Discover more from Fashi Mindset by Chidi Afulezi
A masterless samurai is a free samurai, but it ain't for everyone.
Hey there. How goes it?
This was a crazy week, this last week. Had three major things that I had to pull off, and that doesn’t include the fact that I also had to go to Owerri in Nigeria to see my mother, and then my father in the village in Ngor Okpala. Two of these things were in Lagos, Nigeria. A country which is an adventure in of itself (understatement of the century). The third was a big event theZVG team put on during UNGA, so clearly I was absent on ground, and dealt with the guilt that I wasn’t with the team doing what the team does best.
Na so e be.
We’ll tell that story another time.
So, I am working on a course that I should have deployed a long time ago. If you have read the book “Designing Your Life”, you will see some similarities. The authors teach one of the most popular classes at Stanford that uses the concept of design thinking to lay out a framework to design a life that is worth living. As in:
“A well-designed life that is a marvelous portfolio of experiences, of adventures, of failures that taught you important lessons, of hardships that made you stronger, and helped you know yourself better, and of achievements and satisfactions.”
I mean if you don’t want this kind of life, then why are you here, eh? You should read the book. It is life-changing for real.
Me…I have a similar yet alternate take. A Chidi take. A Loaded take.
Some context first.
Many folks know I like to describe myself as a “Ronin”, a masterless samurai, a free agent that gets to choose which arenas to battle in and when and how.
How I decide on the work I do, and how I price or determine what to charge is quite simple.
I am not focused on squeezing every dime available and beyond. My goal is to make sure that I meet my “Enough” criteria. What does enough mean?
I have employed the product roadmapping framework of Now, Next, Later, or for more clarity—Current, Near Term, and Future.
Current is where a lot of the work is actually done. Most of my contracts, dates, scopes, and more are in place. This is where the transactional side of things happens. In the kitchen, cooking. In the arena, fighting.
Near-term is at least two quarters to a year out. This is where the biz dev work in happens, making the connections, planting the seeds, scoping out the landscape, and seeing where the puck/football/ping-pong ball is headed. And this is usually where the bulk of Enough for the next year (rolling) has been mapped out. I also balance my Missionary and Mercenary books here, making sure I attenuate based on what the pipeline looks like.
Future is the future. 12 months from now going forward. Deferred opportunities. Long-term business and product development on things that are still fuzzy. Possibilities. Does not include retirement because I have no intention of ever retiring.
This is at the core of what I call “Ronin Mode”. It means I am lucid and clear on what my Enough is, and I don’t push beyond that. All in my sphere of control.
The reason I love being a Ronin, in my case a masterless free agent is that I get to keep doing the things that should and would give me Enough to the day I die. Six-month emergency fund? Check. My tribe? Check. Mental? Check. Monthly expenses covered, as in all of them? Check. Six pack abs? Sharrap! Smart travel and entertainment options? Um…let me check and get back to you. Sneaker budget? My vice is sneakers, so CHECK abeg. Family is taken care of? Check.
Nest egg for retirement?
Well, as I said I have no intention of ever having a retirement party. There will be transitions. There will be pivots. There even will be a slowdown of sorts. But I am not retiring ever. So, yes…and also no. Work in process…let’s say that.
For the Loadaed course, the roadmap is built around a thematic approach to doing life the way life should be done. I have spoken to these five themes before, here’s a reminder:
Work—what is your missionary or mercenary work balance?
Family—are you anchored or unmoored by your loved ones?
Community—do you have tribes or crews that have your back in different scenarios?
Money— what is your relationship with money?
Health—how’s your mental and physical?
When these five are humming in harmony, on your terms, with outside influences or outside control outweighed heavily by your own vision, life strategy, and a well balanced roadmap…you are executing in Ronin Mode. I am not just talking about being an entrepreneur or free agent.
I am talking about you run the show. You. You are the one in charge of your journey, and you set the navigational parameters. You are the one that is held accountable, and that means you are the one that takes the bows, and absorbs the crushing hits. You crash, that’s all you. You win, that’s all you.
You. Not Them.
Ronin Mode means that you are at peace with things because you made your things the way you want them, not the way they want them. Whoever they is. You ask for help when needed, and take the help when offered.
Ronin Mode is the state where you have the confido and credibility to stand toe to toe, go blow for blow, fight round for round with the big boys and girls who have the bigger bank, bigger homes, bigger titles, bigger followings, and not lose any sleep about it. In fact, they are the ones who lose sleep trying to get bigger.
Ronin Mode is gearing up in your own armor and outfitting your arsenal as you see fit for you to go to battle, not acquescing to the costumes and beauty pageantry that ultimately you have no way of keeping up with, that are the ticket of entry into some arbitrary fraternity or sorority…at some point all the aesthetics and costumes and posturing will go, and hopefully you are not assed out naked when the stage clothes come off.
Ronin Mode is when you walk into a popular spot in Lagos, and folks wonder who the hell you are (or who the hell you think you are), and you know you are just a guy or gal, but they don’t know you are just a guy or gal. So you let them think whatever they want. Because Ronin don’t care what people think.
Not seeking anyone’s validation. We just do the work. And live our lives.
On our terms.
Abeg, I’m just ranting here o after a hectic Naija trip. We dey here.