Leadership Journey (LJ): “I live to …” Please, continue the phrase!
Oleg Gavrilenko (O.G.): I live to be happy. And I am happy, as you know, by definition. A year ago I was redefining my mission. It was written five or six years ago. The mission is still the same. First, I live for myself. To feel cool, comfortable. Second, I live to give people great emotions. All the projects I do are related to this. No matter, what it is: a restaurant, clothing or cooking. My “TrueLife” project is to make people’s life a little bit better. With the help of minor things.
LJ: Do you, by chance, believe in miracles?
O.G.: Of course. If you do not believe in miracles, they do not happen to you. Basically.
LJ: You once wrote on Facebook that a day can neither be good nor bad; a day is our feeling about it. The way we feel about the day. Tell us a little more about this mental attitude. After all, for many people, it is difficult to forget about the plans, and trust the miracle of the day.
O.G.: I began to take everything happening for granted long ago. When you envisage things and they come out to be different, you feel an unpleasant «rollback». Therefore, I perceive everything as it is. It is like with a date. You go on a date with a girl and imagine how it will be, whether you will have a kiss at the end. However, when you perceive everything as it goes, you have a chance to be surprised. That is, you feel not a disappointment, not a confirmation, but a surprise every time, because something new happens to you.
When you take what is happening to you for granted, it is good for you anyway.
When you take what is happening to you for granted, it is good for you anyway. Even if something goes not the way you planned, it is still good. There is a reason for behind it. As the saying goes, fate sends us only what we can stand. Therefore, if you are in a mess, and it does happen from time to time, you need to look for some sense in this and draw conclusions. This is an issue of your attitude.
LJ: Do you really reflect a lot; analyze yourself?
O.G.: I would say, a little less now. I used to reflect more. Simply I have noticed that I was gripped by this and I worried too much. I realized that everything that happens to us, even failures, is an experience. Every piece of experience has its price. If someone lost a million, then he gained a million worth experience. He has paid for it. When you perceive everything as an experience, you feel better and understand why something happened.
LJ: You have many pictures of mountains on Facebook. You like to walk and practice extreme sports. Are these activities a rest for you or necessary work on yourself?
O.G.: Two options. In principle, probably, everything that I do is rest and a thrill. Sport, travel is a thrill. I really love to drive. Not so much walking as driving a car. Restaurants are a thrill; clothes are a thrill. On the other hand, it is also a kind of commitment to yourself. Take sport, for example, it helps to feel a certain way. When I do not go in for sports for a long time, there is a breakdown. Fitness helps me to feel better. You perceive the world in a different way; you move on.
Extreme stuff allows you to completely switch from your job and your surroundings
Extreme stuff is a way to completely switch from your job and your surroundings. Only in extreme hobbies, the mind is turned off and you perceive everything «here and now». When you go skiing, you do not think that you forgot to turn off the kettle. You enjoy the moment and get high from it. Rafting, climbing, mountains – just about that. They set other feelings and thoughts.
This is a kind of a big recharge, another dimension. Other emotions. Basically. We, for example, were on rafting. In the evening, near the fireplace, 15 men were seating and talking about such things … You do not have a chance in your everyday life to talk so frankly. Sometimes it happens when you talk with a close friend. And there 15 people were seating and sharing their thoughts. This was an exchange of energies.
SPORT, TRAVELING IS HIGH
LJ: And what does inspire you in general?
O.G.: It pulls much when someone needs what I do. This applies to everything: restaurants, clothing, and organization of extreme entertainment. When you just collect the company, and you go, and everyone says, “So it turned out great. It’s so hard to organize, so much energy.” It is nice when people appreciate what you do. Anything can inspire me. When you feel good and calm inside. When you throw away all the worries because you understand that this is temporary, then even a person passing by can inspire.
LJ: You once wrote that for you there is “I and my world, and nothing else.” Explain, what do you mean by this.
O.G.: There are “me” and my world. This is the main point. Nothing else. Worldwide. Because it makes no sense to bother too much about the world of this person or that. To be good for everyone is impossible in principle. The only thing to know, whether you create or destroy “good”. This is the only rule. When you do not live for yourself, then, mostly, there is no point. We have to admit, guys, we do everything for ourselves, care, charity – we still do it for ourselves. There is «me» and nothing else, because if you are relying on somebody or something, no matter what (circumstances, people), then this is also self-deception. Therefore, I meant that only “me” and, as they say, “my religion” matter. I believe in good and in myself.
It pulls MUCH when someone needs what I do
LJ: At the same time, you are not isolated from the world.
O.G.: No, I am not isolated. I am a part of this world and actively interact with it. I have an exchange with it. I understand, in order for me to get something, I have to give something. I cannot constantly give-give or receive-receive something, because somewhere there will be a hole.
We do everything for ourselves
LJ: Are you looking for a perpetual balance?
O.G.: Yes. This reminds me of a joke, “How do you relax?” “I never get strained.” Yes, an eternal balance. Because when you are looking for a balance inside, not in the outer world, you find it. There is no balance in the outer world. Everything is changing all the time. Even inside you, everything is changing. But when you are calm inside, then you start to see things differently. You do not demand people for something. Yes, there is an exchange. But it is voluntary. If I did something for you, I do not wait for a return favor. One day a return favor will come back.
When you are looking for a balance inside, not in the outer world, you find it
LJ: Is it important for you to control another person?
O.G.: Not anymore. Long over. Because control is illusory. Well, in fact.
LJ: You wrote that not the people who are always there, but those who appear at the right moment are important for you.
O.G.: Yes. We recently went on a hike of 100 km without sleep and food, this understanding was structured there. We were 17 people. We divided into pairs. Everyone had his buddy for whom he was responsible. Then a day later, when we were sharing our impressions, one of the guys said to my partner, «Dude, where have you been. We saw little of you near Oleg». I told them, «Listen, he was near only when I needed him. When it was hard for me». Just go in a pair? What for? He has his own life, his own interests.
We were marching, stretched for 2-3 kilometers. But at that moment, when I was feeling I could not do anymore, he suddenly was appearing near. That is the concept of friendship for me. I have a friend in the Dnipro city; we meet with him twice a year. However, we are very close friends. We communicate, and I know if I call him, he will come to the rescue. And I will do the same for him. Not always and not every day. You just know that a person will be near when you need him. There are people whom you see every day but when you are in trouble and need help, they have no time for you.
LJ: To paraphrase a well-known saying, then for you, a friend at the right moment is a friend indeed.
LJ: By the way, about the right moment. Or more precisely about the choice.
O.G.: How to determine your choice? You know, when you throw up a coin, it is funny, but you know the result while the coin is still in the air. Do you know why? When a coin is in the air, you already know which way you want it to fall. In fact. And you either agree or disagree. The same with the choice. I want today, for example, to go to a restaurant. The main thing is to catch this fleeting thought, an emotion. Does it attracts you or not? Then you start thinking, looking for arguments. You are either making excuses or going ahead. Intuition never lets you down. You need to learn to listen to it. You need to turn off your mind, analysis and sometimes experience. Back to clothes.
When I started this business, I did not attract people with experience in the textile business on purpose.
When I started this business, I did not attract people with experience in the textile business on purpose. On the one hand, experienced people know how to deal with some mistakes, but on the other hand, a person with experience no longer looks at other options. He does not always see alternatives. I, on the contrary, wanted to make mistakes. I knew that mistakes would cost me money, effort, and time. But I wanted to take steps and, perhaps, find some keys and new paths to development. Pure intuition.
LJ: In my view, lightness is your determinative feature. Is it true?
O.G.: You know, yes. It does not mean that I do not like hard work. Simply, when you do something in pleasure, it is much easier. It is like in the parable. One person was dragging stones, another — earning his living and the third person was building a temple. They were doing the same, but with a slightly varied motivation.
LJ: Are you building a temple?
O.G.: Yes. I know what I want in life in 5, 10, 20 years. There is such a cool exercise. You need to write 30 points of what you want to have, who you want to become and what you want to do. About six months ago, I found old records and checked if these things coincide with the present me or not. What I wanted to do was achieved more or less. But what I wanted to have is different now. I am more concerned about my internal state rather than about material things. My feelings, my opportunities. For example, I do not want to deal with f-ckers. There are many dependent people now.
I want to be able to say, “Dude, I don’t want to talk to you”
For example, you communicate with a person and understand: well, I do not want to. I just do not want to. But you must. I want to be able to say, “Dude, I do not want to communicate with you.” And to cross him out from my life. Some time ago, five or seven years ago, I began to remove from my life people who carry negative. That is it. So now, the inner state is important to me. Let us call it a pleasure. Because harmony is also a pleasure.
LJ: Are you surfing fleeting pleasures?
O.G.: I know the direction of surfing. Almost. (Laughs.) I set goals. I simply realize that they can change. Sometimes I get rid of a target only halfway through. I may be satisfied with part of the road taken and I do not have to move to the end. Sometimes it happens. This approach helped me a lot lately. I used to be a very tough idealist. Perfectionist. Everything had to be done perfectly and even better. But it takes time and effort, and in principle no one needs it. Largely. You are “cutting diligently”, doing it perfectly, and then you look and know, that there was an easier way to perform. You must understand in your mind there are things that should be done perfectly. But they are very few.
Sometimes I get rid of a target only halfway through
There are things that you can do B-level. There are things that you can do even C-level. D grade is not allowed, because it is unsatisfactory. In my childhood, C grade was satisfactory. This meant that you can continue studies at the next level. If you get C in all subjects, you still move to the next level. Sometimes this is sufficient. The distance from C to B is not very long, but from B to A, it is huge. And the question arises, why on earth do it (strive for A). You can make it a B- level. In this situation, this would be sufficient.
You have done it and can move on.