DC: The life philosophy, is based on a book called The Prophet. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, it’s by Khalil Gibran.
SS: I haven’t heard about it.
DC: I’ll give you the synopsis just so you can get the idea. Basically, there’s a young man; he had lived in a city for 12 years. It’s not his homeland, but this is where he had been for 12 years. His time had come for him to depart and he was going to go back to his home and all of the people of the village came out to send him off. He was going to the docks to get on the boat and travel back home and they were going there hoping to persuade him to stay because they loved them and he had become such a part of their community and their families. They finally realized that he was going to leave, that he was intent on going back home after spending 12 years there. After they realized that, they asked him to share wisdom and insight with them from his life and his experience. So they took turns and they just started asking him questions about life and he would answer them. They wanted to share it with themselves and their children one day.
Essentially, you can look at it as if you were going to go away one day, leave your family and your friends, and they said, “Will you please share your life thoughts on these things?” You can put yourself in those shoes. The first…
DC: Speak to us of love.
SS: Love has different shapes. There’s one love that you get to actually find out only when you become a parent. Sorry about the cliché, but that’s how it is. Clichés are born because they’re true probably. I’m a fan of the unconditional love and it’s unconditional, I believe, only for your child, for your babies. Nothing could ever change that, nothing. And that’s exactly the love that I got from my parents and that’s the one big force in the world I believe. Once again, another cliché, but that’s how it works. The love I have all my life for my wife, for my family, and especially for my kids is the biggest drive I could ever have. It is the essence of life in many ways.
Once again, I’m sorry to be the cliché, but the love for your kids is not when they’re born. When they’re born, it’s actually living hell. Someone has to say that; it is unbelievably hard. It’s just so difficult. You have no time to even think about love and just nothing. The love starts when they start to communicate and when they communicate, you just get a feeling of you can’t breathe and there are some things you just get excited about. You are filled with tears of, “I can’t believe it’s mine. It’s my blood and my flesh, that is unbelievable,” and that is unconditional love that I feel is the strongest power on earth. I know that I would do anything for them, anything. There’s no obstacles, no dreams, not anything. That’s the one thing I know for sure; that’s the final truth. The love I have for my children, so that’s love.
DC: And what of marriage?
SS: Marriage is more complicated than I thought. It is a marathon. It is, I think, not easy to maintain and to keep what you had in the beginning. Beginning is amazing, having children is amazing, and then it becomes difficult. Everything becomes difficult because you’re not a couple anymore, you’re a family. That change between a couple and a family sometimes you grow into that and that’s tough and you don’t know how to do that and the differences in views, in perspectives, and so many things that are happening and you don’t have time anymore to be a couple. It’s not easy and I’m married only five years. I know people who are married for so many more years.
I never thought that marriage is sacred in the thought of, “If we are married, we need to stick together at any cost,” but I would hope for myself and that will be the case for me. I believe in the constitute, in the fact that people are actually saying, “We declare about our love, we declare about our commitment to each other, and now we build a family.” That’s why you should get married, because you want to build a family, you want to declare it, you want the world to know that this is it. I can only hope that it would last forever for me, but I’m realistic. I know that’s difficult, it’s tough. Now that I see marriage, I know how complicated it could become, so you needed to work inside a marriage. Once again another cliché, but that’s how it is and that’s not easy. It could get lost, I believe, really quick, so it’s something to work on
DC: You’ve already spoken to this some, but this was the next question if you want to elaborate. Speak to us of children.
SS: Another range of I hate everything about it. It takes time and they don’t listen and they get you mad, they get you nuts. On the same exact time, it’s the most precious thing that you have. It’s like cognitive dissonance; it’s unbelievable, but that’s how it is. It’s really difficult and it’s real, real fun at the same time.
People usually laugh about it when I talk about children because I always talk about how hard it is and I’m saying somebody has to tell the truth, it sucks. Let’s talk about it, it sucks in so many ways. There are some great moments, but usually, it just sucks. Sometimes it does feel like it, but I only now understand and I can only imagine how it will be when they will grow up. So I get that connecting the love effect that we talked about, the unconditional love, to the fact that the only true thing that you’re ever going to have, everything else is going to change; that’s never been to change. That’s what I believe. So it’s like a bond, so strong a bond that nobody can, I hope, change and for me, that is, probably today, the biggest anchor that we’ve talked about that became my love, that merged into my life. Leaving how tough it is aside for a second, it’s one of the biggest anchors.
DC: Speak to us of giving.
SS: I actually find giving not as altruism but egoism. I actually believe in it. I think that giving is something that makes you feel good and you want to feel good, so you give. I actually believe it’s okay to talk about it. It’s not because you care about the world and it’s not only because you want people to smile and to feel better, it’s in many ways, because you want to feel good, you want to feel better, and that’s great. Why not? It helps everyone. You get to feel good, the other one that you gave to feels good, and that’s my philosophy. I understand that I’m giving and I’m getting at the same exact time and I’m not failing the getting feeling, not at all; I want to put it out there. That makes it, I believe, much more sustained. Once you understand that giving is getting, you just want to keep on doing that. Otherwise, it’s just, “I helped you. That’s it. Thank you.” No, that’s not the case. When you find something that you give and get at the same time, it’s not all that, but when you find it, which is what I believe Nachshonim is all about in many ways, I actually find it useful and something that can actually provide change
DC: Speak to us of eating and drinking.
SS: I’m going to start with eating because that is my biggest love. I have an unconditional love. I love it. For me, it’s so much more than just a way to get fuel and get fuel to your body. You might say that I’m not picky; I love McDonald’s. It’s amazing. It’s my guilty pleasure once a month and that’s the biggest moment of the month. I love it. I love to go abroad because then you don’t have the strict routine that you have once you’re home. We’ve just been to Paris and we ate, for five days in a row, anything that we just saw. Anytime I felt just a little bit hungry, I ate a meal. I love eating; I think it’s one of the biggest joys in life. Drinking, drinking alcohol or just drinking?
DC: Drinking in general, but I would think alcohol.
SS: I must say I’ve done that, of course, but I never got to the point it was something as part of my life. Let’s tell the truth, it doesn’t taste good alcohol. You like the ending point of feeling dizzy, but I don’t like the way that you need to go to get there. It doesn’t do that to me at all I’ve found. I’m naturally high maybe.
DC: Speak to us of work.
SS: That’s probably my life mission became to help people find the work that they want, the life work. I believe that work today is much more than work; it’s part of our identity in many ways and part of our self-realization. It’s much more than just getting a salary and I think that, for most people, that’s how it feels about work. For me, work needs to be… It’s 80% of our time, eventually? Let’s make it worthwhile. Let’s do things that we want to do, let’s dream big, let’s try to reach out to the goals that we thought even are not possible for us because that’s when you’re happy, when you reach out to things that you didn’t imagine you can actually do and your work can actually help you achieve that. That’s great. It’s not always easy; usually, you have no idea how to do that, but reaching out and trying and just figuring out your way and your path inside that world, for me, is a big issue. I think that’s one of my driving forces, to find out what kind of work can I actually do that allows me to grow as much as I can. I’m still figuring that out. Today is an entrepreneur, but I guess it’s going to be some other things along the way. I’m actually excited about work. My wife always laughs about it, “What’s exciting? It’s just work.” No, it’s not just work. It’s much more than that.
DC: For you, it’s a passion.
SS: It’s a passion, it’s a place to live up to your dreams, that’s what it is for me. It’s also a place to fail a lot, but that’s okay. I can handle that.
DC: Speak to us of joy and sorrow.
SS: There was something that I really like from Chazal, the old smart people of the Jewish tradition, who said that you can’t have joy without sorrow. I really like that because that’s smart. Sorrow is part of us. I felt, for many years, as if I was on the sorrow side of the equation, that I feel more sorrow than joy, and maybe only in the past few years, since I got married and got my children and everything, I feel much more joy than sorrow. But that always, that is like… I’m not sure how you say it, but it goes… Never mind how you say it, but it gives me comfort to know that whenever I have sorrow, there’s going to be, hopefully, joy. And it keeps me on the ground that when I feel joy, I know that there could be also sorrow. It’s like a balancing equation of life in many ways and it’s also a reminder that, no matter how sorrowful you feel, there could be joy and vice versa. So for me, it’s a comforting thought. That’s what it is for me.
DC: Speak to us of houses.
SS: What you mean like home?
SS: That’s a great question. Houses are the one place you feel really comfortable at. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be… I feel like I’m cliché all the way, but if I’m a cliché, let’s do it all the way. For me today, it’s the comfort zone and not the bad comfort zone. The one place you actually feel you can remove all the masks, just be yourself, get the energy you need to put the mask again and fight the world. I remember that I always had that… I use to write short stories and one of them was about the mask that I feel as if I’m always going into myself when I’m outside and just want to remove it and just let everything go away. I still have masks, but it’s much less than I used to have and when I’m at home, the real home, and that is in the feeling, it’s not the real estate; it’s the place it is, that is my wife and my children. Whenever I’m there, there are no masks, I’m just me for the good and for the worst and that is my house today.
DC: Speak to us of clothes.
SS: That’s actually an issue because when I was an employee, I used to dress up.
DC: Suit and tie?
SS: Exactly. I was a suit guy and then, when I became an entrepreneur, I didn’t know who I was anymore. What am I supposed to wear? I kept on wearing the nice shirts because that’s who I am. It took me like six months to wear jeans to work, which is… What is work? It’s the place I’m going to; there’s nobody that sees me or whatever. I actually like clothing. I feel it is also a part of our identity, whether we want it or not. I like it casual most of the time. When I see someone that is all dressed, it’s just like feeling too much effort, so it’s just not good enough. But for me, it was an issue and today I’m trying to resolve it, wearing different things every day, but it is the jeans, the T-shirt most of the time or something like that. That’s my insight.
DC: Speak to us of buying and selling.
SS: I like buying stuff. I like the feeling that you have with something new. I think that’s great; the economy is based on that and it’s also based on people who sell it like I’m selling some stuff in 2040, FiveYearsFromNow, Nachshonim. I like that actually. I feel I’m pretty good at it, in selling and buying, understanding how it works. I like the negotiation stuff that you have most of the time. I think it’s like chess in many ways; it’s like a game of buying and selling. That’s economy in a word, buying and selling. That’s it.
DC: Speak to us of crime and punishment.
SS: One thing that I’ve always felt is that as if I’m very sensitive to justice. Maybe everybody’s like that, but for me specifically, I felt that whenever I see injustice, I’m going nuts. I just can’t bear it. It’s unbearable to me, especially when I witness it with my own eyes. I also believe in – I’m not sure if that’s okay, that’s not going to be a cliché – but I believe in revenge, in the actual feeling that you get from revenge because when you see injustice or when somebody is doing it right, that’s the revenge, the punishment. Today it’s structured, but I always think about what would happen if someone would do a crime and will get outside of the punishment. What am I going to do about it? I always feel as if I’m going to seek for justice. There needs to be punishment to a crime.
DC: This piggybacks on that, but what of our laws?
SS: They give us the structure, they give us the guidelines of what’s right and wrong. The one amazing thing is that laws keep changing, so it reflects the period that you live in. There were laws also 100 years ago that today seems unbelievable. Imagine what will be 100 years from now. The laws that we have today they seem so logical, it’s going to be completely different. It’s just a reflection of humanity in a point of time, so it’s a great tool for historical overview in many ways.
DC: Speak to us of freedom.
SS: As an Israeli in the Middle East and with the Holocaust in our past, putting this big word here, without conflict also today. I understand I haven’t been in the Holocaust and I’m the privileged side of the conflict today, but I think I can feel what it’s like to be without freedom, what it’s like to get… It’s the one thing that, once taken from you, it becomes your life mission, unlike anything else. Love is not like that, joy is not like that. If there’s anything that once taken from you becomes your life mission, that’s what freedom is all about. I feel privileged to have freedom. I’m privileged in so many ways. Freedom is the basic one of them.
DC: Speak to us of reason and passion.
SS: Is it contradicting in any way?
DC: No, not necessarily.
SS: I’ll start with passion. I feel I have lots of it to many things, by the way. Part of my personality maybe. When I am passionate about something, I feel alive, I feel that things come into place, I feel as if I can overcome any obstacle, just have something that you have a target, you’re passionate about something. Finding your passion is difficult. And this is why I’ve made that one of my life mission, to help people find their passions, to help myself find mine in many ways. When talking about reason, do you mean reason in terms of…?
DC: Logic, reason, reasoning.
SS: I would go against reason. I think it’s limiting many things in your life. Not everything has a reason and many things that you do don’t have an obvious reason. Sometimes there is a reason, sometimes not, but it’s okay, not every reason. It’s okay to not reason, to not rationale, everything you do. Talking about the crazy stuff, let’s do something that doesn’t have any reason. Who knows what’s out there? I want to be there.
DC: I like that. Tell us of pain.
SS: Pain, I would go to the mental pain and not the physical one because the mental pain, I think, is the one thing that you need to fight all of your life. The pain that you get from so many things – from the spotlights, from getting a no, from losing someone that you love, which is probably the biggest pain that you can feel. I feel that I have felt pain quite a lot in many things, many aspects in life. Not comparing to anyone else, but I think it’s not like others. I haven’t lost anyone that I care about, but I feel that I understand what real pain is. Sometimes I actually even imagine how painful would it feel to lose someone that I love and I think many people do that.
I’m actually, in many ways, attracted to pain because pain is where the truth is in many ways. Funerals, you see the pain; it’s out there. I’m not sure why am I so attracted to pain, but I guess it’s because it’s where people don’t have masks and you can see who they really are when they’re in pain. I don’t want them to feel in pain, but it’s a moment that allows you to connect, when you’re painful or someone else is painful. It’s probably a point in time that allows you to just see beyond the usual routine and I think that pain actually connects between people because they want someone to share it with and it’s something that you have. I actually believe that, when I am painful with many things, I have to have someone to share with. So it goes, for me, with being with people.
DC: Speak to us of self-knowledge.
SS: Self-knowledge would probably be a never-ending mission for me for sure. I know how much I don’t know, I do understand that. Whenever I get to a point I can figure out something that I didn’t know, I feel stronger, I feel powerful. It’s not that I’m really more powerful, but it’s something that gives you power in life. I actually work a lot to gain more self- knowledge and to understand better things about myself, about the world I live in. I actually feel it’s one of the life missions that you’re not always feel, nut when you have it or when you get to certain points that you feel like you’re missing it or, in the contrary, that you have enough of it so you can actually give advice to someone, that’s power.
DC: Speak to us of teaching.
SS: Giving advice to someone? Teaching is another sort of giving in many ways. You give knowledge and I believe that, in order to give, you want to gain something as well. So when you teach someone, I believe that the one thing that you get is to reflect the things that you know. For me, I remember that whenever I explained someone something that he didn’t understand, just by explaining it to him, it felt as if I only now understand what I’m talking about. I only now really understand what it is. In order to teach, you have to know something enough in a way that you can actually teach it. It’s one of the ways to actually make sure that you understand something. If you can’t teach it, you have no idea what you’re talking about. That’s how it works. Even though you think you know, that’s the one test that you do. Teaching is actually one more thing that can give you a lot and get you a lot.
DC: Speak to us of friendship.
SS: The one thing you have to build on your own; it’s not given. It’s probably one of the factors of love, but when you have good friendships, it’s another anchor in life. I have two really good friendships that I believe are some sort of oxygen for me. I need that. When it is good, it’s just comforting to know that there is someone that sees you as you are. That’s good friendship – they see me, I see them, friendship.
DC: Speak of talking.
SS: I talk a lot. I actually like it. It’s one of my ways to express my feelings. I like to write as well, but I like to talk better. It brings a lot of my personality, I believe, and talking is like… In many ways, it’s how the world works. When you talk, people could listen, could not listen, so you need to understand how you talk. When you talk, you can persuade people into doing things. When you talk, you can make someone happy or unhappy. We have lots of power in our words and in the way we talk. It’s a powerful tool that I actually believe that I’m using a lot and I want to keep on using it because it’s great for me.
DC: What of time?
SS: The never enough resource and the only resource that we actually need to care about. It’s not the money, it’s not anything, it’s just time and it’s the one thing we know that we’re going to miss in life. We know it’s going to end and we know it’s a one-time journey, so time is the most – another cliché coming – the most important resource that we’re going to have and that’s the only battle that we actually have to have to make the most of our time. The most is different for anyone, but we need to find what it is that makes your time valuable to you and then just do that because it’s going to end eventually and you are going to feel regret, the one thing that I started my Tedtalk. We feel regret and we just can’t let it win because the only thing that matters is the time that we have. Let’s just make the most of it. That’s my take on time.
DC: Speak to us of good and evil.
SS: I would say something like that. When you think about believing in God and unbelief, I always felt that I’m not sure what’s out there, what’s up there. But I do know that there is one thing that I always felt is that, if I’m going to be good, good things will happen. That’s what you need to do; you need to be good. I’m not sure what it means to be good because everybody has his take on what it means to be good, but I know it means don’t be evil. That’s the one thing I understand. Eliminating many shades of good, it’s not being evil.
I actually try not to be evil, I try to actually also remove evilness that I see from me. You can see when it happens and sometimes I try to fight it, sometimes I’m not, but when I think about it personally, I want to feel as if I’m not doing evil. Not because it’s not the right thing to do, because I actually believe it’s bad karma or bad… Understand it in a way or believe in it. So I’m thinking I’m not doing evil a lot because probably someone says, “This guy evil.” I don’t know why or how, but it’s probably something that could happen.
DC: This kind of follows up on that, speak to us of prayer.
SS: Prayer is interesting because once you want something really bad, we start prayer. You start talking to yourself probably, but it’s with someone. For me, that’s the case. You have to speak with yourself, your inner circle. I believe that’s a prayer, when you want something real bad and then you just pray for it. So it doesn’t really matter if it’s for that God or the other God or something that you just talk about with yourself, it’s all prayers and I believe in the power it has. It gives you comfort because you say, “I’m talking about it, I’m doing something together. I’m trying whatever I can to try and get the one thing I really want and it seems impossible,” that’s when you pray. I pray a lot, I think, to myself not to a specific something I believe. But I do have these conversations that I believe they are prayers.
DC: Speak to us of pleasure.
SS: I like pleasure, some good pleasure. Pleasure is an occasional reminder of the hard work you put into things. It’s occasional; it never lasts. If it lasts, it’s not a pleasure, that’s how it goes. That’s how I feel about it. I’m not addicted to it, I always feel it’s a gift that you get whenever you get to do that.
DC: Speak to us of beauty.
SS: Actually, for many years, I thought, and I still maybe am thinking, that beauty is important. Not the inner one, the cliché, but the outside beauty. I think that people are attracted to beauty and it has power since people are attracted to it. Beauty not only on people but on cities or many other things.
It’s something that, since you understand that beauty has to do with symmetric shapes and to things that are comfortable to your eyes, I actually try to do things beautiful. My website on FiveYearsFromNow needs to be beautiful. My presentation needs to be beautiful. It’s something that, once you understand it, I believe it’s a powerful tool for you to get the attention you need from people. So I guess that one thing that I felt also once I was a child, that the beautiful ones get everything – the girls, the guys, it doesn’t matter. That’s the basic thing that you need to have in order to have the opportunity. That’s that.
DC: Agreed. Speak to us of religion.
SS: I can respect that and I understand that prayers get to do a lot with religion, but I don’t think you have to have religion in order to bring and prayer is the one important thing, not the religion. That’s my belief. Actually, I think religions became something that went out of control in many ways. The limitations are crossed so you’re not sure what is part of religion and what is part of life and the mixture between those sometimes gets lost I believe. So I’m not considering myself as a religious person, but I do prayer. That’s what I can say.
DC: Speak to us of death.
SS: Another forceful drive. One more thing that I believe I’m attracted to, I don’t know why, like the pain. It’s powerful that it’s so final. Another great truth that’s going to happen, death. When people die, it brings emotions, so many emotions. Steve Jobs said it very well with that, you have to think and live as if your death is coming up tomorrow. I like the fact that there is such a powerful part that can actually change the way you act. That’s, in many ways, what death is for me, understanding that it’s only one life, this is going to end, this is going to… Eventually, you’re going to get the point that that’s it. I can’t say I fear death, although I am doing that, but not on the surface so I can’t cross the road because I’m afraid of getting hit, but I understand it’s present in my life in the way it’s just one life and I want to get everything I can in it. So that’s that.
DC: I have one last question for you. Before that, though, I was wanting for you to share with people who will be reading, if they are interested in learning more about any of your projects, what’s the best way for them to read up on it or to follow you, the progress made for the projects?
SS: The best way would probably be… There’s no one place because I have three different projects, but I guess that Nachshonim would be a platform that is going to grow, and also FiveYearsFromNow. These would be the two platforms that I’m going to invest most of my time at and Facebook would probably be the best way.
DC: They both have Facebook pages?
SS: Yeah, and the best way is to actually connect to me directly on Facebook or follow me on Facebook because that’s where I actually put my things on. That, LinkedIn.
DC: Last question; it’s kind of cool that it is what you do. Five years from now, where do you see yourself?
SS: Five years from now, I hope that my company, FiveYearsFromNow, will be what I want it to be, a company that influences people, that index people, and a successful company that will allow me to become financially independent, free of obligations to the everyday obligations that we all have. Hopefully, Nachshonim would grow bigger than what it is today and will reach out to many people and will allow them to actually change their lives through it, both in FiveYearsFromNow and Nachshonim. I want to build organizations that would actually have an impact on the world and impact on me as well; I want to gain something as well. It’s not an altruistic project, both of them. I want them to actually allow me to gain more knowledge, to gain more assets in many ways. Not only financials, but one of them as well.
I believe that the next chapter is still unknown for me and I told you that I’m attracted to politics, I’m attracted to the social sector, I’m attracted, also, to business still. There are still many things that interest me, but I hope that FiveYearsFromNow would be a place in which there will be some successes, some organizations that are starting to make an impact in the world, and then I will probably figure out what’s next when I get to that point. I’m waiting to get there, actually. That will give me six years of being an entrepreneur, I hope so. So let’s see what that will bring. But I can tell you that I have an eight-year plan today. I know what I want to do in each and every part. I believe people need to have plans, they need to build their own roadmap. Otherwise, they would still be another leaf in the wind. Your plan doesn’t have to come true as it is, but you need to have it in order to understand what’s your strategic path. Otherwise, every opportunity becomes your strategy in a way. I feel as if I know where I’m heading at and, hopefully, that or something else would come true, but I believe in the power of planning, on having goals and targets and trying to reach them out. When you do that and succeed in it, that’s un-replaceable.
Check out Sagi’s Tedx Talk…
Sagi Shahar, a social and business entrepreneur, aims to change the way people build careers in the new world. Sagi speaks about the fear of regret we all have in our career and suggests a unique way to resolve it while making an unexpected impact on society. Get ready to discover a new way to accelerate your career while accelerating the growth of the businesses in your community. Sagi is an entrepreneur with a mission to close the gap between what people could have been and what they really are.
Sagi is the Co-founder of “Nachshons” – an innovative platform that enables Young Professionals to build a dual career and accelerate their growth while accelerating the growth of their community. He is also the CEO and Co-founder of “FiveYearsFromNow” – a global start-up with a mission to change the way people make career decisions. Sagi has also co-founded the “2040 Program” which redesigns the way people are being trained and developed in business organizations.
In his previous positions, Sagi led the strategy practice at Tefen Management Consulting firm as an Associate Partner, and prior to that was part of the Business Development team at Better Place.
Sagi holds an MBA from the joint MBA program of Ben-Gurion University and Columbia University. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx