Ameer Rosic is the co-founder and CEO of Blockgeeks. He is a serial entrepreneur, marketing expert, investor and a Blockchain evangelist. Ameer is also a speaker and has spoken about blockchain at Mars and Western University. He also blogs about the blockchain field and has appeared as a commentator on sites like VentureBeat and Huffington Post.
In this frank talk, Ameer Rosic talks about the importance of autonomy and what it means to be responsible for your health, mental and physical well-being. He also shares the three things that transformed his life and why self-love is the key to being happy.
Can we just jump in? Go for it?
Rock and roll.
We had a chat before you left for Korea. One of the things that drew me about our conversation was your authenticity. We talked a lot about mental health and deep connections.
First of all. I know a lot of people know your work with Blockgeeks. But I would love to hear more about your story as person.
I consider myself like a ronin. In Japan, a ronin is a samurai without a master. Look at The Book of Five Rings. It’s a book by Miyamoto Musashi, one of the greatest swordsman ever.
My whole life I was more or less a renegade anarchist, since I was a child.
That's an interesting combo.
I never really followed authority. I remember my mom telling me stories when I was three. I'd purposely take dirt from the garden and bring it inside. And I was always pushing back.
I was really a hassle in elementary school. They wanted to put me on Ritalin because I’m very hyperactive. I always say my ADD has ADD. I couldn't sit still in class. I like to go outdoors. I like to move. I like to experience. I'm a very tangible person.
My mom was like, "I'm not putting my kid on any drugs." So I never went on that. And then I entered high school. And high school was boring as fuck for me. And pretty much got kicked out at the end of grade nine because I never went to school at all. They kicked me out and ever since then, I've just been doing interesting stuff.
I’ve had construction companies, electrical companies, club promotion companies, JV stuff in clubs, did the online space. I have had companies in China. You name it. I've probably done it all. I get bored really easily. But crypto really interested me.
Because when I first discovered bitcoin, it was through the dark web. It’s more like research. It's very interesting to see how onion works. I discovered it then and I didn't understand the technology at all. It took me a while to figure it out what bitcoin is. But what hooked me more or less, was the promise that it had.
And that's the first time I've ever heard the word libertarian. And I don't like labels. But libertarian to me is like, "Oh, this is the closest thing that I can kind of relate to." Sovereignty, independence, privacy. I'm in control of my wealth. No one can take it away from me. I'm in control of my freedom of speech.
Because for me cryptocurrency, specifically bitcoin, it's a freedom of speech. It's not even money. Like if I want to choose to communicate with you, I'm choose it through my own voluntary action. And no one should stop me from communicating with you. I was, “There is a word for a thing that I kind of been doing my whole life."
You know Sol Orwell?
I like Examine. I used to have health businesses in the past. I really liked what Sol did with Examine.com. High-quality sources. You take your time and I can trust this source.
I actually based a lot of Blockgeeks on what Examine.com did. I'm like, "I need this for me." And then talked to Dima [his co-founder Dmitry Buterin] and then I'm like, "Let's do this." We started Blockgeeks and over the last three years, we've turned into an innovation and education hub.
That’s so interesting to hear. One thing that stood out for me was the parallel between what you've experienced and what you’ve created.
Because even in childhood, you were the ronin. The anarchist renegade. How you saw that parallel with the crypto and the whole idea of the libertarian.
Yeah, I don't like labels. You know people label you and that's all you are. For me, it's more or less philosophies, right? And philosophy is dated. They change what more or less is the fundamental constitution of a person.
My values as a person is 100% autonomy. I've always been that one pain in the ass that doesn't want to fit in. I refuse to fit in. You can see it in all the companies. Like I had a lot of failures in companies where it's like, you know how you have some people micromanage? I don't know what the word, the opposite word of micromanaging is.
No management. Zero accountability. I'm like, "Eh whatever. We'll figure it out." I've burnt down businesses where I just didn't want to go through the pain or succumb to people's bullshit for a couple hundred thousand. For me money's renewable, time's not. I just care about my happiness first.
It’s about autonomy and happiness. And something that you personally choose. Like you raise your hand and you take own-ness and choose the fact that you want to choose it. You look at Blockgeeks. We don't have product managers. We don't have managers.
It is a pretty flat organization. It's very difficult. People talk about it, but it's extremely difficult to do. You have to have the right people because not everybody wants to say, "Well, I'm going to raise my hand and take responsibility for X." And if you take responsibility for X, you dictate what you're capable of doing right?
And if you don't hit the goals that you personally said, the only person you're accountable is to yourself. Right? That's a lot of responsibility for a lot of people right.
Most people they want, there's a Greek saying, for every finger that you point, they say three point back at you. Many people are looking for the accountability copout. There is an interesting person I'd recommend people listen to. The Navy Seal guy. Jocko Wilkins. He has a book called Extreme Ownership.
When you take responsibility for every action in your life, starting with your health, mental and physical, they're all interconnected. When you take responsibility of your well-being as an individual, you take responsibility for every action in your life. You liberate yourself.
We're very passive. Same thing like in business you have your quarterly meetings. You audit. So I always tell people audit your life. Right? If you're with your partner, have a meeting together. By yourself, audit your life. I'm a big believer in pen and paper as opposed to electronic. Something special and tangible about your writing it down. Have a pen and you audit your life. Okay, what did I do in 90 days? Did I achieve myself?
Be honest with yourself and transparent. You read in front of you. Then make quick action steps that reflect the lifestyle you want to have.
I know that people who are reading this article that may be new to self-work. They hear what you're saying and it's like, “Okay, that sounds incredible.” But if I'm in that place where I haven't done that before, how could I make that transition?
It's a good question. I think each person has their own way of identifying and figuring out what they care about and what they value in their life. Like I said earlier. What is your individual constitution? Like United States has a constitution.
But what is your constitution? Something that you will not break for anyone.
This is your fundamental foundation of a human being. Everyone's different.
I can only speak on what I found that works in my life. I've gone through crazy. I've OD'd in my life. I've been shot, stabbed, gone to jail. I've done it all, when I was younger. For me, I would say there has been three fundamental categories. Things that happened to my life that have been exponentially beneficial. I mean like 100x beneficial.
1) Number one finding a good partner. I have no solution to you how to find a good partner. That was just for me, I call it sheer faith, luck. It's just one of those things that happened. It’s an exponential super power to have in your life.
2) For me, with more and more people getting into this, is psychedelic therapy. MDMA-assisted therapy. I was more like controlled by my anger in the past. Been in more like 200 street fights. I used to do fights in pro-MMA. I still do sparring, but I couldn't control my rage. It was uncontrolled back in the day and it got me a lot of trouble. For me, having MDMA-assisted therapy helped me touch my inner emotions.
We're shaped by the experiences that we passively experienced in our childhood. These experiences for the most part have shaped who we are today. That's not to say it's bad or good. If you're looking at the total picture of you as an individual, there's no such thing as a good Ameer or a bad Ameer. Just Ameer. That's it. That's who I am. And I accept myself.
The magic happens is, once you understand why you're feeling a certain way. This is where psychedelics really help. MDMA helps you feel. We justify, we create stories to comfort ourselves. But with psychedelic therapy, and keyword therapy, it's not like people just go do stuff. No, no, no. There's a process here. There's a scientific approach. Scientific process. And there's a lot of follow up work. Writing, analyzing, auditing, journaling. For me, this category, this modality has been one of the most powerful things possible.
3) Your network. I'm a firm believer in quality over quantity. I'm not about making as many connections as possible. I'm about building really long lasting solid connections. And people that promote you, not promoting you like go buy my product, but promoting you as human being. People that applaud you for your accomplishments, that really are happy for you.
And above all, people that call you out on your bullshit. A true friend calls you out on your bullshit. When they see you like, "Hey man, I don't think this is going well for you. Kind of rethink this stuff." Right?
These are the fundamental things in my life that without them, I would not be here where I am today.
Wow. Thanks for sharing so honestly. The vibe I got from your share was depth. Like encouraging people to explore themselves, to look at their stories and hold them up in the light. See them for what they really are.
Human beings, we're very complex at one point. At the exact same time, we're very simple.
When we see a loved one, we want to tell them, "Go do this." We try to impose what we believe is good on them. But that's a direct order and it goes against our ego. So they always kind of push back from you. The best way is to help one another is by becoming the best version of yourself.
I always make an on-going joke with Farah, my wife. I'm like, "Babe, I love me more than I love you." I'll tell you what's up. Because if I don't love myself, who's going to love me, right? I have to be 100%. If I'm not 100%, how can I love you the best? How can I give my all if I don't love myself?
I have to love myself. I have to. It always starts with self-love.
We always find this hilarious when I say that. I love to nag her. I'm a jokester. I like playing pranks on people. Life is too short to be serious.
When you talk about the human side to us, it intrigues me. Being okay to be a work in progress, to do a small improvement each day. I am sure people gravitate to you because they can see your reaness.
Yes. At the end of the day, we all have problems. That's a human condition. There's a Buddhist saying, "Life is suffering." People misjudge or mislabel the word suffering. Because suffering isn't a negative thing. Suffering is the best teacher, possible, out there.
It's how you acknowledge the suffering and how you absorb it.
Just ask Joseph Campbell talks about the hero's journey. That's suffering, right?
Jerry Seinfeld has a “don't break the chain” philosophy. Why is he so proficient in his jokes? He wrote three hours every day and he made sure in his calendar. I like his philosophy don't break the chain. Looking at yourself, auditing yourself, making a plan.
Don’t compare yourself to other people. Too many people say, “I want to be like Peter Thiel. Elon Musk." But, "Dude, you're not Peter Thiel.” You're you. There’s literally one copy of you in the whole universe as far as I know, right?
There's one you. You're unique, you're special, you have gifts that Elon doesn't have and Elon has gifts that you don't have. Stop. They have a saying… imposter syndrome?
It goes back to not loving themselves. You are the director of your life. In society, there is downward pressure: from your family, culture, religion. All this pressure to conform to a specific path.
I think we need to question everybody and everything. And always ask yourself, "Is this the path for me?”
What matters is this. This is what's missing. It is going to be the biggest problem [existential crisis] in the next ten years. As technology increases, as more jobs let's become automated, as more people realize they've been sold a scam of job for life.
The number one threat to humans, believe it or not, is existential crisis. They're all going to have it.
I think what's fundamentally missing, that's ingrained into our DNA because we're nomadic creatures, the reason why we conquered the Earth is because we're nomads. We were hunters and gatherers. We conquered the Earth because we're bipedal, we're nomadic.
That being said, what we're experienced as human beings is the least amount of leisure time ever in recorded history. Ever.
I can see that.
Ever. Period. We don't have leisure time what so time. Our hunters and gatherers had roughly had more than 10 hours a day to chill out and become a human. The key thing though, our ancestors have gone through a lot of experiences. Trial and error experiences. You learn a lot about yourself that way.
The quality of living that we have today is astronomical. So what people need to do is experience life. Just do more things. Do more things.
Do more things. You know you have an itch to dance, go dance. Do one class a week. Who cares. Start. You're thinking of writing a sci-fi. Go write a Medium article once a week. Think of a career switch. Find the company that you want to work for and work there.
Just experience living.
Mental health is an issue right now, but it's not the cause of our suffering. It's like the symptom.
It's a response.
It's the response. The actual problem is when you talk about this existential crisis.
We're in a place right now and it really strikes me where people aren't living in a way that's human. I think about the conversations that we have on a daily basis. I can tell you're present with me.
When I have conversations with most people, I can tell if they are present or not. Most people aren't present and most people aren't living. I can see you are living in your head.
It goes back to what I said again about loving yourself. Because listen, if you unconditionally love yourself like a dog loves you, you will not put up with any fucking bullshit.
You won’t. Simple as that. Period.
You understand the worth that you have as an individual. You won’t put up with bullshit partners, both business and personal. You'll won’t put up with poor health. You won't put up with any of this shit because you love yourself so much.
It's the whole model is broken.
I really believe, in our lifetime, we're going to have a vacuum and emptying of cities. I think people will leave in hordes away from the city. We're going to go back into more tribal city states where people feel more at home, as opposed to a house.
We used to live in a condo before. Close to medical school, so she [Farah, his wife] could literally walked in her pajamas across the street. We finally moved closer to the city, a young area.
We're in a townhouse, but before that, we were in a condo. I'm like, “We had no clue who are neighbors were. Ever.”
That's common actually. Nobody knows their neighbors.
I used to live in Kelowna, B.C. My wife was finishing her undergrad Bachelor of Science. Kelowna is not big. It has a total size of 100,000, but it's internal, interior B.C.
I've never felt more at peace than when I lived there.
I'd open up my curtain and I'm literally staring at the Rockies. I walked downstairs and I'm at the lake in like 35 seconds, Lake Kelowna. Turn my head to my right and I literally see a sanctuary for animals and a deer walking by. Everybody says hi.
It took me a while to adjust since Toronto’s not like that. I got to change my instinct to, " Hey man, how you doing?" And that communal bond and being close and grounded as much to nature is like, you're in meditation 24/7. You just feel at home.
My hope for the tech industry is that we can build those feelings of connection and community that you speak of. That we can have honest conversations with each other, so that everyone can experience that connection.
Thank you for your depth and your realness today. I enjoyed this conversation.
My pleasure. Thanks for allowing me to talk and share my story. Keep on doing what you're doing!