“They treat me better than Bono here…”


November 14, 2011
Manila, Philippines

[Editor’s note: Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon Black today.]

In the back of a chauffeured SUV limo, my friend Phil recently told me, “What I love about coming to the Philippines is that I feel like a rock star… not like at home where I’m a short, balding nobody. They treat me better than Bono here.”

When the limo arrived to Manila’s Intercontinental Hotel, the doors were whisked open, and a platoon of smiling attendants took care of every detail– the kids, the bags, the strollers, welcome drinks, hot towels, etc. The whole experience, including the royal suite, ran a whopping $150/night.

Another friend of mine was feeling a bit down about his lack of female companionship at home in North America.  So, summoning up his courage, he sent a profile to an Asian dating site, no doubt thinking, “What would anyone want with an old has-been like me..?”

Within a week he’d received private correspondence from 48 different eligible ladies ranging from a gorgeous university student to a sophisticated woman with a Masters degree in engineering.

[Lest we receive droves of hate mail, my female friends who have tried this approach had an even higher response rate. After all, there is a major shortage of women in many countries throughout the world.]

I relate these stories to make a point.  If your life at home sometimes feels dull and unexciting, it doesn’t have to be that way.  As Simon writes, when you expand your options to include the entire world, opportunities really open up.

If you want to go to school and can’t afford the ridiculous tuition, look at universities overseas. (You can go to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology where Einstein attended for just $750 per semester. )

If you’re an entrepreneurial and having problems due to the dismal economic conditions at home, look overseas to stronger economies. In fact, in this month’s Sovereign Confidential, Simon is profiling some specific business ideas he came across in the world’s fastest growing economy.

If you’re an unemployed worker and can’t find a job, you’ll have brighter prospects overseas no matter what your skill set. Places like Singapore, Qatar, Bermuda, Hong Kong all have thriving job markets for people ranging from cocktail waitresses to molecular biologists.

And if nothing else, your speaking English is a skill that over 1 billion people on the planet would like to have.

I have another friend who dreamed of being a drummer in England.  He’s talented but never got the right break and used to work odd jobs to barely make ends meet.

He hated it, and about 15 years ago he finally took a leap.  He studied for a diploma in teaching English as a second language and got a job in South Korea.

To this day, he’s still there. He plays the drums in one of the popular expat bands in town and is appreciated in a way he never was back home. He’s not making huge money.  But he’s content.

Naturally, his friends and family undermined the decision at first. When he rang them up to announce that he was moving to Korea, they all said he was nuts. And that’s how society works– people want people to stay average.

When we start to deviate from ‘normal,’ our friends and family tell us that we’re nuts and try to pull us back into the fold. Don’t listen to them.

There is nothing to lose by acting and thinking exceptionally. What’s the worst that can happen– you go back to what you were doing before?

Inertia is a powerful force.  If you’re not happy with what’s happening around you, I urge you to expand your options and think bigger. Think globally. The cost is negligible, the benefits are enormous, and the incredible experience is forever.

About the author

Tim Staermose

About the author

Tim Staermose is Sovereign Man’s Chief Investment officer, based in the Asia-Pacific region. Born to a Danish father and British mother in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Tim has led an international life since the day he was born. He has lived and worked throughout Asia, primarily focusing on equity research and emerging market opportunities.

Get our latest strategies delivered
straight to your inbox for free.

Discover our most read content below...

Share via
Copy link