Sitting at the Manly Wharf food court, I noticed a Boost beside between the Thai and Sushi outlets. Boost is a great success story – the founder even published a book – and yet it reminds me of an old friend.

Kim created Juice Break many years ago. Before juice bars had really even hit Australia – well before Boost – Juice Break was helping make Brisbanites more healthy by introducing them to the wonders of fresh juices and intensely healthy nutrition. Kim had a great little store and brought together some really cool people.

But Juice Break no longer exists.

It wasn’t that the product wasn’t “right” – as evidenced by the roaring success of Boost and a host of other juice outlets today. And the timing was pretty good too – Juice Break closed as the first of today’s successful juice outlets were opening. They could have been a market leader, ready to reap the turn of the tide and the resultant massive wave.

And Kim was – and is – really cool! A surfer, he’s likeable and fun to hang out with.

There were many reasons that we now know the story of Boost rather than the story of Juice Break. But one of the most important lessons for me is that success often lies just a short twist in the road away. So when you find something that inspires you, something that you feel is worth pursuing, you really gotta go for it.

It can take a long time to make your dreams a reality. Research into genius shows that it takes about a decade before anything really significant can be achieved. So choose something that you love to do… Something that is worth doing even if others don’t know you’re doing it… Something that you enjoy doing for its own sake rather than because you believe it will get you something.

I’m doing my NLP Trainers’ Training at the moment. It’s exciting. It’s interesting. It’s engaging. And with my good friends in Shanghai I’m looking forward to sharing my insights with more people upon my return. Maybe I’ll make some money from it – heck, I’d like that – but even if I don’t, I love being here and doing what I’m doing right now.

I figure that if you’re doing something that you love to do, even if it doesn’t get you where you want to go – even if it’s a total waste of time – if you choose to do something that you love to do for its own sake, you’ll never be really wasting your time.

A friend was telling me about his friend who wants to study law but who fears that she’ll not live long enough to practice. She’s just 20 and doesn’t think she’ll make it to 25. We all have our perculiarities, but to me the reason to study law is to enjoy the process of learning and experiencing the study of law… Not because you’ll become a lawyer.

I’d love to give the appropriate source, but I can just hear Marianne Williamson saying to me: “Do what you love. Do what makes your heart sing. And never do it for the money.”

And now I’m going to enjoy my tempura prawn roll and Berry Crush…

What I’ve been doing

Daniel Smith was MC for AmCham\'s Independence Day celebrationsThe past few months have been busier than usual for me. I have been working with CBC, finally receiving my NLP Master Practitioner certificate, developing The China NLP Society and working on China Advanced Toastmasters. And I got to MC the AmCham Independence Day Event which was a blast!

It’s been fun 🙂

Oh – and I moved into a great new apartment…

Shanghai is an exciting place to be living right now. While there aren’t quite so many foreigners around as before, there is still a huge vibe in the final weeks before the Olympics begin…

It’s a damn small world

I was in an outlying suburb of Shanghai on Friday afternoon, and of all the people that would walk up to me was my best friend’s brother-in-law! We met once – at his sister’s wedding – back in May, and we headed out last night 🙂

In London two years ago, I walked into Sarah, one of my dearest friends from law school, as we walked down the street in opposite directions – but a lot more of my friends or associates have ended up in London than here in Shanghai.

There are two things that this really made clear to me:

  1. The world is really really really really small, and
  2. Shanghai is an increasingly cool place to be. 

The wonders of Shanghai

Contrast is a wonderful thing. This is my third time in Shanghai, though my first in summer. Even though many of my friends – like the lovely Ingrid whose piano concert at the Oriental Art Centre last night was sensational – are struggling with the oppressive heat and humidity, for me it’s actually a really nice change to have consistent 30+ degree days.

Looking out from the 38th floor of the Eton this morning, I was struck by the contrasts of this great city. I saw the Oriental Pearl, Jin Mao and the nearly complete World Financial Centre, yet at the same time there were vacant blocks along the northern waterfront of PuDong… and a road that couldn’t be completed because there was still an apartment block in the way!

Shanghai is smelly, messy and chaotic, yet there are still amazing things happening here.
Let me put in a plug for the best cafe in Shanghai: Gallery Mondu at 93 DanShui Rd… right at the northern end of XinTianDi – their coffee is the best I’ve tasted anywhere, the service is truly exceptional and the venue combines sophisticated design with sublime functionality. Get there before 11pm!

I’m looking forward to seeing my friends at the workshop that I’m running tomorrow afternoon – it should be great! It has prompted me to rework in preparation for the new era in my work there.

Watch Bangladesh:

Adnan Shams, a great friend from business school has just setup an NGO in Bangladesh called “Watch Bangladesh“. They are doing some really amazing projects and work – from schools and literacy to health to agriculture and microcredit.

Adnan shows what you can do with an MBA and the determination to make your world a better place. Have a look at his site and see how you might be able to help.

Great work, my friend!