From poverty to pushing (legal) drugs: billionaire on building a business on Amazon
We're Making Conversations about building an Amazon business Count! (Episode 71)Episode 71 - Shaahin Cheyene
Have you thought about your next big biz adventure? We’re making conversations about building a business on Amazon count with Shaahin Cheyene!
Big take-away quote from this conversation about building a business on Amazon:
“You can’t do it (achieve greatness) without financial freedom.
And we’re so inundated with all this thought of, ‘Making money’s bad, the people who steal money are cheating, money is the root of all evil.
The guy who said, ‘Money is the root of all evil’ didn’t have any”…
Shaahin Cheyene, Making Conversations Count (February 2022)
(Hard of hearing? Transcript here).
Strapped for data? You can hear a lower-bandwidth version of the episode here.)
Bustling to billionaire
How did this man go from living in poverty to achieving the American dream?
After growing up in what he felt was mediocrity, this week’s episode’s guest decided that enough was enough and left Iran for the US.
Once there, he invested all his energy into building a legal alternative to ecstasy- which is still one of America’s most popular rave culture drugs.
He has managed to turn around his life by starting small and working hard until he reached the top of the earning ranks.
He’s now living the life many of us dream of, hanging with celebrities, driving fast and expensive cars, and flying around the world first class or in private jets.
This episode will explore how Iranian immigrant Shaahin achieved success in such an unlikely manner, as well as what we can learn from him about entrepreneurship and perseverance.
Wanting to reach the dizzy heights of financial freedom?
The episode talks all about small steps leading to big results. One step at a time.
It’s not all that noticeable at the time you take it, but the wider impact if can have is huge.
Let’s take the first step today.
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A billionaire in dreams only at the beginning
Growing up in a poor family in Iran, Shaahin had a difficult upbringing.
“I had nowhere to live, I had no money and all I did was, I had to first find shelter, so I found an abandoned Lincoln Continental, I slept in the back seat of this Lincoln Continental.
Then later, as that developed, I learned how you could convince brokers to give you the codes to newly-developed buildings, if you feigned interest in them, and then sneak in late at night while these buildings are under construction, and crash and then wake up.”
He was determined to make a better life for himself, so he left Iran and came to the US in search of opportunity.
The new legal rave drug
Once here, he invested all his money into building a legal alternative to ecstasy.
This turned out to be a wise investment- his product became one of America’s most popular rave culture drugs.
Fairly soon, he was making friends in the right places, thanks to his identifying a gap in the market and understanding how to fill it!
“I realised that I was really bad at crime during my adolescence, something I’d learned in grade school from selling nudie magazines and cigarettes and liquor in school just to make ends meet, my own ends meet.
And I decided that I was not going to sell drugs as I got older but it hit me that, “Hey, if I could come up with a legal alternative to ecstasy, the biggest party drug of the time, it would be huge”, and that’s what I did.”
Listen to the episode to learn how he managed to get attention for this disruptive product and how he was able to succeed where other products have failed.
Shaahin has managed to turn his life around by starting small and working hard until he reached the top of the earning ranks.
“I remember when we broke $1 billion in revenue. As a teenager, I had no clue, no high school education, I had a grade school education, and shortly thereafter, a few years, I had broken $1 billion in revenue, pre-internet, pre-social media, Newsweek, London Observer, all the press was out there covering this phenomenon that had happened. And I remember thinking to myself, ‘Holy crap, man!’ “
He’s now living the life many of us dream of, hanging with celebrities, driving fast and expensive cars, and flying around the world first class or in private.
We also learn how he managed to put his stamp on the fast growing alternative tobacco industry. He basically invented the electronic tobacco cigarette lighter.
We’re not sure what you’d actually call it but he explains it much better than we can, in the episode.
Have you clicked the play button on the player yet?
The billionaire formula written in book form
Back to his idea of building a legal alternative to ecstasy.
It turned out to be a wise investment.
His product became one of America’s most popular rave culture drugs.
He’s written all about it in his book “Billion: How I Became King Of The Thrill Pill Cult”
Scroll for link to buy it via Amazon.
Billionaire Amazon business expert Shaahin Cheyene has managed to turn his life around by starting small and working hard until he reached the top of the earning ranks.
Watch the episode promo!
Managed to catch the previous episode yet? Click play on the player below to listen!
So what’s the secret to success?
When it comes to business, Shaahin knows the importance of using leverage and systems to facilitate success.
He modelled himself on the same principles used by successful businessmen like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
These principles have helped him achieve great things in a relatively short space of time.
Listen to the episode to find out more about how Shaahin applies these principles in his own life and business.
Even design can have an impact on your business success
In the world of design, less is more.
This concept has been around for centuries, yet it’s still as relevant as ever.
When it comes to creating a successful design, simplicity is key.
People respond better to minimalism – it’s clean, elegant, and leaves room for imagination.
Too much clutter can be overwhelming and distracting. By keeping your design simple, you make it easier for people to understand and appreciate your work.
Shaahin makes a point about this during this latest conversation around building a business on Amazon;
“And you look at design where it’s an amateur guy, maybe it’s a little mum and pop restaurant, or something like that, and there’s just a ton of [bleep] there, and you might not be a design person, but you know it’s not nice.
And the reason is that all our brilliance comes between the moments in between thoughts.”
(Full transcript here)
Business success is mastery of your space
In this episode, Wendy and her guest Shaahin explore the difference maker in any business story – mastery.
“I went onto the Amazon platform, learning to master it and to build on what Bezos has built, this amazing disruptive platform.
And now, I teach people how to do that..”
During this episode you’ll learn:
- What Shaahin did to make the start on his new journey
- How you can model Shaahin’s process to launch your own successful business on Amazon
- Some useful tips on leverage
- A couple of good book recommendations to inspire
Do you have any tips for how you’ve built your own business using Amazon, or any thoughts on applying ecommerce and other platforms?
We’d love to mention them and you on a future episode.
Shaahin’s advice for building a purposeful life, securing financial freedom and enjoying a successful business on Amazon
Shaahin has read lots of books on mindset, success and living purposefully and with financial freedom.
Here’s his advice for you if you want to do the same.
“Life is whatever you make it, it’s the story that you write.
And no matter where you are, no matter what you do, no matter what position you find yourself in, fact, you can change it, you can change your life”
So, Wendy’s takeaway from the conversation in this episode about building a billionaire business on Amazon with Shaahin Cheyene?
“Shaahin’s blown my mind.
Just the Alan Watts conference speech that I listened to was worth the investment of this conversation alone.
And how generous that he’s giving away his course to you, the listeners, for free!..”
Did you enjoy this conversation about building a business on Amazon and Shaahin’s thoughts around how to take small steps towards big financial rewards?
Wil you now consider taking your own small steps in your own business?
What have you got to lose?
We love to hear from you.
Please do let us know your take-aways from this episode by leaving a comment at https://makingconversationscount.studio/Review-Shaahin-Cheyene
Want to carry on the conversation with Shaahin?
Learn more about Shaahin:
During the Iranian Revolution of 1978, Shahin’s family had to escape to survive and ended up finally migrating to Los Angeles, Ca .
At 15 years old Shaahin left home with nothing but the clothes on his back and created over a BILLION dollars in revenue by inventing the legendary smart drug known as HERBAL ECSTACY.
These childhood experiences had a major impact on his perspective of freedom, hard work and entrepreneurship. Later Shaahin went on to invent Digital Vaporization (the forerunner to today’s vapes) and start a number of successful businesses with a couple notable failures. Today, he is the Founder and CEO of Accelerated Intelligence, Inc. a major Amazon FBA seller with millions in sales, the lead coach at Amazon Mastery where he teaches entrepreneurs how to CRUSH IT! on the Amazon platform and an active YouTube creator.
Shaahin is considered one of the leading global minds on what’s next in e-commerce, Amazon and the internet. He is described as the “Willy Wonka Of Generation X” by the London Observer and Newsweek and is one of the most forward thinkers in business – with his Amazon Mastery Course he acutely recognizes trends and patterns early on the Amazon platform to help others understand how these shifts impact markets and consumer behavior.
Hack And Grow Rich: https://www.shaahincheyenne.com/hack-and-grow-rich-podcast
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“Making Conversations Count” is a podcast from WAG Associates founder and telemarketing trainer Wendy Harris.
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Full Episode Transcript - Conversation about building a billionaire business on Amazon - "Making Conversations Count"
Making Conversations about building a business Count
Shaahin Cheyene, Accelerated Intelligence
00:03:06: Shaahin’s story
00:10:13: How to step out of the ordinary, plus a BIG OFFER!
00:12:57: Building a multi-pillared foundation
00:15:15: The Pareto Principle of the 80/20 rule
00:18:19: Design your life with plenty of white space
00:22:24: The impact of a positive outlook
00:27:16: Shaahin’s pivotal conversation
00:36:00: Final thoughts
Wendy Harris: In today’s conversation with Shaahin Cheyene, I get straight to asking him how he became the king of the thrill pill cult. Now effectively, he made his money through a legal form of ecstasy, so to speak. But in actual fact, Shaahin comes from a very Zenlike perspective and values. Carry on listening as we’re going to be Making Conversations about Cheap Thrills and Legal Pills Count.
What’s new, Wendy Woo? Well, we’ve had a review in from The Intuitist saying, “I love this show, thank you. I’ve really enjoyed listening to all the ideas that you put forward”. Thank you so much, we really appreciate these reviews that come in. It just fills us up on the team. If there’s something that you want us to do on the show, if there’s a topic that you want us to cover, or if there’s a guest that you would like us to interview, let us know and we’ll do our best to bring that to you.
If you’ve been doing lots of listening lately, like I have, there’s been an underlying story filtering through in all of the content and campaigns that I am seeing and hearing, and that is about personal branding and how to use content and repurpose content, and to really be yourself. So, here’s my take, and this really applies to picking up the phone and being yourself.
For me, social media is one of those things that we need to be doing to broadcast ourselves, and it can be a bit of a time-suck. But for me, the real joy in audio, in sending voice notes on WhatsApp or LinkedIn messaging and even better, to pick up the phone, is that I can seriously show people that I am interested and that I care about them. That’s my little takeaway today.
So, Shaahin, I have to ask you, you clearly are very good at starting a revolution around what you do, and that’s all about conversations. How did you fall into becoming the king of the thrill pill cult; how did that all start?
Shaahin Cheyene: Let’s do it, great question. We just started conversationally. That’s great, I love that. So, as my story goes, I started when my family and myself in tow left Iran as refugees, arriving eventually in the United States. We were middle class in Iran, landed in United States, learned that we were not only poor, but we were second-class citizens. And my father worked hard jobs, worked at pizza places, worked at dry cleaners for a good part of 30 years. My mum was a homemaker, one-income family, just trying to make ends meet. And they managed to scrape together enough money, as immigrants do, to purchase a home in an area that was up and coming.
As this started to happen, I started to notice all this wealth around me that wasn’t there before, not from us, but from the people in the surrounding areas. I thought to myself, “Man, by the time I’m 15, I would love to have a piece of this”. So, I made a conscious decision, because my parents didn’t have any solutions to how I could find this newly-desired financial freedom, or aspiration for wealth; my folks were like, “You can become a doctor, and that’s it”, so I took off, packed my bags and left home at 15.
I had nowhere to live, I had no money and all I did was, I had to first find shelter, so I found an abandoned Lincoln Continental, I slept in the back seat of this Lincoln Continental. Then later, as that developed, I learned how you could convince brokers to give you the codes to newly-developed buildings, if you feigned interest in them, and then sneak in late at night while these buildings are under construction, and crash and then wake up.
I would eat at the community college, because they had free food, and there I met my first mentor, an incredible guy, I write about him in my book, Billion: How I Became King of the Thrill Pill Cult, which is out now on Amazon. Check it out if you guys like the audible —
Wendy Harris: We’ll stick it on the resource page, because we love to share books.
Shaahin Cheyene: Yeah, it’s out in the UK now, so I’m impressed that the audible book is in the UK. I had some people there reaching out to me, so that’s cool. And, I got involved in the electronic music scene. I found a mentor, got involved in the electronic music scene, the rave scene, the dance scene that was going on in those days. I still didn’t have a place to live, I was eating what I could get. I managed to sneak my way into the clubs, I managed to get myself a girlfriend.
In those days, I remember having no money and I looked around me and I thought, “Man, the only people making money are the drug dealers”. Supply and demand; I was at the right place at the right time, because the supply of drugs coming from England and Holland had completely dried up, with the Reaganomics and the trickle-down economics and the Nancy Reagan Just Say No and DARE campaigns, the effects that they had on this generation of law enforcement, they’d stopped the flow of drugs. So, there was a huge demand. This electronic music scene was blowing up, and nobody to supply them, so I thought that, “Man, I should do that”.
I realised that I was really bad at crime during my adolescence, something I’d learned in grade school from selling nudie magazines and cigarettes and liquor in school just to make ends meet, my own ends meet. And I decided that I was not going to sell drugs as I got older but it hit me that, “Hey, if I could come up with a legal alternative to ecstasy, the biggest party drug of the time, it would be huge”, and that’s what I did.
I found an unconventional distribution for it, selling it through drug dealers initially at nightclubs, and raves, I went to them and I’d say, “Hey, man, you’re out of inventory. Sell my stuff”. I managed to convince them, because I was this invincible teenage kid. And as the story goes, I walk into my office now six months later, I’ve got over 200 employees, offices in 32 countries, collection of exotic cars, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, all of it, planes, trains, automobiles, the whole thing, hanging around with celebrities, going to A-rate parties, the whole nine yards.
I remember when we broke $1 billion in revenue. As a teenager, I had no clue, no high school education, I had a grade school education, and shortly thereafter, a few years, I had broken $1 billion in revenue, pre-internet, pre-social media, Newsweek, London Observer, all the press was out there covering this phenomenon that had happened. And I remember thinking to myself, “Holy crap, man!” First off, I didn’t know how much $1 billion was, literally. I knew we’d broken a big number, I didn’t know what $1 billion meant.
Wendy Harris: You could write it down with all the zeros, but then what does that look like?
Shaahin Cheyene: No, I didn’t even know how many zeros to put, I didn’t even know what it meant.
Wendy Harris: Wow!
Shaahin Cheyene: And the second thought I remember having was, “Man, I’ve got to hire a [bleep] accountant”. So, I started interviewing for accountants. This is an important lesson for your viewers. I learned very quickly that accountants are not, you guys should write this down, they are not the guys that count the cash that’s piled up in duffle bags, between the duffle bags filled with pills, in the back of your office, that’s not what accountants do.
Wendy Harris: They’re not bean-counters!
Shaahin Cheyene: That is not what they do, yeah. And after learning that from several frightened accountants who walked in and rapidly walked out, never to be heard from again, I started to get my business together. From there, I exited that company, went into developing all the technology for digital vaporisation, created the first portable vaporisers, which is the forerunner to what you see today and the e-cigs.
From there, I went onto the Amazon platform, learning to master it and to build on what Bezos has built, this amazing disruptive platform. And now, I teach people how to do that. I teach people how to create meaningful Amazon companies, products that will change lives, and in the meantime be able to travel and give the middle finger to their boss and live the lifestyle that they know they can, without having to sell their hours, which is the greatest crime imposed on entrepreneurs today.
Wendy Harris: There’s very little freedom in being an entrepreneur, is there, because you imagine that you’re going to be able to do what you want when you want, but then the actual responsibility of a lot of the activity that goes into running a business kind of eats away at that time. So, it’s great that you’ve been able to do that whilst not being a drug dealer or money launderer!
Shaahin Cheyene: Yeah, but yet being all of those things! Look, here’s what I think. I think that you can build your life any way that you want, and a good friend of mine, this guy, Stuart Wilde, he was a British metaphysician and author, one of the original guys who started the New Age movement. And he was actually a Sicilian-born guy, moved to England and became one of the most well-known writers in this New Age movement.
One of the things that he taught me was that we have the innate ability to step out of what he called tick-tock, which is the world of the people who operate the trains and drive the trash trucks, and all that ordinary-type reality, and to be able to create an extraordinary life for ourselves. But you can’t do it without financial freedom. And we’re so inundated with all this thought of, “Making money’s bad, the people who steal money are cheating, money is the root of all evil”. He used to say, “The guy who said, ‘Money is the root of all evil’ didn’t have any”.
So, we have to first break free of those limiting mindsets that are keeping us down, and then figure out what we’re great at and how we can get into flow. That’s what we teach to our Amazon master course. And by the way, anybody listening to this or watching this, I assume you have a YouTube channel as well, or is this just audio; do you do audio primarily?
Wendy Harris: We dabbled with YouTube, but I really don’t do YouTube. It’s podcast only.
Shaahin Cheyene: Okay, cool. Awesome. So, for any of you guys listening to this, I have a one-hour course where I teach you how to empower yourself, to create an Amazon company with little or no money. It’s normally $200, that’s dollars, £200. I’m going to give this to you guys for zero dollars, if you just mention Wendy Harris. Use “Wendy Harris” in the subject line. I’m going to give you my direct email. If you guys want coaching from me, want mentorship from me, want to reach out to me, I’m going to give you my email for the absolute cost of zero. If you don’t want to, you’ll never hear from us again.
Email me, use “Wendy Harris” in the subject heading, I’ll give you the $200, one-hour course for free, teaching you how to create a business, how to find a product. That is email@example.com. Where I was going with that is the first thing you need to do is you need to break out of your scarcity mindset. You’ve got to break out of the principle that you’re going to be selling your hours for the rest of your [bleep] life, you’ve got to get out of that.
Once you get out of that, then you think foundationally, Wendy. We start to think, “If I put all my eggs in one basket and that basket falls, the eggs are going to break, I’m going to be left with scrambled eggs, that’s it, not very nice”. So, you’ve got to build the foundation, you’ve got to have multiple streams of income. We teach that. I teach you buy cashflow-positive real estate. We teach, go out there and invest in something that’s going to give you compounding interest. And continue to go out there and do your career, do your job, because that’s a pillar until you don’t need to anymore.
So, you have to think foundationally, and when you think that way and you think one of those pillars is an ecommerce business, like an Amazon business, then you think to yourself, “Man, you can never have a bad day”. Now I wake up and look, some days our Amazon sales are less than others; not lately. In the last few years, Amazon’s been on fire. Other days I wake up and I go, “Man, the real estate market is on fire”. Other days I go, “Wow, the real estate market is too hot for me to buy anything more now, I’m going to hold off”.
But every day, there is at least one or more of those pillars that holds up the rest by orders of magnitude, and that’s how you have to start to think.
Wendy Harris: But you see, what you’ve done there is you’ve intentionally said, “It’s too hot”, not, “It’s not my thing”. You’ve not positioned it as a negative, because it was intentional that you don’t need to do anything with that right now, because of the activity that’s going on in the market. And I think is where we’re too quick to use negative language that actually holds us back, like saying, “I’m only going to be successful if I work hard”. Everybody works hard, don’t they, and not everybody is successful?
Shaahin Cheyene: Not everybody works hard, some people work smart.
Wendy Harris: It’s about making those subtle shifts in what it is that you do to give you that dream and that vision.
Shaahin Cheyene: You British people have a lot of good ones. So, another great British author who I’m a huge fan of and a student of his work, Richard Koch, who wrote The 80/20 Principle; have you read that?
Wendy Harris: Yes.
Shaahin Cheyene: Spectacular book. And Koch talks about the Pareto Principle, how 20% of our efforts bring about 80% of our results. In fact, I have to tell you, I often tell people there’s no hack to hard work. You have to go out there and work hard, especially when you’re starting up. But at the end of the day, it’s not the hard work that brings about the result, it’s the placement of the lever where you use the least amount of pressure to create the most amount of leverage, the most amount of results. That’s how you succeed.
You don’t succeed by going out there and working your fingers to the bone, no matter what, and keep getting knocked down, you keep getting back up, then you get knocked down some more; that’s not what’s causing you to succeed. What’s causing you to succeed is that when you get knocked down, you learn, “Hey, there’s too much friction here, too much noise here. I keep running into a wall. What if I move an inch to the left?” and it’s that inch, that little spot that presents the opportunity for you to create these efficiencies. And those efficiencies are the systems, the algorithms that create your success, that create that 20% that gives you the 80% in results.
As you get better at these kinds of things, think about all the people who are systems people. You create systems as you get better, and these little micromovements and these little tweaks to how you do things, you start to succeed more and more. People will go, “Well, he worked hard”. Well, yeah, he worked hard, but it’s not the hard work that caused it, it’s not the fact that you walk 50 miles. It’s the fact that one inch in that journey made all the difference.
I can’t tell you how many people look at Elon Musk, systems guy, Jeff Bezos, systems guy, Steve Jobs, systems guy. These guys built efficiency in what we take for granted. When you look at those guys and you bring them a problem, it’s not that they don’t work hard. Elon Musk notoriously sleeps on the factory floor, which I did as well, not that I’m any Elon Musk; but you do that, but you do that for a different reason. It’s not the sleeping on the factory floor that’s making him the millions. It’s the waking up and that one little tweak that, “Hey, we’re going to make the spaceship just a little bit more aerodynamic and now it’s going to have more range. We’re going to create a battery that’s going to have a longer range than any other car”. It’s these micromovements.
So, the natural question becomes, “How do you find what these are? How do you discover what these micromovements are?” and the answer is, you need to be in what Steven Kotler calls The Flow State. Csikszentmihalyi very famously, in his book, Flow, wrote about this. You have to have enough space in your life where these ideas can come to you. How do you create that space? By foundational thinking. This foundation where you have multiple streams of income, MSIs, recurring revenue streams, leads you to having white space, good design, I talk about this often.
Did you ever see an Apple billboard or an Apple advertisement? There’s nothing on it. It’s just a picture of one thing. It’s a phone and white space.
Wendy Harris: It’s very clean.
Shaahin Cheyene: Very clean. And you look at design where it’s an amateur guy, maybe it’s a little mum and pop restaurant, or something like that, and there’s just a ton of [bleep] there, and you might not be a design person, but you know it’s not nice. And the reason is that all our brilliance comes between the moments in between thoughts. And the more space that you have, the more white space you have in how you design your life, the better decisions you make, because the more choices you have. The one thing we know is, we can’t always make the right decision. But what we do know is the more choices you have, the better decisions you make.
Wendy Harris: Amen! As simple as that, and it’s not always the easiest of things to actually implement, is it? One of the things that I noticed myself personally to start to create that subtle shift, was waking up in the morning and the first thought being, “Today’s going to be a great day”, rather than, “Oh, what have I got to get done today?” That subtle shift means that every day is a great day, and it’s what you do with that day then that then goes on to have that greater impact and that snowball effect. So, that’s one thing that everybody can do right away.
Shaahin Cheyene: Yeah. And to your point, I would take it one step further and say, “I’m going to make it a great day today”, because you’re the one impacting that change. Because, invariably what happens is people say, “It’s going to be a great day today”, and they put that out there in the world and they want to approach it with that mindset, but then something happens; that bird comes and [bleep] on your car. It happens, it’s life, life can be [bleep] life can be difficult. Life is full of [bleep].
Everywhere you turn, there is an [bleep], especially now during COVID, there are more and more [bleep]. It’s almost like COVID came and all the [bleep] came! Has somebody shaken the grass and let all the [bleep] out? All the [bleep] are out! So, life has a way of shaking you up. So, if you go out there and you say, “Well, it’s going to be a great day”, yeah, that’s cool. And it’s cool if you stay in your bubble, you put up that bubble around you where nothing gets in, and you kind of believe that.
But eventually stuff starts chipping away at you. The birds [bleep] on your car right after you got the car washed, the guy at the coffee place spills the coffee on you, the mechanic rips you off on the car bill, the wife or husband’s yelling at you, the kid takes a poop in his car seat. All these things happen in life.
Wendy Harris: You’ve got to laugh in adversity, but it can hurt.
Shaahin Cheyene: There you go. So, the great philosopher and Zen scholar, Alan Watts, are you familiar with Alan Watts at all, or his work?
Wendy Harris: No.
Shaahin Cheyene: Once again, one of yours.
Wendy Harris: UK guys?
Shaahin Cheyene: Yeah, so for any of you guys who don’t know Alan Watts, check out his work. It’s free on the internet. His lectures are extraordinary. He was a British philosopher who brought the concept of Zen mysticism to the United States and to the West, he made it very palatable. And he was one of the most spectacular orators. He later got involved in LSD and hung out with Timothy Leary and Ram Dass, and he became kind of a rock star in philosophical circles. By the way, if you’re ever having a bad day, listen to Alan Watts, it will change your life. And his stuff is free. People have remixed it on Spotify, on YouTube; well worth a listen to.
But Watts quoted a guy named GK Chesterton, I believe. Do you know, Wendy Harris, why angels fly?
Wendy Harris: My guess is because they have wings.
Shaahin Cheyene: “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly”, one of my favourite quotes of all time. And it just means that if you approach life with that attitude, if you leave the house in the morning saying, “You know what, it might be a [bleep] day, it might be a great day, I have no expectations. But I have all the tools to handle it and I’m going to laugh off whatever the [bleep] happens that I don’t like and some of the stuff I do like”.
You realise it’s not so bad. The bird [bleep] on your car after you get a carwash, you have a hearty laugh about it; the kid poops in the car seat, you’re just, “There’s little Johnny again, pooping on things!” Things take a different view and then, in fact, you do end up having a beautiful day. The impact of the day, what’s happened, the actual physical manifestation of the day doesn’t change. But what truly changes is your mindset about it, and I think that was the point that you were trying to drive through, and that’s a really valuable point, Wendy.
Wendy Harris: Intentional, actionable view and perspective on what we do have every day as a gift, isn’t it, is the present and being part of that?
Shaahin Cheyene: Yeah.
Wendy Harris: Big smiles all round. Hey, we’re getting quite profound here today on this show. I love it when a conversation takes you to wherever it needs to go.
Shaahin Cheyene: Yeah, but if I can make you listen to Alan Watts, my work is done today. You’ve got to listen to him. I cannot believe you have not heard of him; he is extraordinary. And now, more and more young people listen to him. I write about him again in my book, Billion: How I Became King of the Thrill Pill Cult, so anybody that’s interested, check out Billion: How I Became King of the Thrill Pill Cult. You can get it in the UK, in the United States, all over the world on Amazon. If you want to listen to a chapter of it, you can listen on Stitcher, Spotify, wherever podcasts are found, to see if you like the book. Or, if I’m a complete [bleep], you can check that out too.
I also have a podcast, Wendy, called Hack And Grow Rich, where we teach unconventional paths to creating financial success. Check us out on YouTube, Stitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, wherever podcasts are found.
Wendy Harris: I reckon there’s been a few guests that have gone, “I don’t know if I’ve had a conversation that’s counted that’s had a pivotal moment, I’m going to have to think about it”. Then they come back and they go, “Do you know, I’ve had more than one”, because when you really think about it, they can be coming at you from all sorts of places. And this is the bit that I never know what’s coming at me next. What was that one conversation like for you, Shaahin, and what happened?
Shaahin Cheyene: You mean the one conversation — so if I understand you correctly, what you’re asking me is, “Was there a conversation that you had where you didn’t think it amounted to much, but turns out that there was something significant there?”
Wendy Harris: Absolutely.
Shaahin Cheyene: Yeah, so that’s going to require some reflection. But I can tell you that, with my first mentor, a guy named Edward Lawson, I write about him in my book, Billion: How I Became King of the Thrill Pill Cult, I had just met this guy, kind of a mysterious guy. I’m a teenager and he’s got all these grand plans. He’s explaining to me all the stuff that I could do, and I’m just thinking, “Man, it would be nice to have a hot meal. It would be nice to finally have a place to live”, and he’s talking about changing the world, what Steve Jobs called, “Putting a dent in the universe”.
I remember my frustration with the conversation, because he was up here and I was way down there. I was in survival, and he was in absolute earth-shifting, moving tectonic plates. And he was that kind of a person, one of those incredible, charismatic characters, that could influence anybody in a room, and I use that word very consciously, because —
Wendy Harris: He’d entered your mind, not just universe.
Shaahin Cheyene: Yeah. And I remember him taking me outside, seeing very clearly that I wasn’t moved by his words in that moment, and I said, “Look, how am I going to do any of this, how am I going to do all of this? I don’t have any money, I don’t have enough to go buy a veggie burger outside, much less to change the world. How am I going to put a dent in the universe without any money?
He very clearly took a pause and conveyed to me in very few words that I should take a look around me, and that everything around me was sold to somebody at some point in history; and that if I could learn the art of influence, that would be the one tool, the one ring to rule them all. That would be the only thing you would need to have. Because, with that tool, you wouldn’t need money. Money is just one way to get from point A to point B, to get somebody to give you something, to get somebody to give you value; it is not the only way. There are lots of other ways to get somebody to give you that thing that you need to get to where you want to go without money. And I remember being increasingly frustrated.
Then later that night, when I was asleep in the back seat of the Lincoln Continental with the pages of Think and Grow Rich taped with scotch tape to the top of the hood and reading it with a flashlight as I was trying to fall asleep, that I had that “a-ha” moment, that I realised that that’s the master key to everything, and that I would commit myself, for however long it took, it could be the rest of my life, to mastering the art of telling stories, to mastering the art of what Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence, calls influence, but more importantly, persuasion; being able to make the sale before you even meet the customer.
I teach this now, again, in my Amazon course. How do you make a sale before the customer ever comes to your listing, before they even know about you or your product? Learn that from me for free. It’s normally $200. Mention “Wendy Harris” in the subject line, email me. This is my direct email, I check these emails: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will give you the $200, one-hour course for free, teaching you how to find a product, how to start a company from anywhere in the world. Do it for next to nothing which, Wendy, brings me to my purpose and mission in life right now, which is to inspire people to create predictable recurring revenue streams that never fail.
Wendy Harris: Modern society, and none of us want to be slaves to finances. So, I would strongly urge everybody to go and email Shaahin. I’m tempted myself to see what I will learn.
Shaahin Cheyene: Wendy, you have to say it in your Peaky Blinders voice!
Wendy Harris: Yeah! By order of the Peaky Blinders, get yourself on that email thread! Definitely, it’s got to be done. And the thing is, it may not be the one thing that changes everything, but we pick up pieces from everywhere that we go and everything that we’re influenced by, and it’s those pieces that we gather, isn’t it, to be able to create the life that we want to live?
Shaahin Cheyene: Yeah. It could be the one thing that changes everything, it could be what you want, it’s whatever you make it. Life is whatever you make it, it’s the story that you write. And no matter where you are, no matter what you do, no matter what position you find yourself in, fact, you can change it, you can change your life, now, this minute, this second, by taking a step and making a decision. That’s it, that’s the first step, that’s all it takes, one step at a time.
Wendy Harris: Just do it, as that big brand says.
Shaahin Cheyene: Or don’t, just be happy with what you’ve got, be where you are, listen to lots of Alan Watts, read my book!
Wendy Harris: Find who you are and be that person. There’s a lot of self-discovery that needs to happen, I think, than what we’re told we should be.
Shaahin Cheyene: Yeah. You mentioned another great book which talks about that too, Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight, the “Just do it” Nike guy, spectacular book. You know, this is one of the differences, Wendy, of successful people and people I find who are not successful, is that successful people study success. So, if you want to be successful, stop poopooing on all these millionaires, all these billionaires. Sure, there’s things that they do that you might not agree with, or might not like, but who cares? You need to study their success if you’re not as successful as them.
Becoming a student of their success and suspending judgement on whatever your judgement is on their misdeeds, or whatever, that can be hugely impactful in your life.
Wendy Harris: I’ve found myself using an analogy quite often lately, when it comes to doing something new or creating a new habit, or forming new choices. And I love to read, I love stories, I love telling stories, I love listening to stories. That’s okay to a point. And the point that I make there is, there’s no point in just collecting stories if you do nothing with them and you don’t take the lessons in those stories to something that you action.
So, the analogy that I have is that reading a book is like learning to drive your theory test, where you have to go and do all the health and safety papers and answer all the Highway Code. But the only way that you’re ever going to learn to drive a car is actually get in the car and drive it, and that’s your life, the vehicle of your life.
Shaahin Cheyene: It’s true. You can’t surf by reading magazines. I learned that too.
Wendy Harris: Yeah. Shaahin, thank you so much. I am so pleased that Ed came into your life when he did and had that conversation with you, because that’s purely instrumental to a lot of the rest of your story, which is amazing.
Shaahin Cheyene: You’re the best, Wendy Harris, I appreciate you. Thank you so much for having me on.
Wendy Harris: You’re an absolute star.
Shaahin Cheyene: Likewise, right back at you.
Wendy Harris: And there’s Shaahin, blown my mind, sent me off on lots of little rabbit warrens that I really enjoyed going down. The Alan Watts conference speech that I listened to was worth that hour of time. And how generous that he’s giving away his course to you, the listeners, for free! Do make sure that you send him that email, because he’s a man of his word, and he’ll make sure that he sends you the details to get access to that. That email address for you again is email@example.com. What a great guy.
So, that was my key takeaway; what was yours? Do let me know, pop us a message, use whatever social platform you enjoy best. But as always, the makingconversationscount.com website has all the information you need.
Next time on the show, I’m bringing you another curve ball, as we’re going to be Making Conversations about Brain Health Count. I’m bringing you Veronica Gould and her passion for keeping people’s minds active at any age. Veronica Gould is passionate about us taking up weekly arts-based activities to protect us against brain deterioration and dementia. It might sound like a gloomy topic, but in actual fact, there’s an awful lot we can do for ourselves.
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Sometimes this means I change something I do, or something I would say, and other times it’s a real opportunity for reflection.
Thanks for sharing your guests with us Wendy, the podcasts are brilliant.
We all have pivotal moments and Wendy manages to find the right parts, showcasing the reasons why someone is who they are.
It’s those details that we connect to and come to more understanding of why people do what they do.
Wendy is a natural host and makes people feel at ease to share their stories.