Lessons for life and business

Lessons for life and business

When I decided to transform the logistics industry with Web3 technology, it was much more than a whim. It was the next natural step in a journey that has taken me through my darkness and chaos to order and light.

The lessons I have learned in my life so far, along with a deep understanding of Web3 and logistics, make me confident that tokenization will solve the ongoing supply chain problems caused by fragmented systems and bad data. Not only do these issues cost the industry billions, but the drive for consistency and transparency makes solving them a top priority for many companies.

So what are those lessons? And how do they translate from life to business?

Like everyone else, I am a product of my past. My success as an entrepreneur, my deep relationship with spirituality, and my intellectual curiosity were all forged in a bowl of shattered dreams of being a sports hero, crippling drug addiction, physical illness, and childhood trauma. Despite the darkness and challenges of my past, it has been my most valuable teacher, imparting lessons that have helped me build everything I’ve ever built.

From a very early age, I was driven by the desire to have a positive impact on my community and those around me. At first, business and sports seemed the best ways to achieve this goal.

I started my first business when I was just 12 years old, mowing lawns in my neighborhood. This allowed me to help the people living around me and also gave me an opportunity to bond with my father, who worked hard to provide for our family.

Before that, however, came my love for football. I started playing when I was only 6 years old and stuck with it even after my ninth grade coach told my mom, “He might as well quit because he doesn’t have an athletic bone in his body.” I must have had a lot because the next year I was starting on the varsity team and earned my first athletic scholarship as a sophomore in high school.

Sport meant the world to me, partly because I could see how much it meant to others around me. Playing soccer gave me a sense of belonging that I had never had before, so I put everything I had into becoming the best player I could be.

That work paid off. When it came time to choose where I wanted to play in college, I had offers from a bunch of top football schools, ranging from Stanford to Louisiana State University. People actually laughed at me when I told them I was going to play for the Kansas Jayhawks, who were 2-10 at the time.

They weren’t laughing when we went on to win the 2008 Orange Bowl, a victory attributed in large part to the defensive line. We had the best team in school history and my dreams of playing in the NFL seemed within reach.

The road to that victory also taught me one of the first and most important lessons I’ve learned in life: When you want a team to achieve a goal, it’s important to make sure everyone is united and knows what their role is must play to succeed. .

The University of Kansas team I joined my freshman year had more raw talent than the one that won the Orange Bowl, but it was a team of individuals. Each was a good player on his own, but they didn’t work well together as a team. The team we put together in 2007-2008 may have had less talented individuals, but we knew how to work together as a team.

This taught me that teamwork trumps talent every time. It was a critical lesson for business success and one that I have taken to heart and use to this day.

My second lesson was just as important, but much more painful to learn.

In my sophomore year, my body began to fall apart and, with it, my dreams of playing in the NFL. I tore both of my posterior labrums, the layers of cartilage that line the shoulder joint. I had to have surgery and was bedridden for six months.

The physical pain was excruciating. But the emotional pain of losing what I considered the cornerstone of my identity and source of validation was even worse. The soul searching I did during that period opened my eyes to my second truth: if I was going to have an impact on the world around me, I would have to use my mind because my body might not hold up.

The injury and its aftermath had a very devastating impact on my life as well: I became very dependent on the painkillers the doctors prescribed to keep the pain at bay.

As it has for many who have been affected by the opioid crisis, my addiction to OxyContin became an all-consuming obsession for me. I had finally found something that could numb the pain of not fitting into this world. I didn’t care about myself or my loved ones and fell prey to my own self-destructive behaviors.

Oxycodone pills
Pictured are tablets of the opioid pain reliever Oxycodone for a medical prescription. Like many people affected by the opioid crisis, the author writes that an addiction to OxyContin became an all-consuming obsession until he entered…

Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

And just when I thought things couldn’t get any darker, I found out one day in June that I had testicular cancer and would need surgery the next day. Fed up with life at that point, I took OxyContin the night before. If it hadn’t been for my father’s intervention, I might not have made it out alive.

This brush with death and the intervention of friends helped me realize it was time to kick my addiction and I went to rehab. It was there that I met a Buddhist monk and his circle of friends—which included healers, therapists, and psychologists—who helped open my mind to spirituality.

Even then, my life’s path was not without twists and turns. The breaking point for me came eight years ago when my doctor told me he had found a tumor in my throat.

Yes, I had a moment when I asked the universe why all this was happening to me. Then I decided that since Western medicine was failing me, I needed to look for a more holistic and spiritual path to find a cure. This led me to discover the herbal medicines used in the jungles of South America, healing through shamanism and my third teaching. This lesson is perhaps more difficult to put into words, but it boils down to this: to achieve peace and light, you must first go through moments of difficulty and darkness.

Both the entrepreneurial journey and the spiritual journey are analogous to the hero’s journey: the multi-step quest a hero must go on to achieve a goal. There are examples of this throughout mythology and literature, perhaps because it is such a powerful model for living our lives better: Homer Odyssey, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, even Wonderful The wizard of oz by Frank Baum. In all of these stories, the protagonist must go through trials and tribulations before reaching their destination, enduring a dark period where they learn things they would never have learned in the ordinary world.

Without the practices, tools, and modalities I learned throughout my spiritual life, I would not be able to handle the stress of entrepreneurship.

And as I’ve learned, these three lessons—the importance of teamwork, the power of the mind, and the need for persistence—are just as applicable to business as they are to life. With these three tools, along with the most innovative technologies out there, my team and I are working to heal the problems in the supply chain that threaten its health and sustainability.

Todd Haselhorst is the founder and CEO of HEALE Labs, which has created a data network for shippers and brokers in the logistics industry