We started by talking about how he goes about his life. Is he someone who sets goals, or just goes with the flow?
"It’s a fine balance – I think you should have a general swimming direction. But let me start with a bit of background. I was always very poor at school, I was always the kid in the back of the class, who never paid attention, who was not listening, who talked back to teachers – I was in an international school until 9th grade, after that I got kicked out from there, for the above mentioned reasons, and then I went to boarding school, to England. School there never really took off for me, it was better, because I got to do my own thing, I learned to take and assume my own responsibilities, but I still felt this internal clash, you know?
To get back to the point – do I set goals? No, in every phase of my life, I have a priority.
By coming to Harbour.Space, for example, I made this school my #1 priority for the time that I’m here. And I think it’s a matter of self-discipline and focus to keep it that way, to actually follow that prioritization."
Some people fixate on one life goal, others take their life in phases and set goals accordingly. Since Carl sets priorities for each phase of his life, he falls into the latter category.
"I’m a sucker to my emotions – I act on whatever I feel. This was a struggle for me when I was younger because you’re always taught, you know, think with your head, use your head, this kind of thing, and really, at the end of the day, its total nonsense, right?"
It’s not think with your head, its think with your gut. Let your gut take you forward.
"I’m in the process of training that, of learning to trust my gut, so I’d say I have a goal, it’s a very general goal, but ever since I was young I’ve wanted to change the world. I don’t know how, I don’t even know if it will be in a positive way, but it’s just always what I’ve kept on telling myself."
Change the world? That sounds demanding, even for someone with Carl’s drive and ambition.
"I know, it’s a big expectation, it’s a huge responsibility, but I just want to be great. I want to be one of the greatest people that have ever lived. At what, I don’t know. I just feel it inside of my chest – I have a burning desire to prove that I’m great. Honestly, I get intense just speaking about it [laughs]. I really want to be great, in whatever form that may come, if that’s just, stepping to the side, and letting whatever creation I have in me come out through me, cool, sure. Or if that’s living my life to the fullest, most intense potential, that’s fine too – whatever it may be. I do not plan, in that sense – I maybe should plan more, in certain aspects of life, but I think in others, let it run free, because expectations limit."
The moment we put expectations on something, say, for example, a flower we planted in our garden, we expect the flower to grow in a certain way – that limits it! Your brain doesn’t even have the capacity to realize how many ways this flower can grow.
"It’s the same with people. We put too many expectations on ourselves, and in doing so, we limit our own growth. I always say, I need to do this, I need to do that – you don’t need to, you want to. There’s a difference."
In truth, categorizing things is a form of limitation. We look at things and we immediately define them using definitions and concepts we already have. In a way, this restricts our creativity, and our capacity to accept things for what they are, right?
"Exactly! I mean, this whole notion of good and bad, that some things are good and others are not, it’s pure nonsense right? Everything just is. Creation just is, we are. When you talk about life with other people, or these kinds of topics, there are always fundamental underlying themes. They’re always very similar.
The only thing that is always unique is the individual’s perspective – your interpretation of what is, differs from my interpretation of what is. And that’s what make’s life so unique, and that’s what complicates it in a way, right? It’s a perspective, it’s an opinion, it’s an angle at which you view an image at.
In that regard, by imposing your own expectations on life, you belittle life – so when I was talking about stepping out of the way, I mean, become the observer, right? Everybody knows the Bruce Lee quote, you know, “be water” – if water gets poured into the cup, it becomes the cup. Be substanceless, don’t have a style – let go of the notion of right or wrong, or good and bad – be nothing, and be everything, just be.
This is something you learn in meditation as well;
Be the observer. Observe your thoughts, observe your feelings, observe your body without the necessity for change – that’s a big thing.
"Because we look at things and we immediately impose ourselves on them – I look at something in the street and I say that’s beautiful. It’s a reflex – we never just observe things, we characterise them. Only when you truly observe something, without imposing your own thoughts on it, can you truly see the thing for what it is."
Is it possible, though? Carl thinks with dedication and training, it is. The real question is however, do people want this? The reason we see things through the filter of our beliefs and our judgments is so that we interpret life in a way that is more comfortable for us – removing that filter can be shocking, right?
"But isn’t that beautiful? This is what I meant with different perspectives – I can totally respect if you don’t want this. I’m not the type of guy who goes around advocating his beliefs. I don’t want to change your perspective – but I like to keep an open mind for mine. I think it’s important for us to recognize that we have a filter – it’s something I’m working on. I have a similar filter to my father, for example. I used to always interpret everything my father told me as a negative, as a criticism. And, really, it’s about finding what it is that you filter everything through.
For me, it began with removing the ego.
Honestly, my father and I are very headstrong, we’re very intense people like that, I was the only one who gave him lip in the family, and we ended up clashing a lot. And because of this, everything he told me I took as negative. In order for me to get past that, I had to look at myself, and see what it was that made me interpret his words like that. As a result of this, I can now take criticism – in fact, I welcome it!
You have got to get ripped to shreds in order to grow – that’s why I like martial arts, because whatever beliefs you had before, the second you get your ass beat, your ego is nothing! You’re so humbled, you say, Ok, let’s go back to the drawing board and start again. Let’s reassess, let’s recuperate and get back up."
After his last chapter closed, Carl was left with a decision – and he decided to come study High-Tech Entrepreneurship at Harbour.Space.
"I told Parham [Holakouee] I came here, and I was motivated. I was sure I would do well, I was sure I would try my hardest and succeed. And then I came here and saw last year’s class’ projects. And I said well, shit [laughs] – these guys are amazing! How am I ever going to keep up with this? I was totally discouraged, I said, my class will never be able to fill these shoes. And then slowly but surely, I got to know some of the people here and the atmosphere slowly began to build and I said, hey, you know, maybe, maybe, it’s possible you know. And looking at how it’s going the more time passes, I think next year will be better than us. I think it’s a movement. There’s a revolution coming in the world."
Honestly, environments like this make me believe that something’s changing.
And for the future?
"I’ve had this feeling, ever since I was 16 or something, I’ve had this gut feeling that something big is coming. We see emerging trends in technology, at a crazy exponential pace, it’s insane, so what’s becoming more and more important is adaptability. How adaptable are you to new environments?
This is something I’ve taken pride in ever since I was a child. I’ve hung around with international people all my life – from schools to my communities, it’s always been building relationships with people from all over the world. And in a way that’s left my in like a twilight situation – because I felt like I have a lot of acquaintances, but very few friends. I love them though – I never give them enough credit for it, but I love them. But the more you experience, the more adaptable you become and the more you become an observer."
As we were wrapping up, Carl made a very intriguing proposal; he offered to let us in on his code of the universe, as he put it.
"For me, it’s the number 3. It is everywhere in my life. Very simply explained, you have the sun, right – it’s imposing, male energy, then you have mother earth, which is caring, female energy – it takes, it changes, it uses this energy, to create more energy. I’m not talking about male and female like genders, in the human sense, but I want to show that they are different types of energy that come from the same source. That’s the wonder in life, right?
So those are the numbers 1 and 2. But what people forget is the third. It’s the process, it’s the dynamic balance between the two, it’s the motion between these two entities that creates everything, because, you hear people say, I want to find more balance in my life – they see it as something static. Balance is something dynamic – we walk by taking steps, first one, then the other, but it’s a dynamic balance. It’s motion.
Kamran [Elahian] told me – if you try something three times and it still doesn’t work, then the universe has other plans for you. I’m still working towards that, so we’ll have to see what the universe has in store for me in the future."
Carl is a Bachelor in our High-Tech Entrepreneur Programme.