Friday, December 19, 2014

My Story: A Journey to Discovering Purpose -- Part II

My Story -- A Journey to Discovering Purpose -- Part II
December 18, 2014

This post is not just about a business idea, it's about "Inspiring a Revolution of Change".... ~BK

In Part I, I told my personal journey of self discovery, which can be read here. On my mission to find purpose, here's a quick recap from the last article of the major lessons I learned along the way:
  5. GIVE, GIVE, GIVE & then GIVE some MORE

Part II is all about finding passion through inspiration and taking action. In this blog post I continue to share all of the most profound realizations I have had along my journey to finding purpose. These concepts and formulas can be used and adopted by ANYONE aspiring to make their dream a reality. This is my Story...

Moral of the Story #10: ACTION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS

"when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking & GO." 

If you have an hour to spare, I go into a lot of detail in my interview with Hope Girl on the current project I'm working on now, how it came to be, what the objective is and how it all plays into my personal vision for the future. A few of the videos I share below are also very beautifully dubbed into this interview. For the sake of redundancy I label which ones those are:

As mentioned in the video with Hope, determining our "why" for this business concept was and continues to be our focus to this day. Answering this question has not only encouraged the biggest breakthrough, for this project specifically. It has also helped me to understand personally, what was missing from past business start-ups I was involved in, and quite possibly what made some of them fall short of reaching the level of success we had intended.

Based on my personal experience in business, I would imagine, when posed with the question, of 'why' most entrepreneurs are in business, these would likely be the most common responses:
"To make money."
"To provide for my family."
"Because I love it."
"Because I enjoy the freedom of working for myself."
"Because I make a great income that allows me to do the things in life I enjoy"
"To make people's lives easier/better by..."
Through everything I learned throughout part I of this story, the above reasons were no longer good enough standing on their own. There had to be a greater purpose than just money, security, stability or even attaining total happiness. The realization here is that securing happiness for just myself is no longer good enough. Although, it is the very crucial first step to sharing happiness with others.

Being an entrepreneur is about improving people's lives by offering a product that solves a problem, simplifies a process, or by offering a service that gives people more quality time to enjoy family, etc. And of course, loving what you do, having freedom and providing for family are all part of what make up the thrill of becoming an entrepreneur.

BUT, if business was designed to make people's lives better/easier or solve a problem, commerce as a whole seems to have missed the mark in a very major way. See for yourself:
  • Almost half the world -- over three billion people -- live on less than $2.50/day
  • At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10/day
  • 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they "die quietly in some of the poorest villages on Earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world"
  • Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names
  • Less than 1% of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn't happen
  • Every year there are 350 - 500 million cases of malaria (a curable disease), with 1 million fatalities
  • Water problems affect half of humanity: some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water & 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation
  • 1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometer, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 liters of water/day. In the UK, the avg person uses more than 50 liters/day flushing toilets. The highest avg water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters/day
  • 1.6 billion people -- a quarter of humanity -- live without electricity
  • For every $1 in aid a developing country receives, over $25 is spent on debt repayment
  • In 1820 the distance between the richest and poorest countries was 3 to 1,in 1992 it was 72 to 1
The stats above barely scratch the surface of the issues facing humanity today. More found here at this link.

Are your eyes opened yet? What do you see in this picture?

$11 billion on ice cream in Europe!? Can you imagine how much opportunity around the world could be created with $11 billion, let alone $780 billion on military spending. I had to wipe my eyes and do a double take when I saw that one.

Here's our main tenet at 9 Gifts of Gaia: All human beings are born with unlimited potential, unlimited capacity and unlimited creativity. No exceptions.

Every year we see multiple global summits that give the illusion that key issues are being addressed and steps have been put in place to solve them. This illusion of change has taken the power out of our hands, and into those who don’t seem to care or do anything about it.

Nobody is going to change the world for us, and if we continue living our lives and being so into our own lives while ignoring what is happening to planet Earth, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the outcome won’t be sunshine and roses. 

If we've learned one thing it's that the solutions to the world's problems will NOT come from any so-called government or political leaders. They will come from people. People just like YOU. People just like me and millions of other creative minds from all around the world. This is why I believe deep down everyone is an entrepreneur. Everyone is a creator.


I have seen it for myself so many times in my life. As a businessman and as a person in general. Look around you, there's creative people and projects just about everywhere you look. Just imagine what happens when our creative juices are focused on a collective intent for a peaceful, sustainable, poverty free world...

"Why hide your talent in the closet of complacency, when you have greatness within you." 

Moral of the Story #12: KNOW YOUR "WHY" 

"What's your why? When you know why you do what you do even the toughest days become easier." 

The why doesn't start and finish just with business. It can apply to literally everything we do in life. "What's my why?" is just about the best filter we can use to determine the value of whether or not to DO one thing or the other, no matter what IT is. And like the quote above says, when our why is big enough, we will always find our how.

Many of the videos and info that follow are all a result of researching "daring to be different in business." I had no interest in going back into business the old way it was done. My search for purpose was quite literally a combination of going within to see what resonates, as well as digging on the internet :)


"Don't waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin and inspiration will find you." 

Here are a few videos, also dubbed into the interview with Hope, that provided much needed guidance and inspiration on my own personal Journey to Why. Hard not to tear up watching this one in particular.

I gotta hand it to Sevenly for what they have accomplished. Dale Partridge and his undeniable success as CEO of Sevenly has been a HUGE inspiration for me and my partners. To raise over $4,000,000 in $7 increments, while helping over 1.3 million people in the process is not only inspiring, it's a miracle. 

What does this prove? One person with a great idea can make a HUGE impact...

You better believe Dale & Sevenly know exactly what their Why is. 

"There's nothing more powerful than a great idea, whose time has come"

Here is the email I sent to Dale to thank him for the inspiration:

I'll keep this brief because I know you are a very busy guy. I too am an entrepreneur and interestingly enough, used to own and operate a business in Costa Mesa. Now in the process of launching a new business, I found Sevenly in doing research on "daring to be different in business." I felt strongly the entire way we do business was in need of a major over haul. When I found Sevenly and watched your "how it works" video I was blown away. Tears of inspiration flowed down my face...not afraid to admit it :)
What you have created is nothing short of amazing. I know part of your mission was to inspire other businesses to be less profit and more people focused. Consider me a success story. 9 Gifts of Gaia will launch soon, donating $9 from every purchase toward helping to alleviate poverty, followed by what will be a series of other causes and paradigm shifting projects. So, I just wanted to say THANK YOU. You are a bright shining beacon of light this world needs right now. Keep up the good work my friend. Blessings & Namaste.
His response:
Wow thank you man, that means a lot. :) 
Keep fighting the good fight,

Actual advice shared with me by one of my mentors.

There is absolutely no shame in copying someone's idea and adding a few twists to make it your own. These are the basic components and building blocks of innovation. Most commonly, new innovations are a product of taking an existing idea and improving upon it to make it better, more efficient, etc.

Sevenly is an incredible business concept. Leveraging business to support a cause is not a new phenomenon. All they have done, is taken a for-profit business model and placed the cause, as opposed to the product up front and center. That was their twist, and ultimately the main ingredient that resulted in such incredible success.

"You are confined only by the walls you build yourself." 

When diving deeper, one of the only major issues I could find with the Sevenly business model was their charity focused approach. Instantly I had major recall of all the horror stories I've discovered about so many of the major charities.

Some of these stats are mentioned in the video with Hope, so no need to repeat again here. Although, if interested in exploring the deep levels of deception here is a great article.

Below is an excerpt from another article I found which helps to illustrate the fundamental issue between targeting symptoms as opposed to focusing on the actual cause:

(this is a really great article)
Charities often target symptoms, not causes 
The accusation is that charity helps the recipient with their problem, but it doesn't do much to deal with the causes of that problem. 
Particular aspects of this are dealt with in the next two topics. 
It certainly is true that some charities do stopgap or 'band-aid' work, either exclusively or some of the time. 
But in fact, a lot of charity work is devoted to dealing with the fundamental causes of problems: for example trying to reduce global poverty, or doing research into diseases like cancer. 
These two examples highlight very different problems. 
Combating cancer is a relatively simple scientific problem, while global poverty requires more than a scientific operation, or finding a better way to manage world resources. 
Combating poverty involves slow processes of political, cultural and social change, with many stakeholders, significant opposition and serious issues of self-determination and coercion to be navigated. 
And long-term campaigns pose another ethical problem: should we spend to make a better world in 10 years' time if that means that people who we could have fed starve to death tomorrow? 
The famous story of the boy and the starfish shows why using charity to fix individual problems can be very valuable.

If I can just help one person, all of a sudden my life is filled with purpose...

"It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing that matters." 

If so many non-profits and charitable organizations lack transparency, and only target symptoms, not causes, then how can we circumvent the charity and get directly to the individual? 

The answer? (at least one of many. Vid also in presentation)

Truth be told, this whole concept of microfinance didn't sit right when I first discovered it. As an ex-finance guy, I walked away from the business with a very sour taste in my mouth. I felt that all loans were a scam and enslaved honest and hard working people to fictitious, userous debt. I didn't lie to my clients about the types of loans they were receiving, like many in the business did, but at the end of the day it was companies just like mine that played a major role in the housing collapse of 2008. As a result, I put the word "loan" in the same category of all the other 4 letter words that shouldn't be spoken.

Challenging to grasp, especially knowing what I know now, after years of research into how debt, money and credit really work. So, I needed to dive into it a bit to fully understand the mechanics.

The figures and videos shared below helped me to see the light...very quickly.

These statistics are mind blowing. Why more people don't know about this? A basic lack of awareness. Well, it's time for that to change...

Synchronistically, I found this Ted Talk with Dr. Muhammad Yunus who won the Nobel Prize in 2006 for creating microcredit. Microcredit loans to date have pulled close to 100 million people out of poverty by focusing on the cause, not the symptom. These next two videos tell the story of how it all began. Worth watching if you have the time. Or bookmark and come back later. 

After watching this video, I purchased Dr. Yunus' book, Banker to the Poor, on Kindle and read through it in just a few days.

Jessica Jackley, co-founded Kiva after watching Dr. Yunus' video above. More proof one person with an inspired idea can change the world.

"The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a place where he/she no longer needs our gift." 

These videos led me to some very profound realizations. For the first time in my life, I started to really understand that quote, "you're either part of the problem, OR part of the solution." The fire was lit. My commitment to becoming a part of the solution has never been filled with such extreme levels of passion and determination. Every fiber of my being is telling me, it's time to take a stand.


"Generosity isn't just about what you do. It’s about who you are. Before it’s a matter of giving or of doing, it’s a matter of being."

Here are a few quotes from Dr. Yunus' book that opened my eyes to not only the reality of poverty, but also the gross misunderstanding around it, as well as our absolute ability to render it a part of our past:
“Once poverty is gone, we'll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They'll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society - how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair.”  
“When we want to help the poor, we usually offer them charity. Most often we use charity to avoid recognizing the problem and finding the solution for it. Charity becomes a way to shrug off our responsibility. But charity is no solution to poverty. Charity only perpetuates poverty by taking the initiative away from the poor. Charity allows us to go ahead with our own lives without worrying about the lives of the poor. Charity appeases our consciences.” 
“If you go out into the real world, you cannot miss seeing that the poor are poor not because they are untrained or illiterate but because they cannot retain the returns of their labor. They have no control over capital, and it is the ability to control capital that gives people the power to rise out of poverty.” 
“People.. were poor not because they were stupid or lazy. They worked all day long, doing complex physical tasks. They were poor because the financial institution in the country did not help them widen their economic base.”  
“Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building stable peace we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to live decent lives.” 
“I believe that we can create a poverty-free world because poverty is not created by poor people. It has been created and sustained by the economic and social systems that we have designed for ourselves; the institutions and concepts that make up that system; the policies that we pursue.” 
Here's the clincher...

“The needs of people around the world are real and urgent, and how we respond to them will help to determine the future of the human race." 

Why such a strong focus on poverty? Because I believe when one person suffers, we all suffer and poverty results in more suffering than all the various other noble causes combined. I feel very strongly that until we can conquer this issue on a social scale we will be limited in our collective ability to evolve as a species. As I said before, people have within them infinite wells of potential and creativity. However, poverty stunts creativity in a very major way. Pull people out of poverty and what happens is creativity multiplies exponentially.

So, it begs the question, if we carry within us the power to end world poverty, then HOW are we going to do it? This picture illustrates my prediction:

In my many countless hours of research over the last couple of months, I've uncovered so many incredible opportunities. One of the biggest realizations (something I already knew but hadn't yet created a contextual understanding for), is that for every single challenge facing humanity today, a solution (if not many) already exist to turn it around.

One of the most profound discoveries was this whole concept of social business, or generosity based business. I had no idea how big this movement really was. At the end of reading "Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus, there were a few quotes in particular he shared about the promising future of social business, which represented the ultimate landslide of inspiration I was very consciously seeking.

There are quite a few passages here, but as far as I'm concerned, this information represents the major breakthrough needed to flip the script on causeless consumerism. These ideas are more than capable of shifting the entire framework of our collective connection to the web of global commerce:

"A completely new world can be created by making space for the social entrepreneurs and the social investors in the business world. This is a very important agenda for all of us. Eliminating poverty will become so much easier if social entrepreneurs can take up the challenge of ending poverty and if social investors can use their investment money to support the work of social entrepreneurs." 

"To me, a world without poverty means a world in which every person can take care of his or her basic life needs. In such a world, nobody would die of hunger or suffer from malnutrition. This is a goal world leaders have been calling for decades, but they have never set out any way of achieving it." (That's because they need it to keep humanity under control) 

"Today, when we think of business we think of enterprises that are dedicated to making money - to profit maximization. To me, that's too narrow a definition of people as economic participants. Human beings are much more complex than just being instruments for making money. So I began to imagine another dimension - a dimension where human beings want to be of help to other people, to create a new kind of world through economic activity. This requires a new kind of business - one that I call a social business."

"A social business is a non-loss, non-dividend enterprise, created with the intention to do good to people, to bring positive changes to the world, without any short-term expectation of making money out of it. That is the subject of my new book, Creating a World Without Poverty. It describes how social business can change the world and end poverty on this planet." 

"To free-market fundamentalists, social business might seem blasphemous. The idea of a business with objectives other than profits has no place in their existing theology of capitalism. Yet surely no harm will be done to the free market if not all businesses are profit maximizing businesses (PMB's). Surely capitalism is amenable to improvements. And sure the stakes are too high to go on the way we have been going. By insisting that all businesses, by definition, must necessarily be PMB's and by treating this as some kind of axiomatic truth, we have created a world that ignores the multi-dimensional nature of human beings. As a result, businesses remain incapable of addressing many of our most pressing social problems." 

"We need businesses that are not purely seeking profit, but dedicated to solving social and environmental problems." 

"In its organizational structure, this new business is basically the same as the existing PMB. But it differs in its objectives. Like other businesses, it employs workers, creates goods or services, and provides these to customers for a price consistent with its objectives. But its underlying objective - and the criterion by which it should be evaluated - is to create social benefits for those whose lives it touches. The company itself may earn a profit, but the investors who support it do not take any profits out of the company, except recouping an amount equivalent to their original investment, over a period of time. A social business is a company that is cause driven rather than profit-driven, with the potential to act as a change agent for the world." 

"A social business is not a charity. It is a business in every sense. It has to recover its full costs while achieving its social objective. When you are running a business, you think differently and work differently than when you are running a charity. And this makes all the difference in defining social business and its impact on society. "

"There are many organizations in the world today that concentrate on creating social benefit. Most do not recover their total costs. Nonprofit organizations and nongovernmental organizations rely on charitable donations, foundation grants, or government support to implement their programs. Most of their leaders are dedicated people doing commendable work, but since they do not recover their costs from their operations, they are forced to devote part of their time and energy, sometimes a significant part, to raising money."

"How can the products or services sold by a social business provide a social benefit? There are countless ways. For example, imagine: A social business that manufactures and sells high-quality, nutritious food products at very low prices to a targeted market of poor and underfed children. These products can be cheaper because they do not compete in the luxury market and therefore don't require costly packaging or advertising, besides not being under compulsion to maximize profit." 

"The achievement of full cost recovery as a social business is a moment worth celebrating. Once a social objective driven project overcomes the gravitational force of financial dependence, it is ready for space flight. Such a project is self-sustaining and enjoys the potential for almost unlimited growth and expansion. And as the social business grows, so do the benefits it provides to society." 

"Thus, a social business is designed and operated as a business enterprise, with products, services, customers, markets, expenses, and revenues -- but with the profit maximization principle replaced by the social benefit principle. Rather than seeking to amass the highest possible level of financial profit to be enjoyed by the investors, the social business seeks to achieve a social objective." 

Do you see where this is headed yet?...

Let these stats I found illustrate just how big the generosity movement has become.

"47% of consumers have bought a brand at least monthly that supports a cause.”

"75 % of young people donated money to causes in 2012, and 63 percent volunteered time."

As far as I'm concerned, what these statistics equate to is: bona fide & unparalleled opportunity for a total over haul in the way we do business.

For anyone who has ever had the desire to create a business & is simultaneously passionate about world change, NOW is the time to step up. Whether you're in business or aspring to start one, anyone brave enough to take the leap of faith and break the cycle, has a huge advantage over all the other businesses out there who haven't gotten the memo that it's time for change.

I predict that in the very near future all businesses will be GBB's. What's GBB you ask? It's a "Generosity Based Business" and it goes something like this...

What do you do for a living?

I sell shirts online "to" alleviate poverty
I create health and wellness products "to" support environmental & sustainability projects
I offer inspirational art "to" support new projects and innovations to heal the world
I make custom jewelry "to" build a new paradigm school in Indonesia


Because I want to change the world and inspire others to do the same...

What you just read above is my personal why: I want to change the world and inspire others to do the same. In their own creative ways of course. 

All of the above are not just creative examples I pulled together to illustrate a point. It's the GBB plan, mission and intention of 9 Gifts of Gaia. Poverty isn't the only cause we'll be focusing on, it's the first of many. As of this now moment our cause focus consists of four major categories. I call it our PEIS model (pronounced peace):

Poverty -- "If one person suffers, we all suffer."
Education -- "Education is not a privilege, it's a basic human right."
Innovation -- "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."
Sustainability -- "We do not inherent the Earth from our ancestors we borrow it from our children."

And with the blink of an eye and a little hard work, the vision manifests into reality...

But that will have to wait until Part III...most likely later today :) I'll also be talking about strategies I've found to find and build a team of passionate change makers. 2015 will be the year of the Tribal business. More to come on that concept, as well.

Want to be a part of the Revolution for Change? Email me at

Also, for a sneak peak into 9 Gifts of Gaia, please visit our FB page and make sure to leave us a "like!" We'll be doing a raffle and giving away lots of cool stuff very soon :)

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