Are you self-iterating enough?

When I was two years old, my mother grew frustrated with my father, kicked him out of the house and that was the end of their marriage. She was now a 22 year old single mum. Everybody was mad at her. It wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing for her. And I.  

German school sucked, especially someone with average intelligence like myself. So I became an exchange student in England, France (twice) and ultimately the US.  

After my freshman year of college, I went back to Germany. I got bored. So the next year I ended up spending all summer in Spain. 

After I graduated college, I found a good job in Missoula. But I wasn’t learning enough so I moved to Seattle and worked for free.  

I had a great job and a pretty girlfriend the first time I lived in LA. But LA just wasn’t right for me. So I moved to Portland.  

When I lived in Portland, I had a great job, a beautiful girlfriend and a really nice loft. But I felt like I could do more professionally, so I moved back to LA to start my own agency.  

In LA, I wanted a bigger challenge next to work, so I trained and did an Ironman. But when I came back, I was super burned out from everything. So I asked my boss if I could work part time. He agreed. 

After my grandmother died, I felt the strong urge to spend more time in Germany to (amongst other things) be with my grandfather who I didn’t feel should be alone. I continued to work for the same ad agency as a part-time employee – in Europe. 

When my last relationship failed, I went on a 48-state road trip across America as a full-time entrepreneur. 

When I recognized that due to a complete lack of a common sense life/work balance, being an entrepreneur was particularly unhealthy for me – I decided to take a job and move to Montana. Oh, and I still didn’t like LA.   

Right now, I have a more fulfilling job than before. 

Right now, I am spending more time doing things I love than before. 

Right now, the girl I am dating is a better fit than the girl before. 

My life now is better than a year ago.

My life two years ago is better than my life 5 years ago.

And 5 years ago was better than 9 years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I am an optimist and feel as if I’ve largely found great joy in the majority of my years. At times, I’ve also struggled immensely – no doubt about that. 

But I do believe that life just keeps getting better. Sometimes that betterment happens due to incremental changes while other times it happens because of major iterations. 

Last year, I spent just about every waking moment with entrepreneurs. There were two- or three factors they mentioned as their keys to success. One of them is the ability to constantly re-invent their business – the buzzword being iteration. 

Us humans, we actually iterate better than any other species. That’s why we run this world.  Actually I see it all the time. Something really bad happens, like an illness, or a death in the family and then people use it as an opportunity to re-invent themselves. They usually end up much better for it. 

But, otherwise, I don’t see many people re-inventing themselves. Why do most people only do it when something really bad happens?

Are people just really happy? Is everything perfect? Or are they too scared? Do they feel bad? Obligated? Guilt?

Anyhow, I think the idea of continuous self-iteration is really interesting and incredibly beneficial.

It seems to me that people aren’t doing enough of it. 



  1. Laurel Miltner July 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I’m with you, Mario. I don’t think I’ve ever done this enough, but with new adventures starting in Chicago, I am so excited and free to see where life takes me.

    • Laurel
  2. Mario Schulzke July 2, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Laurel, once you get iterating you won’t be able to stop.