On Being Yourself

I recently picked up a new word: Ikigai, a Japanese concept meaning "A reason for being", is finding the point where your skills, aptitudes, passions and societal needs all cross. It's the assurance that whatever your life occupation is - your way of making a living - that you approach it with the energy of your whole self.

Ikigai - bridging your life's work and your passions

LAN Mob is the manifestation of that for me, and thinking back I can remember that very February day and spot where I made up my mind to start LAN Mob; snowshoeing along a river creek I had found a large tree to sit against and just think. The small stream of water breaking through the ice was an early sign of spring and life with everything else having been frozen for weeks and miles in every direction. I was fortunately employed and making good salary, but during my working hours I felt a strong pull to be pursuing the things I loved and was passionate about - entrepreneurship, gaming, improving quality of life. My career path was on a completely different trajectory so LAN Mob had to be a side project, but I felt this project had the right overlaps that it could be my Ikigai.

The view from the spot LAN Mob was born.

I'm happy to say most of these circles have come together, although it's not fully there yet the business is slowly growing towards that point where I can make the leap to making LAN Mob my full time gig. I continue to keep a job miles away from LAN Mob, and not a day goes by where I don't imagine the day where I can invest those hours back into the business and see how far we can fly this spaceship.

I needed to be comfortable enough in my own skin to launch this very public thing that is the manifestation of who I am and that wasn't easy at first. Identity and self-confidence is something I see a lot of people struggling with. People are often chasing some ideal that their parents, relatives, or culture has set for them. They struggle in just being themselves out of fear of rejection or ridicule or otherwise.


I'm happy that LAN Mob has become a place for gamers to gather and have fun meeting new people and trying new games. Any extroverted customer can walk into our shop and immediately start talking video games with the front desk or customers and feel 100% accepted and comfortable. This is one of the goals we set out to accomplish and I'm generally happy with the culture we've been able to foster in shop.

Still for many people it's admittedly hard to walk into a place like LAN Mob or other social clubs as a first timer. Gaming has become an activity for the home with consoles and personal computers, so a store like ours can feel a little unusual at first. We've noticed it often takes a handful of visits to our shop before a customer starts feeling like a regular around us. We have plenty of customers who come in and prefer to game alone or with their close group of friends, and that's fine too. On a typical day off I'll find myself bouncing between gaming with others and spending solo time in Adventure Capitalist or League of Legends. Gaming doesn't always have to be a social experience, although gaming with friends is admittedly much more fun!

My hope is that even people who don't necessarily consider themselves gamers can feel comfortable coming into our shop and burning a few hours playing some Overwatch, Battlegrounds or League of Legends.


There are plenty of couples who visit and will spend hours gaming together, and it's great that we can offer an outlet for that activity. We also have our share of lonely young people around the shop, from recent break-ups to prolonged bouts of unwanted single life. Social media can amplify this as there is no shortage of couples trying to portray a perfect life, with a perfect family, house, and relationship. I've often wondered what drives some people to try so hard to make their lives appear perfect; who are they trying to convince?

This poses a problem for people who tend to look outwards and around them for understanding on how their own inner life should be. No matter how hard they try things always seem better in other people's lives. It can be a chase towards an end they'll never reach; or to use a cliche the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

It's important to build up self-confidence in your own life wherever you may be. If you're single own it. It doesn't mean you're horribly broken or never going to have the kind of relationship you want, you're just single and that's ok. Instead of being crippled to walk out your front door, be comfortable in the fact that you're just between relationships. Developing this kind of self-confidence will actually work in your favor when you do find a relationship worth pursuing, as a self-dependent person is much more attractive than a needy one.

Social Status

We humans use material things to try to boost our status up, from gold-plated iPhones to clothing, jewelry, cars, houses. An interesting study from "The Millionaire Next Door", a book which was a study on the average millionaire, found that the majority of millionaires lived somewhat humbly. They lived in an average house, purchased used mid-sized sedans, and spent within their means which allowed them to amass the savings needed to reach the millionaire level. There is a good chance if you know someone trying hard to maintain a flashy outward appearance that they're spending beyond their means and deeply in debt.

College degrees are also used as a status symbol, although the number of degrees - and student loan debt levels - are at an all time high. 34% of Americans over 18 years of age now have college degrees, and some people will use their degrees as a social status, even before they start their first job. The thinking goes "I have a degree in X field, so I'm already more successful than my peers without one". While degrees can be qualifiers in many fields to get your foot in the door, everything that comes after that depends on a person's performance and many other factors. Sometimes people discover that they hate the field they've studied in, or their interests lie elsewhere, or often there are just no real employment opportunities in their field of study.


People would benefit from worrying less about their outward appearances and just owning who they are right now. Dream big and set goals for where you want to be in life, and then live within your means and realities to get there. Be true to yourself, your friends, and everyone around you. Be confident and comfortable in who you are and let the universe take care of the rest.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


Post a Comment