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The Memory of Tommy the Guinea-Dog

When my mom was young, she was attacked by a dog, which made her eternally scared of them. This was especially tough for my dad and I since we both liked dogs. But back in 2010 my mom decided to come to a compromise and allow us to get a pocket-sized “dog” that some might call a guinea pig.

The guinea pig’s name was Groffy and he was extremely well trained. He’d leave his cage, walk around the house and return to his cage when he wanted to eat or rest. After a year, Groffy unexpectedly passed away and everyone in the house was sad. That’s when Tommy entered our lives.

Tommy the GPig

Tommy the guinea pig was intended to fill the void that Groffy left, but Tommy was completely different. He didn’t care about cool tricks, he never wanted to leave his cage, and he didn’t know how to use his house and he’d sleep on its roof. Tommy was basically the guinea pig version of me. He was the oddest animal that I’ve ever seen, but he was odd in a special way.

Tommy the GPig

He’d also scare easily, so when I was stuck in bed from my foot accident, I used a robot camera to check on him, while hilariously freaking him out in the process.

Tommy the GPig

Three years ago, I read an article that suggested that Tommy had all of the characteristics of a female guinea pig. Since I’m not too skilled at identifying the man part of a guinea pig, I assumed that the article was factual and I told the family that Tommy was actually a girl. That’s when Tommy became “Tommy the Female Guinea Pig.” Months later, I purchased a female friend for Tommy and he demonstrated his male characteristics by constantly trying to…um…make little Tommys with her. So she had to be given away because we lived in a nice Christian household.

Tommy the GPig

Tommy eventually got a male friend, Sylvester, and their friendship quickly grew. They would wait for each other to eat, they’d sleep at the same time, and Sylvester would freak out when Tommy was missing from the cage. In April of this year, five years after we got him, Tommy started demonstrating signs of old age and decreased wellness. When I took him to the [super-duper expensive] vet, she prescribed medicines to try to cure his illnesses and prolong his life a little longer. When it became evident that Tommy would be going to guinea pig heaven, Sylvester refused to leave Tommy’s side and he spent most of the day staring at tommy and helping him maneuver with decreased vision.

Tommy eventually passed away at the ripe old age of 6 after living a wonderfully exciting life. Sylvester was somber for about a week and a half, but then I rubbed his belly and gave him a slice of watermelon and now it seems that he forgot that Tommy even existed. How rude…what kind of friend is he?!

The Plight of the Peculiar

Most of the things I do don’t follow social norms or conventions. It’s boring to do what everyone else does just because it’s the safest and most socially acceptable option. The downside is that when you do things that others are unfamiliar with, many will speak boldly and loudly about how foolish you are for thinking that you might actually succeed.

You want to buy a private jet?! Hahaha! How stupid…just fly in a regular plane like the rest of us. You want to buy an electric car from an unproven company?! The company is going to go bankrupt and your car will break down…just drive a regular car like the rest of us! These aren’t just examples, they are paraphrased statements that have been said to me. While I respect and understand the desire to stick with things that are proven to work well, it’s not what excites me.

It has nothing to do with flaunting possessions. Possessions can disappear in a moment and life isn’t measured by how much you own. Instead, it’s more exciting to pursue things that can enhance the quality of life for myself and others, despite its popularity. The success of the iPod is due, in-part, to a group of “silly” early-adopters who bought a $399 MP3 player instead of the Sandisk Sansa’s and Diamond Rio’s that were cheaper and far more popular at the time.

This is also true for the people who want to invent entirely new ways of doing things. In the late 1800’s, cars were only owned by the wealthy and were quite cumbersome to drive, so people used other less-convenient forms of travel, like railroads and angry horses. Then Henry Ford came along and figured out a better way to enhance people’s lives by introducing the Model T—an easier, more reliable, cheaper car that was in the financial reach of the majority of Americans…and he did it after going bankrupt two times!

Imagine being super excited about bringing a new way of doing things to the world and being discouraged by the negativity of people who try to kill your idea because they don’t understand it. Sometimes it’s exhausting. I look at it this way—a hammer can be used to build houses and it can also be used to destroy them. Too many people use their hammers to destroy houses…not just other people’s houses, but their own also. But imagine how much better the world would be if the people who desire to do great things in unconventional ways can do so without dream killers smashing an idea to shreds before it is even started.

That’s why I started Peculiar PPL. I wanted to start a company that creates products and services for people who desire to make a positive impact on the world using their unique way of thinking and doing. Pioneers (or Peculiar people) are an under-recognized population that is quickly going extinct. Save the Peculiar…the world needs them!

To the trailblazers: If you’re using your uniqueness to make a positive change, don’t let the hammer-wielders sway you from your life’s purpose to make a positive impact. The greatest oak tree was once just a little nut that stood its ground!

 

 

 

 

2015 Goals Recap

In 2014 my dad said, “if it’s too big for you to say, it’ll be too big for you to experience,” so I ended the year by saying some things that I expect to see in 2015.

Those things were:

Now that the year is coming to a close, here’s a status update:

Traveling
I’ve traveled more than ever before and I was blessed to go on 3 international and 15 domestic trips. Of these 18 trips, 14 of them were via private jet. When I did the math, it turned out that ~78% of my trips were via private jet and I narrowly missed my goal by ONE trip! Goal slightly not achieved!

The interesting thing about this is that when I tweeted that I will be traveling via private jet this year, I had no clue how I would make it happen. However, a few weeks after saying the goal, things came together and doors opened. Who knows if it would’ve happened that way if I didn’t go out on a limb and declare it.

Peculiar PPL revenue
I didn’t meet the $1MM goal, but after thinking deeper about this, I realized that I used the wrong metric. The goal of Peculiar PPL isn’t to have massive amount of revenue— it’s to equip and inspire Peculiar PPL through products and eventually services. Therefore, instead of the goal being anchored on money, it should have been anchored on the effectiveness in building a community. I will make this modification for 2016. As of right now, Goal not achieved!

I would like to build Peculiar PPL into a more tight-knit community of the world’s key influencers and change agents. As a part of this, I would like to have more opportunities to bring Peculiar people together to inspire and help one another to positively change the world. I’m working on this through a number of different initiatives. I plan to launch these efforts in the second quarter of 2016.

Tesla Stock
C’mon Tesla! The highest that your stock has reached this year was $286.65. Next year will be the $350/share year…I feel it in my knees! Goal not achieved!

Rap Song
Writing and producing a rap song is so far outside of my comfort zone that I’ve tried to eliminate this goal. However, since the best way for me to grow is to step outside of my comfort zone, I am going to tackle this one and have some fun. Therefore, TOMORROW, December 23rd at 12:00 noon (EST), I will release a rap song. When I release the song, I will also provide an in-depth lyrics analysis (a-la “RapGenius.com”), so people can understand what was said. This is weird. Goal: Pending…

Although the majority of goals weren’t achieved, that won’t stop me from continuing to speak! Big things are happening! As for the other things that happened in 2015 outside of my stated goals, I will have a more formal recap when the year is officially over.

As for my rap song, I wonder if Drake is available to do a feature on short notice…for free!

She Graduated While I Suffered Pt 3

The Graduation

A few months ago, I spent three hours of my life (that I will never get back) at my sister’s college graduation. After countless years of long classes internships, and commuting to Pennsylvania on a weekly basis, she finally has a Doctorate of Psychology degree!

In addition to me being proud of her for her beginning her reign as the first known doctor in our family tree, I am also proud of myself for enduring through the graduation without feeling like I was being held hostage, like I did during her first and second college graduations.

The most eventful thing that happened during the ceremony was when the child sitting 8 chairs away from me played Pokemon on his gameboy with the audio enabled. I guess that when they say “gotta catch ’em all,” they mean by any means necessary in any available environment.

I’m not only happy for my sister as she concludes her education with the highest degree in her area of study, but I am also incredibly happy that this is the last of her college graduations that I must endure through. Fingers crossed that my brother doesn’t want to become a doctor in his field, so I won’t have four more graduations to sit through.

This was quite the feeling of deja-vu…actually, deja-vu times two!

But, all jokes aside, Steve Jobs once said, “you have to have a crazy passion for what you do because without it you will never put up with what’s necessary for success” and she’s proved this time and time again. From writing a long dissertation (which she won an award for), to interning at various organizations for free in order to meet graduation requirements, to getting barely any sleep as she worked a full-time job and interned while being a full time student, to taking numerous student loans, she somehow remained motivated throughout the years in order to graduate—all because because she was passionate about the field of Psychology. Whoever she Psychologizes is lucky because they’ve got a smart, lucky, dedicated doctor!

My Sistren and I at her Graduation

Congrats Dr. Giselle.

So, Geremy… Where’s Your Jet?!?

Five years ago, I boldly announced to the world that I will have my own Embraer Phenom Jet in 2015. Now that it we’re in 2015, where’s my jet?!?!?! Well, first let me share some background about what has happened and then I’ll explain the whereabouts of my jet.

In 2010, I was experiencing a traveling nightmare that left me stranded in North Carolina without a flight. While sitting in the uncomfortable airport chair contemplating my fate, the thought of owning my own jet to fly whenever and wherever I wanted crossed my mind. Initially, I thought that this goal was as attainable as a teenager marrying Mariah Carey, but then I saw that Nick Cannon achieved this goal so it proved to me that nothing is impossible.

I researched entry-level jets that only required one pilot (so I would only have to pay one pilot’s salary) and I came across the four-passenger Embraer Phenom 100, at the cost of about $3.5 million dollars. I then factored-in depreciation and assumed that I could get a pre-owned Phenom 100 for around $2 million in 2015. The cost still seemed huge in my mind, but I needed to see it in-person to make the jet seem more attainable.

I came across the company, JetSuite, which sold flights on their brand new Phenom 100 jets and the cheapest route that they had available at the time was Los Angeles to Las Vegas. I sacrificed meals, avoided Starbucks, and started buying “plus” gas rather than premium in order to afford the money that I needed to take the flight. Eventually in early 2011, I confirmed my flight and I went to California for the most exhilarating flight of my life.

The Time I Chartered a Jet

I’ll admit, the flight was short. In fact, the time that it took you to read this far into this entry is about the same time it took me to board the flight and land in Las Vegas, but I didn’t mind because this was was the best $1,073.93 that I spent in my entire life. This experience filled me with hope and it made me feel like owning a private jet was within reach.

When I returned to reality, I immersed myself in the world of planes. One of my good friends is a pilot and he patiently answered every single question that I had about private jets. I would also disappear for hours and while my parents probably thought that I was running amok doing illegal things like smoking crack, I was actually parked at the airport watching planes take-off and land. Each time that I saw a jet, the goal seemed more and more attainable. Eventually, it felt like a common experience to see a private jet around me.

Over the next few years, I took a few additional flights on the Phenom 100 and loved it, but then an eye-opening moment came when I flew on the 6 passenger Cessna Citation CJ3 and I saw how cool it was to have more than 4 seats on a plane. That’s when I convinced myself that I should step-up my goal and get a bigger jet. Even though it was considerably more expensive, I liked the idea of having a plane to carry my entire posse without having to say “the three of you can’t go because I don’t have enough seats.”

I went back to the drawing board and set an even bigger goal to get an even bigger, faster plane! So I repeated the process again. First I mocked-up a photo of what my plane will look like, and then I started looking for ways to fly on bigger planes. I’ve since adjusted my goal to get a 8 passenger Cessna Citation X jet (or the equivalent— like a Hawker 850XP) by 2017 or earlier, and here is what it is likely to look like:

The Future Peculiar Jet

For the time being, I have been flying on larger planes to get used to the idea of traveling on bigger jets (and the expenses associated with it). Soon, this goal will be within arms reach and I will be within inches of buying my own plane. So as of right now, the goal has not been met, but it has been multiplied to a much larger goal that will definitely be reached!

One word of advice that I would like to share with anyone reading this: You shouldn’t be nervous to have a large goal and to share it with others. There will always be naysayers who will poo-poo your dream, but as the saying goes, “It costs nothing to dream and everything not to!”