The Journey to Enlightenment: Vernon Foster II on Intuition, Creativity and Freedom

This serial entrepreneur self-published his book, The 7 Laws of Mindful Living, whilst working full-time, running a business and playing lacrosse.

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Blog » Learn » The Journey to Enlightenment: Vernon Foster II on Intuition, Creativity and Freedom

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Have you ever shared a dream of yours with someone, only for them to shut that door for your immediately? Do you ever wonder, with everything going on in your life, how you can find true happiness and fulfillment?

Have you ever gone against your own intuition to follow someone else’s advice, only to feel bad about yourself?

Vernon Foster II started an entertainment business at just 19, has lived abroad in Central and South America, and has found himself at both the bottom of the peak and the top. 

What I appreciate about Vernon is that he understands everyone has a different risk tolerance.

Just because he’s spent time living abroad does not mean you have to. He’s an advocate for asking yourself what you can tolerate, and allowing yourself to grow on your terms.

These days, he’s still a multipotentialite – working a full-time job in New York City, playing lacrosse and expanding his limits.

And he recently self-published a book, The 7 Laws of Mindful Living. As I made my way through the chapters, I realized this was the book I needed during the middle of a stressful year.

We are raised to believe certain things; and we are raised to follow certain rules (whether we are aware of it or not).

In this interview, Vernon talks about living on your own principles, how to deal with people who doubt his dreams, and how to stand out and start a project.

One key theme of your book explains how a key to life is “to create your own principles and live by them – not someone else’s”. What taught you this?

I think it was when I started to deeply question the rules that society is governed by.

This was already starting to happen when I was young.

I’d always ask why when my mother or teachers said I absolutely had to do things a certain way. It really got under their skin after awhile.

The tipping point was after it graduated college in 2009 and couldn’t find a job because the economy was in shambles.

Here it was. I had done everything right despite deep down in my soul it wasn’t the path for me…. Go to school, get a job, yadda yadda. The same tired ol’ marketing pitch that we know as the American Dream.

Then, I got burned.

So, I was like screw their way. It’s time to create my own. 

You work full-time, you recently published your first book, you manage businesses online, and you even started playing lacrosse again recently. How do you do it all?

Haha! It makes me sound like a crazy man, huh? I would say not as effectively as someone who’s probably just focused on one or two things. But that’s just my personality.

I kinda have to have multiple things going on at one time to keep me stimulated.

I guess you can say I’m an Aries through and through.

I was thinking about this the other day. You always hear focus on one thing and get really good at it. Like the whole 10,000 hours idea. I don’t think that applies to me.

I subscribe to the philosophy of being a generalist.

I do something until I’m bored with it and then move on to the next thing. It feels exciting to experiment and tinker around.

When I was younger I’d build model cars and legos, so I guess I’m doing the adult version of that now.

Around Lake Eola, there are all these statues of old dead people from 100 years ago. There’s a commonality. All their epitaphs are lists of different things they did throughout their lives. Sailor, liberator, philosopher, inventor, and such. Might be something to that.

You’re a serial entrepreneur. How do you make the decision to pursue an idea? What values guide your decision-making? 

I’d say fun is a key factor. If it doesn’t excite me or feel like a crappy job, I won’t move forward.

Next would probably be intuition.

  • Does it “feel” right?
  • Am I constantly being nagged by not doing it?

I can be compulsive a lot so I also have to be careful. I used to think every idea that I had needed to be a business I started. That has gotten me into some trouble before. But I still learned some things and most importantly, had fun.

All of my ventures haven’t been profitable.

Reboot was this thing we did where we got a small intimate group together and unplug from technology.  We’d head up to Grand Lake, Colorado hauling snowmobiles and get a big ass cabin and just hang out, cook meals, and shred the slopes for a few days. It was a little utopia. 

You have big dreams. How have you learnt to deal with people around you projecting their fears onto your dreams? What do you do when you start doubting your own dreams? 

Run! Literally. I had to find a new book editor because they told me I needed to re-write my book for it to be more palatable during covid-19. That might sound harsh and I know they didn’t mean any harm but deep down I was confident it was exactly what it needed to be.

 

There are people in my circle that help keep my feet on the ground, but zero tolerance is my rule when it comes to negativity and dream killers. I’m human. It happens. And when it does I reflect back on the tough times I’ve had to work through and my body of work.

If that doesn’t work I get a pep talk from my anti-bummer squad — a good friend or two who’s walked the path with me over the years. And if it’s really bad, I’ll call my mom. She’s tough as nails and always has a good word and a prayer.

“Some never wake up. They go to their grave, believing they have lived a life of their own. Sadly, they often have lived someone else’s.”

– Vernon T. Foster II, The 7 Laws of Mindful Living: A Soul Manual

What was the most difficult part you faced whilst writing and launching your book, 7 Laws of Mindful Living?

“Like most art, it was born from a dark place in my life.”

Believe it or not, the writing was the easy part. I think it was being ok with the idea of that much of my story being on a bookshelf for display forever.

I had a lot of shame and guilt that I needed to work through. I’m talking about the not-so-pretty Instagrammable side of life.

Like most art, it was born from a dark place in my life.

I was going through a major breakup, sleeping on a mattress back at my mom’s house, and my business was a complete mess. All this on the eve of my 30th birthday.

But my fear of putting it out is peanuts compared to the importance of people getting the message who are in the struggle thinking they’re alone. 

At the end of the day, it’s not mine to hoard.

I was making it about me but I’m just a conduit for the message that flowed through me from source. 

What has been your favorite project? What did you learn from obstacles you had to overcome working on that project?

The book for sure. It’s extremely special. It has been on my life list for over a decade to write and publish a book.

Meaningful projects take closer to 3 to 5 years to complete.

It might not be when we want but it will happen if we just keep going. I’m a product to some degree of our impatient want-it-now culture, so my timeline isn’t always in alignment with divine time.

Reminds me of Aesop’s The Tortoise and the Hare fable. Speed doesn’t always win the race.  

Who are your role models? What lessons have you learnt from them, and which parts of them do you aspire to be?

My father for his courage. My mother for her perseverance.

My father died in the US Navy aboard the USS Stark. His legacy has outlived his physical form which I believe is the greatest testament to someone’s life.

My mom raised five children after my father passed. She’s had to overcome so much grief and disappointment. It’s a miracle but she’s still got the fire in her belly. 

I do not aspire to be like them. I aspire to be the whole, unfiltered version of what I’m intended to be.

What would you say to someone who wants to start a project, but feels like there’s no room for their ideas? They feel like there’s so much competition, especially online, that it’s not even worth starting.

You just have to find the time.

Work on it for 25 minutes a week. Set a timer for 25 minutes and get to work.

You just have to find the time.

Do it in the shower or wake up 30 minutes earlier. Tell your story. It’s the one thing that your competitors can’t steal and the thing that makes more people gravitate to you, especially if you’re a minority.

You already stand out from the crowd. It might seem like there’s no more room and all the niches, topics are covered. Keep in mind that 19 million Americans still don’t have high-speed internet! That’s a crazy advantage if you’re reading this. So less excuses. More showing your work.

“Your oppressor wants to keep you captive and uneducated to your potential. They want you to believe you have no value or gift to give to the world. But we both know that’s a lie.”

– Vernon T. Foster II, The 7 Laws of Mindful Living: A Soul Manual

Connect with Vernon T. Foster II

When the world valued specialization, Vernon Foster II sought to become a generalist. He opted to treat his 20’s and early 30’s as an experiment for building skills and honing his personal philosophy. Little did he know nor envision that his lifestyle would serve as a catalyst for creating a global movement and framework that would inspire others to follow suit.

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