The Holistic Approach to Boost Mental Strength
Mikhail Nikonorov, Founder of Bold App
Founded by Mikhail Nikonorov, Bold App boosts your mental strength, intelligence, motivation and performance. Think of it as a tool to refine your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual parts until they emerge as one.
“The mind should be a servant and a tool, not a master”.Naval Ravikant
Our mind is the most mysterious yet most powerful tool that we have. It could be our best ally or worst enemy.
Probably 80% of our life depends on our mind. Every invention that we have now came from somebody’s mind. At the same time, every war that we had came also from somebody’s mind. Let’s leave 20 % to fate and random lucky or unlucky events. Knowing that where you would put your focus? Exactly! The mind is fundamental.
That’s what I did with my focus in the last decade and discovered incredible benefits that charged me to build this startup and help others to gain mental strength, discover their inner power, and achieve something meaningful in life.
I must admit I have natural inclinations towards ancient wisdom, meditation, martial arts, and practiced many of those in different combinations. I would never call myself an expert, I prefer to stay a student forever but I do know something and there is also knowledge out there in the world from many experts in different fields that can be accessible in one place. And when you find what is your natural inclination in the intersection of problems that’s worth solving for people you will find a sweet spot for your startup.
If we contemplate on this thought then it’s clear people will always try to be better as humans, probably forever. It is our innate nature. Perhaps to help with it we can give tools and information in the most useful way.
Trends can appear and disappear. I often recall the craze of fidget spinners 2 years ago. It is hard to explain rationally why and how it became so trendy but where it’s now?
So if you are in the long-term game as a founder/entrepreneur then don’t focus to catch a trend instead find fundamental problems that you can solve in a unique way.
2020 was very illustrative of how weak and fragile we are as humans. We can’t even be okay with ourselves at home or our family, we suffer in our own homes and it’s not a jail at all. It could be a very nice comfortable home but still, we suffer. And fundamentally we suffer in our minds. We get anxious when uncertainty hits, we can not easily adapt to the new reality, we afraid to lose what we gained. Over the years people’s life became more comfortable than ever before at the cost of becoming weak and incapable to deal with challenges.
The other important problem that many face but don’t realize is that we don’t rise to the level of our goals. We fail to the level of our self-belief and daily actions.
It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The one who feels she is a failure despite all the attempts to succeed will fail to confirm her belief. Same goes for those who succeed. They confirm their success assumption.
Life goes in patterns and nothing significantly changes in life unless you make substantial internal change.
To help people make this journey of discovering and training their minds I assembled a team of different professionals around the world that can help bring knowledge and guided practice to everyone who needs it.
Hi Mikhail ! What challenges did you face when creating your product?
The most interesting thing is that everything we developed so far was first of all helpful for ourselves in this journey, which is not that easy. I significantly underestimated the time, budget and effort required to accomplish. I fell into the trap of planning fallacy that is common for many people including founders. Along the way, coronavirus hit a few of our team members leading to more delays. Luckily they have recovered. Overall it took 1 year more to develop the app and 3x budget vs initial plans. It’s a huge learning experience for me.
Fortunately, I have a big “Why”, that keeps me going. As Nietzsche said: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
The problem that any founder is trying to solve should be so compelling that any obstacle on the way will look like a bump on the road. Building a startup for the sake of money is not that interesting and compelling, at least for me. The best startup solves an important problem for people. And it keeps you inspired day in and day out. This is the only way to enjoy a difficult journey.
Who is your target market?
I have the temptation to say almost everyone because everyone has problems with their mind to some extent but this won’t be true as not everyone is aware of their problems and willing to solve them and we should not aim for everyone.
People who need on their life journey more confidence, courage, resilience, inspiration, and learning different growth strategies are our target audience to benefit from the app.
This could apply to founders, athletes, creative people, generally people with ambition to grow. People who aim high and need mental strength to cope with every possible challenge that might come their way.
In a lot of cases the “mental game” largely defines our success.
For example, top athletes 1 week before competition stop or significantly reduce physical training and focus more on mental training.
I can imagine that every founder has a constant struggle to build a successful company. I know it myself. It takes responsibility, risk, discipline and a constant process of figuring out. And all of this happens in their mind. Mind that needs that support to widen perspective, calm it down time to time, boost confidence and courage, learn to make better decisions, keep yourself disciplined in executing towards a defined vision of the future. For many, it is a really hard thing to do. The odds of success are not that high. Once you know it you can push these odds a little higher everyday and eventually, it will compound to large success.
What are the most important lessons you have learned on your business journey?
Here are my 10 lessons:
1. Start with the problem, not the solution. Most people do the opposite, that’s why they fail. They try to find problems with the solution they developed. and are in constant confirmation bias that their idea is great. They are simply in 😍 with their solution. Me too😜. At least be aware of this. Then figure out in what unique way you can solve it.
For example in the Bold app, we tried to make all-in-one mental toolbox to train different mind muscles depending on your need in a given situation. If you have an important presentation tomorrow and don’t feel comfortable about it then you can try self-hypnosis or pep talk to frame your mind and become more confident and in the flow when presenting. Your internal state will be easily sensed by the audience on a subconscious level. Often it’s not what you say it’s how you feel when you say it.
Another example — if you lost yourself in a busy trap or rat race of daily activities, then you can find very helpful Stoic meditation “ View from above” to get a much wider perspective on where your life is going. It is a famous practice by Marcus Aurelius. The guy was Rome emperor and I highly recommend his wisdom to any human. I often use it when I got caught up with being busy and lose perspective.
One of my favorite sections in the app is Bold stories. You can read/listen to biography stories of Entrepreneurs, athletes, inventors, and learn from their experience.
So it’s all like a “buffet” with many choices for your mind. Pick the one that’s important for you today.
Everything in the app structured in 3 main sections: Feel Bold. Think Bold. Act Bold.
Feel Bold helps to rewire the mind. Think Bold to learn mental models, biases and contemplate on some practical wisdom and get inspired by biography stories. Act Bold helps put your feeling and thinking into action towards your goals. Because in the end, we are what we do every day.
Now back to my lessons:
2. If your solution solves your problem, then there might be people like you. So start with yourself, help yourself and then help others.
3.Build an audience before building a product. Twitter seems to be a great tool for it. People are more engaged on Twitter and you can use it to ask important questions. I didn’t do that, my mistake. Never used Twitter before. Tried to build an audience on Facebook but it seems people on Facebook are less and less engaged and feels like Facebook is dying. Maybe it’s just my impression. Once you have an engaged and sizeable audience they can help to ignite the initial growth and give feedback on initial prototypes. If you don’t have an audience you still can succeed but it can take more marketing effort and budget. The choice is yours.
3. Never ever underestimate the time and investment required to develop something good. 9 women can not give birth to 1 child in one month. Be patient. I thought it will take me 1 year to build the product but in reality, it took more than 2 years in making. It’s all about macro patients with micro speed every day. Once you frame your mind that it will be way harder and longer than you think and you still want to pursue it then it much easier to face challenges as you are mentally ready for it.
4. You will likely get it wrong at the beginning before you get it right. If you know it upfront it’s easier to face it later and you can develop a mitigation plan. So ask yourself what you might be doing wrong? Where you might fail and why? Make this thought experiments in your mind before you start to implement anything costly. This way you can avoid real-life expensive mistakes.
5. Outsource skills that you don’t have. You might spend more money in the short-term but gain in the long-term. I tried to learn to make the design of the app on my own several times. It was crap… There are great resources like Upwork.com and Fiverr.com where you can find experts in their field. You don’t need to hire people, in the current economy you can collaborate with anyone from anywhere. But make sure you chose the one that will go the extra mile in what they do.
6. Let your ideas sleep some nights before execution, some of them you will find bad on the next day after excitement goes away. Cultivate Devil’s advocate in yourself. If you can’t then find somebody who can do it. And the paradox is that some bad ideas can be successful. What is bad for one person could be great for another one.
7. Plan. Execute. Iterate. Refine. Compound.
It’s all about iteration. The more iteration you can make in your mind or piece of paper the less you need to do in real life. To hit the bull eye throw enough darts, see what works best, and then double on it. Don’t waste time on things that don’t work.
8. Most important — have fun in the process. If you don’t then you will easily give up when time gets hard. Pretend it’s a game and play it. Get to the new levels of the game. If you are struggling then maybe you just leveled up 😉. Keep mastering yourself and your skills. Most important is who you become in the process of making.
9. Stay even and not ruled by emotions. Success and failure is just an interpretation of your left brain — the story you are telling yourself. Once you know it it’s easier to find helpful interpretation.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
It’s the best fitness for your mind. You have to work on so many “muscles” 💪 every day.
- Budget management
- Product development
- Just to name few..
What seemed to be hard yesterday becomes easier today as you trained that muscle. This ultimately makes you mentally stronger and better as a human.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Hard to stop my mind thinking about the product and startup. It is a constant flow of ideas. But there are other things in life to enjoy. I guess it also comes down to your ability to take more control of the mind and switch it when needed.
Sometimes you also have to sacrifice your personal time with family, especially before you get profitable and make your system work efficiently. Everything has a trade-off, you have to trade well.
Could you recommend some resources for our readers?
Generally, I would say follow people who are experts in SEO, ASO, business ideas and much more. Essay by Paul Graham (founder of Y combinator) is great!
Once you organize your feed properly your feed your mind constantly with new ideas, perspectives you haven’t thought about before. In many cases it helped me to get unstuck and find new ways to go forward.
Some accounts to follow:
- “Mastery” by Robert Greene
- “Effortless Mastery” by Kenny Werner
- “No Self. No Problem”
- What is your problem?
- “Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday
- “The Obstacle is The Way” by Ryan Holiday
- “Navalmanak” (quotes, tweets from Naval Ravikant)