#068 Connecting the dots to purpose with Marc Nicholson

#068 Connecting the dots to purpose with Marc Nicholson

Contact Marc/1880


Related episodes

#058 Purpose in everyday life
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Episode Transcript

The transcript is computer generated. There may be errors.

Sharad: Hi, everyone. Welcome to How to Live, a podcast that explores ways to live a good life. I'm your host, Sharad Lal. This is episode 68. Today, we have a very exciting guest: Marc Nicholson, founder of 1880, a private club in Singapore that brings creatives, intellectuals, and interesting people together.

Marc's originally from Montreal, but his journey has taken him to many interesting places. He's lived in Haiti. been a child actor. Spent a year volunteering in Indonesia spent three years volunteering on a suicide prevention hotline, been a national squash player. Coach the Cypress National Squash team. And there's more. He's got a master's in human rights at the Hague. Spend time with the middle east council of churches. Is an MBA from London business school. And has been an entrepreneur for 20 years. All these seemingly diverse experiences came together as he founded the first of its kind premier social club in Singapore, 1880. Now 1880 has expanded to Hong Kong and Bali and has plans to expand to many other countries. 

In our conversation, we talked to Marc about his journey to find purpose in his head, failure being the definition of success, curating charged conversations, and a lot more. 

But before we jump in, thank you very much for your support. We're now in 30 countries and in the top 5% globally. Thank you for your support. Now, let's welcome the incredible Marc Nicholson.

Sharad: Hi, Marc. Welcome to the How to Live podcast. How are you doing this morning?

Marc Nicholson: I'm very well. Thanks a lot for having me here.

Sharad: Great to have you. And you've done so many good things with 1880 and so many other companies. I was curious before all this, you did a master's in human rights. What led to that?

Marc Nicholson: growing up, I had been part of a theatre company that was very involved in social issues. And it was a platform for kids to explore the issues that mattered to them. we did plays around things like World War III teenage suicide abortion issues that were just prevalent

Sharad: And I suppose that started to form an opinion about right and wrong and fairness and injustice and I was imbued with a sense of giving back to society and that there were situations that were just beyond unfair. Thank you for describing that.

And what about justice and suffering? Were there any incidents in your early life that impacted that?

Marc Nicholson: What was incredibly important to me was the fact that when I was about twelve years old, my parents started to host a weekly salon, which became known as the Nicholson's Wednesday Night Economic and Political Salon. So there was a guest of honour who would come to our house every Wednesday night.

He was teaching a course at McGill, and he would come over after the course and have dinner. My father started to invite people to join us after dinner to engage in conversation with this very erudite professor. He would invite academics, diplomats, activists, business people, anybody who could shed light on an issue or engage in a debate.

and it just grew organically into this incredible institution, which continues to this day. So what I marvel at is that my parents have hosted over 2,200 consecutive Wednesday nights.

people came not to prove what they knew, but to learn where they might be wrong. So I spent many evenings watching huge topics being debated. when I started 1880, I really looked at what my parents had created as an inspiration, So you get 40, 50 people sitting around the table debating the rights and wrongs of, let's say Israel, Gaza, Russia, Ukraine, Taiwan, Hong Kong abortion, death penalty, I had the privilege of sitting, at the front row and listening to all these very erudite people but watch what happened in a disagreement.

And it was an opportunity to learn something, digest it. What I always said is Thursday mornings were the most educational in my house because we would sit around the breakfast table and talk about the conversation the night before. We'd say, oh, it was so interesting the way Sherad teed off with so and so on this issue, and it seemed like Sherad made some very good points and won that debate.

When I look at it, I feel like This is how humans make progress. We get around a table and we discuss the big things that are affecting us. You can approach something with dogma, you can approach something with a belief system, but if you present an argument that manages to penetrate my belief system, then I'm going to adjust my values. And that is why I consider this how humans make progress.

Sharad: I love what you said about how you can watch what happens when there's a disagreement. Yeah. And that's when you start opening up to things. So how have you seen that process work?

Marc Nicholson: I always go back to Wednesday night, I still attend Wednesday nights today.

So my mother shifted them online during COVID and now people get to participate from around the world. We've had some very aggressive conversations. We had a gentleman come in and say that the United States is not racist, that if you were walking down a dark alley at night and a black man approaches you in a hoodie, you are 100 percent right to cross the street and avoid that person. Why? Oh, because statistically,

more Blacks are in prison per capita than white people. And we just went crazy. you can imagine the response. But we managed to calm the room temperature down and really investigate where and why this person believed in this sort of eugenics approach to race. While none of us wound up agreeing with him, we all understood the evolution of his thinking.

That made it easier to debate him rather than just go up in arms, cancel him, and be angry. It led to a much more constructive debate, and I found that incredibly valuable. This is what happens week in and week out. You can hear something that offends your sensibility, that offends your belief system.

But if you take the time to listen and educate yourself on how someone arrived at that, you may get to a point of compromise.

Sharad: you're doing that, like you said, in 1880. And just for people outside Singapore who are not aware of 1880, it's a private club that brings creatives, intellectuals, and interesting people together for difficult conversations.

And now the atmosphere is so much more charged up. How do you manage the various emotions? How do you get these difficult conversations out there and curate it in a positive, healthy manner?

Marc Nicholson: That's a super good question because we don't always get that right, but I do think that we approach with this idea of respect and civil discourse, and that's maybe the price of entry, that you just agree to come in with a tempered approach. But we have had many conversations in 1880 that have led to people being uncomfortable, angry, and emotionally charged, and that's okay.

It's never spilled over into something that gets out of control, but we've definitely had to calm the room down. Three weeks after October 7th, we had a discussion on Israel Palestine, and we invited Israelis, Arabs, and all kinds of people.

And most definitely, the room was very charged with some very hard conversations. But, what made me very happy was after the formal discussion, let's say everybody dispersed and went to different locations, and we saw pockets of Jews and Arabs sitting together, enjoying a drink, smiling and laughing.

and really becoming friends and understanding that you come from a different perspective and that you have the right to your belief system. Even if I come from a different one and I don't believe it, we can still work towards a solution. That's very gratifying.

Sharad: We need so much more of this.

Marc Nicholson: Yeah, I agree with you.

Sharad: Now, shifting tracks, one of the things that I found very interesting about your comments before the podcast was that you didn't really have a purpose until you were 46 years old. You found your purpose at 46.

Yeah. After doing multiple things. So can you talk a little bit about how that happened?

Marc Nicholson: I think your perspective on life changes an awful lot as you grow up. When I was a little kid, I thought I wanted to be an actor and then I wanted to be a professional athlete and then I wanted to be a professor. I wanted to start a business.

I wanted to do all these different things. and typically when I got into it, I realised that wasn't for me. and I bounced around and did an awful lot of different things.

None of which made sense on paper. and eventually I hit on the idea of opening 1880. but, I was 46 years old and I thought, wouldn't it be great to open that.

But then I had a lot of self doubt. I had a lot of voices in my head and I said, you're not that guy. You're not a hospitality person. You've never done anything like that before. There's no way you're going to do that. What is amazing and what I'm incredibly grateful for is that my wife was the one who kept saying, everything that you've ever done, Has led you to this idea and everything that you've ever done will contribute to this thing being successful.

So just keep going. So even in the darkest moments where I was like, how are we gonna raise the money? blah, blah, blah. She just kept saying, keep going. don't give up. And it's incredibly powerful to have your spouse be that champion for you. Because without it, I easily would've said, wow, I'll just move on and do something less taxing, less grant. First of all, doing business is wonderful, but finding the purpose allowed me to reassess my definition of success. I think once you know your purpose and you're good at your purpose, you know it and you have the ability to succeed in it,that's basically success.

you've found your calling,and off you go. That's phenomenal. it's just a very liberating space in your head to be.and whether that produces wealth or accolades or whatever those things are, is irrelevant. Once I figured that out, I was like, Even if we close one day after we open, We still got it.

We still did it. 24 hours is a success to me, so I've been happy ever since then. It was a huge shift in my mind.

Sharad: You were talking about the various things that you did. And then you, I said, they've all brought you to this point. was there a narrative that you needed to form

How did that work so that it would sit in your head and you would believe it so that you would go forward?

Marc Nicholson: I didn't believe her at first, but after thinking it through, I was like, yeah, that's right. So we built 1880 on two values. The first is around conversations, which we've discussed, right?

The second value system revolves around happiness. It's just that simple. We discuss the Harvard Longevity Study on human behaviour. Our principle is that human beings are better off when we have stronger human-to-human relationships.

if we have people that we can rely on in moments of crisis, people that we can share our joys and our tribulations with, whether that's our spouse, sibling, parent child, or just very dear friends, or belonging to a community. Having those things is richness in life. Not having those things is poverty. And it will lead you to be unhealthy. mentally, physically, and spiritually. Our principle of hospitality is that we exist to provide opportunities for people to develop stronger human to human relationships.

It's a wonderful reason for me to get out of bed, but it works equally well for the dishwasher, the bartender, the receptionist, the waiter and the cook. Everybody in the company operates the same way.

Sharad: This is a powerful principle. Did this principle come as a surprise? Yes, this is what I'm doing. Was it iterative? Did it take a while to form?

Marc Nicholson: Hindsight is beautiful, right? Like, it was easy no, it was a process to evolve the thinking. But when I distilled all the things that I'd done that were very satisfying in my life I realised that they involved human endeavour and being around people and championing different causes.

And we get to do that every day, which is wonderful. We can take on the big topics, but we also work within a number of just incredibly inspiring individuals who have built incredible charities, businesses, philanthropic organisations,

We are a very diverse community, but there is a single uniting thread, which I would consider a willingness, interest, or desire To impact the world in a positive way, no matter what. And it doesn't matter if you are the head of a hedge fund, an insurance agent, or a ballerina.

Everybody has at some point in their life this yearning to give back, to contribute, to leave the world a better place. But we don't always have a platform for that. And where 1880 can satisfy that urge by introductions to charities, by going on volunteer trips, by just debating the topics, that is very satisfying.

Sharad: It certainly is. What were some important events that led to what 1880 is today?

Marc Nicholson: I was very inspired by Soho House. I lived in London when Soho House started, and I thought, wow, that's incredible. It's disruptive.it's amazing. I moved to Singapore in 2002, which I guess was the same You did. So we've both been here 21, 22 years. I kept meeting incredible people, but I met them in silos of industries, and I didn't find that there was a social environment where you could naturally.

engage with or bump into all these wonderful people. And Singapore's packed with incredibly bright, cosmopolitan, international, people who are creating, building businesses, financing projects, and I thought it would be great if there was a social club that did, that had that purpose.

And so we went at it and here we are seven years later. Yeah.

Sharad: Congratulations. You talked about before this a string of failures.

if you could talk a little bit about that, because I want to, I want people to get a sense of the resilience of getting back and at 46 doing that.

Marc Nicholson: You can tell your story in multiple ways. You can believe your backstory in multiple ways. You can make yourself a victim.

Or you can make yourself the hero of your story, or you can just be an observer of your story, and what have you. I think for years in my youth, I chose the victim card and the blame game. And I'm really happy to have matured out of that phase. And so I now don't look back at anything as a failure, but merely an opportunity to find success.

I was on the wrong path in many ways. I did not belong in the U. S. Navy.

And then the other, major failure was going bankrupt as a business, and I owned a creative advertising agency. I had no business running that company.

I wasn't particularly interested in the product.

My employees were unemployed and that was my fault. People couldn't pay their rent. It was a terrible experience. And I learnt a ton from it. the journey, let's say, out of that hole where I had promised myself I would never be responsible for another person's life again.

I would never be an entrepreneur again. I would never, I didn't want the burden of that. And, and thank God I didn't listen to myself.

Sharad: You talked about changing your narrative from being a victim to finding the opportunity. How did that happen?

Marc Nicholson: Yeah, it was a combination of a lot of things. I went to conferences, I read a lot of books, I went to therapy, I got very fit I, I had to like retake control and be

confident in my ability again. And I wasn't. I literally lost all sense of confidence. tapes in my head, replaying like, oh, you're a failure, you've never succeeded, and da da da da da.

really torturous. But I started to focus on very simple things, and I went to these sorts of festivals like a self help festival, and one of the exercises was let's make a list of all the things that we want to achieve in life.

No matter what, don't be afraid to put anything down; go for it. I wrote down that I wanted to start a theatre company, a barber shop, and a member's club.

I started to just pick that list apart and do the things and every time I did it, the voice would go, you're not capable of doing that. Like you, you have a flaw in you that will lead to failure. And then I would have a conversation with that voice and say,why would you say such a horrible thing?

Like, why would you discourage me? What are you trying to protect me from? What is the risk that I'm taking? What is the worst possible outcome? I've already failed a business once. I've been through a lot.

And what I learned is, You get back up, like nothing, nothing is so traumatic that it means the end of your life. Like it, you just put it in the past, you learn, and you get up and you go forward. I don't say that lightly. It's not a glib statement. This was a hard process. I had to work through it, but I did.

There's a lot of work that you did to get yourself ready for this.

Sharad: It sounded a little bit like cognitive behavioural therapy where the catastrophizing is going down, talking to your voice and understanding that the rock bottom is not as bad as you think. And you've got yourself in the right space. And then you've also got some goals, visioning.

You've got some things and you tick off simple tasks which give you some confidence, self esteem goes up. While all that is happening, when you're in the right place at the right time, interesting people come, the perfect idea comes and it all comes together with purpose. And that's how it

Marc Nicholson: and it all comes together with purpose, and that's how it takes off. He was very successful at building a unicorn and I begged him for an hour of his time. We met at Starbucks and I just knew from the second that he sat down that he didn't want to be there and that he had a thousand other things to do and to sit and listen to me whine about how, unfortunate it is that I'm, I went bankrupt and I don't know what to do with my life and what does he suggest I do?

it's just giving somebody your negative energy, right? But six months later, I had been through this whole journey and I had figured out what I wanted to do. And I went back to him and I said, Hey, this is what I want to do. And he was like, Okay, I have to introduce you to these people and I have to support you in this way.

And I, I learned the lesson that if you go to somebody with a problem, you are bringing them down. But if you go to them and say, This is what I want. You're, like, it's this, it's the energy. It's exciting. And you never know what's That person is going to think about you when they meet another person and they're going to go, Oh, you know what?

I met this guy. He's trying to do this thing. Let me connect you and see what happens. There were so many instances of that very thing happening. Oh, Marc , I have nothing to do with what you're doing, but I know a guy who does this and maybe you want to meet, or you should meet this woman who has built this.

and that's how it all happens. And so I highly encourage people. Your success is not determined by your abilities. Your success is determined by your mindset. There is incredible power in just changing the way that you talk to yourself.

I love that. Yeah,

Sharad: I love that. and many of us have experienced that on both sides. When we have someone coming where we can sense the energy is bad. We're reluctant to introduce that person because we know that the person's not ready. I Need to go and do that work. And you did that work.

And when you were ready, when you had the right energy, the world was waiting to help you. So I think that's a great lesson: We need to do that work and then get ready.

Once you started in 1880, many interesting people started coming in. Were there any inflection points, like difficult points that you faced during this time and how did you navigate

Marc Nicholson: navigate that? Sure. It's a hospitality business. There are never days that don't have challenges. But COVID was a huge challenge for us to get through.

and in many ways, we saw a beautiful side of humanity. First of all, we had staff who were not supported by the government grants who were Malaysian, Filipino, they couldn't get home, they had zero income. we asked the members if rather than pay the monthly dues, if they would help contribute to a fund to help the families and the individuals, and they did, we raised, 40, 000, 50, 000, and we were able to help Some people's grandmothers, help people with their children and with their life.

And that was very rewarding. But we definitely nearly lost the business in that process.

Sharad: So when something like this happens, like when the day COVID hits, as an entrepreneur, I remember that, suddenly the world's ending, you're responsible for so many people, you're a hospitality business. How does it work? Do you get overwhelmed? Take your time? Come back?

How do you function then?

Marc Nicholson: I think this question is very relevant today. the entrepreneur environment that we're in, the funding environment that we're in where it's no longer, zero interest free money. We are now in, in way more challenging times.

And when you talk to the best VCs, they will tell you they're making their decisions based on the individual entrepreneur. And really, it's how are you going to deal with it when you're in the trenches? Are you going to survive? Are you going to be resilient? Are you going to find the way through the mud? Or are you just going to give up and throw your toys away and watch the business fail? That thing, that fire, that resilience, that never say die. You have to find that. Like that's just a you have to look very deep in yourself and find it. The other thing that's interesting is that my wife eventually came into the company, and she's now the CEO of the business.

So we work hand in hand. And while there are many great advantages to that, like we drive to work there are also, it presents huge challenges. We were never not. Solving a crisis, like when we were going through COVID Every moment was about how we are going to pay our rent? How are we going to take care of the staff?

What are we going to do about the customers?

My wife and I wound up driving, doing deliveries because we started a Takeaway business. My kids were involved in that like we just did what it took to keep the business alive. My new approach, I think, to really difficult challenges is this sort of analysis of what's the worst case scenario here? is someone gonna die? No. Is

Is someone going to be unable to eat? Is someone's life going to be at risk? No, and no. And so the worst-case scenario became something that's just not that bad.

So why don't you keep going? don't fret. Don't get too stressed. Don't don't freak out. It's just a journey. And it's going to be okay. and Just go through it. You'll get there.

Sharad: You talked about that voice, which would be panicking and stuff now that you've gone through that journey, how's that voice?

Marc Nicholson: Yeah. I think we're working together in the same direction, and it's constructive. I spend a lot of time contemplating. It's hard to explain or to express, but I think about death a lot. Like, uh, I've been doing that exercise of thinking about death and what it means to me.

And therefore the importance of life and just the sheer privilege that we have of having this window on the planet where we get to interact with people and do this thing called living. It's amazing and I want to do more of it.

I want to meet more people, experience more things, go to more places, and enjoy life to the maximum. I think I have created a mirror, and I have a weird anxiety about that. My wife is completely different, and I want to be where she is mentally because she's very calm and accepts things in a beautiful way.

She's very zen, and she doesn't need anything.

Sharad: So she's always one step ahead of me. I'm playing catch up to her. I'd love to dig into this exercise you talked about. What is it like where you sit and reflect about death? And how do you do it?

Marc Nicholson: I'm not a disciplined meditator but I find an opportunity to self reflect and meditate every day in some shape or form. I don't sit in a chair or in a yoga pose, but I can do it on a plane. I can do it when I'm brushing my teeth,

It's just a moment to check in and remind myself that I am incredibly grateful right now to be alive. And that's a wonderful thing. Just to remind yourself to start the day, just being grateful and happy about that, I have a little ritual where I set my goals for the day and decide what is going to be difficult, how I'm going to approach that difficult thing, and how I want the day to end.

And then I get to check in with myself at night and go, so how did that go? Did you do what you set out to do? Were you the person that you wanted to be? Did you process things in a healthy way? And that just is a process of improvement, actually. It allows you to do better and better.

And I'm not always happy with the way that I've conducted myself or that I've made decisions or that I've done things but I don't beat myself up for them. It's just okay, so you could have done that a little bit differently. Do that next time. relationship

Sharad: This relationship with yourself has evolved so beautifully that you can actually talk about difficult things in a constructive way as areas for improvement versus bashing yourself up about it.

Marc Nicholson: this is the thing I think about self improvement and about working on yourself is you should not put an expectation on every book you read and say, Okay, when I finish this book, or if I meditate for 30 days, or if I run every day, then I will be a great human being.

You're not. And it doesn't end with one course, one session, one thing. It is a culmination of all of these things that you do. It doesn't happen in steps. It's like waves that move around and you will go forward and then you'll step back and you can't be too critical of yourself.

When you fall back, you just have to keep moving, keep going. I think people set very high expectations and then they don't achieve them. And then they go, I am messed up. The problem is with me. and don't be so hard on yourself.

All of these things matter. Going for a walk in nature matters as much as reading a book that helps you improve a skill set. As much as, spending time with your loved ones. Just don't be so hard on yourself.

Sharad: I love that. It's like, I'm going to do this and then I get better. So that starts putting expectations.

And there's also, you touched upon sustainability. It's like you might do it for a certain while and it goes off. How do you sustainably bring it on? How are you gentle with yourself? That's the other thing I took away from here. That's a nice one.

And the third point which I found very interesting was non linear progress and self growth. It's a flow. You move forward, you move back. You move forward, you move back. But you keep moving. That's the point of it. So I love that. How have you seen this nonlinear way for growth happening for you?

Marc Nicholson: People who are incredibly disciplined know that they eat this, they do this exercise regime, they do this self-reflection, and they do that every day.

Without fail, I'm someone who can focus on these things, but then different things start to happen. Let's say my health habits fall away, and I wind up drinking more in this particular month because there are many more events that I'm attending. I wind up, my sleep patterns get bad, or whatever.

I'll let the rain go quite easily. I'll indulge in that, and I enjoy it, I love it, it's fun, but then I need to recover. I need to go back and say, okay, let's make sure we're getting eight hours of sleep, let's eat properly, let's exercise, and let's do self-reflection.

it oscillates and I'm very comfortable with that. It doesn't have to be, like, a super, super disciplined regime. It can be, like you say, like a flow and you give yourself space to, to indulge in this and give yourself space to practise that. it's like I, I just, I don't believe in dogma. I don't believe in being too strict with yourself,

Sharad: It seems that you know who you are. Yeah. And you know the best way for you to operate.

Marc Nicholson: Yeah, there was someone that I used to spend a lot of time talking with about, the challenges of mental health. She had this framework: there are things that you do where you work on yourself, there are things you work on your family, there are things you work on your profession.

But then she said, and right here we're gonna carve out a little box, and we're just gonna call that playtime, and don't forget to fill that box up. so it was a very beautiful framework that I was like, wow, you give yourself permission to just, you know what, Go for it. Whatever you want to do, it doesn't matter.

You can allow yourself the privilege of that. And don't judge yourself too harshly. Eat the hamburger, or eat the chips, or whatever those things are that are going to give you a little bit of satisfaction outside. Whatever it is. Anyway,

Sharad: I love that. I had the same thing with my therapist, who told me to carve out play time for myself.

And I was like, Hey, I'm going to journal. I'm going to do this. She said, none of that. You do that every day. Do something that is fun and different, whether it's going to a museum, whatever it is, but don't do the usual stuff. And it was weird. I couldn't find anything for myself. It took me a while. What is play time for you?

Marc Nicholson: Sport is always great for me. Any time with family is important to me. I like to read. Netflix and stuff are a normal way to pass the time.

What I find increasingly satisfying is the idea of picking up a phone and calling an old friend, which I suppose COVID taught us, reminded us to do that. But I have a couple of friends who just randomly call me and I'm like, what a pain in the ass.

My phone is ringing. I don't want to talk to you. And then I will. And it's so great to just chat with an old friend. and to say I've heard about this, and I've never heard

Sharad: It's something I should do more of. Thank you for reminding me of that. I did a little bit of that in COVID and loved it.

Now, in terms of balance, you, of course, are expanding your business. You're going to Bali, Hong Kong, and you're flying to Saudi Arabia in a few days. You're going everywhere. Now, how do you balance the various things, family, work, walk in nature, play, how does all that work for you?

Marc Nicholson: I'm very excited about the team that we have.

I certainly don't feel like I have to do everything or that it's too much to bear. We have a very collaborative working environment. I don't run the business; my wife does. My time is spent more forward-thinking. If anything, I'm the creative director, and I do a lot of the talks and spend a lot of time with the team.

The most satisfying part is that I literally just walk around the club and talk to the members, getting to meet them and finding out what they're up to and what they're doing in their work lives and their personal lives. And that is to say, that's just sheer enjoyment for me.

It's trite to say it, but I really don't think I have a job. I love what I do. and I get to do it every day.

And then, yes, there are opportunities to do new things, and we're exploring places like Saudi Arabia, which is just incredibly fascinating to me. to be part of what is going to happen in Saudi Arabia because it's absolutely on fire.

What I really look forward to is the idea that we can build a larger, sustainable hospitality business around our values. If I'm very fortunate, both my children will join the company one day, and we will just get to do this as a family.

But they have their own lives. But if they chose to do that without me manipulating them. But I, I, you know, my son keeps reminding me, we are our own people,we're not you. And off you go, do your own thing. But if that happened, I think it would be amazing.

Sharad: very similar to the way we are doing things now. So now we've talked about a

Marc Nicholson: basically identified that there are at least four different drivers to your success.

what you need to fill up in order to view yourself as successful. And those can be power, they can be money, they can be recognition, and none of them are negative, right? It's just observe and be aware of that, and then you probably have a secondary driver but be aware of it so that it doesn't become your detriment, If you, if power is your thing or money is your thing, do it, but don't do it at the suffering or to hurt anybody else. And for me, I'm, I acknowledge that it's recognition that I seek, I was an actor when I was ten years old.

That sort of thing is important to me. But I'm self-aware enough to know that I don't want to be vain or driven by that need. So you try to temper it. But you know that if you remove it completely, you won't really find satisfaction, so it's okay to indulge it.

Sharad: For folks out there who are struggling with purpose. What is the advice that you'd leave them with?

Marc Nicholson: advice that you'd leave them with? Many very successful people who have made a lot of money and who are now stepping back from that traditional cash engine and saying, okay, how am I gonna spend the next 40 years of my life?

What should I do? How do I fill that time? Most are, like, I wanna do something that has an impact. I wanna do something that has an influence. I want my values to be expressed in the things that I do. And that is where I find purpose. And it's a huge struggle. I talk to people about this all the time.

They want to get involved in charity work. They want to build something. Obviously, everybody should pursue that. I think it's very difficult to find the thing. Like it took me 46 years.

Like I bounced around and I bumped into walls and I, I fell down. and so I'm hugely sympathetic to people when they say, yeah, like I, I think I've spent 30 years as a vicious lawyer and it's time for me to make amends.

I don't know why I picked on lawyers today, but whatever it is and And, okay. you don't have to apply the same thinking that you had in your earlier career. You don't need the recognition. You don't need the financial reward. And it doesn't have to be so big. It doesn't have to be on a scale of Oh, wow, look, I built a multi national NGO

you don't have to do that stuff. In fact, just being nice to people is a huge way to go through life and a hugely successful thing to do. like I said, we do it as a hospitality thing to teach the staff, every engagement that you have with somebody is an opportunity to give them a little bit of joy, like just to give them a nugget of sunshine because of the way you smile, because of the problem that you solve for them.

That is just a gift,like giving them a little bit of happiness, a little bit of joy, a little bit of your own sunshine. That is a beautiful thing to do. My advice is to start small. Your purpose can be super easy. It doesn't have to be complicated.

It can simply be all I'm gonna do is try to make people a little happier. Your Uber driver, the person at the checkout counter, your bank, whoever those people are, have a nice interaction with them.

Sharad: That was a very powerful message. Marc, the last question before we go. This is the question we ask everyone. Yeah, at the end of your life, how would you know you've lived a good life?

Marc Nicholson: Ah by the bruises and the scars and the tears. I love whatever that quote is about. I want to go to my deathbed, like sliding into home base, like ripped apart and knowing that I've lived.

So, being respectful of other people, experiencing as much as you can about this wonderful world that we live in, loving intensely and deeply, and trying to be good to people is a very satisfying way to live your life. But the thing that is maybe the most.

The most beautiful thing I've ever heard is David White's talk on YouTube about Sala Stirrer and the meaning of life. He also talks about legacy. I know there's a lot of emphasis that people place on what legacy they're going to leave behind. But what he concluded, in this very beautiful way, is that there's no need for legacy.

If you really find contentment and peace within yourself, there's absolutely no need for you to have recognition once you've passed away. And that's how I want to go.

Sharad: Thank you for that, Marc, for such a wonderful conversation. You spent an hour with us and shared so many nuggets of wisdom. I'm sure people listening are going to be inspired. Thank you very much.

Thank you Marc for such an inspirational conversation. For more on Marc and 1880, please check the show notes. Here's something all of us could reflect on. What's our relationship with the voice in our head? Do we notice it or it's just automatic? What does it see? How does it make us feel? What change can we make? How will we do that? Best of luck. I hope you enjoyed this episode. The next episode will drop two weeks from now on June 4th to join us for that. Till next time, have a wonderful day ahead.

Bye bye.