Laura vs Harry is a juxtaposition I came up with to help demonstrate the two groups of people that we humans operate within.
It’s designed to help you understand the two camps’ lifestyles and decide which is right for you.
Laura and Harry are not real, of course not, but their characteristics are absolutely based on real people.
You’re currently one of them. We all are. We’re all in this together, but…
Which one? … Well, you’ll have to read the rest of this page to find the answer.
But know this … one of them struggles. The other one thrives.
One last thing: I’m not selling anything here. Nada. Time to get fresh water, get comfortable, and relax.
For all their differences, Laura and Harry have more in common than meets the eye.
Beginning with the lifestyle choices – how to feel by the end of the day. You’ll notice they don’t change depending on who’s looking at them:
At first sight, it looks like the choices are many. On closer look, in a nutshell, it’s just between two – the problem lifestyle (in red) and the lifestyle of opportunity (in blue).
I saw a documentary on very late night TV.
‘T was about mountaineering. One of the things I heard (and looked up on the internet afterward) is worth copying here:
“…there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” – William Hutchinson Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, 1951.
I’m going to circle back to this quote at the end. Why I’ve decided it will make perfect sense then. It’s important… for you.
But let me first continue to explain the big DIFFERENCE between Laura and Harry.
You see… I decided to not die an employee. At the time I was still employed but had seen the writing on the wall.
Colleagues, friends, and people everywhere lived in fear of losing their job in another downsizing at the end of the quarter… or if not this quarter, then next.
The easy road – you know, look for another job, jump ship when one is found – just wasn’t for me. I’m not judging those who do. But my decision to not die an employee was already made.
I don’t recall how many colleagues were given their marching orders. “Thanks, buddy, but you’re now obsolete, let us show you to the door…”
People were mad, frustrated, sad, angry, feeling betrayed … all the negative emotions, they were feeling ’em. The company had let them down.
I felt strange. I was supposed to feel the same my friends and colleagues felt, yet I was happy as a snowflake in the Arctic.
A weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. It completely changed my life.
Thus began my life as self-employed… or was it just out of work :-)… well, it didn’t matter a Dickie bird because the rubber hit the road and I was busy looking for the opportunity… but I wasn’t ready.
I was tired of flying and finding myself stuck at airports. I was ready to stop that. I knew I didn’t want to commute three freakin’ hours a day to work and back – 660 hours a year! And in my new life, I didn’t want a boss. I wanted to be my own, and I wanted the boss in me to press the reset button on what I was doing for a living.
I was foolish and hungry enough to believe I was brave, took the risky decision, and found the guts to roll the dice.
It completely changed my life but I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have a business model, didn’t make any money online (yet), and didn’t even have a master plan. In terms of what it takes, I was in a delusional trance, really had nothing at all.
It was scary as hell.
Looking back… given the way my mind operated back then, it’s clear I would never have been ready, not in a thousand years. Because this is when – without realizing it – I had been functioning as a Harry.
The HARRY Role
After I had lost my job, I joined a bunch of marketing guru email lists.
I received tantalizing offers every day. Three things were beyond the shadow of a doubt back then.
- I was making no money.
- I will die one day.
- There would be a new “shiny-object” offer in my inbox each morning.
Since I had money in the bank, I went on a buying spree.
It started slowly because I didn’t have much money to play with.
A new magic pill perhaps each month. It was like heroin. I was powerless. I constantly needed the next shiny object-fix. The big promise of easy, quick, paint by numbers-riches.
But each product pulled me in a completely different direction.
I was doing SEO
I was writing articles
I got engaged in link building
I started building lists (the gurus said I should) but never finished it.
I was driving PPC to affiliate offers
I was creating products, reports, give-aways (you name it, I was probably doing it)
I tried my hand at site flippin’ (which didn’t work because I had no focus)
I got sucked into every internet gold rush (without the gold)
I was building this, creating that (it was never ending).
… I was spinning my wheels. Sometimes I felt like blowing my mind. I didn’t feel like having a business that enhanced my life. In fact, I had a failing business that ran my life instead.
I was an opportunity seeker. No two ways about it. (Given the evergreen success of shiny new objects, it would seem most of us entrepreneurs start our journey into the unknown that way)
Either way, it didn’t help me any. My flawed process – in red – looked something like this:
At any newest opportunity that presented itself to me, I would discard whatever I was doing at the time — and shoot off on a tangent to figure out the viability of the opportunity.
That workflow pretty quickly turned into an ADDICTION as I played the game with poor results to show for my efforts.
Promises of quick and easy results in the life of your dreams-space are rife, every bit as rife as in the weight loss-space, and…
… it is an addiction.
But I’ve got a hunch with this I’m not telling you anything new.
You know it already.
Our stressful lives are a stark reminder of this fact, time after time…
… as the next key-word opens the door to our mind, redirects our focus, and steals our energy and time.
Create the life of your dreams… I was a dedicated follower of books, webinars, seminars, in exotic places, too, and stuff I could find on the internet, for years, before I realized what had happened…
In the aftermath of the big financial crisis of 2008, I lost everything money can buy. My house, my car, and everything in them.
I felt like the clueless champion of the world.
How could I have managed to be so freakin’ dumb? Why did I, for years, jump on each passing opportunity like fleas jump on passing dogs?
I didn’t blame it on my childhood or self-esteem. Everybody has parents and a self, yet everybody’s life isn’t the same. I guess it was too obvious to not notice.
I chalked it down to bad luck and unfavorable circumstances.
That was 2011. A lifetime ago.
I was savvier in 2012.
Money-less, I didn’t have the choice to learn from my mistakes. The penny dropped. What the day before had looked like the end of the world, turned out to be my biggest help.
I realized I had been acting with a Harry-like mindset (although back then I had not labeled it “Harry” yet)… and that I had achieved the max of what any Harry can hope to achieve in the long run, a life of…
“Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I’m running behind”
Then and now, I can relate to Jackson Browne, especially then… sitting at the airport, my belongings in a suitcase and a bag, waiting for my plane to take me away.
I was eager to get rid of the Harry-mindset, willing to pay the price, no matter what.
A plan? A business model?
Not really. But I had an epiphany – the sudden answer out of the blue to how to (which up to then had occupied my mind cuckoo-like).
The LAURA Role
A Laura operates completely differently to a Harry.
Laura knows there is more opportunity out there than she could ever hope to handle. That doesn’t make her addicted. She’s in control of what she pursues and what she avoids.
She’s a visioneer and her focus is vision-based. She values her health, energy, and time.
Laura’s modus operandi looks something like this:
Laura doesn’t believe in knowledge miles wide but only an inch deep. That’s not how she views herself and the world.
She builds assets and leverage… confident in knowing they’ll compound over time.
Laura serves the needs of a specific group of people. Call it what you might – tribe, niche, target market, pockets of people – you know what we’re talking about. The people who the normal people consider weirdos, zealots, non-conformist or renegade on the fringes, quitters of the rat race, tired of excuses for yet another war.
Laura isn’t all things to all people. She wouldn’t dream of it. She’s learned the hard way. When you live the life of your dreams, not theirs, you will please some and offend others or the other way ’round.
There are defamation leagues out there, actively seeking to be offended. Their success depends on it. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who deserves to be the most offended of all?” – makes it onto the evening news. Competition is ruthless. A mad, mad, mad, mad world. Laura knows better than to get involved.
We live in an age of less trust in more information than ever before… with more escapes on offer, legal and not, than ever before.
Laura knows the difference between the urgent and the important and between the noise and the center of the storm.
The instant I re-set my thinking of these things – everything changed.
I became honest, giving, narrow-minded, pig-headed, and persistent.
With everything changed, I set out to discover the new meaning of everything, starting with the meaning of life.
With no money to my name, I decided to rebound and bloom.
Decisions ceased to be complicated. They became simple.
I grew older. My father had died in 1996, but my mother is still alive and doing well. I wanted to see her again, hence simply left the U.S. and moved back to Switzerland for good (for now). This type of decision used to be complicated before.
I discovered writing and now have two birthdays, one in my passport, the other the day I discovered writing. It’s alright, I take both for real.
Simplicity is the oxygen of every successful person and organization.
What I did from that day onward – a day in February, 2012 – was to operate far more focused and strategically.
The shift in thinking was a game-changer.
In this world, the time after the last crisis is the time before the next.
I don’t wait for crises anymore. I create my own. Only half-kidding.
I contribute, guide, counsel, advise, create value, and protect myself and others, without waiting for clients to show up first or for money to change hands.
I’m not officially a fiduciary, only how I operate. You can call me your conspirator, your helper, or your guide. What it boils down to, grateful for the opportunity.
When I began to share my experience with family and friends, I realized it is of value to them, too, and to their families and friends also. The results they get are amazing, even a little unexpected by some.
A Harry sees life as a series of problems – where peace of mind has the staying power of a snowflake on the surface of the sun. As far as Harry is concerned, the next problem is never far away.
A Harry doesn’t merely have problems, he’s problem-addicted. It causes him to forget that everything that glitters isn’t gold. That’s primarily how the Harrys of the world roll.
Harry doesn’t know, but the world knows.
It is awash with copy specifically written for the Harrys…
… copy that traps Harry into believing the key to his new life is hidden behind just one more problem to solve first.
The outcome is inevitable and predictable – sooner or later – always.
Lauras are different…
A Laura knows getting things done is a process, not an event.
Laura understands that to get to B requires letting go of A.
Laura knows beginnings aren’t what they are cracked up to be. You can begin anytime. You can begin now but beginnings aren’t what it’s about. It’s about getting things done.
She gets the importance of a clear thinking. It’s something that gets worked on, continuously.
Ahead, it’s a long and winding road. Beyond every horizon, there’s always more to see. It requires being strong in weak moments, having friends, and pigheaded determination.
A Laura is focused on creating value. Providing tangible solutions for a life of opportunity.
Being alive demands to be prepared but never knowing for what. Laura’s figured it out.
Lauras are all around you – except in religious organizations, of course. They’re organizing communities, leading billion-dollar brands or busy bootstrapping lean startups out of their homes.
It starts with the right mindset. Anyone can think like this. It’s not a question of ability but a question of want.
It’s executed through knowing what you want and by keeping your word.
‘Nough said already. I’m sure you get the point by now.
I will say just one more thing…
The Laura vs. Harry juxtaposition isn’t absolute. Both a Laura and a Harry are more nuanced than that.
Some Harrys are happy stuck in their Harry role. Like all addicts, they’ll insist it is the only way.
When another new magic pill offers instant gratification, they myth-take if for a win-win. It makes ’em happy, eager to move on… to the next problem followed by instant gratification. Harrys are the type of people who are glad to meet problems half-way.
And when the next problem shows up, bigger in size – it almost always does – they cry wolf, blame on top of their lungs, and complain in places where thousands of other Harrys hang out. They feel at home, in a herd of Harrys.
Some Harrys become aware of what’s going down … and they want to change but simply don’t know how. They’d exchange their Harry mindset for a Laura mindset in a heartbeat – if only they knew how.
For those Harrys, there will always be hope…
… while the Lauras of the world are busy creating the life of their dream.
Creating value for the weirdos on the fringes, a Laura isn’t in business to make money (as her primary motivator). She doesn’t make money for money’s sake. Money is but a means to a bigger end – to change the world. More money means she can serve more people.
More and more people desire to interact with and buy from people who believe in things more important than money.
Many of them start out among the thousands of the lean startups that are changing the world… many of them among the millionaires and billionaires now gracing us on magazine covers and on TV.
The decision to cause a ruckus and change the world is hard and the outcome is uncertain but the rewards are many. Just like the monetary rewards, they can be vast.
It can make you zero or it can make you millions, with not much in between.
The table is set, the options are there for the taking, the decisions yours.
You win or learn. You cannot lose. It just depends on what you want, and what for.
Are you a Laura or a Harry?
If you’re currently a Harry you have a decision to make.
“If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on somebody else’s.” – Joseph Campbell
Re-read the Bill Hutchison Murray quote. But whatever you choose, know it’s the right decision for you.
I used to make the decisions I made without knowing I was a Harry, for a long time. I didn’t know how to think like a Laura.
In my epiphany year, 2012, I decided to let go of the Harry-lifestyle and to adopt the Laura-lifestyle. That was my decision. It paid off, not just for me but for my family, friends, and clients, too.
I decided to let go of hearsay and to ignore the talking heads. They’re everywhere. I choose to be different. A personality I always had but now I let the dogs run free, keep my word and never sell out.
I decided to change the world, if only in a small way, if only a day a time. A dreamer, I envision the end the war.
What about you? Have the guts to roll the dice? Perhaps it’s time to make the right decision.