Surviving the Slavery of Family – In Search of “Solids”

Tis’ the season to be jolly fa la la la la, la la la la… “Well it would be if I could get the Hell outta here!”

I sincerely hope for your sake that your family and extended outlaws are different from mine. Nevertheless, this was my thinking the last few days.

“Lovely to see you, how have you been, you still doing… what was it again?”

Truth be told, I am now grateful to be back with my “little” family enjoying special times together, sans the extended bunch. Ahh, the relief.

Note to self: Must make sure that next “festive season” you’re back in Asia!

Those that know me know I don’t do pretenses. Jeez, I hate them. Aarghhh! And the gossip… I would rather gnaw my own leg off! The pretenses are the worst. I find myself tensing when people aren’t straight with me. My neck bunches up, my head begins to ache and I get airplane sweat… you  know the sort, kinda hot, a little cold and clammy.

Add to it that 90% of the conversation is inevitably dedicated to the pursuit of gossiping about reality TV shows, and I’m waaaay out of my comfort zone. Life’s too short, exciting and beautiful to waste one’s energies with such rubbish, surely. From now on I’m going to devote my time to the people I value and love; family or not, it’s the honest thing to do.

You are what you are, and you try to make that person better, faster, smarter, and kinder with each passing day right? So get on with it! Pretenses serve nobody. Plus, what’s the point in pretending to be anything other than what you are? It must make life supremely confusing for those embroiled in that conflict. How to figure out who YOU actually are? Do those people go to sleep at night and have some reference point they can revert to, where they say, “OK self, enough of the  bullshit, now back to me…” Maybe that’s how schizophrenia develops. I don’t know.

Reminiscing as I have been over the last few days of this festive season, easily one of the nicest things that happened to me was receiving a short message from my partner, friend and accomplice here at, Mark, who is just across the Pacific pond in Chile. No pretenses, no fluffy BS, just plain straight-talking genuine well-wishing.

That one simple gesture meant more to me than the sundry saccharin compulsory cheer, and feigned enthusiastic air-kissing inflicted upon me by my adopted “family.” What the hell is that fake cheek kissing thing anyway? It’s like they’re aiming for the cheek, then oops, shit completely missed… and they haven’t even begun drinking yet, which in itself is a crying shame since the dishonesty is still rampant. Alcohol has its benefits I tell you, the CIA should try it. Jack Daniels… truth serum! It’s got to be better than water-boarding.

Surely a high 5 would be better?

Maybe others think it weird when I give my close family a decent head popping hug, but if you’re going to hug and kiss, for Hades sakes do it like you mean it. If not, just stick to shaking hands, you don’t have to love everyone and you probably shouldn’t try.

What on earth does this have to do with your usual topics Chris?

Glad you asked! I think extended family gatherings are a microcosm of events throughout the rest of the world. There exist a portion of people who you genuinely know and care about and who are genuinely reciprocal in that relationship. These people are “solids” (a technical term my little family reserves for people that are… well… solid).

In business, investing and really every aspect of social interaction I can think of, we have to decide who the “solids” are and who the flakes are. You need to discard the latter and nurture the former. Mark and I have been very fortunate in our personal and professional lives, and much of it I think can be put down to dealing with “solids.”

When detailing some of my random lessons learnt so far, I made the point that Relationships are more important than money, and good relationships built on trust and value will bring you both money and happiness. Call us weird here at, but we’re passionate about what we do and love dealing with others who are passionate about similar things.

A big part of what has proven successful for us is finding those passionate, talented and solid people. We’ve detailed many of them on this, our little corner of cyberspace, before. We think it’s crucially important to steer clear of cardboard cutouts that go soggy in the rain.

Later this week we will talk more about some “solids” we alluded to in our recent post incubators, wunderkinds and social media, whom we have had the good fortune of dealing with.

Happy New Year! Here is wishing all of you, our readers, a year filled with “solids.”

– Chris

 Our greatest joy-and our greatest pain comes in our relationships with others.

– Stephen R. Covey


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