.
  • Be mindful.
  • Drop the ego.

While writing, I tried to flashback everything.

  • Nervous? : A little bit, I guess.
  • Genuine? : Yes.
  • Am I mindful? : Yes.
  • Did I drop the ego? : Not sure. Did I?

Ego, as defined by Eckhart Tolle in his book, “The Power of Now,”

… “Ego is a derived sense of self… needs to identify with external things. It needs to be both defended and fed constantly.”

“The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.”

Ego. I know I carried some chunks while introducing myself. A sense of entitlement ignited, as if I’m the most passionate human being on the planet. I could still remember how I utter things like being proud of what I’ve done, or being different, ambitious, dedicated, and passionate. Here we go EGO.

But I guess, it’s not just me. Anyone asked about their passions or the things they do in life would either answer boastfully or humbly. Either way is fine. The purpose is to provide an answer. So what’s wrong? In my case, it doesn’t make me feel good if I act with a sense of entitlement.

This gave me a new lesson: Even if we think we’re good at dropping our ego, once excitement or surprise kicks in, our job to stay mindful is challenged. We are humans — hardwired to be treated as important.

PS: Here’s an article I want you to read (read it later). It talks about not dropping your ego — a contradiction to what I’ve learned. I love it when somebody has an opposing idea. It helps me challenge my perspective. But please, don’t be confused. Every idea has its own place.

2. If You Want To Be Happy, Change Your Mindset

“Good.” Mads smiled after my breezy introduction. When asked what he’s passionate about, he said it calmly and humbly. I know. I know. He’s not like me.

I read on his website that he loves to inspire and help people. Confession: I Googled the name “Mads Singers” before the meeting (wink). So I assumed that his business is focused on that. I was surprised to know that it was bigger than I thought.

“Changing mindset. I think that’s what we do here.” — Mads Singers

He shared some of his memories, including the day he realized he didn’t want to live life without doing something meaningful, which is to improve himself and help people. It was then he changed his mindset and started doing the things that truly matter to him.

That was a bold move.

Mads believes that following outdated rules, instead of following our heart, curiosity, and intuition, isn’t living a meaningful life. It won’t bring any fulfillment or maybe happiness. We should live life the way we want it to be.

My jaw almost cracked when he said he didn’t want to become the guy who just watches T.V. eight hours a day. And then, wonder how or when he could get some chicks (roll over the floor).

3. Do What You Love, Don’t Be Afraid

Mads breathes the philosophy, “Find, or at least identify what you really love, then pursue it.” He shared some real-life scenarios of people doing things they hate. While listening, I was blazing with zeal (Yes, another ally).

His words gunned my core, reminding me that only a few people are willing to change, give up the things they don’t really need or love, and take risks.

No matter how hard we encourage others to take action, do things they love or things that matter, and change or improve themselves, if they’re not willing to act, then there’s nothing we can do.

For most reasons, it’s because of “money.” Fine. Exchanging the things we love doing for money? Doesn’t work for me.

Just because we need money doesn’t mean we need to become super rich to pursue our passions or the things we love doing. Money is just a tool or a byproduct.

We have endless options. It’s the information age.

If you want to start a business with a tight budget, Google “How to start a business with little to no capital,” or if you want to learn a musical instrument, “How to learn a musical instrument.” Figure out the first step, then work on it.

For Mads, finding and pursuing what we really love should be the cornerstone of everyone’s journey. Do what you love. And do it every day. Life is a one-way ride.

“This world is full of people living by common (often very incorrect) rules, spending their life just ‘trying to get by’ running as little risk as possible – To me that is not a life, we only have one chance at life, so it’s about doing whatever it takes to make that magnificent whatever that is to you.” — Mads Singers, The Road to Success – Passion and Sharing

4. The Power of Self-Education

Mads is a practitioner of self-education. He believes that the process: Go to a university –> Finish a degreeFind a jobWork Hard and EarnThen die, isn’t a formula for success. We used to think it is, but it’s not.

The problem here isn’t the system. It’s our mindset.

Apple’s geniuses Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were college dropouts. And so was the brilliant screenwriter Woody Allen. There’s a lot of them. They even have a hall of fame.

“Can the system of schooling designed to process groups of students in standardized ways in a monolithic instructional mode be adapted to handle differences in the way individual brains are wired for learning.” – Christensen, Horn, and Johnson, in Disrupting Class

I believe that real education isn’t about studying subjects that don’t interest us, or memorizing things we can’t even categorize as necessary or not. And most importantly, it isn’t about getting good grades to impress our family, friends, and teachers.

I have nothing against the current education system. Mads, either. The point is to rewire our mental patterns towards education, reinvent our approach in learning or mastering our craft, and become responsible for our own improvement. Not just rely on what traditional schools offer.

With education being readily available through the Internet, anyone can start educating themselves through reading blogs or books, listening to podcasts, and watching thought-provoking videos like TED or The School of Life. We should take advantage of it.

Imagine if more people change their approach to education. Rather than following a university’s old-fashioned curriculum, we educate ourselves through studying a few subjects that only interest us, reading books, learning from our heroes, mentors, or experiences, developing values, practicing empathy, observation, and application of knowledge.

I’ll write about self-education someday. Give me time, please.

5. Change your Environment

Mads believes that when we are surrounded by individuals who have similar mindset like ours, we’re more motivated to pursue our dreams or do the things that matter to us. We are more motivated to surpass our limits. And that is gold.

“Success for me is simple, it’s about enabling other great people to make their dreams come true – Are you ready to stop dream and start doing?” — Mads Singers

Thanks, Mads. Thanks a lot.