Everywhere you turn, you find people waiting. Waiting for a better job opportunity. Waiting for more money. Waiting for the stars to align. Wishing for more time, more resources.
But waiting is simply an excuse to let fear rule your life. You’re not lacking anything—in fact, with eyes that see, you have way more resources available to you than you may think. What do you have right now in this moment that can be used and leveraged to create value for others? What are you waiting for? As the great tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
My 5 Day Weekend collaborator Garrett Gunderson and I both started with no money. Neither of us was born with a silver spoon in our mouth. We’ve had to learn how to take initiative and be innovative and resourceful. We’ve both learned from personal experience that it doesn’t take money to make money—it just takes a willingness to hustle and to learn from your mistakes.
I started taking guitar lessons at age 10 and rapidly progressed. By the age of 12, I had surpassed the talents of my first guitar tutor. By 13, I was practicing guitar for three hours every day after school. I dedicated my life to music.
One rainy afternoon, when I was eleven years old, my brother Jim and I were watching a television documentary about Jimi Hendrix. I thought Hendrix was really cool. He was incredibly innovative and unlike any other guitarist the world had heard. A spark of life had begun to flicker, which would soon burst into a passionate inner resolve.
In order to improve at guitar, I started teaching guitar lessons. I advertised on the notice boards of music shops. Potential students would come to our house and ask for guitar lessons. When I answered, they would ask, “Is Nik Halik here?” When I said I was Nik, they’d laugh; I was half their age and size. If they needed convincing, I’d challenge them to give me a chance and jam a few guitar riffs to show them what I was capable of.
I soon knew more about playing guitar than my second tutor. My development as a guitarist was relentless. I progressed through several tutors by the age of 15, and eventually ran out of tutors in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia.
I had more than 50 students, some of whom were professional performing musicians. I was charging up to $25 an hour, a tidy sum of money for a teenage boy, and it was giving me the capital to upgrade my ownership of more expensive guitars and amplification equipment. I also hired five other instructors and paid them $10 an hour, while I pocketed $15 from each hour-long lesson. That was my first experience with leverage.
By the age of 17 I had saved $30,000. I used this money to fund my first big move—I started making plans to re-locate to Los Angeles in the U.S. to study guitar and music composition with the world’s most talented musicians. My dream was to become a great guitarist and performing musician.
I earned myself a scholarship entry to the famous Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT), the world’s most innovative school of contemporary music and part of the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. It offered a comprehensive, hands-on education in contemporary music performance. GIT was the equivalent to studying law at Harvard University or studying science and technology at MIT.
I moved to Hollywood, California, in my late teens, to study at GIT. It was an awe-inspiring arsenal of the world’s greatest musicians. The institute was open 24/7 with over 300 of the world’s upcoming musical students in attendance.
My decision to leave Australia was all about being inspired, to feel more alive and to fuel unbridled energy into my life. My natural curiosity to being mentored by the world’s elite musicians was to provide the creative spark I needed. Soon after arriving in L.A. I joined my first rock band. I spent over a decade touring with some of the biggest rock bands at the time and had a blast living the rock guitarist lifestyle.
The whole experience provided a foundation of knowledge and understanding that would lead to much bigger and better things. I learned that I could create value with what I had. There was nothing stopping me from earning a living on my own terms. I didn’t need money to start—I just needed a dream and a place to start. We either live to accomplish our own dreams or be used as a resource to accomplish someone else’s.
In my next post, I’ll share Garrett Gunderson’s story.
What about you? Where did you start in life, and what did you learn in your journey to where you are? Thank you for sharing.
Secure your copy of the “5 Day Weekend” book. 5 Day Weekend: Freedom to Make Your Life and Work Rich with Purpose [Nik Halik & Garrett Gunderson]
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