Mastering Passion feat. Moustafa Hamwi (Dubai)


Have trouble discovering what your passions are? In this episode you’ll be inspired to start finding out what you’re good at, enjoy doing and how it can bring value to the world. Passion can create a life of fulfilment, rather than fleeting happiness.

The Passionpreneur: Moustafa Hamwi (Dubai)

Moustafa Hamwi started his career in Dubai as a telesales operator, eventually working his way up starting several entrepreneurial ventures that became businesses worth US$15 million in less than 4 years.

He was also heavily involved in the nightlife scene, which lead to him becoming stressed, depressed and anxious. Moustafa then consulted for the government of Abu Dhabi, yet even with his career booming, he still felt empty. That was the beginning of his personal development journey.

This yearning triggered a one-way trip to India where he spent time in the Himalayas with a Swami who had lived in caves for 13 years. His trip changed his life and woke him up to answer the questions:

  • If this was it…did my life matter?

  • What difference have I made to this world?

  • Did I fully live what was truly meaningful to me?

  • Did I do the best I can with all what I had?

Episode Transcription:

Nathan: I have a shaky relationship with the word passion…

Moustafa: Most people do.

Nathan: Most people do quite right and, so, this is one of the reasons why I thought It to be so great to get you on the show. It’s because we, as a generation, and generations prior as well, are being told, “you can do anything”. And I was brought up by parents who put an asterisk on that, and said you can do anything, but be specific on how you choose to do it, and then commit yourself to do it. Because you're not a jedi that can just do anything you want, anytime you want.

So, enter the word passion. I would define passion perhaps differently to you, and as we discussed in the pre-interview chat, that this is where we need to start. We need to first define passion, so we can have a discussion. So, for yourself, how do you describe and define passion?

Moustafa: Thank you very much, that’s definitely a good start, because I realised when I was working on spreading more passion around the world; after my journey on a one way ticket to India, that different people have different definitions to passion.

And there's no way we're going to be able to be on the same page if we don't agree a common language and a common definition to the word passion. So, the first place I started was the dictionary. And the dictionary defined passion as any compelling feeling, which naturally translates into doing what you love. And this is pretty much where most people are they're like, okay, if I love it so much, then that's my passion.

And when I had called companies to say I want to come and talk to employees about being passionate and doing what they love, they were like really, no, we're not going to pay money to do that. And I realise that that's pretty shallow definition of passion. So, as I'm doing interviews on my talk show which is called passion Sundays, (I’ve interviewed about a hundred international authors, speakers, experts, and so on probably going on about a hundred fifty now) I was interviewing Brian Tracy and he said “You will never be passionate about something unless you are good at it”. Which makes a lot of sense, because (makes a lot of sense) I might be passionate about singing but if I sound like a goat and I don't improve myself, I'm going to get booed off stage so eventually, I'm going to quit on it.

So, the definition became doing what you love and what you're good at. I kept with that definition for a while until I was interviewing an international author speaker and expert, and he said to me, “be careful, because the wrong kind of passion can hurt the world”, and I was like, wrong kind of passion? What mean by wrong kind of passion? there is no wrong kind of passion because, really? Think about Hitler, he was passionate about what he's doing and it was good for him but it wasn't good for the world.

And it was then that I realised that the quality of your passion comes from the quality of your purpose. And the definition became,” passion is doing what you love, what you are good at and is a value to the world. So, that has to be good for the world too and has to be in demand. And if you think about it from a business context when you are offering something that's in demand, people would pay you money for it, so you can create a business around it…

Nathan: Supply and demand.

Moustafa: Supply and demand. And if you think of the second part of the definition which is, ‘good at’, that means you get professional at it, and only then you can turn it into a profession. So, another definition became doing what you love, what you are good at, and is of value to the world.

And I stayed with that definition for a while, I'm working with people and coaching them, I know that they're really good at this stuff, they really love it, I can see it in their eyes when I'm talking about it. And it adds value to the world so if they stick to it, they would become really phenomenally successful but they wouldn't stick to it. They would do it for two to three months and then they would look for the next passion and then the next passion and then the next passion - it’s what I call the shiny object syndrome. Every time something is shiny they drop what they've got you know, when you're kids you see another toy and you throw it and you want the other toy and then you want the other toy.

Nathan: And as adults, we don't stop doing that, we just change the things that we do with.

Moustafa: We just want one different thought type of shine. So, you know, when we were little boys we wanted to toy car, when we get big we want the real thing. Little girls want a Barbie and now they want diamonds. But we are all boys and girls even when we grow up.

So, I realised that the key success factor and the key differentiating factor in the definition of passion is the word consistency. So the definition became in my book which took me a couple of years to distill that learning was, consistently doing what you love, what you're good at, and is of value to the world. What differentiates true passion is not the first three; it's actually the word consistency. If you're consistent at it, then that's your passion. If you're not consistent at it, that's not a passion; it could be a hobby, it could be a fling, it could be a thing which you change.

Only when you stay at it long enough, you're going to love it even more, you're going to get better at it even more, and then people will start paying you more money for it and even if they don't pay you money for it you will have a lot of fans appreciating what you're doing.

So, now we have a common language of what this passion mean so any discussion I'm having moving forward now is in the context of this word passion as I just defined it.

Nathan: That's great and so now, I guess what we're seeing now is a bit of a formula. So if you want to be able to, this is something that everybody says but if, if you can't measure it, then you can't manage it. So, now that we're able to measure what you're saying and putting it into this formula-like approach. It makes a lot of sense to people like me who like to have things with a bit of shape and a bit of form and so it's not this big amorphous idea that people just have this concept of passion.

It's actually a very straightforward process in a formula. What you said before is consistency. So how do we know, at what point do we say to ourselves; okay, I'm in this job and I've got the safety. How then can we give these guys who are listening to us today, the drive to go and follow this passion to start their new thing? How do they go from where we are now, to where our passion lies? We've got this awkward adolescence in between, so how do we move through that?

Moustafa: So I would like to always start with, why is it important to pursue passion in the first place,  because now that we're clear on the definition at least we debunk the myth of what is passion. And let me be clear, passion for me is not happiness, if anything, the pursuit of happiness is making you sad. Because happiness is correlated to desires and desires are endless. You see, you want a chocolate it makes you happy for a moment and then that goes down.

Nathan: And makes you unhappy because of the result!

Moustafa: Because of the result, yeah. And then let's say you want a partner, you want a girl, or you want a guy, whoever it is that you feel is going to bring that happiness to you. Well, look back and look at any bad relationship you had and then you would realise the same reason that made you happy makes you sad.

So the pursuit of happiness is dependent on polarity, positive and negative, and that's the nature of life. You get an up you get a down, you had a good night out, you drink a lot, you get a hangover the next day, you eat a lot, you get a impact on your body and that's the nature of life. So if you're pursuing happiness, you're pursuing desires and desires are endless, how much wood is enough to feed the fire? You'll never be happy.

Passion brings you fulfillment, and this is really what we should be seeking. So in that context, number one, when you, when you are passionate about what you do, you get energy, and energy is a crucial element in success. Things usually never go according to plan, things never go according to your expectations and you would probably not get the desired results as soon as you wish they would and I know from my personal journey more than once and I'm sure you did the same and if you're an entrepreneur you know that better than anybody else. So, passion is energy and energy means fuel and fuel can keep you going throughout the journey no matter how tough it is.

Now, second thing is passion gives you what I call a joyful competitive advantage.

Nathan: That's interesting that you mention that. Because we don't often put joy, competition or business terms together. Unpack that for us today.

Moustafa: So think of it this way. Two people are on a race line, one of them is running the race purely for the money, one of them is running the race because they enjoy it. We know the world economic situation keeps changing, it's never been the same. If you look at a long span there's always ups and downs, it's never going to keep going up, it's going to go up and down, up and down settle all across the right. So, the person who's in it for the money, they're going to keep going till the money runs dry, then they're going to dip.

Now if they're persistent, they will keep chasing that for a while but there's a point where they are going to go, nah!!, I don't want this anymore let me jump to the next thing. So, what’s going to happen is they're going to quit, while the person was enjoying it, even if they're not making money yet, they're like well I love it, you know maybe there's no money now but I know I'm going to make money later.

So, that's what I call a joyful competitive advantage because you're able to stay longer just because you're enjoying it. And if you don't believe me think of children. How many times have you had to force a child to play? You pull them away and they go back into play, vice versa, how many times have you pulled a child away from doing homework, you have to push them to homework because it's work it's work.

Nathan: It’s not a natural disposition to want to go straight to homework compared to if you want to go to play!

Moustafa: You want to have fun, that's our nature we all have that child inside of us. So when you're feeding that child, that child becomes alive and children, look at adults versus children, adults are always like, I'm exhausted, these children are full of energy. Guess what, we're all full of energy is just that we lost our childhood and if we bring that joy back into our childhood through passion we have that joyful competitive advantage.

The third thing is, passion gives you clarity and clarity means certainty, and certainty means confidence, and confidence means action. And the more you do that, the same loop is going more because you get more clarity you get more certainty you get more focus and you keep going at it and that, more clarity means more focus. And if there's one thing from all the interviews that I've done that is common between all these people is, they are very focused and very consistent. And one feeds the other, the more focused you are, the more consistent you stay at it and then you stay at it.

And there's an interview that I watched with Jack Welch and he said that him and the guy from Microsoft, Bill Gates. They were sitting and Jack Welch’s Dad asked, I think it was either Bill Gates or Jack Welch's Dad asked him a question. He said both of you write on a separate piece of paper what is the one thing that made you successful. They both wrote separately the word ‘focus’ and that focus came from being clear on what their passion was.

And so these are the key reasons why I pursued the passion. So if those are not reasons good enough, let me just ask you a question. Can you guarantee living another day? No. Another hour? No. So if you know that you don't have guarantees that you're going to be here tomorrow or the day after or the next year; tomorrow never comes, it's always about today so just start pursuing your passion now because you only got one life.

Whether you believe in reincarnation or not doesn't matter, because all I know is what I have on the table today, and that's today. And if I'm reincarnated, let me live twice as happy! But I want to do the best that I can do in this life now.

Nathan: And here lies another discussion where we talk about passion, with the idea of “when I'm ready”. I like the phrase ‘today was yesterday's tomorrow.’ So then, at what point do we find that we need to be patient? They’re kind of juxtaposed, like they don't play together.

You mentioned fulfilment doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as happiness. If we are doing our passion, we can still be fulfilled even though we are on the low-end of the [happiness] curve. Can you tell us about your story, and your one-way ticket to India? And how that kind of met with your need to find out your passion and your purpose?

Moustafa: Sure, so I've been living in Dubai since 2000 and right about 2007, 2008, which were the peak years of Dubai, I've been running a successful events agency. I had a modelling agency, I was a partner in these agencies that I started and I was part of a big group that probably at the time got evaluated at about two hundred million dollars.

I did a lot of the business development within the group, so I was responsible for the new projects. I got exposed to a lot of nightlife events, a lot of entertainment events, a lot of clubbing events. So you can imagine how my lifestyle was; on the outside it was the dream come true for any guy. A lot of the guys wanted to hang out, a lot of the girls wanted to hang out, you had access to the clubs, the tables of every clubs of VVIP tables of the of the clubs.

Along with that, I felt empty on the inside. So that was very challenging, because the more shiny my life became on the outside, the more empty I felt on the inside. It felt like a pretty much like a balloon, the bigger the balloon was getting, the bigger the vacuum of air inside. That’s how I felt. So eventually, one day, I just woke up and I'm like “I can't do this anymore”.

Nathan: Kind of reaching a wall.

Moustafa: I'm like I can't do it anymore, it's just the emptiness is killing me and I had to shift my perception about life and take drastic measures to put my life together. My health was deteriorating, I was drinking, a lot of smoking, a lot. I smoked a pack a night when I go out, I drink about a bottle at night when I go out and one day I just stopped smoking, stopped drinking, got into yoga, got into meditation and stayed on that for a couple of years. And around 2012, I had heard before about a meditation called ‘Vipassana.’ Which is ten days of silence.

Nathan: It’s kind of funny now that you're a speaker.

Moustafa: Yeah exactly, well I think you need both balances; you need the in and yang. And you need to be able to, go inwards before you can go outwards. Otherwise you're just a mouthpiece. Everybody can regurgitate, especially today. It’s a totally different level of speaking when you're congruent about what you're delivering.

So you're no longer a speaker in principle, you are a messenger and I differentiate that a lot. Anybody can get up on stage and just regurgitate words, but to be a true speaker, you have to speak from heart. You have to have a message and, after I’ve done that ten days of silence and when I say silence, it means absolute silence. 10 days, 16 hours a day, you do nothing, no reading, no writing, no journaling, no Facebook, no Snapchat, no social media, no mobile phone, you do nothing but sit down and observe your breathing and just go inwards.

Nathan: So this was in India?

Moustafa: It's an Indian concept, Vipassana is the Indian concept that Buddha used to get enlightened and so he actually did a lot more than ten days. But ten days is the induction course where you truly get a first hand feel of what's going inside you.

By the end of those 10 days, I realised that, I needed to go inwards a lot more. I had not known myself, I mean the 10 days did not make me know myself, it made me realise how much I do not know myself and later that year I bought a one way ticket to India, just left everything behind and went into the Himalayas.

Nathan: Wow, there's an incredible thought, especially from someone with a business background and you need certainty, financial reserves, and to know that there's going to be a result for this. When you went to the Himalayas with that one-way ticket, where did you start once you arrived?

Moustafa: Well, I'll tell you where I started. Sometimes when you're so lost, you don't know which way is up, it's better to even get a bit more lost before you can find your way. It was a good feeling, but I'm just going to put an asterisk to whatever I'm saying here; I'm not recommending to anyone to just buy a one-way ticket! It’s funny because after I started telling my story, a lot of people started buying this one-way ticket, they went to India, they came back, they're like “I hated it”! I didn't tell you to buy a one-way ticket!

Nathan: Just meant for you.

Moustafa: That was my sign and maybe, maybe your one way ticket is, is somewhere else - it's in the journey. So my story, my book is called ‘Cavalli to Manali’. So Cavalli is a representation of the Cavalli Club and the nightlife and the whole style of crazy life was, and Manali is where I met my Swami in India. But the sub header of the book is ‘on a journey within’.

So, after I went to India, I realised the trip to India was not it. It was what I had to do to go inside. So, in my case, I was in such a crazy environment that I needed to disconnect, but maybe other people are in different situations and they can find that journey within and that's truly about meditation. So on my journey to India, I came across a swami who's been in caves for thirteen years.

Nathan: In caves?

Moustafa: I didn’t meet him in the caves, he had just come out a couple of years before, and it was a coincidence. Again they say when the student is ready the teacher appears.

We just met each other coincidentally in the Himalayas, I don't know how I would have even found him! The whole journey is going to be written in that Cavalli to Manalli book.

Nathan: So is this book already out?

Moustafa: The Cavalli to Manali is still being written. There's a lot of details, it’s an emotional journey for me again to go through that experience and write the book. So it's something that's planned to come out in the coming years. There's a lot of little details I need to be very specific and particular about. So am not rushing writing that.

Nathan: We'll share that with our people when we know it's ready.

Moustafa: So what he asked me on one of our interactions, he has a long beard as you'd imagine and then he'd be playing with his beard. And I was asking me a lot about life and he says, “do you what you are thirsty for? Because if you do not know what you are thirsty for, you cannot quench your thirst”.

Nathan: And so how did you respond to that?

Moustafa: Well I didn't because that was the shock of my life! It was like hold on, I just bought a one-way ticket to India on a search for an answer, and I realised I did not even have the question. I didn't know what I was looking for, I knew I was lost and I was looking for directions, but I didn't even know directions to where [I was going].

The quality of your life is defined by the quality of your questions, because the question determines the answer. And it was that question that he asked me that made me realise that I don't know what I'm thirsty for.

So in a way maybe I was not clear on the answer but I was definitely clear on what's the question I need to answer now. So I kept on pursuing my journey in India, while contemplating on what am I thirsty for, what am I thirsty for, what am I thirsty for. And by coincidence I discovered I had a medical condition and I walked into hospital, get myself checked up and I discovered I had a medical condition. Luckily I healed from that condition naturally but that incident brought the understanding that we don't have a guarantee on our life. It's what I asked you earlier, can you guarantee living another day?

Nathan: And it's almost an arrogant assumption to assume that there's more time coming

Moustafa: It is when we take things for granted in life because we wake up every day, and the logic says well I’m forty now, the probability is I’ll be 41. But the thing is, it's also as random as a lottery so as well as you could be picked up to win a lottery you could be picked up to just depart.

So that realisation hit me hard, and I was like, what if this was it for me? What if this was a cancer, what if it was a cancer and I didn't discover it and I could have died? The questions were so real, they were not just mental. They were staring me in the face

Nathan: They were a physical representation of some of those questions.

Moustafa: And I'm like okay, well if this is it, what would I regret not doing if today was the last day of my life? And this is when I realised that I was thirsty for impact. I had been living a life full of pleasure, full of fun, full of joy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we shouldn't, but I don't think this is why we're here.

Nathan: That's not it.

Moustafa: This is a byproduct of doing things that are fulfilling, happiness is not the result. People say “I want to be happy”, I’ve spent years in the pursuit of happiness, then I realised it’s the pursuit of fulfilment.

When you are fulfilled as a byproduct, you become happy and sometimes you're not going to be happy. You’re not going to be happy if you have a family member die, if we lose all your money; but those are facts of life. But you will be fulfilled to know that you are doing that which you were born on this planet to do.

Because they say the two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why...

Nathan: Mark Twain.

Moustafa: Mark Twain, beautiful. And it was that when I realised that okay, my purpose is to be able to inspire the world; but I didn't know how exactly, I don't know what I'm going to do. So I just want to impact.

So I bought another one-way ticket back, that was 2013…

Nathan: You have a habit of buying one way tickets!

Moustafa: Well here's the thing about one-way tickets; there's an advantage and a disadvantage. And the advantage of burning bridges and buying one way tickets; there's no way to fail. Failure is not on the menu.

Nathan: There's no plan B.

Moustafa: There is no Plan B. The Plan B is plan A, and you've got to make that plan A work, and you bet your life on it. And trust me, it is going to work, it’s going to be tough but you're going to you know, if you have the will to survive, you're going to really survive.

Nathan: You make it work.

Moustafa: You make it work, you have no option but to do it. I'm a skydiver, when you jump out of a plane, you've got to make that thing work! You plan as much as you can beforehand. All my life was preparation for me to come back and do what I'm now doing.

Nathan: To open that door of the plane.

Moustafa: I got back to Dubai and I started doing different things trying to cause that impact. I probably tried 10, 15, 20 ventures in relation to impact. Anything from a yoga festival, to taking people on retreats to India to, nothing worked. Nothing was working so I was getting frustrated again and I was still doing my Cavalli to Manali talks in 2013.

This is when it started and it was somewhere towards the end of 2013, I'm sitting in a hotel in Dubai, on a terrace and a random person passing by turns around, looks at me, and walks up straight to me. And he goes “hey, you’re that speaker guy”, I said “Yeah”. He goes, “you did your talk about India?” I said “Yeah”. He goes, “you changed my life”.

Nathan: So in that moment, what did you think?

Moustafa: It was my eyes went like a large, and I was like, present, I remember the moment vividly and it was like suddenly light bulbs were going off all over the place - it was just like the jackpot.

I found that this is what I wanted to do. And this is when I knew that my impact comes through me speaking; because I didn't know how I was going to cause that impact. So I realised that my impact was going to come through speaking and from the moment I started getting random emails, literally from random people saying I’ve been traveling the world; I've been taking courses nothing has been working with me. It's just for some reason when you shared your story, something worked for me; or at least it triggered me to do something, it inspired me to do something.

And then January 2014, I left and I cancelled the contract that I was working on and I said this is what I'm going to be doing. Well here's the learning, I don't have a clear plan and I just jumped, on a leap of faith. Well again back into another one way ticket, I started calling companies saying I'm going to come and deliver the Cavalli to Manali talk to you. And they go, hold on, so you want to tell how you bought a one-way ticket to India?

Nathan: That's not good for business

Moustafa: Not good for business and I'm like oh, oh, I should have thought about that a little bit more. So 2014, 2015 was fairly rough ride for me. Because I was trying to figure out how can I deliver that impact into the world because in Dubai, it's more B to B (business to business) market not to B to C (business to consumer) markets. So I wasn't able to deliver, it's not like the U.S. where you do all these big events, you get thousands of people showing up.

Nathan: Who [in the audiences] are a mix of consumer and business.

Moustafa: So, companies were not willing to pay me; so here I am, having to juggle a million things again, trying to keep my passion alive. And this is where the challenge was for me; it was how can I stay true to that mission, true to that passion without losing it or going stuck in the rat race again.

So it was a bit of a foot here and foot there and, I was juggling a lot of stuff. I moved from discovering your calling, to discovering your purpose, to discovering your passion. I had to pivot and change a lot. And at the end of 2015, a person, on a Saturday evening sitting with friends of friends, introduces me as this guy who's doing these ‘passion talks’. And one of the people sitting on the table was oh man I've got to go back to work, I need some of your passion!

Nathan: That was just a throwaway comment.

Moustafa: A throwaway comment and I go, oh passions Sundays! And this is how the whole idea for my talk show ‘passion Sundays’ happened. And in 2016, I started passions Sundays, somewhere around mid 2016, I interviewed the inventor of Mind mapping, Professor Tony Buzan, who is a Nobel Prize nominee. And after the talk we go to an event and I'm not there, I just go backstage and somebody says passion. And he goes, passion! I know who you have to talk to, where is he, where is he? The passion guy, the passion guy! He couldn’t remember my name, so he just, where is he, the passion guy! And then I come on stage and everybody goes oh, you’re the passion guy. And I picked up the name the ‘passion guy’ and I so became globally known as the ‘passion guy’

Nathan: Which is obviously evidence for your key message. And that comes back to your whole idea of purpose and, being able to measure and to define that passion. That would have been a massive compliment for you. “I’m being understood, people know what I stand for”!

Moustafa: True, that being said. If you rewind, because now we're looking at the end of the movie where the hero wins and everything is looking great. But if you’d rewind to how rough those years were for me; when I was not fulfilled with my life. When I had to buy one-way ticket, when I had a medical condition, when I came back almost broke because I've lost most of my money either because it's been a couple of years of self-discovery and through the crisis in Dubai.

Then I had to come back, and then I had to leave the consulting contract that I hadn't realised that what I was trying to do was not going to work. So there's a lot of up and down and bumpy rides before I got to a point where I was kind of okay, finally, somebody acknowledged.

But it wasn't that I was waiting for the acknowledgement, that acknowledgment came as a byproduct of my consistency in doing what I love - investing hours and days and, hours and days which is, they say, you need ten thousand hours for mastery. I’ve spent a lot more time than the ten thousand hours. And doing what I love, what I'm good at and, that is adding value to the world.

By then I had figured out a way to bring passion back into the business. So now companies are paying me money to go and speak to employees about finding passion where they are. So that took a lot of refinement and a lot of persistence and consistency because nothing went according to plan. So yes, eventually things picked up and now I'm being acknowledged as one of the world's top experts on the topic of passion which is beautiful. And I'm spinning off several products in certain industries like passion for speaking, passion for presentation, passion for pitching, but that only came when I’ve mastered being the passion guy first.

Nathan: And I like the idea of the footprint, or the value to the world, from what you do. Because I think some of the time that we have this external, like you would say with the balloon analogy, we have the external-self looking for satisfaction but our inner-self is looking for fulfilment. And to me, that's great, but how is that focused on other people?

So how did you start to be more conscious about; “I‘ve got this passion, but what does it mean for everybody else?” - your value to the world. So how did you start to clear on  doing that?

Moustafa: So there's a shift that started to happen, because at the beginning, I was only giving my talks. Remember I was, I was not the passion guy; 2013, 2014; 2015. I was the Cavalli to Manali guy.

Nathan: You were a guy with passion.

Moustafa: I was a guy that had passion but I didn't even know the word passion back then. I was truly just talking about finding your purpose and finding your calling and I was doing it by sharing my story. And after one of my talks a guy walked up to me and he goes, “this is amazing, your story is beautiful. But hey, I'm a family guy; I have kids, I have a family. I cannot buy a one-way ticket to India, I cannot even spend as much time and money as you did, on exploring myself. I don't have that luxury, what can I do?”

And I was like oh, I didn't think about that. And from then, I spent a couple of years developing the frameworks and I started going on the search of what does passion mean. Because my initial idea was to inspire people to come on retreats to India, to discover themselves. And I realised not everybody has the luxury of doing that. So I said, if they can't come to India I'm going to bring India to them.

So you see, I was very determined on my original purpose that I discovered, which was changing people's lives. I didn't succeed on the first and the second, and the tenth and the twentieth try. I did not change the goal of the target, I changed the plan.

Nathan: And you changed the method.

Moustafa: A lot of people change, start changing the goal when the goal doesn't work. So we keep shifting goals rather than shifting plans. What I'm saying is no, you stick to the goal that you've defined, and you adopt the plan depending on the context, because you don't know what you don't know, and you only know it when you find it. But when you're focused on the purpose of the service that you're doing, then you're going to find ways to make it work.

Nathan: And that's great, I think that's a really nice way to wrap up this interview and put a bow on it, and saying like to people, you know, you've heard all these amazing things and you've heard the more dramatic approach to one-way tickets to foreign nations - so when you are in your own car and you're sitting in the commute to work or you're home with the kids and there's mess everywhere and you're living in the ‘everyday’, what you going to need is some really great questions to extract that passion from yourself and to pull yourself up. To even start thinking about it.

So, what are some good questions that we can ask ourselves when we're in the humdrum every day setting that we find ourselves in? What are some key questions?

Moustafa: Beautiful question about questions! Let me give you one of my strongest questions in the passion discovery process. I have something called the passion journey and this is an online program that I'm launching soon (it might be launched by the time we upload this interview), that helps people discover and live; because the discovery is one part, but making it happen is another part.

There's one of the questions that I asked there, I call it the ‘Billion dollar question’ would you like to know that?

Nathan: I’m pretty curious, it sounds very expensive!

Moustafa: It is kind of expensive, but your life is worth it. So I’d like everybody who’s listening (unless you’re driving), and if you’re at home, go grab your cheque book. If you’re out somewhere, just close your eyes, take a deep breath. And I want you to look at that cheque book, whether it’s real or imagined. And see your name being written on that cheque book. Write your name, write today’s date, and then in the numbers space, write $1,000,000,000. And now in the words space, I’d like you to write one billion dollars. Go ahead and sign that cheque. And now tear it out of the cheque book, and look at it.

You’ve got a cheque for one billion dollars in your hands, in your name, with today’s date. Feels good right?! Now fold that cheque and put it in your pocket. Take a deep breath, knowing you’ve got a billion dollars in your pocket. Anything you want in life is yours now. You can buy anything, you try anything, any business, there’s no risk. Your family’s taken care of, your loved one’s are taken care of.

Nathan: So what have we removed? We’ve removed money as an object.

Moustafa: So now the question is, with a billion dollars in your pocket, what would you want to do with your life now that money is no longer an object? What would you want to do with your life? I know you might say “I want to travel the world, I want to buy everything, cars, houses!” But once you get over all that stuff, what next? Fast forward. What do you want to do with your life? It’s the first answer and direction that comes, that will point you toward what your passion is.

Nathan: It’s a very deep way to externalise what is deep within us. Once people do this exercise, and they write that out, what are you hoping that people might find?

Moustafa: When you take money out of the equation, you realise that most of us are living the rat-race out of a fear of money. But there’s never enough money. I’ve coached, worked with and interviewed billionaires (the last person I interviewed was a self-made billionaire who had $1.4 billion). Those people as much concern about money as any of us do. When you’ve got $100, you have hundred-dollar problems. When you a billion dollars, you have billion-dollar problems.

Nathan: It’s a scale isn’t it.

Moustafa: It’s proportional to what you’ve got. Once you take money out of the equation, you’re going to start realising what it is that you truly want from this life, from this limited time that you have on this planet. Now, once you’ve found that out, it’s definitely the starting point. The next thing is to go and develop a plan. Because if you don’t have a plan, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” - Winston Churchill.

So once you create a plan, you have to go a build a passion tribe. A passion tribe are like minded people that will support you and cheer you on your journey. They’re usually not your old-time friends or family, because a lot of the time, these people they project their fears onto you - out of love, not because they hate you. But they don’t know what you know inside you.

Nathan: And they genuinely want to keep you safe.

Moustafa: And in their own pursuit of safety that want to keep you with them, because they love you. Now, once you’ve developed a passion tribe that support you on the journey, and you’ve got an action plan, you’ve now got to believe in yourself at the end of the day - because then you don’t listen the outside world. It takes faith to know that you’re going to get there sooner or later. Without self belief, you’re not going to get anywhere. And now that you’ve got that self belief, guess what’s missing? Take action now!  

Nathan: And that’s the part we find difficult, isn’t it. Because passion isn’t something we necessarily equate with a tangible plan. But, now that we’ve got that plan, it’s “ok, what’s next”! Because if nothing changes, nothing changes!