To understand me, you should know this. I spent my entire 20s being an achiever—going after big, hairy, audacious goals—and my entire 30s being a seeker—going as deep as I could with personal transformation and cathartic and often spiritual peak experiences. Lots of yoga, meditation, plant medicine, and Burning Man festivals later, now in my 40s, I’ve integrated both parts of me and am now both an achiever and a seeker.
It’s been quite the journey. In my first two decades as an adult, here’s what I focused on:
In my 20s, I worked to master the external worlds of business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. I built a software company called iContact to 300 employees, 70,000 customers, and $50M per year in sales and sold it for $169 million in 2012, finished an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2016, founded a global community of purpose-driven leaders called Hive, traveled to 40+ countries, and became a personal growth junkie. I wasn’t exactly a hippie back then (like I am now). I was focused on being in the top 1% of goal oriented people. I was an achiever.
Achievers - People committed to becoming the best version of themselves and going after their dreams and goals consistently.
In my 30s, I went on a big, decade-long adventure. I worked to master the internal world of wellness, meditation, sexuality, happiness, and love. I got into festival culture and attended Burning Man eight times, met my wife Morgan there, got married to her, had our baby boy Apollo, became a health nut. and lived between Bali, Austin, SF, LA, Boulder, and Costa Rica in a very fun and joyous decade full of growth, experiments, and play. I was focused on being in the top 1% of consistently happy people. I was a seeker.
Seekers - People obsessed with living life to its fullest, continual experimentation and transformation, and learning the deeper secrets of the universe.
I was definitely obsessed with living my life to its fullest and learning the deeper secrets of the universe. I’ve found a few of them -- and I’m going to share them with you in this book.
So, if you're both an achiever AND a seeker – and curious about how to live an extraordinary life of meaning and joy, this book is for you.
The book is designed for people who are on a path of personal growth and transformation and want a modern guide to life upgrading. My primary audience I’m writing for is achievers and seekers who want to make something of themselves and are willing to put in the effort to actually create the life of their dreams (not just talk about it or dream about it, but fucking do it). You see, the key to becoming a successful achiever and a knowledgeable seeker is to balance these two parts of you, like the ying and the yang.
Never seek so deeply and quickly that you can’t continue to consistently achieve your dreams. And never become so single-minded and boring that all you become is a one-dimensional person whose investment portfolio looks incredible but is as deep as a papercut.
Make your goal to be deeply happy first and deeply successful second. For it is lasting happiness that leads to true success, and not the other way around.
As I wrote about earlier, today I’m almost 40 and am living the life of my dreams with my family in a health, surf, and yoga town in Costa Rica. I live an incredibly magical life in paradise focused on health, happiness, tantra, and community. But it wasn’t always that way. I used to be super serious, obsessive about building companies, and pretty intense.
These days I spend my time helping build a community of inspiring families and friends near Nosara, Costa Rica, writing books that help people live more joyful lives, and coaching high-growth CEOs (what I used to be).
In this book, I’m focused on taking the lessons from my two decades as an adult and creating an optimal plan for joyful and meaningful living that anyone can apply to creating a magic life. This book is designed to be a road map for you to create the life of your dreams, live an upgraded life, and then find a community that will support you in sustaining your big life upgrade.
You can think of this book as the completely unofficial sequel to the 2007 book, The Four Hour Workweek. Similar to that Tim Ferriss classic, this book shares an entirely new way of unconventional living that is now possible -- and gives a detailed, step-by-step roadmap to living it. So don’t just read this book. Do this book. Set a goal to do all 111 of the action items inside this book. If you actually do all of them, your life will be forever transformed. Create a special notebook or Google Doc for the reflection exercises inside.
Set a goal to do all 111 of the action items inside this book. If you actually do all of them your life will be forever transformed. Create a special notebook or Google Doc for the reflection exercises inside -- or do them at the magicyear.com course.
I give lots of appreciation to the original human guinea pig and lifestyle designer, Tim Ferriss. He’s been a role model for me since 2007, and we have been in similar friend circles since 2018, when we met at our Burning Man Camp -- the extraordinary Camp Mystic, and when we lived in Austin, TX at the same time.
Yes, this book is written to be exceptionally transparent and truthful. We go deep -- get real -- and share the hardships, the successes, the fuck ups, and the lessons. I talk about overcoming “conscious” drug addiction (to psilocybin, MDMA, and LSD mainly), about sex and tantra, and about the difference between healthy obsessions (what makes you happier over time) and unhealthy obsessions (what makes you less happy over time).
I find it’s better to provide a loving and thoughtful guide to navigating these edgy topics than to pretend that mistakes and challenges don’t exist and sell you some puff piece of fake reality.
You see, sometimes, when you’re a seeker, you go too far exploring and have to return home. You sometimes only know you went too far over the edge when you find yourself over the edge. You say to yourself, “let me try this one more thing.” And then a few days later you realize, “Shit, I might have gone a little too far.”
Hopefully, by providing this guide, you can go further into the depths of growth, transformation, and awakening than I ever could venture myself, while being even safer.
There are parts of these edgy realms that are worth careful and experienced guidance and looking at the lessons of many years of human experimentation and learning rather than a “fuck around and find out” laissez faire attitude that can lead to disaster or a fear-based puritan avoidance that can lead to soul-repressed boredom.
So yes, you’re probably going to read about some topics that you might not find in a traditional “personal growth” book. I wanted to write about the full human experience and not just provide a “you can do it and everything will be great” sheltered guide.
So yes, we’ll be talking about purpose, habits, goals, and money -- the traditional topics of personal growth -- but we’ll also be going deep on sex, love, and spiritual awakening.
In writing this book, I asked myself “What book would Tony Robbins write if he’d done ayahuasca, Burning Man, and a few Vipassanas”? Boring this shall not be.
In the Awakening section of the book, I will cover what I call the Triad of Transformation: Burning Man, Vipassana, and Ayahuasca—three experiences that completely changed my life. If you get a chance to do just one of these three -- it will for sure be a life altering adventure. And if you do all three -- get ready for some major life transformation. Just make sure you have good guides along the way.
Burning Man - The world’s best arts and music festival (tied in my mind with Envision in Costa Rica). Around 75,000 people attend every August in Black Rock City, Nevada.
Vipassana - A ten day silent meditation retreat designed to help you let go of the past and become the new version of yourself. Sign up for one at www.dhamma.org.
Ayahuasca - A plant brew often grown and made in Central and South America. Drinking ayahuasca often leads to an 8-14 hour intense spiritual experience that leads people into greater connection to their heart and nature and compassion for all beings. Do with care and a good guide. I recommend 1Heart in Costa Rica.
For those of you who have already been to every festival, tried every “medicine,” experienced the grand Triad of Transformation (Vipassana, Burning Man, and Ayahuasca), and have your miracle morning routine on lock -- some of this guide may be old hat -- so skip around to what fascinates you most.
Triad of Transformation - The three most life changing and transformative experiences of my life: Ayahuasca, Vipassana, and Burning Man.
If you’re already far down the road of biohacking, life optimization, community connection, and purpose-driven living – then this guide may help prepare you for the next stage of life and give you a few new experiments to try.
You’ll find some great nuggets for upgrading your life, whether you’re just hearing the phrase “personal transformation” for the first time and are curious or if you’ve personally meditated with Ram Dass, drank the mushroom shakes at the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, sat with Ayahuasca ten times, and already spent a few weeks with that Indian Tantra cult.
For those of you who perhaps are just entering or are in the midst of your own personal transformation process (or wondering what the fuck personal transformation actually is), the 12 sections within may turn out to be life changing.
Just go slow. Don’t do everything in the same month (or year, for that matter). Remember that transformation is a ten year (and multi-life) process. Slow and smooth is better than fast and unpredictable.
As I like to say, your soul has been here for many lifetimes and will be here for many more. There’s no need to learn all the lessons at once. Give yourself a few years to really lock in your magic life.